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A Guide to off the record Holidays of Iran Tourist's Sites

A Guide to off the record Holidays of Iran Tourist's Sites
Photo by Hamed Dastpak | TasteIran

Tourist Attractions' Unofficial Holidays

Since many people visit historic sites and museums on weekends, museum workdays are not subject to official holidays in Iran. It is regular in many countries. Usually, Monday, which is the first working day, is a holiday for museums. But even on Mondays, Iranian tourist attractions are open and can be visited. 

Officially, tourist sites and museums that are staffed by guides and guards, just have a seven-day official holiday in Iran which are a national or religious ceremonial event. These seven days are: 

  1.  Ramadan 21 (Arabic: رمضان): Ramadan is the sixth month in the lunar calendar which Islamic rites follow. The martyrdom of the first Shiite Imam, Imam Ali, is an official holiday in Iran.
  2. Safar 28 (Arabic: صفر): Death of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). Safar is the second month of the lunar calendar.
  3. Muharram 9 (Arabic: محرم): The 9th day of the first month in the lunar calendar is called Tasua day. The 9th and 10th days of Muharram are the most important religious ceremony for Iranian Shia Muslims. 
  4. Muharram 10 (Arabic: محرم): The 10th day in Arabic is pronounced Ashura. Ashura day is the Shia's third Imam's martyrdom that happened in 680 in the battle of Karbala.
  5. Shawwal 25 (Arabic: شوال): Martyrdom of Imam Ja'far al-Ṣādiq, the Sixth Shiite Imam and Muslim Scientist. Shawwal is the tenth month of the lunar calendar.
  6. Safar 20 (Arabic: صفر): The 40th day after Imam Hussain's martyrdom is celebrated widely over the country and called Arbaeen day
  7. June 4: The anniversary of the Death of Ayatollah Khomeini, the founder of the Islamic Republic of Iran and the leader of the 1979 Iranian Revolution


Note: Some dates follow the Islamic lunar calendar, as they are religious holidays and do not have a fixed day in the Gregorian/ Solar calendar.

These seven days have been formally announced by the Ministry of Cultural Heritage and Tourism as museum holidays. But you might have seen museums close doors on other days too.

Well, don't be surprised! There are festivals or events in Iran that all the people are involved in them, like the 13th day of the Persian New Year, nature's day, Sizdah-be-dar. Sometimes these national-celebrated days are the reason why museums take a holiday. It is also due to the religious ceremonies of Iranian religious communities in the historic places to which they belong, like ancient churches or temples. And the last reason could be the political reasons for closing historic sites on specific days.

We have provided you with a complete list of these unofficial holidays. But we recommend you check the day and time of visiting historic sites with their websites and support team for better planning.

  • Sizdah-be-dar (Nature's Day): The 13th day of the Persian new year (April 2) is celebrated by Iranians outdoors in picnic style with families and friends. It is an official holiday in Iran, and almost all museums, bazaars and old towns are closed on this day.
  • The Twelfth of Muharram: This is the third day after the martyrdom of Imam Hussein (AS). Shiites commemorate this testimony on this dayDue to this religious mourning, many parts of the old towns and mosques may be closed on this day. In some cities, such as Tabriz, which have a more celebrated festival on this day, the Grand Bazaar and the old town are entirely closed. Although you can visit this religious mourning, it is better to postpone visiting old town tourist attractions to another day.
  • Last Friday of Ramadan (Quds Day): Quds Day is an annual event to support the Palestinian people on the last Friday of Ramadan. Since museum office staff may want to attend the marching, most museums may be closed until noon on this day.
  • Bahman 22nd: On February 11, all over the country, there is an event to celebrate the anniversary of the Islamic Republic's victory. Bahman 22nd is an official holiday in Iran. Most museums may be closed until noon or even a whole day on this date. Also in the city centre of every city, people are marching on this day.

The following is a list of tourist sites and heritages that are closed on certain days for various reasons:

Vank Cathedral/ Isfahan

This magnificent and spectacular cathedral has got its specific holidays. Most of these holidays are due to Christian religious occasions. For this reason, we recommend that you also consider these holidays for visiting other churches in Iran, so that your visit does not interfere with church events. Please contact the support of the cathedral for accurate information regarding off dates.

December 31: New Year celebration (Nowruz)

January 1: New Year celebration

January 5 & 6: Birth and Baptism of Jesus Christ

April 20 & 21: Easter Sunday

April 24: Monument to the Armenian Martyrs

The Treasury of National Jewels, Tehran

The museum is adjacent to the Central Bank of Iran and has a very high-security system. In addition to the limited visit hours from 14-17, the museum is closed on Thursday, Friday and all official holidays.

Carpet Museum of Iran, Tehran

This museum closes on Mondays.

Azadi Tower museum complex, Tehran

The museum inside the tower opens every day except Saturdays.

Masoudieh Mansion, Tehran

The historic mansion is closed on Saturdays. 

Pasargadae and Persepolis, Fars province

 These historic sites are unofficially closed on the anniversary of Cyrus the Great (November 29).

Chak-Chak Zoroastrian fire temple, Ardakan

This site is always open to the public, even on official holidays. But from June 14 until the 18th, visiting this place is exclusively possible for the Zoroastrians as they have annual gatherings on these five days.

Ziloo Museum, Meybod

This museum is closed on Sundays and from May 15 until the 21st every year. During the Nowruz holidays, the site opens every day. 

Imam Mosque, Jame Mosque, Isfahan

This mosque is closed on Fridays due to Friday prayers and also in Etekaf religious rites. For three days, participants in this rite live in the mosque. They don't leave the building to concentrate on praying and remembering the Almighty. The Etekaf ceremony is from 12-15 Rajab, the seventh month of the Islamic calendar(lunar). 

Isfahan Music Museum, Isfahan

Isfahan private music museum opens for visits all year except the list of seven holidays and
-21st March: The first day of Persian New Year, 1st of Farvardin month
-2nd of April: Nature's Day or Sizdah Bedar Day
-30 Safar (Arabic: صفر): The 8th Shia Muslims' Imam, Imam Reza's death
-3 Jumada al-Thani (Arabic: جماذی الثانی): Fatima al-Zahra's death, Prophet Muhammad's daughter 
-19 February: Nationalization of the Iranian oil industry

Gilan Rural Heritage Museum, Rasht

The museum at a short distance from Rasht City is open on all days of the year except for the seven days of official museum closures. It is recommended to visit the museum on Thursdays and Fridays.

Tabriz Grand Bazaar

The UNESCO-listed World Heritage site of Tabriz Bazaar is closed on public holidays and religious mourning and the 12th day of Muharram month. However, museums and monuments in the bazaar area are open to the public.

Bear in your mind that local museums and sites in small regions usually have their program. As an unwritten principle, they close sites and museums from about 11:30 noon till around 4:00 in the afternoon for prayer, lunch and rest. Always check before going to the location. 

By Reyhaneh Jafari / TasteIran

No part of this content including texts, photos, and itinerary may be republished or distributed in any form or by any means without the prior written permission and referring to TasteIran.
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