Top 5 Must Do's in Iran

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It is a shame that it has become problematical for Westerners to travel in Iran recently as there is a whole host of Iran Must Do's that every serious traveler should aim to have achieved before they die. Iran has been the cradle of several civilizations and as such is extremely interesting from a historical point of view.

1. Persepolis - Iconic and Astonishing

Dating back 2500 years, this vast complex of palaces stands out as the highlight of any trip to Iran. It was the axis of the development of the Persian Empire and was also a significant location for the Achaemenid Empire. There are countless ancient sculptures and engravings from these times that remain in excellent condition. Persepolis has endured despite having been burned down by Alexander the Great in retaliation for the burning down of Athens. Persepolis houses the Tomb of Xerxes (a large monument carved into a hill that is 20 meters high) and the Tomb of Darius.

2. Tehran's Museums

The National Museum of Iran features some relics from Persepolis as well as 'the Salt Man' dating back to the third or fourth centuries A.D. Aban Museum was once a stable belonging to the Shah of Iran and contains stunning bronze sculptures by Sayed Ali Akbar. The National Jewels Museum is Tehran's most popular. You can see a 182-carat pink diamond here which is unique and fascinating. The Glass and Ceramics Museum and the Malek Library containing 19th-century paintings are also essential to visit on any trip to Tehran.

3. The Mausoleum of Oljeitu

This 14th century colossus was built with the intention of housing Shi'ia relics but its architecture came to be regarded as a major influence on the Taj Mahal. This was the capital of the Sultan Oljeitu's empire and remains at the top of Iran Must Do's.

4. Masjid-i Jami

Dating back to the tenth century A.D., this gorgeously decorated mosque is perhaps the most impressive in all Asia. The winter prayer hall stands out, decorated as it is with floriated plasterwork and 14th- century inscriptions. There is also stunning tilework to be found all around the Masjid i-Jami.

5.Bagh-i Dawlatabad, Yazd

Last but not least for Iran Must Do's is this comparatively modern complex built in the 1700s within a desert town. It features a garden with a water channel overlooked by a pavilion. This forms part of a cooling system that obviously predates concepts such as air-conditioning. Fountains and colored glass add to the ethereal atmospherics.

March 22, 2010 change by revjugular

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