COMBI Tour (Turkmenistan - Iran)
Day 1 / Arrival in Ashgabat
Flight to Ashgabat
Arrival in Ashgabat. Meet & assist at the airport and transfer to hotel in Ashgabat.
Day 2 / Ashgabat
Breakfast. Sightseeing tour of Ashgabat including: Lenin Monument, new mosque, Turkmenbashi revolving statue, local Russian bazaar, etc. Visit Museum of History and ethnography. About 500,000 exhibits are displayed in the museum. It boasts a full collection of Turkmenistan's most significant architectural finds of the XX century; a large number of ancient Turkmen carpets and rugs; examples of national dress and fabrics; traditional household equipment; musical instruments; weapons; jewelry; orders and medals, and historical documents. Its unique collection of paintings, drawings and sculptures includes not only Turkmen fine arts but also masterpieces of some Russian and Western European artists of the nineteenth-twentieth centuries. The collection includes early paintings, watercolors and icons among its exhibits. Moreover the museum reveals the variety of Turkmenistan's landscape: its flora and fauna, fossils and rare geological finds. Overnight.
Day 3 / Ashgabat
Breakfast. Visit to horse farm: you can watch the beautiful and graceful Akhal-Teke horses at the Horse Farm. For additional payment you can also ride horses. Visit the Mosque in Kipchak village: The mosque was built in the native village of the first President of Turkmenistan Saparmurat Turkmenbashi. It is the biggest mosque in Central Asia. Total area of the mosque is 7.000 m2. 10.000 people can pray therein at the same time. Next to the mosque is a mausoleum where the First President, his two brothers and parents are buried. Visit Carpet Museum, The museum was opened on the 24th of October 1994. This museum has a large, impressive collection of antique carpets, carpet articles (chuvals, khurjuns, torba etc.) and also two first biggest carpets, made in Turkmenistan - 18 m by 11,5 m, total area 192 square m. and 20 m by 13 m, 266 square m.
Day 4 / Ashgabat
After breakfast visit the Tolkuchka Bazaar (Oriental Market - in Ashgabat should not be missed. This colorful bazaar is where practically the entire country comes together to trade on Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays. Anything and everything is sold here from camels and cars to antiques, carpets, and jewelry.). After lunch drive to Nisa, Old Nisa, the capital of the Parthian Empire (25 km from Ashgabat), mentioned in the Zend-Avesta - holy book of Zoroastrianism. In the 4th century B.C., Parthia was a part of Alexander the Great's Empire. Then it became an independent state. It was a large city and the family residence of kings. The peak of Parthia's military success and political might was achieved in the second and first centuries B.C. Its territory stretched from Syria to India. The Parthian army defeated the army led by the Roman commander Crassus, famous for his defeat of a slaves' revolt headed by Spartacus. Now you can see the remains of the royal fortress. Drive to Health Way. Overnight.
Day 5 / Ashgabat - Mary
After breakfast drive to Mary with guide. Lunch. Visit Ancient Merv is by far Turkmenistan's most recognized heritage site. It impresses in its vastness of 2,000 ha including five different city-sites from three millennia and with numerous monuments and shrines remaining from the Muslim period. Merv has recently been included into the UN List of World Heritage Monuments. The important architectural monuments include Sultan Sanjar Mausoleum and Gyz Gala Fortress. Accommodation at Hotel.
Day 6 / Mary - Serakhs - Mashad
Breakfast at hotel's restaurant. Transfer to Serakhs Border. Lunch en route. Crossing Turkmen/Iranian border Serakhs (toward to Mashad).
Meet by Iranian guide and drive to Mashad. En-route visit one of the oldest and most elaborate caravanserais, a masterpiece of Seljuq architecture, built about 12th century, transfer to hotel for overnight (O/N) stay.
Day 7 / Mashad - Shiraz
City tour of Mashad to visit the courtyards of the Shrine of Imam Reza and the Gohar Shad Mosque (non-Moslems are not allowed to enter the building of the shrine and mosque), and the museum, also the Mausoleum of Khajeh Rabi' (a disciple of the Prophet of Islam), dating to the Safavid period; afternoon flight to Shiraz; Transfer to hotel for O/N stay.
Day 8 / Shiraz - Isfahan
Half a day excursion to Persepolis, one of the most important sites of the Ancient World, the ceremonial capital of the Achaemenid kings with remains of the palaces of Darius the Great, Xerxes and Artaxerxes, and its famous bas-reliefs, depicting kings and courtiers and gift-bearing representatives of tributary nations of the Persian Empire; also visit Naghsh-e-Rostam to see Ka'be-Zardosht (fire temple/sanctuary), and Royal Tombs (also Achaemenid); plus seven magnificent Sassanian rock-reliefs (including Shapur the First's famous victory over Roman Emperor Valerian); and return to Shiraz to visit some of the famous gardens of this city of "roses and nightingales", including the Eram Garden, the tomb of Iran's greatest lyric poet, Hafez; in the evening transfer to airport for flight to Isfahan, O/N at hotel.
Day 9 / Isfahan
Full day tour of the beautiful city of Isfahan, the 17th century capital of the Safavids, referred to as Nesf-e-Jahan (Half of the World) in Safavid sources, to visit the famous bridges of Shahrestan/Khajou/Sio-se-pol, the Armenian Quarter with several churches, including the important Cathedral of Vank; in the afternoon visit one of the world's grandest squares, the Maidan-e-Naghsh-e-Jahan, with several sites (the Ali-Qapu Palace with its enchanting music rooms and balcony overlooking the Maidan, from where the Safavid Kings watched polo games, and two of Islamic world's greatest mosques - the Sheikh Lotfollah and the Shah - with magnificent architecture and tilework), finishing with a visit to the Qeisarieh Bazaar with hundreds of shops displaying the arts and handicrafts for which Isfahan is world-famous, O/N at hotel.
Day 10 / Isfahan - Tehran
Half a day sightseeing of Isfahan to visit the magnificent Friday Mosque, with the famous Uljaitu Mihrab (Prayer Niche) of the Il-Khanid period. The Friday Mosque is considered a museum of a thousand years of Persian religious architecture and is truly one of the world's greatest mosques. From here drive to the Chehel Sotun Palace, built by Shah Abbas II in the 17th century; its wooden columns reflected in the surface of the pool give rise to its name 'The Palace of Forty Columns'; in the afternoon transfer to airport for flight to Tehran, O/N at hotel.
Morning flight to Tehran, and city tour of Tehran to visit the Archaeological Museum, displaying an authentic collection of pottery, bronze and valuable pieces from millenniums B.C until Islamic era. The objects on display have been found from different regions of Iran including Susa, Persepolis, and many other ancient sites (Islamic Museum is currently under renovation); you will then visit the Glass & Ceramics Museum with a beautiful collection of glass and pottery from different periods, and the Carpet Museum, which has an excellent collection of Persian carpets from different regions of Iran on display (these museums are closed on Mondays); O/N at hotel.
Day 11 / Tehran-Home
Transfer to IKA for departure flight.