After 20 hrs of Journey, i arrived in Tabriz at 9:30am. The bus was a VIP one (3 seats in a row) so had a comfortable journey. The journey had some pretty amazing landscapes, mostly nearer to Tabriz in the morning.
As per recommendation from a local CS fellow, i checked into Maashad Guesthouse at the Ferdowsi St. The climate here was cold, it was about 2°c. The local language here is Azeri, its very different from Persian and has its roots in Turkish language however the official language is Persian. Culturally, the people and traditions are more closer to Azeri/Turkish. Tabriz is a major Industrial base for Iran. There are some major Chocolate manufacturing companies, Iran’s largest tractor manufacturing company. Their local football team is named as Tractor ;). It is also the gateway for Iran to Europe via Turkey.
1 Single bed room per night – 20000 toman
After having breakfast i called the local CS guy and we decided to visit the Tabriz Bazaar.
Breakfast -3500 toman
Tabriz Bazaar is the worlds largest covered Bazaar and a Unesco Heritage site. The bazaar also is a major base of Carpets trading, Tabriz is very famous for its carpets and Chocolates. Carpets prices range from $500 (the most basic one) to $1million (handmade antique ones).
Had lunch in a 100 year old traditional restaurant in the Bazaar.
Lunch for 2 – 27000 toman
After lunch we visited the Blue Mosque, it was built is 1400’s and used to be magnificent however it lost its glory during an earthquake in 1700’s.
Ticket to the Mosque – 10000 toman
A statue in the park next to the Mosque
Some of the blue ceramics still left.
Then we went to the Old Silk road in the city centre, its a modern shopping complex area with new shops. We went to a local smoking place, smoked some tobacco hookah.
a 7 foot hookah 😉
We went to the El Goli park in the evening after that i went with my CS friend for their friendly football match.
El Goli park
The indoor football match
Had dinner at KFC, KFC is only international chain of restaurants present in Iran.
Dinner for 2 – 25000 toman, as usual the burger size is pretty big
Next day we went to Jolfa, the border town of Iran at the Azerbaijan border.
Its duty free zone, people from allover Iran come here to buy duty free stuff mostly Cars 😉
Jolfa is about 150 km from Tabriz, we went by a Car he got for rent.
After looking at the cars, we went to the armenian St Stephanos monastery another Unesco heritage site about 15km from Jolfa. It was built in the 9th century.
Thats the Aras river, on the other side its Azerbaijan.
Those are Azeri mountains.
At the Monastery, people come with their fish hooks catch the fish and cook in the near by places. Its like a picnic spot for them.
My CS friend took the ticket for me, so i went in like a Iranian. It was about 1000 toman for Iranians and 10000toman for foreigners. At the monastery we met a Swiss couple, as my CS friend was explaining about the monastery in English they also joined in.
After the visit, we had lunch at the local public park on the way back.
Lunch for 2 – 32000toman
On the way back, we asked the Swiss couple to join us as they were also going to Tabriz. As we reached Tabriz, the couple said that they wanted to go to Kandovan and stay for a night or two and then come to Tabriz. Kandovan is famous for its rock dwellings, it is similar to Cappadocia in Turkey. So i thought why not visit it as well, Kandovan is about 40km from Tabriz.
Iron bridge connecting the Old USSR and Iran back in the day at the border
On the way back
Some abandoned dwellings before the main village.
The main village
About 600 people live in the village in houses like this
Somekind of jelly made there, it was very sour
After visiting the village, the swiss couple booked a suite in the Rock hotel and invited us for Dinner with them.
The room rates were starting from 200000 toman 😉
The suite they booked
Inside the restaurant
After the dinner, i planned to leave for Tehran in the night, spend the next day in Tehran and leave for Delhi early next morning. However as my CS friend left me in the Bus stand, i could not find any seats on the bus to Tehran, every bus was full. I informed my friend about that, so he came back and put me up in his grand mother’s home for the night and i left for Tehran by the first bus in the morning. The journey was about 7hrs, i reached Tehran by 2pm. Kept my luggage in the cloak room at the bus stand, went to Tehran bazaar, wanted to do some last time shopping there with the money left. After the shopping, met my CS hosts one last time and i came back to the Bus stand had dinner there and left for the Airport at 10pm.
Car rental – 50000 toman (it was 100000 toman, but the Swiss couple also shared)
Bus to Tehran – 18000 toman
Lunch at Bus terminal – 13000 toman
Dinner at Bus terminal – 15000 toman
Cloak room charges – 3000 toman
1Kg Pistachio – 40000 toman
Taxi to Airport – 30000 toman
The bus terminal at Tehran
One last look of Aazadi Square
Came back with memories of a lifetime, great experiences, good friends and an urge to go back there again.
Here’s a breakup of my total expenses
Food- 435000toman/Rs 7250
Museums/Historical places tickets – 315000toman/ Rs 5250
Lodging – 280000toman/ Rs 4700
Taxi – 250000toman/ Rs 4200
Bus + Metro – 95000toman/ Rs 1600
Misc stuff like Souveniers,Gifts etc – 144000toman/ Rs 2500
So overall the total cost of the 15 day Trip
Flight Tickets – Rs 25000
Expenses in Iran – Rs 26000
Total – Rs 51000 :cool::cool::cool:
So pack your bags, book your tickets and get there as soon as possible ;).
I ‘ll be more than glad to help anyone plan your trip, feel free to contact me.
The best time to visit is April – May.