Outer Yazd, Iran – Meybod, Chak Chak and Kharanaq

We decided to spend our second day in Yazd doing a day trip to surrounding towns – Meybod, Chak Chak and Kharanaq.


  1. Meybod
  2. Chak Chak
  3. Kharanaq


About forty minutes north of Yazd, Meybod was our first stop. Like Yazd, it is also a desert city and much of its buildings are made from mud-brick.  We visited the Narin Qal’eh (Narin Castle), a mud-brick fort which incorporates mud-bricks from various periods from Sassanid, Achaemenid to Islamic. From the top, it provided us a view of the town of Meybod.

Small mud brick structure outside Narin CastleThe entrance and guard tower of Narin CastleInside Narin Castle, on of the guard towers
Sonya standing under an archTown of Meybod, the inverted cone in the background is a ice-houseOne of the many corridors leading to rooms
Sonya sitting on some stepsOutside Narin Castle, a small cave structureA man creating mud bricks, used to restore Narin Castle

In Meybod we also visited an icehouse, very similar to the one we saw in Abarqu, an old post office and a once bustling caravanserai; a roadside inn where travellers could rest and recover from their day’s journey.  The pigeon towers was our last stop in Meybod, a tower that once hosted 14,000 pigeons – inside it was quite impressive and unique.

Domed roof of the caravanseraiMan making traditional nomad carpetWomen making traditional nomad scarfs
Inside the caravanserai, a roadside inn where travellers could rest and recover from their day’s journeyThe entrance of the old post officeThe old post office, resembling a fort due valuable mail
Thousands of pigeon holesSonya with the thousands of pigeon holes behindThousands of pigeon holes
Thousands of pigeon holesThousands of pigeon holesThe Meybod pigeon tower


Chak Chak

The village of Chak Chak was our next stop. It is known to be the most sacred of sites for Zoroastrians. Chak Chak is literally built on a mountain cliff in the middle of the desert. The name ‘Chak Chak’ is the Persian word for ‘drip drip’ due to the ever-dripping spring located at the mountain.

The main attraction is the Zoroastrian temple guarded by two bronze doors on top of the cliff. Inside is a fire which burns eternally. Each year thousands of Zoroastrians visit this temple from June fourteen to eighteen.  Tradition requires that on approaching Chak Chak, when pilgrims see the temple, they must walk the remaining distance.

Crumbling brick buildingPersian guard  on door leading to the Zoroastrian fire temple roomChak Chak visible in the vast mountains
Chak Chak on the edge of the mountainsChak Chak on the edge of the mountainsChak Chak visible in the vast mountains



Kharanaq is another town in the Yazd District which is believed to have been occupied for more than four-thousand years. This spot was a particular favourite of mine as there was barely anyone around and the whole ancient village made completely of mud-bricks (no longer occupied) made for a very eerie atmosphere.  We were so impressed by just how extensive the old village was – and even got lost in the maze heading back towards the car. The site also consists of a Qajar era mosque and a shaking minaret.

Travis taking a photo of one of the many mud brick alleysTravis in one of the many passage waysThe shaking minaret
Close up view of the shaking minaretKharanaq mud brick village with the turquoise mosque dome visible in the backgroundKharanaq mud brick village
Kharanaq mud brick villageKharanaq mud brick village with the turquoise mosque dome visible in the backgroundKharanaq mud brick village
One of the many alleys in KharanaqSonya finding her way out the villageThe mud brick buildings of Kharanaq


At the end of our tour, our driver Ali took us back to Yazd where we had a late lunch and departed Yazd on a four-and-a-half hour bus to Esfahan.

From Shiraz to Yazd – Persepolis, Pasargadae and Abarqu

We awoke early for a 7am start to meet our driver who would take us from Shiraz to Yazd stopping along famous sites – Persepolis, Naqsh-e Rostom, Pasargadae and through the small town of Abarqu before reaching Yazd. In total, the journey would take us over 500km.  Soon into our trip we realised our driver, Morteza Mehrparvar, was quite a comical character, which made our long car trip much more enjoyable.  He had been in the tourism industry for the past seventeen years (which he reminded us a number of times during the trip), and had many stories to tell. He was even listed in the 2000, 2004 and 2008 editions of the Lonely Planet – “page 271” he proudly said.



Similar to the sites in Shiraz, Persepolis was packed with local Iranian tourists.  We explored the sites in awe of the beautiful creations of the ancient Achaemanid Empire, during reign of Darius the Great.  It was clear that Persepolis was once a magnificent city. My favourite features were the staircases – each step consisting of a relief mimicking the ancient customs of bringing gifts to the palaces.

Persepolitan stairway, allowed visiting dignitaries to maintain a regal appearance while ascendingGate of all NationsLamassus, bull with the heads of bearded men
Pair of Lamassus, bulls with the heads of bearded menPair of Lamassus, bulls with wings and a Persian headLamassus, bull with wings and a Persian head
Persian girl taking photo with SonyaThe Gate of All Nations, Eastern sideTwo headed eagle sculptures
Throne Hall (Hundred-Columns Palace)Looking west towards the Gate of All NationsLooking west over Persepolis
Throne Hall (Hundred-Columns Palace)Apadana Palace (The Great Palace of Xerxes)Two colossal stone bulls flanking north side of Throne Hall
Colossal stone bulls flanking north side of Throne HallApadana Palace (The Great Palace of Xerxes)Looking towards the Gate of All Nations
South restoration of PersepolisLooking over Throne Hall (Hundred-Columns Palace)Double horse column capital
Tomb of King of Kings, the Faravahar symbol of ZoroastrianismTomb of King of KingsFlower carvings on the Tomb of King of Kings
Persian soldiers carved on the Tomb of King of KingsView of PersepolisTomb of King of Kings
Zoroastrianism carvings on the Tomb of King of KingsTomb of King of KingsApadana Palace and Zagros Mountains
Gate to Apadana PalaceApadana Palace (The Great Palace of Xerxes)Relief of Lion fighting a Bull
Apadana Hall, Persian and Median soldiersFighting bull (personifying the moon),and lion (personifying the Sun)Persepolitan stairway
Apadana Palace (The Great Palace of Xerxes)Tomb of King of KingsGate to Apadana Palace (The Great Palace of Xerxes)
Sonya and Travis with Apadana Palace in the backgroundRepresentatives of twenty-three subject nations of the Achaemenid Empire bearing giftsLooking towards the Zagros Mountains
Persian soldiersThrone Hall (Hundred-Columns Palace)Gate of all Nations


Naqsh-e Rostom

Next we stopped off at Naqsh-e Rostom, a site consistent of impressive rock tombs off Darius I, Darius II, Artaxerxes I and Xerxes I located on a smooth mountain face.  A number of detailed reliefs/murals depicting war, victory across the ages are also carved on the rockface surrounding the tombs.  Nearby is Kaba Zarosht, a monument that was thought to be a Zoroastrian Fire Temple but is now regarded to be a treasury of some sort.

Naqsh-e Rostam (Picture of Rostam), one of the elevated tombs (Persian crosses)The investiture Sassanid relief of Ardashir I The triumph of Shapur I Sassanid relief
Equestrian Sassanid reliefThe Kaba-ye ZartoshtView of three of the four tombs (Persian crosses)



The first thing we saw upon reaching Pasargadae was the tomb of Cyrus the Great – a high rectangular tomb.  It seemed a little unimpressive for a ruler who was so highly regarded in Persian history.  Further along was the Pasargadae site, which was much less reconstructed in comparison to Persepolis but worth the visit.

The tomb of Cyrus the GreatTravis at the tomb of Cyrus the GreatThe tomb of Cyrus the Great
The citadel of PasargadaeLooking over ancient Pasargadae from the citadelThe citadel of Pasargadae


Sassanian ruins

Morteza also took us on a slight detour to visit an old run down site which was from the Sassanian period.  It was completely deserted (unlike all the other sites we’d visited), aside from a local family who had setup a few troughs to feed a group of baby goats inside the building… Apparently they were from the nearby mountains but weren’t getting enough food.  We enjoyed a cup of hot tea here whilst admiring the nearby snow capped mountains.

The arch entrance to the Saddanian buildingMany baby goats (kids)Many baby goats (kids)
Sonya with a baby goat (kid)Many baby goats (kids)Many baby goats (kids) with the Sassanian building in the background
Many baby goats (kids) with the Sassanian building in the backgroundMany baby goats (kids) with the Sassanian building in the backgroundMany baby goats (kids) eating


Our last stop before Yazd was in Abarqu – here we visited the icehouse – a massive circular pyramid structure which once stored ice from winter’s snow for the hot summers, a 4000+ year old Cyprus tree (although Morteza suspects it is only 1000 years old) and Gombad Ali Dome built in the 11th century.

Abarqu ice houseInside Abarqu ice houseSonya at the entrance of a mud brick wall
Sarv-e Abarqu (cypress of Abarqu)Sarv-e Abarqu (cypress of Abarqu)Gonbad Ali Dome