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.

Yazd, Iran

Yazd is a city located roughly in the centre of Iran, surrounded by mostly deserts, producing hot dry summers. Due to this hot climate, Yadz is made up of distinctly Persian architecture, which includes Qanats (underground water systems),  windcatchers (protruding vents from buildings to catch and circulate air), Yakhchals (ancient evaporative coolers) and Adobe (the building material which included straw providing insulation).

We stayed at the centre of Yazd’s Old City, so everything was walking distance. Some of the highlights and experiences included;

Amir Chakhmaq square – featuring a beautiful Takieh (used during the commemoration ceremonies of the death of Imam Hussein) a three tiered facade with double minarets, best experienced at sunset.

Nakhl – usually at the site of the Takieh and used in conjunction with the commemoration ceremonies, the large wooden structure is carried by men on the first day of the ceremony.

Jameh Mosque – Yazd’s Congregational Mosque (Grand Mosque), amazing blue mosaics and has the highest minarets in Iran,  worth a visit at night when the minarets are alight.

Bogheh-ye Sayyed Roknaddin – a building housing the tomb of Sayyed Roknaddin Mohammed Qazi, a beautiful blue on beige mosaic dome, again must be seen at night when alight with blue.

Towers of Silence (Dakhma) – a Zoroastrian site where the dead were placed to allow vultures to eat the flesh, this prevented the decomposing body to pollute the environment.

Persian architecture – Yazd really does look like what one would imagine a Persian city to look like, the sandy coloured mud-brick walls, narrow alleys and bazaars, flat rooftops and abundant use of natural light.

Haj Khalifeh Ali Rahbar and Partners  (a Yazd sweet shop) – recommended by Morteza as we passed it while driving into Yazd from Shiraz, we purchased an assortment box for 140,000 Riyals ($7.50 USD). I have never tasted anything more extraordinary, each sweet had a distinctly different use of spices and flavours and a different texture, they were amazing.

Yazd clock towerHzyrh Mosque (Mohammadi Shrine)One of the halls inside the Hzyrh Mosque
One of the many bazaar alleysPersian metal-working, making a copper dishPale green door
One of the outer courtyard halls of the Jameh MosqueBlue honeycomb tiles, confused insects and kept them away from the prayersWooden door displaying the two different knockers used depending on gender
One of the many alleys in the old cityA Persian windcatcher (badgir)Machine used for carpet weaving
Water reservoir (Ab-anbar) with windcatchers used to cool the waterOne of the many alleys in the old cityLooking over Yazd old city, Jameh Mosque minarets stick out
Looking over Yazd old city, windcatchers protrudingTravis and Sonya with a large wooden doorOne of the two towers of Silence (Dakhma)
One of the two towers of Silence (Dakhma) Amir Chakhmaq Amir Chakhmaq square
Jameh Mosque at nightDome of Bogheh-ye Sayyed Roknaddin at nightSweets from Haj Khalifeh Ali Rahbar and Partners sweet shop

Yazd Walking Tour

  1. Amir Chakhmaq Complex
  2. Amir Chakhmaq Mosque
  3. Yazd Water Museum
  4. Hazireh Mosque
  5. Bogheh-ye Sayyed Roknaddin
  6. Orient Hotel
  7. Jameh Mosque
  8. water reservoir
  9. Heidarzadeh Coin Museum
  10. Khan-e Lari
  11. Alexander’s Prison
  12. Tomb of the 12 Imams
  13. tourist information office
  14. Hosseinieh
  15. takieh