Walking through the deserted streets of the Old City, the oldest part of Yazd, easily see the badgir, which are the mark of the city highlighting the brown uniform houses. The badgir built in adobe are part of an effective ventilation system, which allows cool down the hot outside air, caring it into the interior of the houses; these towers as also the traditional construction of the houses, with thick brick walls, covered by a clay plaster, prevent the houses of getting to worn with this hot and dry desert climate.
The clay color of the walls characterise the Old City, as well as the labyrinthine network of narrow streets that provide shade to those who venture to walk during the hours of greatest heat.
Wandering on the streets of the Old City, where the center is a mosque in blue tones whose two towers serve as a point of orientation, the Masjed-e Jameh (Jameh Mosque) we invariably arrive to the modern and wide avenues characterise the city of Yazd. In the southwestern part of the Old City is the bazaar, a succession of buildings along covered streets but that does not seem very interesting, not the architectural point of view or of marketed products.
But in addition to the mosques, the Old City and Zoroastrianism, the city of Yazd is also famous for its sweets, which can be found, especially at the shops around the the Amir Chakhmaq Square. The most famous shop, according to the number of people that attracts, is the Haj Khalifeh Ali Rahbarb, located on the corner of Imam Khomeinei Square with Amir Chakhmaq Square, and is only identified in Farsi characters.
Inside, behind a long counter a dozen employees in large bustle serve customers, following a complex but effective system, where you must first write down on paper what you want to buy, delivering the order at the counter, who after weigh returns a ticket, that must be given to the cashier to pay; with the receipt you can finally receive the mysterious sweet… mysterious, because you can’t buy a single unit to try, being sold only in boxes, with the choice based on specimens exposed in shop windows, with the description and the ingredients.
The options are many, dominating the almonds, pistachios, cardamom and sugar … lots of sugar. The choice was to baklava, whose Iranian version has little to do with the Turkish counterpart, but also good.
Also very popular is the halva, a paste made of flour, oil or butter, sugar or honey; mixture which is then brought to the boil to cook. One can find different versions with pistachio, saffron, rose-water, varying in terms of consistency and flavor.
In Yazd I found the halva with tahini (sesame paste), results in a creamy delight.
Yazd is a city that attracts many tourists and is easy to find groups walking through the Old City streets or visiting the mosques. As such is the wide accommodation offer even for backpackers style, the Silk Road Grup offer three options, all with dormitory and double rooms. The Silk Road Hotel and Orient Hotel are both conveniently located near the Masjed-e Jameh, the Ols City and the bazaar, in a peaceful and quiet area.
Address: Masjed-e Jameh street, Sith Alley (are opposite each other on either side of the street)
Silk Road Hotel: 09 13151 6361
Orient Hotel: 09 37755 6264
Email: [email protected]
Dorms for 330,000 rials, including breakfast. (booking is recommended as similar to Silkroad hotel this place is listed in guide books). There are 3 different kinds dorm rooms, quiet different form each other, so is wise to have a look before you decide were to stay.
The staff speaks English fluently and was the friendliest I met in Iran.
The other alternative is the Oasis Hotel, also managed by the Silk Road Group:
Address: Seyyed Roknoddin Alley
Phone: 09 13358 4172
The choise was the Orient Hotel, which offers reasonable bedrooms, nice bathrooms, and large living space around a courtyard dominated by a tank, and a roof top were is located the restaurant. The breakfast is delicious, with small variations each day, but always with bread, eggs, tomato, cucumber, cheese, yogurt (homemade), fruits and delicious dates. The staff and extremely friendly and helpful, providing all kinds of information like move in the city and reach the places of tourist interest without resorting to organized tours. I recommend.
Where to eat:
The city is big, dispersed with wide and long avenues that makes difficult to find a specific location with a concentration of restaurants.
One option found was the restaurant Silk Road Hotel and the Orient Hotel, which serves local food, with vegetarian variations and with prices around 120,000 rials.
In terms of fast food, the falafel of the restaurant identify by the sign “Arabic Food” in Amir Chakhmaq Square (on the left who are facing the Amir Chakhmaq Mosque) was quiet good, where for 35,000 rials you can fill a baguette with falafels and a wide options of salads.
As in Iran exchange euros or dollars in banks is an unattractive solution being charged commission, the best option are the exchange shops, which generally have no commission and offer a better rate. In Imam Khomenei Street, near the Masjed-e Jameh street, (10 minutes from the Silk Road and the Orient Hotel) in front of the post office.
Near the Masjed-e Jameh Street, a small, discreet door on the right side of who is going to the Orient Hotel, is a travel agency focused on selling bus and train tickets with an excellent and friendly service.
Also in Masjed-e Jameh Street, very close to the Silk Road and the Orient Hotel is ITTA travel agency, where friendly employees do everything possible to make reservations for plane tickets, train or bus, as well as sold organized tours to visit the main attractions of the city or make trips bound for Shiraz and Esfahan, stopping in major places of tourist interest.
A bit further away is another agency for those wishing to purchase tickets to pair ferry Bandar Abbas-Dubai:
Yazd Seyr Travel Agency
Address: Motahari Street (opp Nik-Poor Clinic)
The main Bus Terminal Yazd, Imam Hussein, is more than 5 km away form the Old CIty, being necessary to use taxi. The taxi costs about 100,000 rials depending on the bargaining power. Shared-taxis can be found outside the terminal and cost about 50,000 rials; to get the better price sometimes you must wait until the taxis is full, which means 4 passengers total, but sometimes they star the ride with just a two or three and them pick more passengers on the way.
There is another local bus terminal, next to Mehrab Square, designed for urban service and serving the suburbs settlements around: here buses depart bound for Fahraj or Dakhme (Towers of Silence).