Zanjan Iran is a city on the silk route between Tehran and Tabriz.  Here are a few things to do in Zanjan:

  • Zanjun Wash House
  • Zanjun Bazaar
  • Soltaniyeh Dome – UNESCO Site
  • Caravanserai Restaurant
  • Street Art
  • Classic Cars
  • Rainbow Mountains

Hotels are excellent value in Zanjun Iran, good luck finding a deal.

Zanjan Iran Wash House

Rakhtshooy Khaneh Edifice - Zanjan Iran

Before you get excited about photographing women in colorful dresses washing clothes – these are mannequins!  None the less, it still makes a lovely photo.  However, the wash house was originally built for the local women to come and clean clothes.

Zanjan Bazaar

Zanjan Bazaar

When I visited the UNESCO Tabriz Bazaar it was extremely busy.  In contrast, I arrived late afternoon to the Zanjan Bazaar and it was extremely peaceful.  It didn’t have the bustling feel of Tabriz but consequently, it was a more pleasant shopping experience.  As you stroll around the bazaar be sure to look up and admire the impressive architecture.  Finally, Zanjan Iran doesn’t receive many tourists therefore expect several ‘Welcome to Iran’ calls as you explore.

Soltaniyeh Dome – UNESCO Site

Soltaniyeh Dome - UNESCO Site

Firstly, Soltaniyeh Dome is the third largest dome in the world after Florence Cathedral and the Hague Sofia in Istanbul.  For this reason alone, you must make the effort to visit.  But what is Soltaniyeh Dome and when was it built?  During the 14th century, the city of Soltaniyeh used to be the capital of Persia’s Ilkhanid Dynasty which was part of the Mongol Empire.  During this period the Soltaniyeh Dome was built as a mausoleum to Oljaytu.  Now, who was Oljaytu?  He was in fact a Sultan during this period.  In conclusion, this is a rare memorial from the Mongol Empire.

Soltaniyeh Dome Interior

Soltaniyeh Dome inside

Of course, after traveling all the way to Soltaniyeh Dome, you must go inside.  The interior is in fact more impressive and better preserved than the exterior.  In addition, it’s undergoing restorations so hopefully the interior dome is visible when you visit.  Photographers will be in their element with all the rare and detailed artwork on display.

Art in Soltaniyeh Dome

Art in Soltaniyeh Dome

Once inside, you’re free to explore everywhere from the underground to the upper floors and balconies.  Several rare examples of art from this period is on display.

Soltaniyeh Dome Balcony

Soltaniyeh Dome Balcony and Viewpoint

When you visit the balcony it offers stunning panoramic views but these are not what will catch your attention.  Look up to see both intricate and symmetrical art on the bricks.

Eat in a Caravanserai Restaurant in Zanjan Iran

Eat in a Caravanserai Restaurant in Iran

A caravanserai was an inn which you would find on the ancient silk route.  Today, many have become markets, restaurants, hotels and several are ruins.  Zanjan Iran is home to a famous caravanserai restaurant.  What could be a more authentic Iranian experience than eating in an ancient caravanserai on the silk route.  How about sitting on a Persian rug whilst you enjoy your meal!  Not only can you enjoy some delicious Iranian food but you’re also free to explore this historic caravanserai.  Read about my stay in a Caravanserai near Yazd.

Iranian Kebab

Kebab in Iran

Kebabs were available in not only different types of meat but also different qualities of meat.  For this reason, I ordered what turned out to be a good quality steak kebab.  As a matter of fact, this was one of the best kebabs I had in Iran.

Street Art in Zanjan Iran

Street art in Zanjan Iran

As you walk the streets of Zanjan keep your eyes open for rare street art.  A fence designed as colorful crayons caught my eye and someone had conveniently parked their classic motorcycle in front of it.

Classic Cars

Classic Cars in Iran

As you discover Zanjan Iran you mustn’t overlook the classic cars.  I already mentioned the classic blue trucks on a visit to Tabriz.  Another classic car you must look out for is the Paykan.  As a matter of fact I even took a Paykan taxi which was one of my most memorable taxi rides.

Trip to the Rainbow Mountains

Soltaniyeh Dome Islamic Art

Many visitors to Iran don’t know about the Rainbow mountain region.  As a matter of fact, you’ll see these on the highway between Tabriz and Zanjan.  However, if you wish to explore and photograph the area in more detail you should hire a taxi to take you out there.

How to Travel from Zanjan to Tehran

Bus from Zanjan to Tehran

There are regular buses from Zanjan to Tehran and the journey takes around 5 hours.  What are the Iranian buses like?  They feature single as well as double seats.  As you would imagine, women sit on the single seats.  You can also choose a single seat for the journey.  In addition, all passengers receive a free meal and drink.  There are also airplane style entertainment systems which show movies and TV in Persian.  Enjoy the journey to Tehran.

Things to do in Tehran