Iran / Yazd Province
Yazd, capital of the Yazd Province in the centre of Iran, is a desert city and the centre of Zoroastrian culture in Iran. Its unique architecture, besides beautiful garden-houses, is reflected in old windcatchers and water- and ice storages that to this day keep the air and water in the houses clean, cool and fresh. Because of its climate and culture, it has one of the largest networks of 'qanats' in the world — underground water networks that carried water into desert cities from tens of kilometres away.
Dowlat-Abad House and Garden in Yazd was built in the 18th century and was once the residence of the Persian regent, Karim Khan Zand. It is a registered UNESCO garden with a small pavillion featuring exquisite stained-glass windows.
The windcatcher building above features common Zoroastrian symbols of light.
The pictures below illustrate other angles from Dowlat-Abad gardenhouse, a Zoroastrian fire temple, another gardenhouse now turned into a hotel, a building that once served as a prison for Alexander the Great, the Jame mosque of Yazd, and view over the city from above one of the mosque's towers.
The Zoroastrian 'Towers of Silence' situated just outside of Yazd, were traditionally used as burial grounds where bodies were arranged on the towers and left to decay on the ground. While the towers are not in use any more, they can be visited.
In the Desert
About 70 kilometres from Yazd, there is a mountain shrine sacred to Zoroastrians, called 'Pir-e Sabz' or 'Chak-Chak'. The legend goes that Shahrbanoo, a daughter of Yazdgerd III the King of Persia at the time of the Arab Invasion, flees into the desert and finds refuge and water inside the mountain, invisible to the eyes of Arabs that had followed her to the mountain.
THE Bazaar OF Yazd
Meybod, the second major city in the Yazd province, is another ancient desert city with many points of architectural interest from various periods, including Narin Castle which is a pre-Islamic building overlooking the city.