Iran is becoming a tourist hotspot this year, with tour operators reporting significant increases in tourists booking trips to the Middle Eastern country.
Perhaps that’s because of a slight thaw in its relationships with the West — or simply because of the allure of exploring a little-known tourist destination with few other tourists.
Americans are allowed to visit Iran — in fact, Iran is actively encouraging visits from American tourists — but Americans who do visit must travel with an official tour guide and get their itinerary approved by the
Iranian Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) in order to get a visa. Travel within Iran is considered safe if you tour responsibly, but the U.S. Department of State has issued a travel warning to Iran.
From ancient cities with breathtaking mosques to gorgeous natural landscapes, here are some of Iran’s most beautiful, and untouched, tourist attractions.
Isfahan, located in the center of the country, is perhaps Iran's most touristy city. The historic city is famous for its Islamic architecture, covered bridges, palaces, and mosques.
It's home to several major tourist sites, like Imam Square (Naqsh-e Jahan Square), one of the largest -- and most beautiful -- city squares in the world. It's a UNESCO World Heritage Site that boasts gorgeous Iranian and Islamic architecture.
Persepolis was the capital of the Achaemenid Empire, dating back to around 515 BC. The ancient city was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1979.
Shiraz, known as the city of love and Persian poetry, is another city tourists love to visit. It's home to the historic Eram Garden (Garden of Paradise).
Several famous Persian poets are buried in Shiraz in elaborate tombs. This is the mausoleum of Saadi, a 13th-century poet.
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