November 2021 - Be On The Road | Live your Travel Dream!
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Friday, November 12, 2021

Maybod: Iran’s Ancient Desert City on UNESCO’s Radar

A brown Maybod view

UNESCO calls it ‘A remarkable example of viability and transmission of human being’s collective thoughts from different generations to the present one’. I am talking about the historical desert city of Maybod in the Yazd province of Iran. This ancient city that goes back to the pre-Islamic era is part of the UNESCO World Heritage site tentative list. It is known for its traditional architecture that can be seen through its ancient roads, old castles and other remnants of the historical city.

Architecture housing underground water system at Maybod

Maybod was once the capital of Iran during the Mozaffarid period and is home to Narin castle, one of the oldest castles in Iran dating back to the Sassanid era. This mud-brick fort castle standing 130 feet high from its base incorporates mud bricks of the Medes, Archaemenid and Sassanid periods. Although built some 6000 years ago, it seems to have some kind of a plumbing system built into its massive walls. One can see more examples of such water works through other buildings housing underground water systems, which is a rarity in the middle of the desert in that day and time. The Narin castle is also a great place to catch a good view of the Maybod cityscape including its brown buildings. Other noteworthy historical buildings in Maybod are Chapar khaneh, Karavansaraye Abbasi and pigeon house.

Maybod is an offbeat gem on Iran’s rich archaeological trail that deserves a place in your Iran holiday itinerary. It’s desert landscape, beautiful rustic atmosphere and rich history make for a fascinating visit. I definitely recommend a visit to Maybod even if it is just a day trip from Yazd.

6000 year old Maybod Castle, Iran

How to reach there:

The nearest international airport is Shiraz, about 500 kms or 6 hours away, but the airport with the better connectivity would be Tehran international airport at 542 kms or 5 hours 45 minutes away.

The nearest large city would be Yazd, about 55 kms away and Isfahan is a 3 hour drive away.

Road travel is the best option to commute between the different cities in Iran as the road connectivity is excellent and the transportation is fast. Buses between Isfahan and Yazd and Tehran and Yazd are available at periodic intervals. Hitchhiking is common and if you have the money, you can always hire a cab or personal vehicle to explore on your own.

Train travel is a possible option, but it is very slow, unpredictable and can be avoided.

Pigeon house at Meybod, Iran

Where to stay:

If you prefer the authentic desert experience and wish to stay close to the action, there are home stays, traditional hotels and budget guest houses in Maybod.

If you prefer some creature comforts and wish for a city environment, head to Yazd.

For something more luxurious, you can try the luxurious properties at Isfahan.

Maybod city as seen from the Maybod Castle

Where to eat:

For simple home cooked meals, try your places of stay at Maybod and other basic restaurants.

For something more exotic and for a sweet tooth craving, head to Yazd.

The desert city of Maybod, Iran

Other nearby tourist attractions:

1) Yazd: Of wind towers, zoroastrianism and a sweet tooth

2) Na’in: Gateway to the Iranian Desert

3) Verzaneh: Iran’s largest sand desert and home to some of the largest sand dunes in the world

4) Isfahan: Iran’s iconic cultural hub and half the world

5) Shiraz: One of the oldest cities of ancient Persia

6) Persepolis: Jewel of Persia

7) Kashan: A desert city known for its rich Persian history, amazing creativity and fabulous architecture

8) Kharanaq: Iran’s ancient, crumbling, abandoned and photogenic mud brick village

9) Abyaneh: Where time stands still in Iran

10) Maranjab Salt Desert: A scenic pit stop on the the ancient silk road

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Thursday, November 04, 2021

A guide to some of Russia’s best museums

Hermitage Museum, St Petersburg, Russia

If you are traveling to Russia, one thing you will notice is the abundance of museums. Major cities like St. Petersburg and Moscow are full of museums, both big and small.

And to visit every museum in the city would take up your entire trip. However, we’ve got it covered for you! In this article, we have listed some of the museums you need to visit while in Russia. Note that you should have a proper Russian travel visa to tour across the country.

Here are some of the museums that you should pay a visit while in Russia:

1.
The Hermitage Museum

The Hermitage is a renowned museum located in St. Petersburg, Russia. If you are into art and culture, this is a museum you shouldn't miss out on. You will be amazed by the exhibitions that take you back to imperial Russia. The place is magnificent and is often considered the largest museum for art.

The museum has a vast collection varying from prehistoric art to Russian art. It's worth every minute, and you probably get to brush up on your history knowledge. Also, the entry fee is free for students and children under eighteen years. Note that the museum is closed on Monday.

2.
Memorial Museum of cosmonautics

Monument to the Conquerors of Space, Moscow

Another museum that you should visit while in Russia is the Memorial Museum of cosmonautics. It is found in Moscow, the capital of Russia. If you are intrigued by space exploration, you need to visit this museum. In addition, you will learn about astronomy, space exploration and flight history.

Furthermore, it is also known for its rich collection and brilliant architecture. A visit to this museum helps you get insight into Soviet space exploration and how it has gained dominance. The museum is closed on Monday but is open the rest of the week.

3.
The Tretyakov Gallery

Vasily Surikov - The Morning of the Streltsky Execution - Tretyakov Gallery

Another famous museum that you should visit is Tretyakov Gallery in Moscow. It is one of the important art museums in Russia. If you are in the capital, this is a gallery worth visiting. You will see exhibitions that dated many centuries ago of Europe and Russia.

The gallery helps you to get a peek into the history of Russia and its evolution. A trip to this gallery will leave you amazed as it is home to famous paintings by prominent artists of Russia. It is like a national treasure for the fine arts. The ticket fee to visit this gallery is free for students and children.

4.
The State Russian Museum

Karl Brullov - Last Day of Pompeii - The State Russian Museum, Moscow

The State Russian Museum is a prominent museum that showcases the works of Russian artists. It is found in St. Petersburg at Grand Duke Michael's residence. Furthermore, you get to delve into the history of Russian arts and its evolution.

It is a museum that showcases the art and artists of Russia. Also, over 38,000 artworks date back from the 10th century till to this day. If you are curious about Russian arts and their evolution, this is a place you should visit. Note that the museum is closed on Thursday and free entry for children.

5.
Mosfilm Museum

If you love cinema and are intrigued about Russian film history, then you should visit Mosfilm Museum. It is found in Moscow, and the place is a visual treat. The museum has diverse collections, from costumes to cars used in popular films. There are also stage sets of well-known films such as Anna Karenina and war and peace.

Note that it's a guided tour, and it can be in groups or individuals. In addition, you need to make an appointment in advance. The tour will take about 1.5 hours, and it's open daily.

Note: The photographs in this article are courtesy of wikipedia.org and have been borrowed under the creative commons license. Each photograph has been linked to its host page on wikipedia.org.

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