Maybod: Iran’s Ancient Desert City on UNESCO’s Radar - Be On The Road | Live your Travel Dream!

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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