Kashan, a town that is known by only a few travelers, but seen by many of the ones that visit Iran. Whilst Kashan, a desert town “close” in its proximity to Tehran, is not on everyone’s itinerary, many do end up there to explore the traditional houses; or perhaps even sleep a night in the desert. Some call it overrated, some call it a must see, in the end that is for you to decide. But now you must be wondering… why should you actually go? Read below some of my favorite things to do in and around Kashan!
Where is Kashan?
Kashan is a small town located south of the capital Tehran. While Kashan is a relatively small city, it is still home to some beautiful sights, and should definitely be on your Iran itinerary. The city can easily be reached by bus from the capital, or from the city of Isfahan. To give you a bit of a better idea of where Kashan is located, check out the map below!
Things to do in Kashan
While small, Kashan is worth to stay a night or two. Wander around the small alleys, admire the views over the mountain or just simply enjoy the delicious Persian cuisine that Kashan has to offer. While not all of these activities are in Kashan, they are well worth your time, so keep on reading and find the nine best things to do in Kashan!
1. Kashan’s Traditional Houses
Kashan’s traditional houses is perhaps one of the most apparent reasons Kashan gained fame for tourist and travelers. During the 19th century many beautiful and large houses were built within the city. While many of these houses have been reused and divided to create smaller houses there are a couple of traditional houses that are well preserved they are now one of the main attractions of the town, and something that is well worth your time if you love admiring the architecture and craftsmanship from that time. There are several traditional houses in Kashan which each having something unique to offer.
- Abbasi House – the Abbasi house has the most beautiful stained glass windows of them all. Visiting the Abbasi House on a sunny day will mean you get to witness a kaleidoscope of colours from the sunrays shining through the windows. The entry fee to the Abbasi House (in Feb ’17) was 150,000 Rial but can be bought in a combi ticket together for 350,000 Rial.
- Tabatabaei House – Famous for the stunning stone reliefs, but also this house is known for the stained glass windows. Be sure to visit around the mid afternoon so you can fully witness the beauty of the sun shining through the stained glass windows. The entry fee to the Tabatabei House (in Feb ’17) was 150,000 Rial but can be bought in a combi ticket together for 350,000 Rial.
- Borujerdi House – Paintings on the wall and ceilings, a stunning elaborate design and designed by the same architect as the Tabatabei House. Well worth a visit should you still have time left in your Kashan itinerary.
- Ameriha House – While originally built for the governor of Kashan in the 18th century, the Ameriha House has now been transformed from a traditional house into a hotel. It is built on a massive piece of property (9000 square meters) and is home to seven courtyards and two bathhouses!
2. The Agha Bozorg Mosque in Kashan
Located in the center of the city is the stunning Agha Bozorg Mosque. Built in the 18th century the Agha Bozorg Mosque is a symmetric architectural masterpiece. The mosque is praised as one of the greatest mosques of the 18th century, a place that is well worth the visit. Visiting the Agha Bozorg mosque does not require any dress code or entry fee (in Feb ’17). Simply walk through the building and admire the sunken courtyard. Golden hour in the afternoons or early mornings will allow for the best photos.
3. Kashan’s Sultan Amir Ahmad Bathhouse
If this is one of your first cities to visit in Iran it perhaps is also one of your first visits to a traditional bath house or hammam. The interior is split into the dressing hall and the bathing hall. The walls and ceilings are covered with turquoise and gold tiling and paintings. And if the interior alone isn’t enough, then a visit to the rooftop alone is worth your money. Admire the many small domes that partially consist of glass to provide lighting to the bathhouse inside, or simply just enjoy the view over the mountains and the city. If you are visiting the traditional houses, be sure to buy the combi ticket for 350,000 Rial, as this will also allow you access to the Sultan Amir Ahmad Bathhouse. The entry fee without the combi ticket is 150,000 Rial.
4. Kashan’s Fin Garden
Kashan’s iconic garden, the Fin Garden. The Fin Garden is one of the most famous sights of Kashan, and one of the most well known historical Persian Gardens of Iran. The Fin Garden has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2012 and is well visited by both foreign as well as local tourists. While the garden is absolutely beautiful, it does come with a steep price ticket. To enter the garden you will have to pay an entry fee of 200,000 Rial (Feb ’17) which equals €5,-. While it sounds reasonable and the price won’t break the bank, visiting the traditional houses and the surroundings of Kashan it might add up, raising the cost of your Iran backpack adventure.
5. Visit the Holy Shrine in Aran va Bidgol
Aran va Bidgol is a village located roughly 15km out of Kashan and can easily reached by taxi (return is roughly 200,000 Rial or €5,-). While the town might not have much to offer, the holy shrine is definitely worth a visit! Entrance to the holy shrine is free, however, do note that you are expected to dress appropriately, which means a chador for the ladies. If you don’t have one with you be sure to pick one up at the entrance. Moreover, don’t forget that men and women enter the mosque on different sides; here men enter on the left side whilst women enter on the right side of the mosque.
6. Wander around Kashan’s city and Bazaar
While visiting the traditional houses, the Agha Bozorg Mosque and the bath house are pretty amazing, there is no such thing as just simply wandering around the city of Kashan itself. The center consists of many small alleys where one could simply get lost. Explore, wander, get lost and discover the corners of Kashan. Be sure to make a stop at Kashan’s Bazaar, as the central dome of the bazaar is simply stunning. With Kashan being a smaller city the bazaar won’t be half as hectic or large as the bazaars of Tehran or Esfahan, nonetheless still well worth a visit!
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7. .Unique Viewpoint over the city of Kashan
Still have a bit of energy left after admiring all the stunning architecture? Consider climbing a wall that surrounds green farmer fields, located behind the Emamzadeh Abu Lolo shrine (enter the right door next to the shrine, walk into the alley and turn right). While it might be a bit of a hassle to actually find a spot to climb the wall, the view is definitely unique, and fairly unexplored by backpackers and travelers.
8. Visit Abyaneh
If you are coming from Tehran, Esfahan seems to be the most logical next stop. However, you might want to consider doing this via a detour. There are many agencies in the city offering these kind of trips; considering the amount of stops you should not pay more than 40$ per car. Do note that entrance fees to sights are not included. While the variety of stops can be large, one of the most noteworthy stops is the mountain village of Abyaneh, even if you don’t like the village, the road to the village is just magical! Other optional stops include salt lakes, a caravanserai, old castles and mosques.
9. Go on a Desert Tour in Kashan
Last, but definitely not least, go on a desert tour. If there is one thing nature lovers will love about Iran, then it is the abundance of deserts. However, the deserts vary largely from city to city, with the desert close to Kashan being the Maranjab desert. From the town of Kashan you can easily arrange tours for either a day trip, or an overnight trip into the desert. Admire the stunning sand dunes and camels, perhaps even stop at a caravanserai or sleep here if you decide to spent the night in the desert. Prices range from roughly 25$ for a day trip (per car) to 150$ (per person) for an overnight trip! It is best to walk around and get some ideas of the prices from different tour agencies before you book something.
And there you have it, the 9 best things to do in Kashan! Have we left anything out? Be sure to tell us in the comments down below. Oh, and don’t forget to pin it…