Jan 2020: Please note that following Foreign Commonwealth Office advice against travel to Iran, we are not taking bookings on this adventure, until further notice.

8 nights based on twin sharing

8 Breakfasts, 8 Lunches,      8 Dinners

Includes all transfers
and guides

Beginner
max. 4 hours in a day

Fri 11th – Sat 19th
October 2019

£1,599

  • Travel in rarely-visited mountain regions
  • Explore mysterious & historic ancient castles
  • Explore the largest covered bazaar in the world
  • Bathe in natural hot springs

On this unique tour we will walk in the footsteps of history amidst some of the most beautiful remote mountain scenery on earth, which for centuries been the stronghold of rebels, heroes and… assassins. We will hike up to the ruins of these once proud castles, meeting local people, with the tour concluding in the city of Tabriz, where we will wander through the largest covered bazaar in the world, to see what gems from the past still survive there also. 

Optional extras: Single accommodation 

Not Included: Flights, visas, insurance (mandatory), airport taxes, tips, beverages, souvenirs

Full Itinerary for Assassins’ Castles Adventure

Day 1: Fly into Tehran, tour of palaces, museum, bazaar

We will take a tour of the capital including its breath-taking palaces such as the Ahmad Shahi Pavilion situated in the great wooded Niavaran complex in the north of the city, home to the last Shah of Iran Mohammad Reza Pahlavi. We will also visit the Golestan Palace and other royal buildings in the gardens of royal Qajar complex of the preceding dynasty before heading to the Grand Bazaar!

Day 2: Drive & hike to Alamut Castle, night in Qazvin

Alamut is without doubt the most famous of all the assassin’s castles and is synonymous with Hassan Sabbāh who, in the late 11th Century, seized the fortress and there founded his group of Shia Ismaili fedayeen. These were known as the Hashshashin or “Assassins” because of the hashish he made them smoke in his legendary garden before sending them off to murder members of the Sunni Seljuq ruling class…

Day 3: Drive & hike to Roodkhan Castle, night in Masule

Rudkhan Castle is the most mysterious of all Persia’s castles because although it is one of the best preserved, its history has been lost to the mists of time. Perched atop two unbelievably beautiful forested mountain peaks, in a geographical region which has sat in the badlands throughout history between the rise and fall of many warring empires – who built and lived here may never be known, but its magic remains undeniable.

Day 4: Drive to Ardabil, take spa in natural hot springs of Sareyn

After what is the longest drive of the trip we will arrive in Ardabil, renowned for producing some of the best carpets in all of Persia. Today and/or tomorrow we can visit neighbouring Sareyn to take a relaxing dip in the famous nine hot spa springs, warmed by the inactive volcano of Sabalan Mountain. The waters containing sulphur particles that are good for bone and joint pains.

Day 5: Hike in Sabalan Mountains, return to Ardabil

At 4811m, Mt. Sabalan is the third highest mountain in Iran after Damavand and Alam-Kuh with a permanent crater lake formed at its summit. We will go hiking around its slopes that abound in natural mineral water springs. The nomadic people of the area live in small villages comprised of their round yurt tents – a nice touch in an absolutely stunning landscape.

Day 6: Drive & hike to Babak Castle, visit Kaleybar village, night in Anza

Babak Castle, also known as the Immortal Castle, stands at 2600m and is surrounded by 600m gorges: casting an awe-inspiring view across the surrounding mountain plains. The castle is named after Bābak Khorramdin, famous warlord and leader of the Khurramites, who fought and resisted the Arab armies of the Abbassid Islamic caliphate until 839AD.

Day 7: Drive & hike to St. Stephanos Armenian Monastery, Jolfa, night in Tabriz

St. Stepanos Monastery is an Armenian monastery built in the 9th Century and rebuilt in the Safavid era after several earthquakes damaged it. St. Bartholomew first founded a church on the site around 62AD, with the first monastery built in the 7th Century, although this was later damaged during the wars between the Seljuks and the Byzantine Empire in the 11th and 12th Centuries. Here we will literally be walking through ancient history.

Day 8: Tour of Tabriz Bazaar & Blue Mosque, fly to Tehran in evening

Tabriz contains many historical monuments, representing Iran’s architectural transition throughout its deep history. Among these is the Grand Bazaar of Tabriz, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the largest covered bazaar in the world. We will take a tour of both the city and the bazaar to see what treasures they hold before an evening flight back to the capital for our last group dinner together in the city.

Day 9: Fly out of Tehran

 

When the Arabs invaded the Aryan peoples of Persia in the 7th Century, the mountain fortresses were some of the last strongholds of the Zoroastrian faith against the Muslim invaders from Saudi Arabia. In the 12th Century, a new rebel sect of Islam called the Ismailis was brought to the region by Hassan-i Sabbah – the feared leader of the dreaded Assassins!

The word ‘Assassin’, first heard by the Crusaders, is a corruption of ‘Hashshashin’; the infamous garden at Alamut Castle where Hassan would feed his followers hashish to bend their minds to his will, before sending them to murder Arab dignitaries, including the then Prime Minister of Persia. This tour takes us through this beautiful and remote region; giving us the opportunity to bathe in natural hot springs, take in the stunning views and sample the delicious local food for which this part of the country is famous. 

Dates not fit? Contact us for a bespoke adventure:

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Flight Information:

International and national flights are not included in the adventure price. Clients will need to purchase one national flight for this adventure; Tabriz to Tehran.

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