Yazd Province, one of the 31 provinces of Iran, is in the center of the country, placed in Region 5 (2014). According to the most recent divisions of the country, this province has an area of 76,469 km², dividing into ten counties:Abar Kuh, Ardakan, Bafq, Behabad, Khatam, Mehriz, Meybod, Ashkezar, Taft, and Yazd. According to the 1996 census, this province had a population of about 750,769; 75.1% out of which, were urban residents and the 24.9% remainder were villagers.
The city of Yazd is the economic and administrative capital of the province and therefore most heavily populated.
Yazd province with the area of 129,285 km2, is situated at an oasis where Dasht-e Kavir and Dasht-e Lut deserts meet. Because of its location, in a valley between Shir Kuh, the tallest mountain in the region (4,075 m height) and Kharaneq, this city itself is called “the bride of the Kavir/ Desert Bride”.
Considered as the driest major city in Iran, it has a hot desert climate with a yearly precipitation amount of 49 millimeters (1.9 in) and the summer temperatures of above 40 °C (104 °F) in blazing sunshine with no humidity. Even at nights of summers, the temperature are rather uncomfortable. In the winter, the days remain mild and sunny, but in the morning the thin air and low cloudiness cause a cold temperature that can sometimes fall well below 0 °C (32 °F).
As one of Iran’s economic poles, Yazd has expanded its industrial fields since the 1980s. With at least three main industrial areas, each containing different factories, Yazd has become one of the most technologically advanced cities of Iran. World’s known center for its quality of silk, textile, carpets, gold works and confectionery, Yazd today is also considered as a great producer of ceramics and construction materials. A significant portion of the population is also employed in other industries including agriculture, dairy, metal works, and machine manufacturing. There are a number of companies involved in the growing information technology industry too; mainly manufacturing primary materials such as cables and connectors: as, currently Yazd is the home of the largest manufacturer of fiber optics in Iran.
Famous as “the City of Windcatchers”, since 2017, Yazd has been UNESCO Listed World Heritage Site; through which, in addition to many fabulous sites, the ultimate data about Zoroastrian tradition can be explored and gathered. Yazd most famous attractions, incomparable with nowhere else, are:
• Masjid-e Jame/ Friday Mosque, dating back to the fourteenth century, is well worth a visit. It is an example of the finest Persian mosaics and excellent architecture, and also minarets that are the highest ones of the country. For sure, these minarets are admirable specially at night, when they are lit up.
• Amir Chakhmakh complex, a prominent structure in Yazd, noted for its symmetrical sunken alcoves, it is a mosque located on a square of the same name. This structure contains a caravanserai, a tekyeh, a bathhouse, a cold water well, and a confectionery. At night, the building is lit up after sun set with orange lighting in the arched alcoves which gives it a spectacle view.
• Atash Kadeh, the Zoroastrian fire temple, encompassing a fire on the inside, supposedly burning since 470 AD. It is considered a holy Zoroastrian temple which is home to Atash-e Bahram (Victorious Fire).
• Tower of silence (Zoroastrian’s Dakhmeh), a misleading name; as it consists of huge circular walls on top of two hills; to which, the dead were taken to be eaten by the vultures, so that be cleansed (Zoroastrian belief). The modern Zoroastrian cemetery is just at this same place.
• Water Museum, a very interesting small museum, providing all the visitors with lots of interesting information about the Canats (water distribution system).
• Wind Tower/ Wind Catcher, one of traditional Iranian architectural element to create natural ventilation in buildings; coming in various designs: unidirectional, bidirectional, and multidirectional. Though these structures are valuable tourism attractions of Iran, yet unfortunately in recent years they are used as dining salons, café, museum and theater.
• Kharanaq, an abandoned village in Kharanaq District, Ardakan County of Yazd and a must visit place as one of the last remaining mud cities of Iran. In this same spot, also Chak Chak/ Pir-e Sabz village is situated; in which the temple of Chak Chak is perched beneath a cliff, forming one of the holy Zoroastrian mountain temples in Iran; wherein the avid Zoroastrians gather on special occasions to observe their rituals. Each year from June 14–18 some thousands of Zoroastrians from Iran, India and other countries come to the fire temple at Pir-e Sabz, to be part of the rituals crowd. According to a tradition, from the moment the temple comes to their sight on, pilgrims are to stop riding and complete the last section of their journey on foot.
• Khan-e-Lari, a historical site with a 1,700-meter ground area and a foundation of about 1200 square meters, considered as one of the largest historical houses; the building of which, consists of six houses with a desert architecture. While exploring the beauties and mysteries of the house, your imagination automatically starts to put you on the place of one of the family members once lived in it; just this same point makes this spot worth visiting.
• Alexanders prison, which was neither built by Alexander the Great, nor was to be used as a priso. It is a 15th-century domed school which is quite an interesting site with a current cafe in the ‘prison room’.
• Dowlat Abad Gardens, with a building and a beautiful high wind catcher, it was built on 1960s. In fact, as a fruit tree garden which is best visited in early summer, it contains oranges, grapes, pomegranates and wheat. According to some experts, its wind catcher is the tallest one in the world (33m).
• Traditional Hammam/ Mirza Reza Traditional Hammam, located a short distance from Grand Mosque and Alexander Prison, it dates back to 700 years ago. Still active, this structure is one of the few Hammams of Iran, not transformed to luxury restaurants; so it is worth visiting and testing its role as a bath!