Jews of Persia – Our Jewish Tours of Iran

For centuries, Jews have lived and thrived in Iran. And although the number of Jews living there today is less than it was at its height, Iran is still home to approximately 10,000 Jews. Iran, in fact, is the only country in the Middle Eastern region that has a significant number of major Jewish sites. Moreover, these sites have been preserved and respected for centuries.

Throughout the tour, you will be amazed by the rich cultural heritage of Iran, by its architecture and artistry, and by some of the oldest, most significant archaeological sites in the world. You may also be surprised at the curiosity, courtesy, and friendliness displayed by the people of Iran. Go behind the headlines and feel the warmth of the Persian people, who guard their Jewish heritage with pride.

Each of our tours is escorted by a Senior Momentum Staff member, hosted by a licensed Iranian Tour Leader, and led by an Iranian Jewish Scholar. All this ensures one of the most memorable journeys you will ever make – into the magical land of Esther and Mordechai.

Tour Information
Jews of Persia.
Small Groups Luxury Tours
Tehran – Shush – Hamadan – Kashan – Isfahan – Shiraz – Yazd – Tehran
Duration: 14 days
Tehran, 3 nights
Espinas hotel
Shustar, 1 night
Shustar hotel
Hamadan, 2 nights
Baba Taher hotel
Isfahan, 2 nights
Abbasi hotel
Shiraz, 2 nights
Zandieh Hotel
Yazd, 2 nights
Dad hotel
Tehran, 1 night
Novotel Airport hotel
8 breakfasts
5 lunches
7 dinners
Included Services:
Transfers on arrival and departure days (December 22, 2016 & January 4, 2017)
Led by an Iranian Jewish Scholar
Hosted by an Iranian Tour Director
Escorted by a Momentum Senior staff member
In-depth and relevant sightseeing program including Jewish history and sites
Meeting with Jewish Communites
Breakfast daily at the hotels
Dinner or lunch daily
Domestic flights in Iran
Invitation letter and processing of required papers
from Iran
Friday night dinners in Tehran and Shiraz
All taxes and fees
Pre/Post Tours:
We can accommodate pre/post tour arrangements in conjunction with this departure
Passport and Visa:
Each participant must possess a U.S. passport valid for at least 6 months after the tour ends. Passport holders with stamps from Israel will not be granted the visa for entry to Iran. Invitation letter from Iran is provided by Momentum. It takes up tp 60 days to process the visas
Not Included:
R/T flights from the USA
Tips to driver & guides
Visa fee
Travel insurance
All expenses of personal nature


Day 1 Thursday Arrival in Tehran

Welcome to Tehran! Upon arrival, meet your guide and transfer to your luxury hotel, located in the heart of the city. Espinas Hotel.

Day 2 Friday Tehran

Breakfast at the hotel. Our introduction to Iran begins with a visit to the “Beheshtieh Cemetery”. The cemetery displays briefly the history of the Jews of Iran, including the tomb of the Jewish father of the Iranian (Farsi) dictionary, Solayman (Solomon) Haïm. The Haïm family is known to Iranians as one of the most esteemed and beloved Persian-Jewish families. Next, learn about Iran’s rescue of hundreds of thousands of Polish Jews during the Holocaust. Many are buried in the Beheshtieh Jewish Cemetery, which also commemorates Jewish soldiers who died in Iran’s own war. Lunch. Now, proceed to 30 Tir Street, known as “The Street of Religions.” This incredible place honors the bond betweem the diverse array of religious scholars who live together peacefully in Iran. A Zoroastrian Fire temple, a Jewish synagogue, and several Christian churches belonging to different denominations are all evidence of this unique cooperative existence. You will also visit the Haïm Synagogue, which served as the initial shelter of the exiled Polish Jews during World War II and the Iraqi Jews who fled that nation in the 1950s. This synagogue, included among the national Iranian treasures, is supervised by the Cultural Heritage Organization of Iran. Next, visit Golestan Palace, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, as well as the Carpet Museum, where you will learn the role of Jews in the legendary carpet industry of Iran. In the evening, welcome Shabbat with a Friday night Dinner in the company of members of the community. Espinas Hotel.

Day 3 Saturday Tehran

Breakfast at the hotel. Today, pay a visit to Ood Lajan section of Tehran. Here is the site of the oldest continuous Jewish neighborhood in Tehran. Several old synagogues are still present here. Lunch. Next, visit Sepeir Hospital, the largest charitable hospital in Iran, and one of its oldest. While its clientele is largely Muslim, Sepeir Hospital’s founder, board of directors, and many of its employees are proudly Jewish. Espinas Hotel.

Day 4 Sunday Tehran – Shushtar

Early Breakfast at the hotel. This morning, transfer to the airport for the flight to Ahvaz. Upon arrival, continue by coach to Shush. Shush – Jews know it best as Shushan – was also the capital city of one of the largest ancient civilizations, the “Elamite civilization”, which dates back 3,500 years. Its history is intertwined not only with our Queen Esther but the great Biblical prophet, Daniel. Visit the well-kept Daniel’s Shrine, which the people of Iran, Jews and non-Jews alike, consider a place for pilgrimage and prayers. This silver shrine boasts a door coated with real gold, the most beautiful mirror works, and an endless array of people (both Jewish and Muslim) who approach this site with hearts full of faith. You will also visit Apadana Palace, belonging to Darus the Great, and the fascinating Shush Archeology Castle. Next, see the incredible Chogha Zanbil Ziggurat – a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Here is the temple of Inshushinak, the Sun God in ancient Elamite civilization lore. Later, continue to Shushtar and visit the Water Mills that are listed as UNESCO World Heritage Sites. These amazing hydraulic structures were built 1,700 years ago, during Persia’s Sassanid Dynasty. Dinner. Shushtar Hotel.

Day 5 Monday Shushtar – Hamadan

Breakfast at the hotel. Later, proceed north to Tuyserkan, and pay respects at the Tomb of Habbakuk, the Jewish Prophet. In Farsi, this site is known as “Hazrat-eHabakkuk,” – and it is one of the most important shrines for Iranian Jews and Muslims alike. Prophet Habakkuk was the guard of the First Temple in Jerusalem. After the destruction of the temple, he was taken into captivity by Nebuchadnezzar and exiled to Babylon. Soon after, he was invited to Persia by none other than Cyrus The Great. The Habakkuk Shrine, like that of Daniel, is the symbol of coexistence and companionship of Iran’s Muslims and Jews. This elegant tomb was built during the golden era of brick architecture in Iran — the Seljuks (11th century CE). It is arguably the most significant site in the region, and located in the main entrance square to the city. You will see the green cloths knotted on the windows and handles of the shrine by the Muslims – these are put there in order to make wishes. Continue to Hamadan, the ancient capital city of the Biblical Midianite civilization (known in the Torah as “Akhmasa”), and dating back over 3000 years. Once the competitor of Mesopotamia in grandeur, Hamadan is one of the largest areas where the Persian Jews settled. Among these prominent Jews is the well-known and popular Khajeh Rashideddin Fazlollah Hamadan, who was a medieval scholar and historian. Baba Taher Hotel.

Day 6 Tuesday Hamadan

Breakfast at the hotel. Hamadan has always been a significant city – adjacent to Mesopotamia during ancient history and to Baghdad during the Islamic era, it is now one of the popular places in Iran for tourism. Begin the day with a visit to the quiet, spellbinding Tombs of Queen Esther and Mordechai. Next, visit the ancient city of Ecbatana and see the Avicenna Tomb – dedicated to the great Iranian physician and philosopher, as well as the lavish Baba Taher Tomb, which honors one of the greatest Iranian poets. You will also visit the Alavian Dome, dating back to the 11th century, and one of the masterpieces of architecture during the Seljuk dynasty. Next, enjoy the Hamadan Bazaar as well as the beautiful valley of Ganjnameh, where, along the natural splendor, you will see two stone plates of cuneiform writing that date back to the Achaemenian dynasty. Baba Taher Hotel.

Day 7 Wednesday Hamadan – Isfahan

Breakfast at the hotel. Depart on the journey to Isfahan. En route, visit Kashan, one of the richest cities in Iran. Kashan is justly known for its rugs, rosewater (it is the largest producer in the world), and stately architecture. It has always been the place where the elite – both Jewish and Muslim—have long resided, and was once called Iran’s “Little Jerusalem.” On arrival in Kashan, visit the home of “Mullah Moshe Halevi,” as he is locally known. Rabbi Moshe Halevi, who emigrated from Spain to Persia in the 16th century, is one of the greatest and well-known religious Jewish figures here. You will also visit Tabatabaee House and Agha Bozorg School, both elegant architectural masterpieces. Next, enjoy Fin Garden, a delightful refuge once frequented by the great Jewish poet of Iran, Sarmad Kashani. Imagine accompanying him with a glass of herbal tea beside the stream and leafy groves of this garden. In the late afternoon, continue to the grand city of Isfahan. Abbasi Hotel.

Day 8 Thursday Isfahan

Breakfast at the hotel. Today, a walking tour takes you to the Jewish historical places in Isfahan. See the beautiful Molla Marre and Keter Davood (David’s Crown) Synagogues. Then, visit the 16th Century Naqsh-e-Jahan Square. On the sides of this square, three symbols denote religion, government, and economy in the form of three buildings – a mosque, a palace and a bazaar. Next, visit shops that sell aromatic local spices, engraved utensils, and exquisite silk rugs. In the evening, visit the beautiful bridges of Siosepol and Pol-e-Khaju. Dinner. Abbasi Hotel.

Day 9 Friday Isfahan – Shiraz

Breakfast at the hotel. This morning, travel to beautiful, legendary Shiraz. En route, stop at the Pir Bakran Village for a visit to the Serah Bat Asher Shrine. Serah was the daughter of Asher (of the twelve tribes of Israel) and the granddaughter of our Jewish Patriarch, Jacob. She was the first person who promised Jacob that Joseph was still alive and –according to the lore — gained eternal life due to Jacob’s gratitude. Continue to Shiraz for Friday night services and Dinner with members of the community. Zandieh Hotel.

Day 10 Saturday Shiraz

Shiraz is the city of poetry, flowers and nightingales, limpid streams and shadows of cypress trees. The poems of Hafez and Saadi reverberate here, along with the aromas of orange blossoms. Shiraz is also one of the most significant areas where the Iranian Jews resided. Enjoy Lunch at one of the most well-known restaurants of Shiraz, where traditional Iranian cuisines are served. Afterwards, visit Eram Garden (a UNESCO World Heritage Site), orangery, and bazaar. You will also visit the tombs of the two best-loved (and world-famous) Iranian poets — Saadi and Hafez. In Saadi’s Tomb, consider his wise quote, ”Humans are the members of the same body; they have been created from the same nature.” Hafez’s Tomb has a unique angle – it is known to Iranians (whether Muslim, Jewish, Christian or Zoroastrian), as a place to meet with the visionary man and beg him to share his glimpses of the future. Zandieh Hotel.

Day 11 Sunday Shiraz – Yazd

Breakfast at the hotel. This morning, visit Persepolis and Naqsh-e-Rostam. Both are among the most prominent ancient places of the world, and included in the World Heritage Sites of UNESCO. Continue to Pasargad to visit Cyrus the Great’s Tomb. Cyrus is perhaps the most significant non-Jewish figure for the Jews in the world. He released the Jews who were captive in Babylon (among them Habbakuk) and erected the great Jerusalem Temple once again. En route to Yazd, stop in Abarkouh to enjoy a cup of tea beside the oldest tree in Iran – a 4,000 years old cypress! Dad Hotel.

Day 12 Monday Yazd

Breakfast at the hotel. Yazd is perhaps the most beautiful jewel in the crown of Iran. It is also where you will find the last remaining traces of the ancient Zoroaster Religion. Begin the day with a visit to Harav Ohr Shraga Shrine, dedicated to one of the most prominent Jewish scholars, who lived in Yazd about 200 years ago. You will also see two synagogues in Yazd. Then, visit the holiest place to the Zoroastrians of Yazd — the Yazd Fire Temple, where the holy fire has still been burning for over 1,400 years. Next, travel the covered, meandering alleys of Yazd until reaching Fahadan Alley,the oldest neighborhood here. Mir Chakhmakh, Masjed Jameh, and Dowlat Abad Garden (UNESCO World Heritage sites) are next; in Mir Chakhmakh Square, visit the most well-known and largest confectionary in Iran to make the memory of Yazd sweeter with its candies and pastries. Dinner. Afterwards, visit a Zoorkhaneh (a traditional gymnasium) to watch men practicing the traditional sport combining rhythm, dance and  use of heavy wooden clubs. Dad Hotel.

Day 13 Tuesday Yazd – Tehran

Breakfast at the hotel, followed by a transfer to the airport. Check-in for the short flight to Tehran’s domestic airport. Upon arrival, drive to the city and visit the Artist’s Forum. Later, visit the residence of the former Shah of Iran, located in an area of lush green forest on the outskirts of the city. In the afternoon, drive to the International Airport and check-in at the airport hotel. Dinner at the hotel. Your flights may leave during the night or the next day. Novotel Airport Hotel.

Day 14 Wednesday Home Flights

Flights depart early this morning and during the day. As the hotel is located at the airport, individual check-in is possible at any time. Time permitting, enjoy breakfast prior to check-in. Connecting flights from Tehran will arrive in the USA the same day.

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