why staying at a caranavserai is a must do in iran?!
I could almost hear the hustle and bustle of the merchants selling their goods, bargaining on prices and depicting their long lived journey to one another while their horses and camels chew on hay and dried up plants and stock up the much needed water.
Here we are, on the Silk Road, at one of the 999 caravanserais the Persian king Shah Abbas built to shelter and provide food and safety to merchants, traders, travelers and pilgrims.
My last experience of sleeping in caravanserai went to years back and to the desert of Maranjab. It was winter, cold and there were hardly any facilities. We brushed our teeth with unbearable salty water and showers were not a thing. Nevertheless we made a huge fire, chatted, laughed and read poetry as the sky covered us with a starry blanket.
After days of traveling, a full day on the road and dreadfully needing to sleep I was a bit skeptical about staying at another caravanserai. Little did I know that I was in for another sleepless night and one indescribable experience!
Caravanserai of Zeinodin is one of two rounded caravanserais of Iran built in the 16th century. It is charmingly renovated, tastefully decorated and was given the UNESCO award for best renovated building in 2006.
As we approached the golden fort structure with its 5 watch towers, we were granted with a huge wooden door. Once inside and we were all in awe!!
Following the round shaped interior walls, narrow rooms are built on wooden platforms. Some with wooden doors and others with just a thick curtain separating them from the corridor. Thick Persian carpets cover the floors and decorate the walls. A clean, yet thin mattress, pillows and blankets are provided. Everything is delightfully made to evoke the feeling of a Silk Road travel .
There are two types of rooms. Smaller ones inside along the main corridor and other spacious ones opening to the courtyard which come with beds.
Just as we were settled into our rooms we headed for the courtyard right in the middle of the building adorned with plant pots. Here’s were all the travelers would have gathered, shared travel tales and chattered the night away.
As we heard the wafting aroma of the delicious meal being cooked in the kitchen, our bellies started grumbling. It was soon time for dinner and we were welcomed with a buffet consisting of an extensive array of delectable Persian foods, salads and desserts.
After filling our bellies with ethnic delicacies the men from the Baluchi tribe of Iran who are running this place offered a dance show from their region for 10.000 Tomans (Almost 3€) each. It’s not something I recommend really. I had seen a Baluchi dance before and these guys didn’t seem anything professional.
The night was here to stay and so were we. We headed to the rooftop where we could feel the serenity of the desert night and locked our eyes to a sky packed with glistening stars. There was nothing but darkness and a light breeze brushing our cheeks and swaying our hair. Sometimes sounds of the cars and trucks passing the highway would break the silence. It was divine, blissful and indefinable.
A desert night stay always comes with the bonus of a spectacular sunrise. If you’re not a sleepy head and can pluck yourself from your warm blanket right before the golden hour you’re in for a treat and the rooftop views of Zeinodin caravanserai are promising.
There’s nothing to be seen from here for miles away. We stayed here only one night before heading to Yazd which was 60km away and I think one night was efficient since the place is extremely remote and there’s not much to do outside.
#1 There’s not much privacy here and you easily hear people giggling in their rooms and walking in and out all night long. If you’re staying at one of the rooms opening to the courtyard expect a lot of chatting noise. Remember a stay here is an experience by itself. People are here to enjoy the starry night and get overexcited over reliving the Silk Road era. Don’t expect a lot of sleep if you’re sensitive to noise.