Zeinodin caravanserai…

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!

Zeinodin Caravanserai

Zeinodin caravanserai 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 of Zeinodin caravanserai, 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 .

Zeinodin caravanserai Zeinodin caravanserai

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.

Zeinodin caravanserai

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.

Zeinodin caravanserai
The moon winking at us…

Zeinodin caravanserai Zeinodin caravanserai Zeinodin caravanserai

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.

Zeinodin caravanserai

Zeinodin caravanserai
And of course a delightful brewed Persian tea! 😉

After filling our bellies with ethnic delicacies the men from the Baluchi tribe of Iran who are running zeinodin caravaserai 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.

Zeinodin caravanserai
The Baluchi dance.

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.

Zeinodin caravanserai

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.

Zeinodin caravanserai
Waiting for the sun to gloriously rise…

Zeinodin caravanserai Zeinodin caravanserai

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.

Zeinodin caravanserai
The guest book signed by all the travelers stopping here.
Facts:

#1 There’s not much privacy in Zeinodin caravanserai 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. 😉

#2 Shared bathrooms and showers with hot running water are provided which are all extremely modern and squeaky clean.

#3 It can get really cold here during winter time and I imagine you must be shivering if you went to see the sunrise. Consider that if you’re planing to stay.

#4 This place is not very big but extremely popular with foreign tourists. Many tour operators have this place on their itinerary if you’ve got a visit to Yazd on your plan. If you’re coming here as an individual, make sure you book in advance during high season.

#5 The price of all rooms are the same, 140.000 Tomans including breakfast. (برای ایرانیان ۶۰ تومان)

#6 Women are free to be without the hijab inside the caravanserai. Even in public areas such as the restaurant or the courtyard.

Disclaimer: I was not paid by this place to write this review. I just happened to have such a delightful experience that I thought it was worth sharing with you all. 🙂

Zeinodin caravanserai
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22 thoughts on “Why Staying at a Caravanserai is a Must Do in IRAN?!

  1. Connie says:

    I stayed here in March and think you did a great job describing what it is like to stay here. Unfortunately it was cloudy the night we were here so the stars didn’t shine as brightly…but it was a nice experience anyway.

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      • FabGreg says:

        In August 2010, I did exactly that: I took a bus in Yazd heading to Kerman direction (possibly stopping before), then ask to be dropped in view of Zein-od-Din caravanserai. May be 1.5km walk ahead.

        On the way back, I intended to wait along the highway. But the road police came to me and intercept a private car for me.

        Transportation was compatible to an afternoon visit.

        The site reminded me of “The Desert of the Tartars” movie. At the time of my visit, there was no wood room at Zein-od-Din caravanserai. I doubt wood was present in that desertic area at the Silk Road time. Probably a request from Tour Operators…

        Fabrice

  7. Cintia says:

    Hi Matin, I am from Brazil and this week I’m going to Iran. Your posts and your write are amazing! Can you help me with something? I can’t find a way to book zei-o-din caravenserai online, do you know if the only way to book it is by a travel agency? Even in blogs and websites I didn’t read about the booking process. Thank you so much for your help.

    • Matin Lashkari says:

      Hi Cintia, Sorry that it took me a while to respond. I’ve been traveling and had limited internet access. Apparently, the only way is calling an agency. I don’t have a number of email of them, otherwise, I would have mentioned it in the post. 😉

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