Mirrors of the Unseen - A History of Iran

Neither East nor West: an off-the-beaten-track adventure…

  • Visit the ‘City of the Persians’, the incomparable ancient site of Persepolis
  • Explore Yazd, the Zoroastrian Desert City on the edge of one of Iran’s giant deserts
  • Discover the exquisitely-decorated Golestan Palace and get a taste of Qajar-era grandeur
  • Guaranteed departure
  • Your very own copy of Jason Elliot's Mirrors of the Unseen: Journeys in Iran

Iran is an incomparably exotic and fascinating destination, rich in historical and cultural treasures, and home to no fewer than 19 UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Our tour includes a visit to Tehran — known for its magnificent museums, bustling bazaars, gigantic parks, and Golestan Palace. We visit traditional Persian gardens in Kashan; learn about a Safavid era ‘pleasure-house’; and discover unique architecture in Shiraz. Of course, no trip to Iran would be complete without a visit to the unforgettable Persepolis — the ceremonial capital of the Achaemenid Empire.

Iran is almost overflowing with monumental treasures — but thinking only in terms of ‘sights’ misses the real story. Discover a rare and timely portrait of Iran, alongside Jason Elliot, award-winning writer, New York Times best-seller, and author of ‘Journeys in Iran’. Jason will introduce us to the sublime architecture of Isfahan and urban contradictions of the capital, Tehran, and enable us to explore Iran’s immensely rich heritage of Persian and Islamic art.

The Persian Kingdom was one of the greatest powers of the ancient world — walk in the footsteps of the ‘Iranian Henry VIII’, Shah Abbas; the master poet, mystic, and spiritual guide Hafez, and many more. We’ll also discover the mysterious world of the Zoroastrians…

What's Included

  1. Expert Guide Lecturer
  2. Tour Manager
  3. Meals - All meals included
  4. Hotels - 12 nights in 4* hotels in Tehran, Kashan, Isfahan, Yazd and Shiraz
  5. Flights - Return flights London to Shiraz; Tehran to London

Useful Reading

Main Recommendation: Mirrors of the Unseen – Jason Elliot

Other Recommendations:

Roaf, M. and Postgate, J.N. (1990) The Cultural Atlas of Mesopotamia and the Ancient Near East (Fairfax, Time-Life Books).
This book provides a general introduction to the ancient cultures of Mesopotamia throughout the ages and is furnished with an abundance of illustrations and maps.

Curtis, J. (2000), Ancient Persia (London, British Museum Press).
An easily readable summary of the archaeology of Ancient Persia with illustrations of artefacts housed in the British Museum.

Podany, A.H. (2013), The Ancient Near East (New York, Oxford University Press).
Suitable for all who wish to get a short, general introduction of the historical background of the Ancient Near East that nonetheless provides a sufficient summary of all major periods.

Van De Mieroop, M. (2006), History of the Ancient Near East. Ca. 3000-323 BC (New Jersey, John Wiley & Sons).
The book provides a general introduction of the history of the Ancient Near East, also containing discussions of such important key texts such as the Epic of Gilgamesh.

Gore Vidal, G. (1993; new ed.) Creation, 1993.
An intriguing novel set in the 6th-5th century BC. The main character, Cyrus Spitama, is travelling the known world as Achaemenid diplomat and meets the great philosophers of his time.

Christina Dodwell. A Traveller on Horseback in Eastern Turkey and Iran, 1988.
Based on her own life experiences, Dodwell paints a vivid picture of a woman in the 1980s travelling on horseback through Turkey and Iran.

Brosius, M. (2006), The Persians (London, Routledge).

Morgan, D. (2015), Medieval Persia 1040-1797 (London, Routledge).

Barbara Brend, B. (1991), Islamic Art (Massachusetts, Harvard University Press).

Upham Pope, A. (1976) Introducing Persian Architecture (Oxford, Oxford University Press).

Hillenbrand, R. (1994), Islamic Architecture: Form, Function and meaning (Edinburgh, Edinburgh University Press).

Ansari, A. (2014), Iran: A Very Short Introduction (Oxford, Oxford University Press).


Apr 4

"Jason was a superb lecturer and absolutely charming on a one-to-one basis, he went to endless trouble to discuss and explain particular points of interest. His great erudition was leavened all the time with wonderful humour."

— Guest, Mirrors of the Unseen 2017
Apr 3

"I have been raving about Iran since my return, it genuinely was one of the best trips I have taken and doubtless several of my friends will be back to book through you!"

— Guest, Mirrors of the Unseen 2017
Apr 3

"This is possibly the best historical/cultural experience I have enjoyed in 20 years of touring the classical Mediterranean world and the Middle East. This was due to the personality and quality of presentations of Jason Elliott, the smooth organisation and management of tour logistics and the imaginative sequencing of the tour itinerary."

— Guest, Mirrors of the Unseen 2017

Call For Availability

Tour Guide

View similar tours: