Those visiting this part of the country will find that the city is mostly inhabited by Iranian Azerbaijanis speaking their own language instead of Farsi. One will also see here beautiful handicrafts such as charoogh or traditional sandals, decorative dishes with covers, carpets, and silver jewellery. Knives are the specialty here with a variety of stainless and sharp ones available. Some are a bit pricier as well, due to the artistry and amount of detail put in the handle or the blade itself.
What to see & do
To know a bit about Azerbaijan would pave the way to understanding the culture in the Zanjan area. This close relation is owed to the proximity of the province from the north border. This is not the only attraction in this province, as travellers will also find here snowy mountains and plains cooled by a highland climate. This presents hiking opportunities for those eager to explore the countryside. One must arrange for security and transport before going here to enjoy comfortable treks across the rolling landscapes.
One of the highlights to be found here is the Soltaniyeh, a mausoleum which shows off ancient Persian architecture at its finest. This made UNESCO declare it as a World Heritage Site in 2005, especially when one takes note of the octagonal structure of the building, its 50-metre tall dome covered in turquoise faience and surrounded by eight minarets. This double-shelled dome, according to UNESCO, is the earliest existing structure in Iran. The interior is also fascinating to behold due to the lovely ornate decoration.
The Takht-e Soleyman is a striking archaeological site with an enormous palace complex with temples for Zoroastrian believers. With this astounding set of structures, UNESCO explains that the designs of the fire temple, palace, and the general layout of the site have influenced the development of Islamic architecture.
After visiting these two grand sites, one can continue on to Rakhatshor-Khaneh, a dome-and-column underground hall that was built to be a public laundry place. Tourists going here will appreciate the challenges of washing clothes without the benefit of appliances and other pieces of modern technology. The laundry area is not the only place to be seen here, as one can venture to the garden courtyard and rest for a bit in the quiet atmosphere.
How to get around within Zanjan
Lack of information about the local transportation makes it necessary for travellers to arrange for private transport before they visit Zanjan. Buses might be available, however, as the city is one of the populous urban areas in Iran. Details about public transport can be enquired with a reliable travel agency who might recommend options for tourists on their way to Zanjan.
How to get there
Travellers visiting this part of Iran can schedule flights to Tabriz International Airport. Those coming from faraway places can book connecting flights to this domestic port of entry via Mehrabad International Airport in Tehran or go through Azerbaijan first.
Airlines serving Tabriz are Ata Airlines, Azerbaijan Airlines, Caspian Airlines, Corendon Airlines, Freebird Airlines, Iran Air, Iran Air Tours, Iran Aseman Airlines, Kish Air, Mahan Air, Meraj Airlines, Qeshm Airlines, Saudia, Tailwind Airlines, Turkish Airlines, and Zagros Airlines.