Population: 530,000

Visiting the desert city of Yazd on his way to China Marco Polo described it as a “good and noble” city.  According to UNESCO it is one of the oldest towns on earth.

The architecture is perhaps the most traditionally Persian to be found, preserved by the hot, dry climate and spared the devastation of Arab, Mongol and Timurid invasions. Of particular note are the badgers, wind-catchers.

Yazd is also the center of Iran’s small remaining Zoroastrian population. There are numerous fire temples and other Zoroastrian places of pilgrimage.