zeinoddin-iran-travel

Sitting on the legendary Silk Route, surrounded by oases and hot springs, this is a building with history, where gold, ivory and spice traders would hole up and gossip. It has been beautifully restored and is utterly enchanting, unlike anywhere else you have been before. With large wooden doors, vertiginously high ceilings, carpeted brick floors and little wooden ladders up to your raised bed, hidden behind a wall of heavy curtains, it’s Harry Potter-gone-Persian. There’s an exquisite dining room where you feast on chicken with walnuts and pomegranate and bowls of saffron rice.

Here, in the midst of a vast desert plain flanked by mountains, this 400-year-old brick caravanserai has been restored to accommodate travellers the same way it did when it was active on the trans-Asia trade routes.Well, almost as it did. After a three-year renovation during which 13,000 pumice stones were used to scour centuries of grime from the walls, most spaces look as they would have when this caravanserai was built on the orders of Safavid Shah Abbas the Great. Accommodation is simple: the raised rooms offer mattresses on top of carpets with just a curtain separating you from the corridor.Aside from a couple of added wooden steps, this is exactly the experience the caravan traders would have had. Where it differs is in the stylish and crystal clean communal bathrooms, the service and the food.