I am originally from Birjand, a city in the east of Iran and the biggest city of South-Khorasan province. Birjand is my favorite place to travel because it is filled with historical landmarks, that are the cornerstone of Iranian culture & traditions, as well as a lot of mysterious ruins and natural spots that are perfect for group explorations and enjoying interesting adventures.
Between 2015 to 2017 I travel to Birjand more than 20 times and each was an adventure of its own. Once I went there to explore all the historical fortresses or ruins scattered around Birjand city. Another time I went there to visit the mysterious village of Makhunik, and its people traditions and cultures, and once I went there just to film every historical & natural landmark that I could find for my YouTube channel.
Here, you will find the best 7 places you can visit easily if you happened to visit my beloved Birjand, Iran.
1. Shokatiye Historical School
Shokatiye Historical School was one of the oldest schools in Iran that brought modern education as a substitute to older Maktab-Khane style schools. Currently serves as a religious school, Shokatiye was the second school in Iran, after Darolfunun School/University in Tehran. This 120 years old school is a perfect place if you like to take a look at the beauties of Islamic architecture mixed with then-modern Iranian architecture.
2. Birjand Historical Fortress
located in the center of the Birjand city and built on a high hill, this historical fortress was the symbol of Qajar dynasty’s power in protecting the city and people. There are a lot of them around Birjand acting as radars or watchers to spot enemies and signaling others by fire or the sound of bells.
3. Rahim-Abad Historical Palace
Rahim-Abad palace and the historical complex of Rahim-Abad in Birjand is one of the places every tourist should see first to understand the beauties of Iranian architecture and the embodiment of our culture within every element that was built within the structure. Doors, colored-glass windows, ornamented walls, and the mirror works on ceiling is just the begging of the beauties. Real stuff comes when you hear the stories about Rahim-Abad palace, and I’m not going to spoil them!
4. Bahlgerd Historical House
Located in a small village near Birjand, Bahlgerd historical house was once served Qajar khans & shahs as a luxurious summer-house. Birjand and South-Khorasan locales generally have hot & dry climates where water is scarce and cultivation is pretty hard. But, wherever such historical houses were built, that place thrived and an oasis was formed around them as a result, helping people to easily access water for drinking or agricultural purposes.
5. Shokat-Abad Historical Palace
One of the places, around which an oasis was formed and life thrived, is Shokat-Abad Palace, which is a masterpiece in architecture and interior design. This house was once used as a summer house and its garden was used as a place for holding big events and celebrations.
6. Shokat-Abad Locale
Shokat-Abad palace formed a beautiful locale/oasis around itself leaving beautiful sceneries and mesmerizing tree-covered paths behind that are always beautiful throughout the year, in all seasons.
7. Birjand Historical Cistern
Some of the mysteries of Birjand city are buried deep within various historical cisterns across the city. They are a complex network of deep and dark tunnels used for storing drinking water all around the year. Some of them are still working and still have fresh water that is perfectly safe to drink. If you wanted to visit one of these cisterns, make sure you have a good flashlight because it is total darkness down there: My kind of fuel for nightmares!
The Bottom Line
Birjand, without doubt, is one of the best places you can visit in east of Iran. If you are interested in historical landmarks and mysterious ruins and houses, this is the place for you. Also, if you’re an adventurer type like me, there is no better place to explore than Birjand. I traveled there a lot and will do in the future so if you have any question, feel free to ask in the comment section. Otherwise, let me know what you think about Birjand & Iran. Also don’t forget to tell me which photo was your favorite!
Thanks & Have Fun!