Persian Caravanserai
Persian Caravanserai

Persian Caravanserai

Iran’s UNESCO world heritage site


The Persian Caravanserai is one of the recent Iranian UNESCO world heritage sites to be inscribed on the new list of world heritage sites on September 2023. Iran now has 27 UNESCO-listed historical sites, including 54 Iranian Caravanserais located all over the country. Iran belongs on the list of the top 10 countries which have the most world heritage sites.

Kuhpa Caravanserai


Persian Caravanserai history

The earliest caravanserais in Iran were built during the Achaemenid era (550 – 330 BC). Centuries later, when Shah Abbas I assumed power from 1588 to 1629, he ordered the construction of a network of caravanserais across the country. Such roadside inns were once constructed along ancient caravan routes in the Muslim world to shelter people, their goods, and animals. The former Silk Road may well have the most famous examples of caravanserais dotted along the route.

Caravanserai in Desert of Iran
Caravanserai in Desert of Iran


Persian Caravanserai usages

The Persian Caravanserai, where a lot of historical monuments were discovered in Iran, represent the way of travelling in desert regions before modern roads and railways existed. Caravanserais were roadside inns, providing shelter, food and water for caravans, pilgrims and other travellers. The routes and the locations of the caravanserais were determined by the presence of water, geographical conditions and security concerns.


Anarak Caravanserai


Connection of Caravanserai with the Silk Road

The Caravanserai were built as road stations along trade routes, (such as the Silk Road), and pilgrimage routes. Their design evolved over the centuries, from the Sassanian to the Qajar period, which also varied due to the geographic setting.

World Heritage along the Silk Road
World Heritage along the Silk Road


Meaning of the caravanserai and the architecture

Caravanserai or caravansary is a compound word combining “caravan” with “sara”; CARAVAN stands for a group of travellers and SARA means the building and place to
rest. They often had massive portals supported by elevated load-bearing walls. Guest rooms were constructed around the courtyard and stables behind them, with doors in the corners of the yard. Some caravanserai have been renovated for tourist use and become Persian traditional accommodation. It would be a marvellous experience to spend one or two nights there.


Locations of the Caravanserais

The Persian Caravanserai is registered as the only one world heritage site by UNESCO, which includes 54 independent caravanserais. There are a series of sites comprising 54 historic roadside inns from all over Iran in 24 provinces across the country. The majority of these inscribed caravanserai are situated in non-tourist regions. You need to have a special Iran’s Off the Beaten Track travel itinerary to visit them. A few of them are located on the most popular Iranian travel tourist route and, if you are aware of them, you should definitely include them on your Iran travel itinerary.

Persian Caravanserai map Iran


Most accessible Persian Caravanserais

If you are travelling to Iran for the first time, you will be passing through Tehran, Kashan, Isfahan, Yazd and Shiraz, which are the 5 main tourist cities located on the Classic Route. Below are the caravanserais which are beyond these cities. You could make plans to lodge in at least one or have a short visit during your stay in Iran.
1. Parand Caravanserai (Tehran)
2. Maranjab Caravanserai (Kashan)
3. Sheikhali Khan Caravanserai (Isfahan)
4. Gaz Caravanserai (Isfahan)
5. Kuhpayeh Caravanserai (Isfahan)
6. Meybod Caravanserai (Yazd)
7. Kharanaq Caravanserai (Yazd)
8. Zeynoddin Caravanserai (Yazd)

Map Classic Iran Travel Route
Iranian Cities along the Silk Road
Iranian Cities along the Silk Road- Iran Map


Non registered Iranian Caravanserais

There are many more caravanserais in the different regions of Iran which were not on the list of 54 Persian Caravanserai that have been registered. A few of them were totally renovated as hotels many years ago and were not on the proposed list of Iran for inscription of UNESCO.  Abbasi Hotel Caravanserai in Isfahan city and Moshir Almamalek Hotel Caravanserai in the historical city of Yazd are the most famous ones. These luxuriously renovated traditional boutique hotels are beautiful as well as

Iranian Caravanserais Map - Persian Caravanserai



The fifty-four caravanserais on the land are only a small percentage of the numerous caravanserais built along the ancient roads of Iran. They are considered to be the most
influential and valuable examples of the caravanserais of Iran, revealing a wide range of architectural styles, adaptation to climatic conditions, and construction materials, spread across thousands of kilometres and built over many centuries. Together, they showcase the evolution and network of caravanserais in Iran, in different historical stages.

Abbasi Caravanserai boutique hotel Iran


Silk Road



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