From Great Kings to Shahs: Past and Present in the Iranian World. This journey was cancelled in April 2020 and it is planned to orgnanise a similar journey in April 202218 April - 04 May, 2022

Trip Dates:
18 April - 04 May, 2022
Trip Price: £Price and Dates to be confirmed
Single Room Supplement: £780
Trip Length: 16 days

After arriving in Tehran, drive to Hamadan one of the oldest inhabited cities in the world linking Mesopotamia with the Iranian plateau. The ancient sites at Bisotun and Kermanshah form a series of historical monuments and carvings that are of exceptional importance in the ancient history of Persia.  En route to Shiraz visit the site of Susa, a capital city of the Elamite, Achamenian and Parthian Empires.

Shiraz is a beautiful city famous for its poets and its many gardens. Explore its winding bazaar and enjoy a cup of tea in one of its many peaceful teahouses. Visit Persepolis - the City of the Persians - built by Darius the Great over two thousand years ago and subsequently used by two more Achaemenian kings. Walk through the Apadana where Darius the Great once held audiences and received visitors. Superb bas-reliefs decorate the stairways and depict people from as far away as Ethiopia bearing tribute to the Persian kings. Dominated by tall ochre-coloured cliffs is Nash-e Rostam where the enormous tombs of four Achaemenian kings have been hewn out of stone.

Isfahan is perhaps the most beautiful of all Iranian cities. Its moment of glory came in the seventeenth century when Shah Abbas I reconstructed the town. He initiated one of the worlds grandest projects in city planning. Mosques, palaces, bazaars and public parks were built under the monarch’s personal supervision. Staying at the wonderful Abassi Hotel which has been converted from an old caravanserai, explore this remarkable city of soaring minarets and domes of glistening turquoise and cobalt blue. The journey finishes in Tehran, home to some of the finest museums in the Middle East.

The journey is open to the Alumni of the SOAS Specialist Art Courses. Please note that Distant Horizons has sole responsibility for the operation of this tour. The participating University has no direct control over the operation of any tours.


Maximum Party Size: 20

Trip Leader: Professor Lloyd Llewellyn-Jones

Professor Lloyd Llewellyn-Jones is Chair of Ancient History at Cardiff University (having been Professor of Ancient Greek and Iranian Studies at the University of Edinburgh). His research interests include the history of ancient Persia, especially the Achaemenid period (559-331 BCE) and the relationship between Iran and the west since antiquity. Professor Llewellyn-Jones travels frequently to Iran and the Middle East, often leading cultural and historical tours and has worked with the BBC, Channel 4 and the History Channel and with Hollywood production companies as historical advisor. He is a regular reviewer for The Times and Times Higher Education.

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From Great Kings to Shahs: Past and Present in the Iranian World. This journey was cancelled in April 2020 and it is planned to orgnanise a similar journey in April 2022 Trip Comments:

‘We have been on several Alumni trips and this was the best! The itinerary was put together very intelligently to enable us to get the very best experience. The friendliness of the people was a revelation and the nuances of recent history – real food for thought.’
‘Generally an outstanding tour where everything went right and nothing went wrong. Wonderful monuments, lovely gardens, comfortable hotels, delicious food, excellent guides and charming and interesting travelling companions.’ 
‘Our Iranian guide was the most marvellous guide we could have possibly hoped for, knowledgeable, excellent English, pleasant good tempered and very thoughtful’
‘We were welcomed everywhere by young and old Iranians. It is a journey I’ll never forget.’