Toghrol Tower is a 12th-century monument from the Seljuk-era situated in the city of Rey, on the southern outskirts of Iran's capital city, Tehran.
Often overlooked by visitors who tend to stick to Tehran's old centre and northern suburbs, Rey is one of the oldest trading points in Iran. It's speckled with historical monuments, including a 500-year-old Safavid-era bazaar. The tower itself is said to be the the mausoleum for Seljuk king Toghrol Beg, who established Rey as a major administrative center of the Seljuk Dynasty. However it is indeed a solar clock, Toghrol Beg was likely buried there because he adored astronomy.
The exterior shape is that of a polygon with 24 angles in its design, which is thought to contribute to the structure's stability against tremors. At the top, Kufic inscriptions (early Arabic) were originally visible, and Naser al-Din Shah ordered some restorations to be made in 1882/4 to the towers upper collapsing part. The tower is protected by Iran's Cultural Heritage Organization.
From the Toghrol Tower, it's a quick ride into the heart of Tehran's Armenian quarter. Visit the Jewish Synagogue, the Zoroastrian Fire Temple, and Christian Church all bunched up together. Round off day with a cup of coffee and Armenian pasties at the old Cafe Naderi (Hotel Naderi and Cafe, Jomhuri Eslami Avenue, Tehran; +98 21 66 708610), a place popular with Iran's greatest writers and intellectuals for decades.
15 More Reasons to Visit Tehran
These are just some of the most famous places to visit in Tehran. But the real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.
The best way to discover Tehran is to hire an experienced local tour guide. Either compare the packaged Iran tours or join a cheap Tehran Walking Tour to learn about it's rich history and inspiring culture. You'll get more information of the places to visit in Tehran with an experienced local tour guide.
My favorite luxury hotels in Tehran are the 5 Star Espinas Hotel and Parsian Azadi Hotel Tehran (ex-Grand Hyatt Hotel prior to revolution), both with professional staff and great views from different parts of Tehran. Double rooms start from US $230 and $250 respectively, including breakfast.
Decent 4 Star Hotels also include Niloo Hotel and Escan Hotel. Or for more budget options, the 3 Star Rated Mashad Hotel is right next to Taleghani Metro and provides comfort at US $130 for a double, including breakfast. Otherwise Iran Central Hotel (Hotel Markazi), Firouzeh Hotel, and Golestan Hotel Tehran are also some of the better budget options under $80/night.
There are also Hostels in Tehran from $10 U.S. per night for the budget travellers.
Of the Best Restaurants in Tehran, not far away from the city centre is the popular Gol Rezaeieye Cafe serving great traditional Iranian meals in a cute and hip American diner setting. Dizi Restaurant is also rated highly on Trip Adviser for a great stew, or Coffeeshop and Veggie Restaurant serves only vegetarian meals if that's more you (conveniently near Artists Park in Tehran). Or if you're in northern Tehran near Darband, Tehran SPU Restaurant is highly recommended. But for a great cup of coffee checkout Romaan Book Cafe near the Italian Embassy (what a perfectly match).
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