A quick guide on how to get to Soltaniyeh from Zanjan, Iran by public transport or shared taxi.
Soltaniyeh is home of the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Soltaniyeh Dome, the largest brick dome in the world. This makes for a great day trip from Zanjan, as it’s about 40km from the city. The trip is easy if you know how to get there.
How to get to Soltaniyeh from Zanjan
There is regular public transport from Horanestan Square in Zanjan. This square is about 2km out of the city center. You can walk there, or take a shuttle taxi from Enqelab Square. The shuttle taxis wait on the corner of Enqalab Street and Enqalab Square, and are hard to miss. Just look for the myriad of yellow taxis, then head for the green minivans behind them.
Unfortunately, we made the mistake of thinking that one of the yellow taxis was the shuttle taxi. Due to a miscommunication (read: us not speaking a word of Farsi) we ended up taking a taxi all the way to Soltaniyeh, costing us 400,000 IRR, or about $12. The shuttle taxis are green minivans, like the ones on the picture below. These should not cost more than $1, or about 30,000 IRR.
From Horanestan Square there are regular savaris, shared taxis, and the occasional minibus to Soltaniyeh. A savari will probably set you back $1 per person, a minibus about $0.50, or 15,000 – 20,000 IRR.
Make sure that you are going with a savari, and not a closed-door taxi. These could look very much alike. Also, always make sure to ask the price beforehand. If there are minibusses, take these, since you will know for sure that these fall under public transport. The ride to/from Soltaniyeh takes about 30-40 minutes.
Getting to Soltaniyeh Dome
The savari/minibus will drop you off at a square about 10 minutes walking from Soltaniyeh Dome. You really cannot miss it–just head for the big blue dome in the city center. Entrance to the mausoleum for foreigners was 200,000 IRR (versus 30,000 IRR for locals… damn them) at the time of writing.
Other things to do in Soltaniyeh
There are several other historical sights you can visit in Soltaniyeh.
Sheikh Barragh Mausoleum
This mausoleum, which belonged to a local mystic, was built between 1259 and 1284. It houses a small museum and is about 500m south of the Soltaniyeh Dome.
Molla Hassan Kāshi Mausoleum
The mystic Molla Hassan Kāshi is a pleasant walk from the city. It’s about 2,5 km south of Soltaniyeh,
Getting back to Zanjan from Soltaniyeh
Minibusses and savaris can be found by a small park containing a playground and will leave when full. We took a minibus back from Soltaniyeh, which cost 30,000 IRR for two people (about $0.50 a person) and took 45 minutes.
Where to stay in Zanjan
Although Zanjan isn’t very popular with tourist, it’s a logical base to organize day trips from. It’s also home to several pretty mosques, and two small museums. There are several cheap guesthouses in the streets surrounding the main bazaar. We stayed in the Sa’di hotel, but you can shop around. If you’re looking for something more upscale, you can check out Dadamaan Hotel, located in a traditional building. You can book the Dadamaan Hotel via 1StQuest (use the code LWP-QST to get a 5% discount).