The Silk Road is about 8000 Km long and the longest and the oldest route in the world. As the most important route in the world, it connects the East of Asia into Europe and Africa through Iran.
Caravansaries have architecture for defending from outside like castles. They are the oldest accommodations of the world. There have been rooms for the tourists, Shah-Neshin (King-Sitter), balcony, yard, wall, towers, drinking water, corridors, shops, stable, wharf, water reservoir, qanat, bath, courier home, telegraph, etc. One of the most complete samples is Miyandasht Caravansary which is the biggest caravansary in Iran. It has been completed in three different historical eras and about twenty thousand passengers could stay in it.
Robaats are the other forms of the caravansaries located outside the cities that some of them first have been built as military castles. After wars ended, borderlines limited and there was enough safety, these Robaats have been used as a caravansary.
The history of the Silk Road in ancient times and Acaemenid Dynasty goes back to Royal-Road (Shahi-Road). That time Iran was the greatest country in the world and the borderlines covered a vast area in three continents of Asia, Europe and Africa. The road was used to connect the important cities in Iran, such as Persepolis, Pasargad, Hamadan (Ekbatan) and Susa to all around Iran, Specially Mediterranean Sea, Europe and Africa. Nowadays, the neighboring countries are separated from Iran and some caravansaries are located outside. The route was developed during Parthians Dynasty as a result of the increase of the trades and business stations and Parthians accommodation centers were formed, which were developed during Sasanids Dynasty too. Deyregachin, Anoushiravan and Darvazeh-Gajou Caravansaries have remained since the ancient time.
The main Silk Road reaches to Mashhad from two routes. The North one was from Marv to Sarakhs, and Tous. The South one was from Haraat. It goes from Mashhad to Neyshabour, Azadvaar, Jovein Plain, Jajarm, Bastaam, passing the North of the desert into Damqan, Semnan and Rey. It was separated from Rey into two routes again. The South one was going to Hamadan (Ekbatan), Passing the Zagros Mountain Ranges into Kangavar, Kermanshah, Qasreshirin, Bagdad and the Mediterranean Sea. The North one, passing through the Alborz Mountain ranges goes to Tabriz, passing from the North of the Lake Urmia, Arzrom and Trabozon Port and from the Black Sea to Europe.
In different eras after Islam, some other routes were added to the main Silk Road. One of them was the road used by the Moslem Pilgrims to Mecca. The other was the passenger route to India which is known as the Spice Road. The glory of developing caravansaries was in Safavids Dynasty in 16th century A.D. Shah-Abbas ordered to build 999 caravansaries and located them inside the cities too. The development of of caravansaries continued during Qajars Dynasty too, but during Pahlavis Dynasty they became useless because of building the railroads and asphalt roads. Nowadays, some caravansaries are managed by private sectors; they are being used as accommodation, restaurants and other traditional services to the tourists.
Some cobblestone parts of the Silk Road are still seen near Garmsaar, Eyvanekey, Neyshabour, etc. There are some landmark towers on heights to show the route along the Silk Road too. Karrat and Akhangan are some examples around Mashhad.
Some of the most famous caravansaries in Iran are as follows:
Shah-Abbasi Caravansary in Isfahan (Hotel), Deyregachin Caravansary in Qom (the Mother of Caravansaries), Miyandasht Caravansary in Meyamey (the greatest and the most complete Caravansary), Zeynoddin Caravansary in the South of Yazd Provence (the rectangular Shaped Caravansary), Robaat-Sharaf near Sarakhs (the masterpiece of break-works in the world), Behistun Caravansary in Kermanshah Provence (Hotel), Kharanaq Caravansary in Yazd Provence (eco-camp), Khanat Caravansary in Tehran (Restaurant), Sadolsaltaneh Caravansary in Qazvin (bazaar and restaurant), Shah-Abbasi Caravansary in Neyshabour (Precious stone bazaar), Babaqodrat Caravansary in Mashhad (Restaurant), Maranjaab Caravansary near Aran-o-Bidgol (eco-camp in desert), Dehnamak Caravansary near Garmsaar (eco-camp and restaurant), Lasjerd Caravansary near Semnan (eco-camp and restaurant), Khaneh-Nazar Caravansary near Jolfa (eco-camp), Madar-Shah Caravansary near Isfahan, Veyrani Robaat near Mashhad, Ahowan Stone Robaat near Semnan, Qasre-Bahram and Eynorrashid Caravansaries in National park of Iran desert, Pasangan Caravansary in Qom, Toroq Robaat in Mashhad, Kalmard Caravansary in Tabas, Gougad Citadel in Golpayegan, Abbasi Caravansary in Karaj, Shah-Abbasi Caravansary in Sabzevar, Mirza-Abolhasan Caravansary in the great bazaar of Tabriz, Bazaar Caravansary in Hamedan, Izadkhast Caravansary in Fars province, etc.
It is advised to visit these historic caravansaries and other symbols of the Silk-Road and enjoy the accommodations and other traditional services on your trip to all around Iran.