Towers of Silence, on the southern outskirts of Yazd, was the place where Zoroastrians left their dead to decompose. It might sound gruesome at first but Zoroastrians believed this way they could deal with the dead without polluting the earth.
The towers feature tall walls around a shallow pit where the dead bodies were exposed to sun and carrion-eating birds. Once the process of decomposition was complete at the open burial pits the remains including the bones were pushed down into a central well.
For over 3,000 years, this way of burial named sky burial¬ was a part of the Zoroastrian traditions. However, in the 1960s the practice was outlawed and the towers are no longer used for sky burial. Today, the site is among the main attractions of Yazd and provide an insight into the Zoroastrian beliefs and rituals.
You will also find some abandoned old caravanserais near the towers where Zoroastrians used to rest while performing their burial ceremonies. The structure features a cistern with two wind towers and a modern Zoroastrian graveyard.
The site is a 15-minute drive from the center of Yazd. It would also take a 10-minute walk to reach up the hill to visit the circular towers. But it is definitely worth the effort. The best time to visit the towers is early in the morning and before the sunset.