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F. VALI

F. VALI

Sunday, 10 January 2021 09:59

Safavid Empire

 

The Safavid Empire, which was founded as a political dynasty in 1501, was the second Great Islamic Empire to form. It originated as a religious sect, and it acquired the military and political traits of an empire only after 1501. The Safavid Empire also differed from the Ottoman and Mughal Empires because it was an official Shi’ite empire. religious differences led to much hostility between the Safavids and its Sunni rivals. The Safavid Empire was formed in 1501 and ended by the invasion of Afghans in 1722. It forever influenced Persian nationalism.

 Safavid Empire

Who were Safavids? 

Safavids (1501–1736), the dynasty that took control of Persia in the early 16th century, is often considered the beginning of modern Persian history. Safavid's establishment of Twelver Shiʿism as the Iranian state religion was a major factor in the emergence of a united national consciousness among the various ethnic and linguistic elements of the country.

As Shi'ism spread during the 15th century, so did the Shi'ite Sufi orders, and their forces increased. The oldest Shi'ite sufi order at this time was attributed to the Safavid Sufi family, descendants of Sheikh Safi al-Din of Ardabil - head of the Sufi order of Ṣafaviyyeh - who gradually established power in Azerbaijan region and the surrounding area. They provided a monarchy-like system until, as we know, they came to the kingdom of Iran at the beginning of the 16th century.
Throughout the Iranian history, the emergence of the Safavid dynasty is an important turning point; after centuries of being under control of foreign rule, Iran is once again becoming a powerful and independent state in the Islamic East. The Mongol invasions that began in the 13th century drastically reconfigured the Islamic world. Not only did the invasions bring about the end of the Abbasid Empire and leave the center of Islamic world fractured, but the arrival of new Turkic peoples and dynasties throughout much of Islamdom shifted the axes of power into the hands of Turkic clans. The Ṣafavi order at Ardabil, however, was distant enough from any political center to remain neutral, allowing the Persian mystics to build a strong following of their own.

Safavid Empire's Religion

Through their remarkable achievements, the Safavids reunified Iran as an independent state in 1501 and established Twelver Shi'ism as the official religion of Persia, marking one of the most important turning points in the history of Islam. Twelvers believe that the Twelve Imams are the spiritual and political successors to Prophet Muhammad. According to this theology, the Twelve Imams are exemplary human individuals who not only rule over the community with justice, but are also able to preserve and interpret Shari'a and the esoteric meaning of the holy Quran. The words and deeds (Sunnah) of Muhammad and the Imams are a guide and model for the community to follow; as a result, Prophet Muhammad and the Imams must be free from error and sin, a doctrine known as Ismat or infallibility. 

Shah Isma'il I (r. 1501-24)

It was under Ismāʿil I (r. 1501-24), that the Safavids evolved from a spiritual movement to a political dynasty led by a shah rather than a Sheikh. This was achieved with the assistance of the Qizilbāsh, who venerated their leader as an incarnation of God and were blindly obedient to him, even offering themselves for martyrdom in his cause.

Who were Qizilbash?
The Qizilbash Group was formed out of several Turkish Shia groups that were living in Azerbaijan (northwest Persia) in the fifteenth century. These groups were oppressed by the Ottoman Turks in the early years of the Ottoman Empire. In 15th century, Sheikh Heydar, a charismatic spiritual leader from Safavid family, attracted a large group of Shi'a followers from Azerbaijan. The most loyal Turkic followers of him, called "Qizilbash" meaning "red hats", became known as skilled warriors. They could put 70,000 armed horsemen in the field at one time. Some became mercenaries, but most of them supported the Safavid shahs who were fighting against the Sunni Ottoman and Sunni Uzbek Turks. By the death of Sheikh Heydar in 1488 in a battle, civil war in Azerbaijan ensued. In 1501 Heydar's son, Esma'īl, founded the Safavid dynasty and conquered most of what is Iran today. Shah Isma'īl spread Twelver Shiʿism (belief in twelve Imams) throughout Persia, the religion that is still dominant in Iran today.

With Azerbaijan seized, Esmaʿil, barely 15 years of age, inaugurated Safavid political rule in 1501 by proclaiming himself king in Tabriz, having coins struck in his name and declaring the city his capital.

In August 1514 Ismaʿīl was seriously defeated at Chaldoran by his Sunni Turkish rival, the Ottoman Sultan Selim I. Thereafter, the continuing struggle against the Sunnis—the Ottomans in the west and the Uzbeks in the northeast—cost the Safavids Kurdistan, Diyarbakır, and Baghdad, while Tabriz was continuously under threat. Iran weakened appreciably during the reign of Ismaʿīl’s eldest son, Shah Tahmasb I (1524–76), and persistent and unopposed Turkmen forays into the country increased under his incompetent successors.

Chaldoran Battle Painting demonstrating the Chaldoran battle, Chehel Sotoun Palace, Isfahan, Iran 

Chaldoran Battle

In the early 16th century, two empires competed for eastern Turkey and Iraq and Greater Syria. On one side was the Ottoman Empire settled in western Turkey and Constantinople (Current Istanbul). On the other side was the Safavid Empire, leaded by Shah Isma'il who began with a series of conquests in Azerbaijan and northwestern Iran. Nine years later, Shah Ismail conquered the entire plateau of Iran and also Baghdad. The sudden expansion of the Safavid Empire posed a serious threat to the Ottomans, prompting Sultan Selim I to confront the Safavids. Ottoman troops suppressed the Turkic tribes of eastern Turkey and reached Chaldoran, where the Safavids and Ottomans fought each other on 23 August 1514. Ottomans won the battle with the help of artillery technology and this victory strengthened the Ottoman rule in Kurdistan and Iraq. The Safavids, who relied heavily on cavalry and minimal use of artillery, were shocked by their defeat. But the important point was that the Battle of Chaldoran had a huge effect on the formation of the modern Middle East.The defeat of the Safavids at Chaldoran prevented the establishment of a vast empire in the Middle East because they failed to take control of eastern Turkey and Iraq. This event led to the formation of today's borders between Iran, Turkey and Iraq.

 

Shah Abbas I (r. 1588-1629) 

In 1588, Abbās I was crowned. Realizing the limits of his military strength, Shah Abbas made peace with the Ottomans on exceptional terms in 1590 and directed his destructive attacks against the Uzbeks. Meeting with little success, Abbās engaged in a major army reform. The strength of the "Qizilbash" was reduced, while the use of firearms was expanded. The young king equipped the Iranian army with artillery and rifles with the help of the British "Shirley Brothers", and took the position of commander from effete Qizilbash.  Three bodies of troops were formed, all trained and armed in an early modern manner and paid out of the royal treasury: the Ghulāms (slaves), the Tofang-chīs (musketeers), and the toop-chīs (artillerymen). With his new army, ʿAbbās defeated the Turks in 1603, forcing them to relinquish all the territory they had seized, and captured Baghdad. He also expelled the Portuguese traders who had seized the island of Hormuz in the Persian Gulf early in the 16th century.

Shah Abbas the Great of Persia Shah Abbas the Great 

Shah Abbas’s remarkable reign, with its striking military successes and efficient administrative system, raised Iran to the status of a great power. Trade with the West and industry expanded, communications improved. He moved the capital from Qazvin to Iṣfahan and made it the center of Safavid architectural achievement, manifest in the Shah Mosque of Isfahan (called Masjed-e Imam after the 1979 Iranian Revolution), Sheikh Loṭfollah mosque, and other monuments including the Aalī Qāpū, the Chehel Sotoon palace, and the Naqsh-e Jahan square. Despite the Safavid Shiʿi zeal, Christians were tolerated and several missions and churches were built in Isfahan Julfa neighborhood.

In 1598, Abbas moved the Safavid capital to Isfahan from Qazvin, which had itself taken over from Tabriz, on the Ottoman border, 50 years earlier. Isfahan was located in the center of Persia, and thus it was not as vulnerable to attack as Tabriz or Qazvin. Abbas adorned Isfahan, which had also been the Seljuk capital centuries earlier. Under Abbas, Isfahan became one of the world’s greatest cities.

 

Fall of the Safavid Dynasty 

After Shah Abbas the Great died in 1629, his successors ruled for about a century, but, except for an interval during the reign of Shah Abbas II (1642–66), it was a period of decline. 

In the late 17th and early 18th centuries, the Safavid Empire began to break up. Since peace was made with the Ottoman Empire, there was no longer a need for strong military forces. As a result, further fragmentation took place in the empire. In addition to this, the following kings who came in power became more and more incompetent. During the reign of Shah Soleiman, who ruled from 1667 to 1694, famine and disease spread throughout the country. His successor Shah Sultan Hossein (r.1694 to 1722) was the main cause of the end of the Safavid Empire. He appointed a member of Shia'a religious establishment, Mohammad Baqir Majlesi, to top positions. Majlesi and some of the Shia'a clergy slowly took control of the empire and overthrew the regime. Sultan Hossein's rule was relatively peaceful until he faced a huge revolt in Afghanistan, in the easternmost part of his kingdom. At that time, the Afghans were divided into two major tribes: the Ghilzais and the Abdalis. In 1709, the Ghilzai Afghans of Qandahar, under their leader Mirwais, rebelled and successfully broke away from Safavid rule. In 1722, Mirwais's son Mahmud and his army swept westward aiming at Iranian capital Isfahan itself.The king was urged to escape to the neighboring provinces to gather more troops but he decided to remain in the capital which was now surrounded by the Afghans. Mahmud's siege of Isfahan lasted from March to October, 1722. Starvation and disease finally forced Isfahan into submission (it is estimated that 80,000 of inhabitants died during the siege). On 23 October, Sultan Hossein abdicated and submitted the crown to Mahmud Afghan as the new shah of Persia.  At the same time, the Ottomans and the Russian Peter the great began seizing territories in Iran and the Safavid Empire came to a complete end in 1736.

Seven years after that Iṣfahan fell to the Ghilzai Afghans of Qandahar, Sultan Hussein's son, Tahmasb II recovered Iṣfahan and ascended the throne, only to be deposed in 1732 by his army general Nader Gholī Beig (the future Nadir Shah Afshar)

 

Safavid Art 

Usually in Iran, the royal family and people from the upper social classes applied for works of art and helped it to flourish. The Safavid kings were also lovers of art, and some of them, such as Shah Tahmasb I and prince Sam Mirza, were themselves expert artists and held art in high esteem. The Safavids in many cases, especially in terms of painting, inherited the art of the Timurids. Manuscript illustration was prominent in royal patronage. Tahmasb who had been trained in painting at an early age, was an active patron of the arts of the book. During his reign, one of the aspects of the art of painting, namely Miniature Art, reached perfection and the king himself spent a lot of time learning it. Most of the prominent artists of that era were considered to be the king's friends or of his courtiers. Shah Tahmasb was also very skilled in Tazhib.

 Safavid Art

The most distinguished of Safavid rulers and the greatest patron of the arts was Shah Abbas I. His reign was recognized as a period of military and political reform as well as of cultural florescence. Shah Abbas did not have such an attachment to painting, instead, he paid much attention to architecture and urban planning. In terms of technical characteristics, the art of painting changed during the Safavid rule. For example, instead of portraying heroes and myths, much attention was paid to depict aspects of ordinary people's life. 

 

 

 

 

Miniature Art Registered on UNESCO List of Intangible Cultural Heritage - December 17, 2020

At its recent meeting (17 December 2020), UNESCO officially registered Miniature Art on the List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.

The miniature art in Iran dates back to pre-Islamic times, and even before the Sassanid era.
Iranians have long been known for painting and depicting beautiful images. Even before the images were drawn on paper, papier-mâché, textile or wood, beautiful patterns were created on Persian carpets, Gilims and other materials. Unfortunately, to date, we do not have specimens that appeared on paper or leather that were created in pre-Islamic times, but historical documents and narrations indicate the existence of Iranian miniature art among Iranians since more than a thousand years ago. 

Iranian Miniature papier-mâché PERSIAN MINIATURE, 19th century - Prince offering a rose to a lady riding on a camel composed of numerous other animals and human figures. 

What exactly is Intangible Heritage?
Intangible cultural heritage, made up of all immaterial manifestations of culture, represents the variety of living heritage of humanity as well as the most important vehicle of cultural diversity. Intangible heritage was only officially defined about 15 years ago even though we had questioned how to classify and quantify the value of skills, knowledge and other intangible but revealing cultural elements since the 1970s. For many years, intangible heritage was assimilated into and limited to folklore, but it recovered its prestige following the drafting of a definition by UNESCO during its Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage in 2003. The definition now places intangible heritage on the same level as other kinds of cultural heritage. Using this starting point, it falls on the various levels of government (national, provincial, regional, cities, towns and villages) to recognize and showcase the significant elements of intangible heritage.

The cultural heritage of Iran is as extensive as a vast empire that once stretched from western China to Eastern Europe and from the Caucasus Mountains to the shores of the Persian Gulf. The countries that today have jointly registered this art along with Iran, were once part of a single nation. The cultural heritage of the tribes living in these countries today has much in common.
Iran, Turkey, the Azerbaijan Republic and Uzbekistan had jointly presented the case of Miniature Art to the Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of the United Nations’ Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)

What is Miniature Art?

The miniature Art is a type of two-dimensional artwork that involves the design and creation of small paintings on books, papier-mâché, rugs, textiles, walls, ceramics and other items using raw materials such as gold, silver and various organic substances. According to most scholars, this art was born in Iran and later spread to China where it evolved and returned to Iran during the Mongol period.  After the Arab invasion of Iran, the occupying rulers forbade the depiction of human figures and animals for almost three centuries. During this period, Persian artists continued their job by decorating pottery, books, and gradually images of animals, birds, and humans returned to Iranian painting. Persian miniature painting started to blossom under Ilkhanid patronage in the 13th century, when great focus was put on illuminating and illustrating the books. During the Safavid period, the art of Iranian painting reached its zenith and masters such as Hossein Behzad and Reza Abbasi left mesmerizing works. Different artistic styles emerged in different parts of Iran and attracted many Artists of the time. According to some research, this art did not undergo significant changes after Safavid period, but in the present era, we are witnessing great differences in the works of Master Farshchian, which some believe has added depth to this two-dimensional art.

What is Miniature art

Historically, the miniature was exemplified by book painting in which the text was decorated, but the element has evolved and can also be observed in architecture and as an adornment in public spaces. The patterns of the miniature represent beliefs, worldviews and lifestyles in a pictorial fashion and also gained a new character through the Islamic influence. While there are stylistic differences between them, the art of miniature as practiced by the submitting States Parties shares crucial features. In all cases, it is a traditional craft typically transmitted through mentor-apprentice relationships (non-formal education) and considered as an integral part of each society’s social and cultural identity. The miniature displays a specific type of perspective in which the size of the figures changes according to their importance - a key difference from realistic and naturalistic styles. Though it has existed for centuries, it continues to develop and thus strengthens the bonds between past and present. Traditional painting principles and techniques are preserved, but artists also bring individual creativity into the process.

 

Features of Persian Miniature 

In order To fully answer the question of what is Persian miniature art, we definitely have to discuss its features. There are some common features in Persian miniature painting that stood firm throughout its long history. First, the even light and lack of shadow. Second, almond-shaped eyes. Third, the three-quarter and round faces, simultaneous spaces and time, as well as non-perspective images. In addition to that, other common features also stood out, for instance, the size and level of detail. Classically, a Persian miniature also features accents in gold and silver leaf, along with a very vivid array of colors. To illustrate, these paintings are quite small, but they feature rich, complex scenes which can occupy a viewer for hours.

 

Iranian Intangible Cultural Heritage in UNESCO List

As a major reference of World Cultural Heritage, UNESCO list covers tangible and intangible cultural heritage properties of different nations. Iran has already gained several inscribed ones in the list and many more still pending. 

Iranian intangible cultural heritage includes art, traditional and hand-made crafts, skills associated with traditions, social traditions, customs, festivities and rituals, science and customs associated with nature and world, verbal traditions and other manifestations like languages and dialects. This UNESCO list includes:

  • Traditional skills of crafting and playing Dotār music instument (2019).
  • Art of crafting and playing with Kamancheh/Kamancha (2017)
  • Chogān, a horse-riding game accompanied by music and storytelling (2017)
  • Flatbread making and sharing culture: Lavash, Katyrma, Jupka, Yufka (2016)
  • Nowruz (2016)
  • Qālišuyān rituals of Mašhad-e Ardehāl in Kashan (2012)
  • Naqqāli, Iranian dramatic story-telling (2011)
  • Traditional skills of building and sailing Iranian LENJ boats in the Persian Gulf (2011)
  • Music of the Bakhshis of Khorasan (2010)
  • Pahlevani and Zoorkhanei rituals (2010)
  • Ritual dramatic art of Ta‘zīye (2010)
  • Traditional skills of carpet weaving in Fars (2010)
  • Traditional skills of carpet weaving in Kashan (2010)
  • Radif of Iranian music (2009)
Friday, 27 November 2020 17:05

Naqsh-e Jahan Square of Isfahan

Naghsh-e Jahan Square, formerly known as Shah Square or Royal Square (and after the Iranian Revolution of 1979 with the official name of Imam Square), is  the central square of Isfahan, which is located in the heart of the historical complex of Naghsh Jahan.

Naqsh-e Jahan Square

History of Naqsh-e Jahan square

Historical monuments on the four sides of Naghsh Jahan Square include Aali Qapu Palace, Shah Mosque (Imam Mosque), Sheikh Lotfollah Mosque and Qeysarieh Gate, which is the main entrance of Isfahan Bazaar. In addition, there are two hundred two-story shops around the square, which are generally the place of Isfahan handicrafts. Before the city of Isfahan was chosen as the capital of Safavid Empire, this garden was also the location of government buildings and the palace of the Timurid and Agh Quyunlu rulers.

The construction of the square in its current form was performed during the reign of Shah Abbas I in 1598. Two architects called Mohammad Reza Isfahani and Ali Akbar Isfahani are known as designers and builders of the square who built it in its current form. The names of these two architects can be seen on the entrances of the buildings around the square. Sheikh Baha'i has also been in charge of designing and supervising the construction of some surrounding structures. The French traveler Jean Chardin who traveled to Isfahan in 1673, called Naghsh-e-Jahan the most beautiful square in the world. During the reign of Shah Abbas the Great and his successors, this square was prepared for polo games, army parades, lighting, and various shows during the days of royal celebrations, and on other days it was a place for people to walk and shop. Two pairs of polo stone goal posts still remain on the sides of the field referred to as the oldest polo goal posts in the world. 

The square was also the site of massive Friday markets. One of the first official ceremonies held in this square was the triumphant return of Imam Gholi Khan from the conquest of Hormoz Island to the capital (Isfahan). Chardin quotes that up to 50,000 lights were lit in the square during the festivities. Detailed description of this square has been given by famous European travelers  such as Chardin, Jean-Baptiste Tavernier, Pietro Delavalle, Sanson, Engelbert Kempfer and others who have visited Isfahan since Safavid times, and all of them have praised the beauty of the square. After the victory of the Islamic Revolution, this square is also a place for holding Friday prayers and political gatherings.

 

Iranian Squares
All in all, this special design of a square -characterized as Iranian square- is a link between the bazaar, the government center and the religious places such as mosques. Before Naghsh Jahan square, there used to be an old square at the same place –called Atigh Sq- with almost the same layout. There are similar examples of Iranian squares in Yazd Amirchakhmaq complex, Qazvin's Shah square and in Tabriz in Saheb Abad square. Naqsh-e Jahan was one of the largest squares in the world in 17th century and today it is considered the second largest square in the world after Tiananmen sq. of Beijing.

 

Places to visit at Naqsh-e Jahan Square 

Each of the historical monuments built in this square was a symbol of civil life, urban community and also national solidarity. The Abbasi Grand Mosque or Shah Mosque on the south side of the square served as the largest  social center of Isfahan. This mosque was built for large gatherings of people on various occasions. Sheikh Lotfollah Mosque on the east side of the square was a private religious center for the royal family , and Aali Qapu palace located on the west side of square was the main government building.  

The length of Naghsh Jahan Square is more than 525 meters and its width reaches 160 meters. The square is surrounded by 200 shops that form a fantastic hadicraft market.  

 

Aali Qapu Palace

Aali Qapu Palace in Naghsh Jahan Square of Isfahan is one of the most beautiful examples of Safavid architecture. Aali Qapu building attracts the attention of many domestic and foreign visitors with its outstanding architecture and remarkable decorations by famous Iranian artists. The most important parts of Aali Qapu Palace are the entrance to the palace, luxurious halls, music hall on the top floor and prominent works of art in different parts of the palace. The main foundations of this mansion are built of wood, and this adds to the architectural appeal of this place. 

Aali Qapu Isfahan

 

Aali Qapu Palace is one of the most important historical monuments left from the Safavid era in Isfahan. This sight is located on the west side of Naghsh-e Jahan Square, in front of Sheikh Lotfollah Mosque. In the past, the Aali Qapo mansion was also referred to as the "blessed government house" or the "palace of the government". Aali Qapo Palace has an area of 1800 square meters and 6 floors.

The word "Aali Qapu" consists of two parts, Aali and Qapu, which together mean "High Gate". Aali Qapu Palace, with its beautiful wood-based architecture, is one of the largest and most magnificent buildings of its time and was built in the early 17th century. It is a 6-storey building with a height of about 48 meters. In this building, different floors are connected to each other by three narrow stair cases. On the first floor, there are two main halls called "Sadr Khaneh" or "Kashik Khaneh", used for administrative affairs. 

One of the most part of the Aali Qapu Palace is the music hall on the top floor. On the walls and ceiling of this hall, there are beautiful plaster work with delicate cut out decorative compartments that enhanced the acoustic effect reflecting the sound of music in the hall.The music hall has three rooms, two are large and the other is smaller. 

 

Aali Qapu Music hall

 

Sheikh Lotfollah Mosque 

Isfahan was chosen as the capital of Iran in 1598. At the same time, Urban development and constructions such as Chaharbagh Street, Naghsh Jahan Square, Imam Mosque, etc. It was during this period that Shah Abbas ordered the construction of Masjed-e Sheikh Lotfollah, and thus the foundation of the new mosque was laid on the ruins of an old mosque located in this place. Architect Mohammad Reza Isfahani took charge of building this mosque, which was able to build an amazing building in 18 years. Sheikh Lotfollah Mosque was reserved only for Shah Abbas and the royal family, and ordinary people were not allowed to enter it. It seems that Shah Abbas used to worship in this mosque every day from the opening of the mosque in 998 AH until the end of his life.

Sheikh Lotfallah was one of the greatest Shi'ite scholars who lived in the Jabal Amel region of present-day Lebanon. He emigrated to Iran with the official invitation of Shah Abbas I along with some other Shi'ite leaders to spread the teachings of Shi'ism as a new sect in Iran.  

The layout of this mosque is unusual because it has neither a minaret nor a courtyard, and because there are steps leading up to the entrance. This was probably because the mosque was never a public mosque and was intended to serve as the worship place for the women of the shah’s harem. The sanctuary or prayer hall is reached via a twisting hallway where the eyes become accustomed to the darkness as subtle shifts of light play across deep blue tilework. This hallway is integral to both the design and function of the mosque because it takes the worshipper from the grand square outside into a prayer hall facing Mecca, on a completely different axis.

Sheikh Lotfollah Mosque

The main prayer hall of Sheikh Lotfollah Mosque amazes you with its art and spirituality. This sanctuary is a square with sides of 19 meters inside which, the complexity of the mosaics that decorate the walls and the extraordinarily beautiful dome, with its shrinking, yellow motifs, is a masterpiece of art. The shafts of sunlight that filter in through the few high, latticed windows produce a constantly changing interplay of light and shadow that enrich the space and give a tangible quality to empty air. The Mihrab is one of the finest in Iran and has an unusually high niche; a calligraphic montage names the architect and the date 1619 AD. 

 

Isfahan Imam Mosque 

Imam mosque, formerly known as Shah mosque or Abbasi grand mosque is the most important religious place of the Safavid period in the city of Isfahan, which is important both in terms of architectural grandeur and artistic features. Construction of the Abbasi Grand Mosque, which is located on the south side of Naghsh Jahan Square begun in 1611 by the order of Shah Abbas I and and lasted for 18 years. Though some fine decoration projects continued even after the king's death.  

  Imam mosque of Isfahan

 

Isfahan Imam Mosque Plan 

The main entrance of this mosque is located on the south side of the square. There are other entrances in the neighborhoods around the building (for faster and easier access to the people of the neighborhood). Behind the entrance starts a corridor that leads visitors to the inner courtyard. It makes an angle of 45 degrees, aimed at aligning the mosque with Mecca while maintaining the integrity of the square. 

The height of the huge dome of Imam Mosque is 52 meters, the height of the southern Iwan minarets is 48 meters and the height of the minarets at its entrance in Naghsh Jahan Square is 42 meters.

Here is the full plan of Imam mosque:

 

 Isfahan Imam Mosque plan

Isfahan Grand Bazaar 

Dating back to more than 400 years ago, Isfahan Grand Bazaar is one of the largest and oldest known markets in the Middle East. This bazaar of Isfahan was built during the Safavid period and expanded during the Qajar period (19th century). According to some historians, it was the grand bazaar that shaped the architecture of Isfahan, but now this historical bazaar is limited to Naghsh-e Jahan Square to the Friday Mosque.
There are shops in this market that continuously offered the same goods from 400 years ago until today. This market, which in the past hosted various businesses such as bookbinding, box making, tailoring, weaving, blacksmithing and shoe making, is now mostly dedicated to selling clothes, sweets and souvenirs. Isfahan Bazaar is the best place to prepare souvenirs of Isfahan because you can find almost all the local foods and handicrafts of Isfahan.

Isfahan Bazaar has many entrances, but the most important entrance is Qeysarieh Gate in the northern side of Naghsh-e Jahan Square; You can easily find this entrance from afar thanks to its magnificent old wooden gate with 400 year old decorations on the top. 

In Qeysarieh Bazaar, there are several mosques, baths, as well as schools (Madrasas).

Qeysaria Gate Bazaar of Isfahan Qeysaria Gate, Isfahan, Iran 

Thursday, 12 November 2020 08:56

Persian Spices used in Iranian Cuisine

Centuries ago, spices were the treasures of kings, as much cherished and sought after as gold. Today, you don’t have to sail the Seven Seas to find them; they’re available at your supermarket. What are spices, exactly? Most consist of the seeds, shells, buds, fruit or flower parts, bark or roots of plants that grow in the tropical regions of the world.
Iranian Spices with their various aromas and colors and their different medicinal properties have been used for seasoning and flavoring Iranian food. In addition to the unique flavor they gave to the dish, these condiments also cured the diseases and illnesses of the consumers.

Persian Spices  

Different types of Iranian spices

The aroma and flavor of spices, along with their amazing properties and benefits, has made people of different regions of Iran use a special combination of spices in preparing their food.
These spices are based on the geographical and climatic characteristics and body temperament of the inhabitants of each region.
Iranians believe that spices not only add flavor to your food but also bring you many other benefits. Some have protective properties against cancer, diabetes, heart disease, inflammation and so on. Here are 11 healthy Iranian spices and their amazing benefits plus tips on how adding them to your diet.

Cinnamon

Cinnamon is a powerful nutrient, a rich source of iron, calcium, manganese and antioxidants. Studies show that cinnamon is one of the best medicines to control and fight diabetes and blood pressure.

Cinnamon is obtained from the bark of the tree. You can add cinnamon powder to your oat meal, apple pie or add it to your smoothie. It can also be used in bread, cakes and pastries. Pour some on your cheese, milk or cream for breakfast and enjoy. Cinnamon tea can also be used to control blood sugar.
Cinnamon can improve brain function and reduce the risk of Alzheimer's disease. Cinnamon has a warm nature and can help you lose weight by increasing your metabolism. 

 Cinnamon Persian Spice

Cardamom 

Cardamom has a long history of use to soothe the stomach. According to traditional Iranian medicine, cardamom relieves acidity and makes fatty foods more digestible. Cardamom contains a phytochemical called Cineole with antiseptic properties. Cardamom also has a distinctive and pleasant aroma that is used in many food products such as tea. Add some cardamom seeds to your tea, coffee, hot chocolate or hot milk to combat bad breath and help relieve sore throat. Also add some cardamom powder to cakes, cookies or bread during baking.

 Cardamom Persian Spice

Coriander

Coriander is a fragrant plant that both its leaves and seeds are used as a flavoring and seasoning spice in Persian cuisine. 
Coriander seeds have a very pleasant aroma and it is used in the preparation of candies and some sweets. Coriander seeds have anti-arthritic and anti-inflammatory property; they can remove accumulated water and excess interstitial fluid from the body by increasing urination.

A mixture of powdered coriander seeds and honey can be used to strengthen the skin, reduce pimples and treat skin eczema. Coriander seeds can also be used to exfoliate and cleanse the skin, lower blood cholesterol, thereby preventing heart attacks and strokes. Coriander seeds strengthen the digestive system and liver mechanism, and can also prevent high blood pressure.

 Coriander Seeds Persian Spice

Turmeric 

Turmeric, sometimes known as Indian saffron or golden spice, is a plant that grows in Asia and Central America. Turmeric found in stores is made from the powdered roots of this plant. The bright yellow color of this spice has inspired many cultures to use it as a dye for textiles. Also, turmeric powder is an ingredient in curry powder.

Curcumin is the active ingredient in turmeric that benefits from strong biological properties. Traditional Indian medicine has recommended turmeric for a wide range of health conditions, including chronic pain and inflammation. Western medicine has also studied turmeric as a pain reliever and healer.

Anti-cancer Curcumin 

Cancer is known worldwide as a very dangerous disease that can be difficult to treat due to uncontrolled cell growth, but traditional medicine experts believe that in fact, curcumin in turmeric kills cancer cells, reduces the growth of blood vessels in cancerous tumors, and prevents the metastasis or spread of cancer cells in the body.

 turmeric persian spices

Chili Powder

Chili Powder is a seasoning blend of ground dried chilies and other spices that can give a spicy and fiery taste to your food. The hot spicy taste of Chili Powder is due to the presence of a compound called "Capsaicin" in this plant. Capsaicin can stimulate the appetite and increase metabolism. Therefore, its continuous consumption causes weight loss.

Common chilies include: New Mexico chilies, Ancho chilies, or Cascabel chilies. These are usually combined with spices such as cumin, and paprika. Other properties of Chili include anti-headache and pain killer properties, improvement of cold symptoms, antioxidant and reducing the growth of cancer cells.

 Chili Powder Persian Spices

Fennel

Fennel seeds have many medicinal properties. This plant seed stimulates the secretion of hormones needed by women, so it is usually recommended for women.

Consumption of fennel during lactation can increase milk production. Fennel can fight the growth of cancer cells, expel urinary tract stones and relieve menstrual disorders. Fennel can also improve bloating, inflammation and other intestinal and gastrointestinal diseases.

Many cosmetic companies use this fragrant plant in the manufacture of natural cosmetics because fennel has wonderful properties for the skin. All components of this plant, including seeds, stems and leaves, are sources of vitamins B and C, which promote collagen synthesis and maintain youth.

 Fennel Seeds Persian Spice

Cumin

Cumin is a leafy plant that grows low to the ground in China, India, Iran, and in some Mediterranean regions. Cumin seed is popular all over the world as a spice. Cumin has become the subject of medical research, as anecdotal evidence claims it has all kinds of health benefits.
Most of cumin’s benefits are claimed to improve digestion, immune system, and circulation. It also increases metabolism
Black cumin and cumin are two of the most common types of cumin in Iran. Cumin is a plant with strong anti-flatulence benefits. Therefore, consuming cumin along with exercise and proper diet can help you lose weight.

Cumin seeds contain naturally occurring substances that work as antioxidants. That means that these substances (apigenin and luteolin) keep the tiny free radicals that attack healthy cells from being successful. Antioxidants help you feel healthier and more energetic, and they help keep your skin from looking aged.

 Cumin Persian Spice

Saffron

Saffron is the most expensive spice in the world with extraordinary health benefits. This plant is cultivated in Iran, Egypt, Spain, Italy, Turkey, Switzerland, Pakistan and Morocco. It is one of the most important sources of non-oil exports in Iran; every year more than 75% of Iranian saffron is exported abroad, including the UAE, India and Europe.

Iranian Saffron

 

What is saffron?

Saffron is a perennial plant that grows up to 30 cm in height. This plant has six-petal purple flowers with three stamens and a pistil leading to the three-branched red stigma. The part used in this plant is the end of the plant's style and the three-branched stigma, which is known as saffron and has a fragrant smell. Known as red gold, this valuable plant is the main source of income for locals in most regions of Khorasan province of Iran.

 Sumac Spice - Iranian Spices

Sumac

Sumac is a mountain shrub that has clustered fruits. The color of the fruit is red and brown and the taste is astringent, but it becomes sour when ripe. The fruit is used as a spice after being ground, along with dishes such as Iranian kebabs. In ancient Greece, Sumak plant wood was used to dye woolen textiles, and in Italy it was used to dye leather. In some countries it is prepared as a drink that is effective in relieving stomach pain and digestive disorders.

In Middle Eastern alternative medicine, the use of sumac in lowering blood pressure is a popular method. According to preliminary studies, Sumac is an antihypertensive plant that treats hypertension (high blood pressure). On the other hand, whichever laboratory method we use to measure the antioxidant activity of substances, this spice usually takes first place. According to the latest researches, Sumac has 66 times more antioxidants than blueberries! 

 Iran Spice Market One of the souvenirs that you can prepare during your trip to Iran is a spice called "Seven Colored Spice ". This mixture consists of 7 spices including cinnamon, sumac, angelica, ginger, black pepper, red chili, and turmeric. The combination of these spices, in addition to its eye-catching beauty, also has many medicinal properties. Seven colored spice is commonly used in cooking broths and stews.

 

Four Humors (Tempraments) Theory
In ancient and medieval time, the main paradigm of medicine was Humoral theory in middle east and west Asia. This theory of medicine was based on four temperaments (Mizaj or Mezaj). Some historians believed that this theory of medicine was developed in ancient Greece and Greek physician Hippocrates (460 BCE–370 BCE) is often credited with developing the theory of the four humors - blood, yellow bile, black bile, and phlegm. But some others think the Persians and Indians created it.

Globally, this medicine theory reached its zenith in Iran for sure, concurrent with polymaths such as Rhazes , Ibn-e Sina (Avicenna)  and Esmaeil Jorjani. The basic knowledge of four humors as a healing system in ancient Iranian Medicine, was developed by Avecienna in his encyclopedia called The Canon of Medicine. According to the theory of the four temperaments, the substances that make up and control the function of the human body are: black bile, yellow bile, blood, and phlegm. Avecienna and Hippocrates linked each of these humors to an element in the universe and atmospheric conditions:

  • Black bile: related to earth, with cold and dry properties.
  • Yellow bile: related to fire, with dry and warm properties.
  • Blood: related to air, with moist and warm qualities.
  • Phlegm: related to water, with moist and cold qualities.

 

Ancient Spice Routes

spice routes

In ancient times, the spice trade took place between old civilizations in Asia, Northeast Africa and Europe. Spices such as cinnamon, cassia, cardamom, ginger, pepper, and turmeric found their way into the Near East before the beginning of the Christian era, where the true sources of these spices were withheld by the traders and associated with fantastic tales. The Spice Routes, also known as Maritime Silk Road, is the name given to the network of sea routes that started from the west coast of Japan and connected the East with the West. Traders traveled through the islands of Indonesia, around India to the lands of the Middle East - and from there, across the Mediterranean sea to Europe. It is a distance of over 15,000 km and even today, is not an easy journey. From our very earliest history, people have traveled the Spice Routes. At first, they probably traveled only short distances from their home ports but over the centuries their ships sailed further and further across seas and oceans. 

 

Saturday, 31 October 2020 08:00

Chehel Sotoon Palace of Isfahan

The beautiful Chehel Sotoon (or Sotoun) Palace of Isfahan is one of the most beautiful monuments in Iran. Chehel Sotoon meaning the "Forty Column Palace" is a long-standing relic of the Safavid rule in Iran, which fascinates visitors with its amazing and original architecture. The splendid mural paintings of Chehel sotoun are just one of its many attractions. Join us to travel to Isfahan and talk about Chehel Sotoun palace.

Saturday, 10 October 2020 09:01

10 most fascinating villages of Iran

Iran is full of spectacular places and tourist attractions, but when it comes to tourist areas, everyone thinks of Iranian famous cities and their up-to-date attractions! But in this article, we want to talk about the scenic villages of Iran and introduce the best villages to visit in Iran.

Most fascinating villages of Iran

Villages of Iran 

All the great civilizations around the world have originated from small villages with minimalist lifestyle. Throughout Iran's history, Iranian villages have played a decisive role and have caused the continuation of life in the big cities of the country. In addition to beautiful atmosphere, Iranian villages have warm-hearted and welcoming people where there is no sign of hustle and bustle of big cities, traffic and pollution; as far as the eye can see, the greenery and freshness in front of you.
A visit to Iranian villages is always a great experience that gives you a good idea of pure Iranian culture, customs and lifestyle. The unique architecture, the local people and their indigenous culture and most importantly, the beautiful landscape of these villages make them a great destination for any type of visitor. Some of them have preserved their traditional styles, yet others have changed during the years and become more touristic. But still, they all are great choices for those who seek a new, authentic experience in Iran.

 

What are the most beautiful villages of Iran? 

1Kandovan village

Kandovan is an astonishing ancient village located in East Azarbaijan province, near the city of Tabriz, Iran. With at least 800 years of historical background, this remarkable place welcomes visitors with its scenic beauty.
Inhabited by 670 people, Kandovan village is carved inside rocks and its famous rocky architecture is the main attraction of the place. The beehive-like houses (some of them 700 years old) are said to be partially formed by volcanic remains from Mount Sahand eruptions of hundreds of years ago. The inhabitants, basically, have hewn every room out of the cliff to make kitchens, halls, and bedrooms with windows decorated with colorful glasses.
Kandovan is one of the world's three rocky villages of the kind and the only inhabited one. The architecture of Kandovan village and the current life-style of the locals in its old-fashion form is an exception in the world, since no one lives in Cappadocia (Turkey) and (United States) anymore.
Honey is one of the most important souvenirs of this village.
Kandovan is a beautiful summer region in Zagros Mountains, where lush pastures attract many Nomad tribes. Kandovan mineral water spring is also one of the attractions of this village. This water is said to have healing effects for treatment of kidney diseases.

Kandovan Village

2Mazichal village

In Kelardasht region of Mazandaran province, there is a beautiful village called Mazichal, with a lot of scenic landscapes. Mazichal as one of the most important destinations is famous for its amazing location and beauty. A summer village where virtuous and kind people live temporarily; 50 to 60 families live in this village from late June to early autumn.
The presence of dense forests and lovely white clouds that constantly change shape has made this village a special and unique travel destination. You may have heard the word "Cloud Ocean". One of the features of Mazichal village is its view of the cloud ocean, which makes this area a wonderful pristine place.
Villagers' summer cottages, used only by inhabitants in the summer, create a relaxing and dreamy image for visitors amidst lush greenery and blue skies.
In the spring, the growth of primrose flowers and violets leaves pleasant memories for people visiting this village.

Mazichal Village

Best time to visit Mazichal

Mazichal is one of those areas where each season has its own beauties. In every season of the year, you can see a new face of this region.
In spring and summer, this area is full of special flowers and trees covered with green leaves and strange nature.
In autumn you will see a colorful picture of forest roads and finally you will reach the village of Mazichal and in the heights you can watch an ocean of white clouds along with yellow, orange and red colors.
But the best time to visit this area is the second half of spring to late summer, when the weather warms up and you can even camp there. 

3Masouleh village

Located approximately 60 km southwest of Rasht and 32 km west of Fuman, Masouleh village has been built into Alborz Mountains, 1,050 meters above sea level.
The traditional architecture and composition of Masouleh houses is what attracts the attention of visitors today more than anything else. Masouleh houses which are the main tourist attraction of this village consist of two floors: Winter floor and summer floor.
The winter part of the house is called “Sumeh” in the local dialect. At the back of this section there is a small room with a stove in the middle, which is used for cooking and preparing food, also for providing heat. There are niches around the room where cooking dishes are placed; as well as decorative porcelain and copper dishes.
The summer part of the house or the so-called counter room has wooden and upholstered windows. These windows have porcelain knots with geometrical patterns and are decorated with beautiful and colored glasses.
In addition to the counters in some houses, there is a room constructed on top of the roof, which is called "Burj" meaning tower. Burj is used for some summer activities.
The architecture of present Masouleh was formed During “Zandieh” period(18th C); The roofs of each house on lower tiers is used as a courtyard for another house on the tiers above them. In some cases, public streets are laid out along interconnected roofs. The land in front of the house doors and the roofs of each house are both used as sidewalks. Narrow streets and numerous stairs don’t allow motor vehicles to pass.
Masouleh traditional food is also one of the tourist attractions of this village:
One of the traditional dishes of Masouleh is called Mirza Ghasemi. Mirza Ghasemi is one of the delicious dishes cooked in North Iran. Origination of this dish goes back to 1860 AD, named after its innovator, Qasim Khan Vali, the governor of Rasht.
Masouleh souvenirs is another tourist attraction of the this village:
Products such as Kilim (needle-work rug made of goat’s hair), Jajim (a carpet made of wool or cotton), shawls and socks, wood and metal products, local clothes and sweets, small dolls woven with yarn, gloves and other hand-made souvenirs are some of the items sold at the bazaar of Masouleh.

Masuleh village Masouleh village, Gilan province, Iran 

4Abyaneh village

Located 87 km from the city of Kashan, Abyaneh is one of the most scenic village attractions in Iran which will definitely amaze you if you visit it.”Abyaneh” is an ancient village with a pleasant climate that has a favorable natural location and a historical background of four thousand years. During the Safavid era, when Safavid kings went to Natanz for summer, many of their relatives and courtiers preferred to stay in this village. In the local language, Abyaneh is called “Viuna”. “Vi” means willow tree and “Viuna” means a willow grove; Over time, “Viuna” changed to “Avianeh” and then to Abyaneh.
Traditional unique architecture of Abyaneh is the most popular tourist attraction of this place. Most houses are built in the shape of a cube with wooden lattice doors and windows. The houses are stacked on top of each other which are seen in mountainous areas as the outstanding property of this village. The old buildings of the village are covered with red soil. Due to an unusual high level of iron oxide, the soil in Abyaneh village has a reddish, beautiful color which makes it even more distinguished
This ancient Abyaneh has highly preserved its language, architecture, costume, culture, and traditional rituals over the centuries.

  

 

 

5 Meymand village 

In every province of Iran, there are villages that attract visitors from all over the world due to their prominent features. Kerman province is no exception to this rule and has introduced one of its amazing villages to the world.

Meymand village is located in Kerman province, 38 km away from Shahr Babak city, at an altitude of 2240 meters above sea level. The area of the village is about 420 km. This village is also known as rocky village due to the presence of many rocks in its mountains that have been dug by inhabitants.

The name Meymand consists of two words Mey (wine) and Mand (drunk). The villagers tell different stories for this naming. According to heart-to-heart stories, the villagers began digging holes in the rock after drinking and getting drunk. But some people believe that Meymand is Meymanat meaning happiness.
The main feature of Meymand, is the structure and shape of the houses. No mortar was used in the construction of these houses. They have dug houses in the heart of the mountains and rocks, without the need for soil, water, bricks and mortar.

Meymand Village

In each room, a niche has been dug to place various items on it. In this type of architecture, the houses are called kicheh consisting of one or two rooms and one stable. Each house has a common entrance to which the rooms are connected. The shape and structure of the kichehs are different and their size is also different. Room temperatures are always about five degrees warmer than outside temperatures. The stoves are inside the rooms, and the color of the ceilings and walls of the rooms has turned black due to the burning of firewood in the stoves. It is interesting to know that the presence of fire and food preparation in the room has caused insulation and this has increased the life-time of the rooms. Roofs of the rooms where fire has not been lit for several years have been ruined. The largest kiche in Meymand is about ninety square-meters and most rooms have an area of about 12 square-meters.
In the lifestyle of the people is another tourist attraction of Meymand because the interaction between man and nature is still established and ancient traditions have been preserved. Also, the occupation of the people of Meymand village is agriculture and livestock.  

6 Kharanagh village 

80 km from the city of Yazd, the ancient village of Kharanagh or Khoranagh , with an approximate age of 4500 years and a historical background of 1800 years, is one of the important heritages of Iranian history. The oldest existing historical document, in which this region is mentioned, dates back to 1370 years ago during the reign of Yazdgerd, the last Sassanid king. This document is in fact a report of a Zoroastrian cleric and shows the prosperity of Khoranagh as a resting place and it's caravanserai made for merchants and travelers. The old name "Khor anagh" means the birthplace of the sun

Kharanagh

Kharanagh village consists of two parts, old and new. The old part, also known as Kharanagh Castle, has been uninhabited for about three decades and its old and spectacular buildings are very spectacular. In this section you will see structures that are 1800 years old. The new section is also home to simple, minimalist villagers who live on planting crops such as turmeric, melons, cotton, wheat and barley. 145 families live in the village of Kharanaq in Yazd. This village is also of great economic importance for the country due to it's Iron ore, Uranium, Barite, Zinc and Granite mines. Many animals live in the heart of this desert , including cheetahs, rams, goats, wild cats, rabbits and foxes, and birds such as terns, partridges and ravens.

Citadel of KharanaghLeft: Kharanah Caravanserai | Right: Kharanagh Castle (citadel) 

Citadel of Kharanagh

The beautiful 1800 year-old castle is located in the old part of Kharanagh village. This citadel and its fortress belong to the Sassanid period. Made entirely of clay and mud, Kharanagh castle was about one hectare in area and served as a residential citadel. The space inside the castle is completely secure and its houses are often two or three storeied. The castle has 6 watch towers and it's internal alleys are so narrow and winding. These alleys are some of the interesting parts of this castle, behind which a historical story is hidden. The villagers used these narrow passages to surprise thieves and bandits. One of the most famous one was called "Wolf Alley" where bandits were usually trapped in this labyrinthine alley until the guards be prepared to arm up and ambush them.  

Kharanaq historical caravanserai has been renovated and you can make the best travel experience for yourself by staying in the heart of the desert. If you stay in this village at night, you can also watch the starry desert sky.

7Bayaz village 

Every year, from the last days of September to the beginning of December, Beyaz attracts so many tourists visiting the village to see how Bayaz turning white due to the season of socalled white gold feilds (cotton). Calling cotton "white gold" should not come as a surprise; This agricultural product has such an economic value that it is no less important than gold. Bayaz village is a place for planting and harvesting such precious gold. Therefore, one of the first cotton processing factories in Iran was built in Bayaz, and this small village plays a valuable role in the country's economy.

Bayaz village has a population of slightly less than four thousand people. This village owes its valuable position not only to the cotton fields but also to its ancient history. Apart from the cotton fields, historical monuments such as Qanats, the old mills, Abbasi Caravanserai, Sabz Pooshan Mosque, Twin Water reservoir and Bayaz Castle are what make Bayaz a tourist attraction destination.

Bayaz Village

Bayaz castle

It is the most significant work that can be seen at the entrance of this village. This castle has been used as a defensive fortification of the village. There are now 5 towers left of this two-story castle. Some of the foundations and columns of this castle are still intact, although the exact age of this building is still unknown.

The village of Bayaz had long been on a caravan route through which merchants transferred their most valuable commodity, tea and spices, from India. The caravan route of India was called the "Royal Road" and the village of Bayaz was one of the well-known refreshment spots on the road, due to its Caravanserai. Bayaz Shah Abbasi caravanserai dates back to 400 years ago. It is said that its architect left his work unfinished when he heard about the death of Shah Abbas. The total area of the caravanserai is more than two thousand meters.
Bayaz twin reservoir is also spectacular. This reservoir has two tanks, large and small, and each tank has a wind tower. 

8 Hawraman village (Uraman Takht) 

Hawraman or Uraman Takht is a village in Sarvabad county in Kurdistan province of Iran. The village of Hawraman in Kurdistan is registered as
Hawraman located in the heart of the mountains has a stepped architecture of houses (for this reason it is also known as “Hezar Masouleh”), the stones are stacked on top of each other and the houses are made without mortar. The roofs of each house is the courtyard of another house, which are called “Heyvan” in the local language. At the foot of the mountain, the houses are carved in harmony with nature. Such a balance is less common in the architecture of villages.
“Pir-e-Shaliar” ceremony is very famous in this city.
 

Hawraman Village KurdistanHawraman (Uraman), Kurdistan, Iran 


9Palangan village

Palangan village is one of the most spectacular villages in Kurdistan province. Palangan with its amazing stepped architecture and beautiful nature has been registered in the cultural heritage list of Iran and has been titled "Lost Paradise" and also "Masouleh of Kurdistan".
In this village, there are is no sign of modern buildings, but as far as you can see, there are multi-story houses as the roof of one house is the yard of another.
Local food is another tourist attraction of Palangan village:
Before entering Palangan and also along the river, you will see booths of trout fish. Here, you can order great grilled fish, served with thin local loaves of bread.
Doogh, Shalmin, Parpuleh, Volosheh, Ghazineh and a variety of vegetarian dishes are also the most common local dishes in Palangan village.
Palangani inhabitants are engaged in agriculture, livestock, handicrafts and fisheries. In the west part of this village, you can see orchards, which are one of the sights of Palangan. Wheat, barley, fruits such as pomegranate, peach, apricot, fig and dairy products such as buttermilk and curd are the most important products of this village and of course fresh fish and natural honey that you can buy from the locals during a trip to Palangan.
Do not forget to buy the handicrafts as the most tourist attraction of Palangan village:
The beautiful and special handicrafts of this village are manufactured by the skilled women of Palangan. Wedge weaving, jajim weaving and wave weaving are the most famouse handicrafts of Palangan.

Palangan Village Left: Palangan village, Kurdistan, Iran  | Right: Makhunik village, South Khorasan, Iran 

10Makhunik village

Due to it's amazing charms in terms of its reputation as the city of the Lilliputians, the village of Makhunik is one of the most amazing villages in the world. It is half an hour from the border of Afghanistan and actually  Makhunik locals  are originally Afghans who migrated from Afghanistan a few centuries ago and chose this place to live. This village is located 78 km east of Sarbisheh city in South Khorasan province and on the road from Sarbisheh to Doroh village.
Makhunik village is known as one of the seven amazing villages of the world due to its architecture, customs and special culture of its people. Makhunik is a village nestled in barren mountains in a remote area where you can live for centuries out of sight.
In the past, the village was semi-isolated and had no driving access to the outside world, but in recent years, a part of the mountain has been dug to build a road for the village to access easily. The most important feature of Makhunik village is the old texture, in which modest adobe houses have been built without any courtyards, porches, windows, and decorations. 

 

 

Tuesday, 29 September 2020 11:29

Persian Hammam

Iranian Traditional Bath

Before introducing the oldest baths in Iran, let's review some interesting information about the history of the bath house.
For thousands of years, washing bodies in rivers has been a religious practice for most nations. The Egyptians bathed in the Nile, and the Indians bathed their bodies (and souls) in Ganges River. The first reference to the bath can be found in Torah in the book of Leviticus (verses 7-16), and more than 3,000 years ago a bathtub and a sewerage system were discovered in the ruins of the palace of the Greek Emperor.

Remains of Greek and Roman baths dating to around 1700 BC are still standing. In the late 13th century, Marco Polo witnessed 300 public hot and cold baths in a Chinese town that were used daily by ordinary local people. This was despite the fact that the British hated bathing for centuries insofar as Queen Elizabeth I (16th century ) was proud of taking bath four times a year. Until much later, bathing was reserved for the aristocracy and the rich in many European cities.

History of Hammam

From Roman bath to Turkish

Baths have historically been important not only in terms of health and sanitary, but also important in social and cultural point of views as a meeting place to socialize. This culture has survived to this day and has retained its charm due to unique architecture and beauty of historic baths. Although personal hygiene is said to have been in a very poor condition in the Middle Ages, there are baths attributed to ancient Greece that date back to100 BC. However, baths acquired a style during Roman times.

From the time of the Roman Empire around 33 BC, there are about 170 baths left. They consist of a pool or a basin, magnificent sculptures, a library and a large garden, which were used for games and sports. There are similar sites in Mesopotamia, Babylon, ancient Egypt, and India, but the first public buildings specifically built for bathing are the Roman ones. A distinctive feature of the "Roman bath" is the water heating facilities through a heating system similar to a boiler.

 Roman Bath

 

Turkish Bath 

What is widely known of the Roman bath style in the world today is the "Turkish bath". The baths that existed in the Anatolian regions of Turkey are divided into two groups. The first are the baths that are formed around natural springs or thermal spas .The other group is baths whose water has healing properties and is drinkable.

In addition to the many abandoned baths that exist in Anatolian cities in Turkey these days, hundreds of historic baths are still used by tourists and locals alike. Most of the baths built in Turkey date back to the Ottoman period, so that in this period, immediately after the conquest of each city, the bath was one of the first buildings to be built.

Turkish bath History

The use of traditional baths in the traditional way is still common on Thursday nights, wedding ceremonies and on the occasion of religious holidays in many cities of Anatolia, Turkey, so that traditional baths on special days around the clock host many men and women who bathe and See and gather together again.

History of baths in Iran

The construction of the first baths in Iran dates back to 3000  years ago. In Persian literal texts, the first construction of Hammam is attributed to King Jamshid, the Mythic king of Iran. Cleanness was one of the conditions for participating in Zoroastrian religious ceremonies, and therefore the existence of a bath was necessary to meet this need. According to this thought, the dependence of clean body and clean mind on each other was considered a great blessing. For this reason, they always washed themselves in order to remove pollution and sins, and temples were arranged in favor of the goddess Anahita, the guardian of the water. Although we do not know the rituals in Anahita temples, but most likely the purification ceremony was performed in connection with water. After the arrival of Islam in Iran, bathing continued to retain its religious aspect, and most baths were built near mosques or markets and in the city center.

Another point that is interesting about Iranian baths is the endowed baths. These baths were financed by donations dedicated to people; so that everyone could prepare himself for his religious practices, with a clean body and a bath. The baths also to some extent reflected the social status of the people; Wealthy people had private baths in their homes, and middle- or poor-class people went to public baths for bathing. It is also necessary to mention that the baths in Iran and of course in Islamic countries were divided into two parts for women and men, and some hours of the day were allocated to women and other hours to men.

Iranians called the baths Hammam or Garm-Abeh. In these baths, activities such as washing the body, rubbing, massage, body hair removal, cupping, strengthening the hair with herbal medicines, etc. were also performed. Public baths in Iran, in addition to being a place for washing and the things mentioned, were also a place for people to gather, talk, smoke hookah and drink tea, and even eat! Iranians believed that the process of bathing and socializing with friends, neighbors or relatives in the bath, helps to have a delightful society. 

With the advent of modern architecture in Iran and the arrival of piped water in houses, architects realized the simple point that can build a separate bathroom for each house. Therefore, the importance of public baths was lost and baths fell from prosperity.
But the building of historical baths and their remains with unique and attractive designs can be found in old cities and neighborhoods all over Iran. Many of them have been forgotten due to the loss of use and some have been completely demolished and replaced by another building. A few lucky ones have been restored with the help of the Heritage Organization or and have been converted into museums or traditional tea houses. 

 

The architectural structure of the bathhouse

In the spatial study of all baths in urban contexts and their comparison, we see that almost all baths have the same elements. All Persian Hammams consist of four main sections and extra service areas adjacent to these main sections. Each section was designed to create three different atmospheres in terms of temperature (cold, warm and temperate). The construction of baths was designed based on the four main temperaments or four natures known in traditional Iranian medicine, namely hot, cold, dry and wet, because human health was considered in the balance between these natures.

Iranian Hammam layout consists of four main sections:

Sar DarThe connection point inside and outside the Hammam

The entrance is usually an octagonal small room where the owner of hammam or the care taker welcomes the clients. This is where clients can pay the entrance and also leave their valuable belongings. Most baths have a special entrance with murals depicted on the gate.
Passing through the entrance through a corridor or a series of stairs, we enter Sarbineh. Sarbine is always set at an angle in order not to be seen from the enrance.

SarbinehThe cloak room where people could undress

Sarbineh or Bineh is a place to prepare for entering the caldarium or leaving the bathroom. Sarbineh has also been a place to take off clothes, to get towels, and serves as a waiting before entering the caldarium or getting drying after bathing. There are multiple platforms where people can seat, chat with companions, rest, have a cup of tea and smoke a hookah. Sarbineh temperature is cold and dry.

Mian Dar | The connecting corridor 

The corridor that connects Sarbineh to the caldarium; this space was in the form of a winding vestibule so that one could go to the cloakroom from the caldarium with a delay – without feeling cold. Also, Mian Dar vestibule does not allow air exchange between the air outside and inside easily and prevents the accumulated heat in caldarium to be wasted. 

Garm Abeh | Caldarium (Washing Place) 

This was a very hot and steamy room heated by an underfloor heating system using tunnels with hot air coming from the furnace. This was the hottest section in the regular sequence of bathing rooms. There used to be a pool in the middle of caldarium and some cold water basins around it.  

A number of service spaces such as toilets and special booths for hair removal are usually present in most Persian Hammams.

 

Historical baths of Iran

1 Bath of Sultan Amir Ahmad

Sultan Amir Ahmad Bath is one of the most important historical baths in Kashan, which was registered in 1976 as one of the national heritage of Iran. This bath has an area of 1102 square meters and takes its name from the adjacent Imamzadeh. According to the artifacts obtained during the earthquake of 1150, this bath was built during the Seljuk period, but its cloak room belongs to the Qajar period 19th century. Some people think that the bath was rebuilt on the ruins of the previous bath and a small bath was added to it. The municipality of Kashan bought this historic mosque in 1996 to save it from destruction by repairing and restoring it.

This Hammam was converted into a traditional dining room for some time after its renovation, until it was finally turned into a museum and today it is under the supervision of the Kashan Municipality. The attractive decorations, plaster carvings and lime stuccos, blue and gold tiles, vaulted ceilings, murals and stained glass of Sultan Amirahmad Hammam, have made this collection a special and spectacular work.

Sultan Amir Ahmad Bath Kashan Iran

 

2 Vakil Bath 

From the reign of Karim Khan Zand - VAKIL- beautiful works and monuments have been left in Shiraz. One of these masterpieces is called Vakil Bath (Hammam Vakil), which has an area of 11,000 square meters, 8660 meters of infrastructure, 120 meters long and 80 meters wide. It was built by Karim Khan Zand in the Darb Shahzadeh neighborhood, now Taleghani Street. The bathroom is in the form of a cube and its entrance is located on the north side. The north façade of the bathroom overlooked the play area, which was later demolished and replaced by a short street. Vakil Bath is known as very valuable in terms of architecture and aesthetics and has now been turned into a carpet museum of Iran by the Cultural Heritage Organization of Fars Province.

Vakil Bath Iranian Hammam in Shiraz

Karim Khan (Vakil)
King Karim Khan Zand (r. 1751-1779) is considered one of the most popular and intelligent kings of Iran. He cleverly called himself Vakil o Ro'aya meaning the "lawyer of the people" and took considerable measures to maintain the unity of the feudal communities and the tribal system of the Iranian army. He made great efforts to provide facilities for people of his capital city "Shiraz" and left numerous monuments such as Vakil bath, Vakil Bazaar, Vakil mosque, etc. A glimpse of the wars he waged and the military victories he won during his reign stemmed from the vigilance of a man who never allowed his military commanders to abuse the victories. He ruled most parts of Iran for almost 30 years but in the end, his illness and death allowed the insurgents and mutineers to make the whole country insecure with heavy bloodshed.

3 Bath of Ganj Ali Khan 

Ganj Ali Khan Bath is one of the main elements of "Ganj Ali Khan" complex in Kerman, which was built in 1611 AD. Ganj Ali Beyk, nicknamed Ganj Ali Khan, was one of the rulers of Kerman during the reign of Shah Abbas I, who performed important civil works in Kerman. He created a large square in the middle of the city to host public promenades. This square, which is more than one hundred meters long and fifty meters wide, is surrounded on four sides by monuments sucha as a school (madrasa), a caravanserai, a public bath, a water reservoir and the city mint. This is an excellent collection of Safavid era civil works

  Vakil bath Shiraz Iran

located on the southern side of Ganj Ali Khan Square, the Ganj Ali bathhouse (1631 AD) was converted into an anthropological museum in 1971. The entrance of the building is painted with ornaments of the Safavid era. The Ganjali Baths are unique works of architecture decorated with exquisite tile works, paintings, stuccos, and arches.
In the Sarbineh section and main yard of the bath there are many life-size statues. These statues were designed at Tehran University's faculty of fine arts in 1973 and then transferred to this museum.

4Haj Dadash Zanjan Bath

Haj Dadash Bath is one of the historical monuments of Zanjan. This bath is the only stone pillar bath in Zanjan, the main roof of which is located on four stone pillars. The building is estimated to be approximately 150 to 200 years old. Now, with the preservation of the bath texture and with a few changes, this place is used as a dining room and is a good place to visit in Zanjan. 

Traditional Baths Iran Zanjan
 

5Sheikh Baha'i Bath of Isfahan

If you are looking for the most famous historical bath in Isfahan, you should go to Sheikh Baha'i Bath, which was built during the Safavid period and in 17th century by the order of Shah Abbas I. Sheikh Baha'i Bath of Isfahan is said to be designed by the famous scientist "Sheikh Baha'I" and  is known as a mysterious monument due to its unique features; it was heated with only one single candle!

The heating system of this bath is one of the engineering masterpieces using the laws of physics and chemistry. The water boiler of this bath operated with a methane gas system originated from Grand Mosque's sewage canals.

The most realistic theory about the fuel of the heater is an underground ceramic piping system that was discovered between the public toilets of the congregational grand mosque (Jame Mosque) and Sheikh Bahai hammam. Probably flammable gases like methane and sulfur oxides led to the torch of heated pool by the natural suction method and methane and sulfur oxides burned directly as the heating source in torch, or these gases were used from the wastes of hammam. According to old residents in the neighborhood, there was an artificial marsh behind the Garmkhaneh and wastewater flew in the marsh and needed gas was obtained from this marsh.

Sheikh Bahai
Bahāʾ al‐Dīn Muḥammad ibn Ḥusayn al‐ʿĀmilī also known as Sheikh Baha'i (1547 –1621) was a Shi'ite Islamic scientist, scholar, astronomer, philosopher, architect, mathematician, and poet who lived in the late 16th and early 17th centuries in Iran. He was born in present-day Lebanon but immigrated in his childhood to Safavid Iran with the rest of his family. He was one of the earliest astronomers in the Islamic world to suggest the possibility of the Earth's movement prior to the spread of the Copernican theory. He is considered one of the main preachers of Shi'a Islam and wrote over 100 treatises and books in different topics in Arabic and Persian. A number of architectural and engineering designs are attributed to him including Naqsh-e Jahan Square and Charbagh Avenue in Isfahan.

 

6Ali Gholi Agha Bath 

Studies show that this historical bath was built in 17th century by one of the Safavid courtiers named Ali Gholi Agha. At that time, public baths was open to local men and women in two shifts in the morning and in the afternoon. In some cases, the rich rented the whole bath and had certain hours at their disposal. After renovation and the addition of sculptures, this bath changed its use to the Anthropological Museum.

Ali Gholi Agha

The decoration and layout of Ali Gholi Agha historical bath is in the style of Isfahan architecture in the late Safavid era and its building consists of two sets of large and small baths. As mentioned, the eye-catching decorations of this bath are reminiscent of different periods, for example, during the Qajar period, paintings were added to this building. In general, in addition to the Anthropological Museum, this bath can also be considered an architectural museum. This bath along with the mosque, bazaar, Chahar Souk and caravanserai are parts of the historical complex of Ali Gholi Agha.

7Kashan Fin Bath

Fin Bath is located in Kashan Fin Garden - one of the best eaxmples of Persian Gardens.

This old bath is famous for the assassination of Mirza Taghikhan Amir Kabir, Prime Minister of Nasser al-Din Shah Qajar on January 10, 1852.There are two baths in the southern part of the Fin Garden, known as the Small and Large Baths. The small bath dates back to Safavid period and was built at the same time with original building of the Fin Garden. The large Bath was built during the Qajar period during the reign of Fath Ali Shah. The large bath is for the rulers and the small bath is used by servants.

Fin Garden - Kashan (16th C)
Perhaps if Amir Kabir's assassination in 1852 did not happen at Kashan's Fin Garden, people would rarely have known this garden and about its famous Bath. History books have quoted that prior to the current bath and garden at this site, it was during the reign of Al-e-buyeh dynasty (13th c) , when initial design of garden was done by Ghiasuddin Jamshid Kashani. Later it was completely destroyed by earthquake and once again by the Mongol invasion, until it was restored in the Safavid era in occasion of King Ismail's coronation and later designed by Sheikh Bahai to become a popular pleasure spot for Sefevid royal family. 

Fin Garden KashanFin Garden, Kashan, Iran 

8 Qajar Bath 

One of the spectacular attractions in the city of Qazvin, which is recommended to any first time visitor, is the Qajar bath. It is a beautiful small old bath located in a tiny alley at the heart of Qazvin. It is now converted into an anthropological museum. This historical attraction used as a museum today was built in 1647 by the order of the famous Safavid king Shah Abbas II. Though the bath dates back to the Safavid Era, it is called "Qajar" due to its builder's origin. 

The total area of Qajar bath is about 1045 mand consists of two separate parts for men and women and three main parts of Sarbineh (Cloak Room)Mian-dar and Garmabeh. The main door of the bathroom opens to the south and leads to the Sarbineh with a spiral staircase. The large Sarbineh of the bath, in the middle of which there is a beautiful pond (Hawz), has six elevated platforms where customers once sat for rest before and after washing. There was another door to the bathroom from the west, which was probably for women.

Qajar Bath Qazvin

Friday, 17 April 2020 15:02

All about the Persian Gulf

The Persian Gulf is a waterway that runs along the Sea of Oman between Iran and the Arabian Peninsula. It covers an area of 237,473 square kilometers and is the third largest in the world after the Gulf of Mexico and the Gulf of Hudson.

From east, Persian Gulf is connected to to the Indian Ocean and the Arabian Sea through the Strait of Hormuz and the Sea of Oman. Persian Gulf is bordered by Iran, Oman, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar and Bahrain. Meanwhile, the northern shores of the Persian Gulf are all part of Iran's political geography. Due to the rich oil and gas resources in the Persian Gulf and its shores, this waterway is considered an important and strategic area at the international level.

The historical name of this gulf, in various languages, has been the translation of the phrase "Persian Gulf" or "Persian Sea". Also, in all legal international organizations, the official name of this bay is "Persian Gulf", but some Arab countries have recently tempted to call it the "Arabian Gulf" or simply the Gulf. The International Hydrographic Organization (IHO) uses the name "Iranian Gulf" for this bay.

Geology of the Persian Gulf

Geologists believe that about 500,000 years ago, the primitive form of the Persian Gulf was formed along the southern plains of Iran, and over time, due to changes in the internal and external structure of the earth, it found its current constant form. The present-day Persian Gulf, together with its northwestern continuation now infilled by the deposits of the Mesopotamian rivers, is the remains of a once much larger basin of deposition aligned northwest to southeast that existed throughout much of geologic history.
In the beginning, the Persian Gulf was so vast that by the end of the third geological period, most of the plains of Borazjan, Behbahan, and Khuzestan of Iran were submerged up to the Zagros Mountains. In this basin vast quantities of sediments accumulated—mostly limestone and marls (a mixture of calcareous and silicate mud), together with evaporites and organic matter—which ultimately produced the area’s extensive oil resources.

Climate of the Persian Gulf

The climate of the Persian Gulf is dry and semi-tropical. Temperatures are high in summer and it sometimes reaches 50 degrees Celsius, so that the rate of evaporation would be higher than the amount of water input. Though winters may be quite cool at the northwestern extremities and the temperature is reported to be as low as 3 degrees Celsius.
In addition to the high salinity of the Persian Gulf, there are 200 freshwater springs on the bottom and 25 completely fresh water springs on its shores, all of which originate from the Zagros Mountains in Iran. The freshwater that enters the Persian Gulf is mainly confined to the runoff of the Zagros Mountains in Iran and the mountains of Turkey and Iraq.

The Arvand, Karun, Jarahi, Mand, Dalaki and Minab rivers are the largest and most abundant rivers flowing into the Persian Gulf, most of which originate in the Zagros Mountains. In the southern coast, the number of waters entering the Persian Gulf is very low, which has led to high carbonate sediments in this area. Due to its enclosure, the effect of the ocean on the Persian Gulf is very small, and therefore the speed of its lower and horizontal currents is very low, about 10 cm per second. The greater salinity of the Persian Gulf than the ocean gives rise to the flow of water from the Indian Ocean to the Persian Gulf, which runs parallel to the coast of Iran and in a counter-clockwise direction

 

Persian Gulf Old Map

Persian Gulf Old Map in French - 1748

Persian Gulf Islands

There are many islands in the Persian Gulf, some of which are of little importance and some are strategical for the country economy. Most of the important islands in the Persian Gulf belong to Iran such as Qeshm, Kish, Khark, Abu Musa, Tonb-e Bozorg, Tonb-e Kuchak, Hormuz and Lavan Island.Among the islands of the Persian Gulf, more than 30 residential and non-residential islands belong to Iran. Some of these islands get regularly submerged due to the tide. These uninhabited islands are of special global importance as habitats for corals, nests of sea swallows and turtles, as well as habitats for migratory birds. The largest island of the Persian Gulf is called Qeshm.

Qeshm Island
Qeshm Island, known as the largest island of Iran and of the Persian Gulf, is one of the islands of the Hormozgan Province and lies in the Strait of Hormuz. Qeshm Island has been considered one of the top tourist destinations in Iran in recent years. Qeshm is full of natural and extraordinary attractions which can't be found anywhere in Iran. The natural and historical attractions, along with the culture of the island's indigenous people have made a great number of visitors visit Qeshm as their destination of choice every year. Below we will get acquainted with the most important tourist attractions in Qeshm. Travel to Qeshm is feasible by sea and air. Qeshm has an international airport. It should be noted that this airport is a hub of Qeshm Airlines.Due to the weather conditions of Qeshm Island, the best time to travel to this island is in autumn and in winter. Qeshm in winter brings a mild climate experience with an average of 24 degrees Celsius. Read More

Qeshm Island Qeshm Island, Iran

Hormuz Island
The island of Hormuz is called the small island of the Persian Gulf. It is a picturesque island full of different colors, with a completely different culture so that you enter another planet as you enter Hormuz. Hormuz Island, land of colors and wonders, boasts spectacular landscapes from colorful soils to extraordinary architecture, with a fascinating story to hear and a sight to behold. It is interesting to know that the soil of Hormuz can be seen in seventy different colors, an eatable soil with healing effects which is one of the wonders of this place. By the 14th century, the population of the island was 7,000 people, and Hormuz was known as a commercial city by the river Minab. It is interesting to know that when the Mongols invaded Iran, around 700 years ago, Hormuz Island was a city at the mouth of the river Minab. After the Mongol invasion, the fifteenth ruler of Hormuz and inhabitants fled the town and took their refuge first to Kish Island and then to Laron. Hormuz Island is an oval-shaped, dome-shaped island with an area of 42 square kilometers at the entrance to the Persian Gulf and 2 kilometers to Bandar Abbas. The island of Hormuz is considered the key to the Persian Gulf because of its geographical location and its proximity to the Strait of Hormuz. It is in this context that Hormuz Island has historically been particularly important in Qeshm, both geographically and commercially. Colorful mountains, cliffs formed over millions of years of erosion, magnificent salt rocks and, most of all, red soil - these are spectacular attractions on the island of Hormuz, so traveling to Hormuz Island, especially in the cold seasons, can be the best choice for a pleasant and dreamy trip. Be it. Make sure to include Hormuz Island in your tour list. The island will amaze you with its beauties.

 Hormuz Island Iran Hormuz Island, Iran

Why is the Persian Gulf important? 

The biggest importance of the Persian Gulf is the existence of rich oil and gas resources on the the sea bed and its shores, so that this area is called the "World Oil Reservoir". The Persian Gulf is a transit route for oil from Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, and is therefore an important and strategic region. About 30 percent of the world's oil is supplied from the Persian Gulf region, which sometimes increases and sometimes decreases. Oil produced in the Persian Gulf must be transported through the Strait of Hormuz.

In terms of oil resources, the Persian Gulf has many advantages over other parts of the world, such as ease of extraction, low production costs, excess production capacity, high quality of crude oil, ease of transportation, high production capacity of wells and the possibility of discovering new vast oil reserves. According to the latest statitstics, Persian Gulf reserves about 730 billion barrels of oil reserves and more than 70 trillion cubic meters of natural gas. There are also important ports on the Persian Gulf, including Bandar Abbas, Bushehr, Bandar Lengeh, Kish, Khorramshahr and Mahshahr port in Iran, and Sharjah, Dubai and Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates, and the ports of Basra and Al-Faw port in Iraq.

 Kish Island Greek ShipLeft: Aground Greek Ship, Kish, Iran    |    Right: Hormuz Island Shore, Iran 

Kish Island
Kish Island, often called the Pearl of the Persian Gulf has an area of 90 square km (36 sq. miles). It is known for being a beautiful resort in the Middle East and the Persian Gulf. Kish Island has relaxed laws in comparison to the rest of Iran. Like mainland Iran, the people of Kish are friendly and hospitable. has a very hot climate due to geographical and regional conditions. In fact, summers on this island are very long and sometimes reach up to 95% humidity. In Kish you will rarely see rain except in winter and in the form of rainstorms. Therefore, it can be said that the best month to travel and stay in Kish is between January and May, where you can escape the cold in other parts of the country and seek refuge in the cool air of Kish. Interesting thing about Kish climate is that the oxygen on the island is pure that even pulmonary patients do not need to use oxygen capsules and this feature is only available in five locations around the world. The average annual temperature of this beautiful island is about 24 degrees Celsius. Most of the island's vegetation is composed of palm trees, although native to the trees are Persian Kahur, Eucalyptus, Acacia and Albizia lebbeck. Most of the vegetation and trees in this area are resistant against heat and dehydration. Read More

Persian Gulf Fauna

The Persian Gulf is one of the largest habitats for marine organisms such as corals, small ornamental fish, edible and non-edible fish, oysters, snails, mollusks, sea anemones, sea sponges, Jelly fish, turtles, many dolphins and sharks. Environmentalists are concerned about endangered various species of mammals in the Persian Gulf due to water pollution and lack of sufficient knowledge. Drought and lack of nutrients entering the water have caused some Persian Gulf aquatic species to remain underdeveloped.

1Persian Gulf ّFish

More than 150 different species of fish are found in the Persian Gulf. Most of the Persian Gulf aquatic animals live in salty waters, except for a few that enter the fresh waters of Karun, Bahman Shir and Arvand rivers, where they lay eggs and reproduce. The most important types of commercial fish in the Persian Gulf are Silver pomfret (Pampus argenteus), Indo-Pacific king mackerel (Scomberomorus guttatus), The narrow-barred Spanish mackerel (Scomberomorus commerson), Javelin grunt (Pomadasys kaakan), Redmouth grouper (Aethaloperca rogaa ), Parrotfish, Black pomfret, Drums (Sciaenidae), Ilish, Flounders, and Snappers. Other valuable food products in the Persian Gulf include shrimp. A variety of edible oysters are also found on some beaches, such as Bandar Abbas Beach and Gasheh Beach (Oyster Beach) in the port of Lengeh, as well as around some islands such as Hormoz, Qeshm and Lark, the main markets of which are European countries.

 Fishing in Persian Gulf Iran is the largest fishery producer in the region, with a 2,440 km coastline along the Persian Gulf and Oman Sea, and a 740 km coastline in the north along the southern part of the Caspian Sea.There are many fish landing areas in southern Iran, distributed all along the coastline, and despite gradually increasing effort, the total catch has fluctuated in recent years.

2Persian Gulf turtles

Five of the eight species of existing turtles in the world live in the waters of the Persian Gulf and the Sea of Oman. Two species of eagle turtles and green turtles lay their eggs on the coasts and islands of Iran. These two turtles live on the coasts of islands such as Hormuz, Lark, Qeshm, and shallow coastal areas, and their main spawning sites are on the islands of Hormuz, Hengam, Farur, Shidur, Lavan, and Kish. Fishing activities, the presence of garbage, sewage and oil pollution is poisoning the Persian Gulf turtle population.

Left: Requiem sharks of Persian Gulf      |       Right: Hawksbill sea turtle, Kish Coral Beach, Iran 

3Persian Gulf dolphins and whales

Dolphins and whales are among the mammals that live in the Persian Gulf and the Sea of Oman. Bottlenose dolphins, as well as Porpoises live in the south of Qeshm Island, near the islands of Hengam, Salarak and Hormuz – Places that are exposed to various dangers.
Lack of adequate research and lack of expertise have reduced the number of Humpback whales and gray whales. The collision of dolphins and whales with boats and their Propellers , as well as the pollution of some parts of the Persian Gulf with oil and chemical pollutants, threaten the lives of these mammals. According to some reports, the Persian Gulf whale is in danger of extinction.

Scuba Diving in Kish Left: Scuba Diving in Kish Island, Iran    |    Right: Hengam Island Dolphins  

4Sharks of the Persian Gulf 

Sharks are a group of cartilaginous fish with a spindle-shaped body whose ancestors lived 450 million years ago. Sharks are one of the most valuable aquatic animals, which have long been chased for their profitable use of meat, vitamin-rich oils, fins, skin, and teeth. On the other hand, because of misunderstanding and unnecessary fear of this animal , they have been brutally invaded by humans.
These fish have the largest liver among all aquatic animals and use an organ called "Ampullae of lorenzini" to receive their prey's electric field. The fish also have heat exchangers deep in their muscles that keep their body temperature above 10 deegrees C more than the environment water heat.

Seven species of sharks live in the waters of the Persian Gulf, including Requiem sharks (Carcharhinidae), Long-tailed carpet sharks, whale sharks (Rincodon tidae), Scalloped hammed head (Sphranidae),  Houndsharks (Triakidae), Zebra Sharks (Stegostomatidae) , and zebra sharks. Due to the high price of sharks compared to other fish in the Persian Gulf, overfishing has increased dramatically in recent years, putting their offspring at risk of extinction. Since most shark species living in the Persian Gulf are living, it is not possible to develop a good program to revive their offspring. Also, these sharks move to shallower bodies (which provide the lowest temperature for their offspring) at birth, and increasing the destruction of coastal areas is another threat to their offspring's survival.