Types of Tourism in Iran
The history of Iran is about 5000 years old, the country can rightfully be considered the cradle of civilization. One of the most ancient cities of the planet, the most important shrines of Zoroastrianism and Islam, and world cultural centers are located here. The main tourist sites of Iran are the oldest cities of the country and the world included in the “Golden Triangle”: Hamadan, Kermanshah and Khorramabad, founded on the site of the legendary biblical city of Susa – Shush, surrounded by the capitals of the Achaemenid Empire – Persepolis and Pasargada – the most beautiful city of Shiraz, the capital of ancient Azerbaijan – Tabriz, capital of the Safavid Empire – Isfahan, located on the western outskirts of the desert zone of Yazd, Kerman and Bam, the holy city of Shiites Mashhad and the current capital of the country – Tehran. Check top-medical-schools.org for travel information in Iran.
Every city in Iran has a traditional oriental bazaar where you can buy a wide variety of goods. Iranian bazaars are a great place to get acquainted with the culture of the country and its inhabitants. In addition, the bazaars of large cities are entire architectural complexes, which include not only shopping arcades, but also ancient caravanserais, mosques, madrasahs, baths and tea houses. The main goods that attract tourists are chic Persian carpets, jewelry, silk products, coinage and spices. The largest bazaars of the country are located in Tehran, Tabriz, Mashhad, Isfahan, Kerman and Shiraz.
The territory of Iran is located at the junction of the Eurasian and Indo-Australian lithospheric plates. Due to the constant movement of lithospheric plates, earthquakes periodically occur in the country, especially near its northern and eastern borders. In the northern part of Iran there are the most famous extinct volcanoes of the state – located 50 km northeast of Tehran, the Damavend volcano (5610 m), which is part of the mountainous country of Elburs; Sabalan volcano located 100 km from the coast of the Caspian Sea(4811 m), which is part of the mountains of Iranian Azerbaijan, and located in the same mountainous region, 70 km south of Tabriz, the Sahand volcano (3707 m). All of these volcanoes are great places for mountaineering and hiking. On their slopes there are numerous hot springs with healing properties, picturesque waterfalls and lakes, as well as forests with rich wildlife. The most popular hot springs are located near the village of Kandovan on the northern slope of the Sahand volcano, they are known as an excellent remedy for treating kidney diseases, and the springs near the village of Sarein on the slopes of the Sabalan volcano, which contain a significant amount of sulfur compounds and help with pain in the bones and joints.
Kevir National Park is located 120 km south of Tehran. It is located at the western borders of the Deshte-Kevir desert. From the west, a vast salt lake adjoins the park, which is filled with water only in the winter months. In the park on an area of 4000 sq. km stretch desert and steppe regions. Often the landscapes of the park are compared with African ones. Wild donkeys, rams, sheep and goats, leopards, gazelles, wild cats, hyenas, wolves, jackals, desert foxes, hares and porcupines live here. Also in the park you can see birds such as flamingos, geese, ducks, pheasants, cranes and eagles. At the junction of the provinces of East Azerbaijan and West Azerbaijan in the northwestern part of Iran is the salt lake Urmia. It is located 60 km west Tabriz. This is the largest lake in Iran and the second largest salt lake in the world. Its area is 5000 sq. km, the maximum depth is 5 m. Due to its uniqueness, the lake and the territories adjacent to it became part of the national park of the same name. A road has been laid along Lake Urmia, and you can also travel on the lake by boat. The high salinity of Lake Urmia does not allow any life to develop in its waters. According to the chemical composition, the water of Lake Urmia is similar to the water of the Dead Sea. It is used in the treatment of dermatitis and rheumatism. There are many hospitals on the coast of the lake. Inside the lake there are about a hundred islands, most of which are located in its southern part. Among them are Eslami Island and Kabudan Island. Kabudan Island is home to many birds: flamingos, pelicans, wild geese and a variety of gulls.
In Iran, the biosphere reserve of the northern part of Qeshm Island, which protects the protected area of the mangrove forests of Kharra, is also of interest. “Harra” is the common name for all the mangrove forests of the southern coast of the country. They mainly consist of white and gray mangrove trees. Harra Forest, located on the island of Qeshm, in winter becomes a habitat for many migratory birds: flamingos, pelicans, herons and others. In addition, green turtles and poisonous sea snakes are found in the local reserve. In the southern part of the island of Qeshm, you can also visit the protected beaches near the village of Shibderaz, where turtles lay their eggs.
In the Iranian province of Kermanshah, in the vicinity of its administrative center on the Parau plateau, there is the largest limestone cave in the world – Kuh-i-Parau. There are about 30 lakes in the cave.
75 km northeast of the city of Hamadan (the administrative center of the province of the same name) is the country’s most popular and most accessible cave for tourists – Ali Sadr. According to the latest data, the length of the cave is 11,200 m. Most of it is flooded, so tourists travel through it by boat. The water here is very clean, you can see everything that happens up to a depth of 10 m. The main gallery of the cave has dimensions of 100×50 m and reaches a height of 40 m.
Also in Iran salt caves of Qeshm island are popular. They are located off the west coast of the island. Numerous caves are located here, the vaults of which are covered with salt deposits. They were formed due to the fact that streams of salt-saturated water flow down the slopes of the caves. In this area, in a place called Namakdan, there is the longest salt cave in the world – Three Nahashi with a length of 6200 m. Inside you can see winding galleries, underground salt rivers and bizarre stalactites.
There are several ski resorts in the Elburz mountains near Tehran. The ski season lasts here from the end of November to the end of April. Moreover, you can relax in mountain resorts in the summer. The closest ski resort to the capital – Tochal. It is located at an altitude of 1600 m on the slopes of the mountain of the same name, at the foot of which Tehran is located. The resort is popular with locals. Skiers are offered two ski areas: Tochal and Shakhnechin with 17 pistes, more than half of which are of an increased level of difficulty. Here is one of the longest gondola lifts in the world with a length of 8 km. The slopes of the resort are also suitable for freeride lovers. Shemshak, the oldest ski resort in the country, is located 57 km northwest of Tehran.. It was built in 1959. The resort is located at an altitude of 2550 m and has a significant elevation difference – about 500 m. Shemshak is more suitable for beginners. There are 10 trails to choose from with opportunities for night skiing and snowboarding. There are 2 hotels for accommodation in Shemshak. The resort’s infrastructure also includes ski equipment rental and 4 restaurants. In 1969, a ski resort Dizin was built just above Shemshak at an altitude of 2650 m. Now it is the most popular and highest ski resort in the country and the largest ski resort in the Middle East. Skiing area – 469 hectares. The height difference within the resort is 965 m. Dizin more suitable for trained skiers and extreme sportsmen. The resort is equipped with 12 slopes and 8 lifts. The snow depth here can reach 3 m, however, the slopes are not processed very well and therefore their surface is bumpy. Holidays in Dizin are quite cheap compared to European resorts, a ski pass for one day costs about 5 US dollars, and equipment rental is a maximum of 30 US dollars. Tourists are offered rental of modern equipment, a ski school, two hotels, 19 cottages and 5 restaurants. In the summer, you can ski on the grass here.
Also popular ski resorts Ab-e Ali, located 75 km east of Tehran at an altitude of 2400 m, and Darbandsar, which is located 60 km northeast of Tehran at an altitude of 2600 m.
Off the southern coast of Iran in the Persian Gulf is the most popular resort in the country and one of the most popular resorts in the Middle East – Kish Island. This coral island is located 17 km from the mainland of Iran. Resort complexes began to appear here in 1960, and after the Islamic Revolution, Kish Island was declared a free trade zone, which began to attract many tourists here, because in connection with this, numerous hotels, shopping and entertainment centers began to be built here. The best send to Kish Island in the period from November to March, when the heat subsides and comfortable weather sets in. White sand beaches stretch along the entire coast of the island. Tourists should remember that many beaches are divided into male and female, however, on the beaches owned by hotels, there will be no problems with joint sunbathing of men and women. In total, there are more than fifty hotels on the island, dozens of shopping centers and several sports complexes.
Kish Resort Island washed by the waters of the Persian Gulf, where you can see coral reefs with a wide variety of inhabitants. There are several dive centers on the island with equipment rental and experienced instructors. Local dive sites are suitable for divers of various skill levels. The maximum diving depth of most sites does not exceed 10 m, and underwater visibility can reach 20 m. Groupers, angelfish, butterflyfish, snappers, triggerfish, moray eels, barracudas, turtles, stingrays and reef sharks are most often found in the local waters.
The most popular dive sites of Kish Island are located off the south coast. Go to a place called Big Coral. It is a coral reef composed mainly of hard corals. It runs parallel to the coast at depths of 6 to 2 m. It is home to colorful tropical fish, reef sharks, turtles, moray eels and rays. Not far from here is the Jurassic Park dive site, where you can see turtles, crabs, lobsters and rays. An interesting dive site is Oyster Bank, which is located on an underwater plateau at a depth of 5-10 m. The Southern Fault dive site offers the deepest dives (up to 25 m). Here you can see a variety of fish, whale sharks and even hammerhead sharks. Also popular is Hendoraby Island. surrounded on all sides by coral reefs. Thanks to the steady currents that run along its coast, drift diving is possible here.