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My Trip to Qeshm Island, Iran

My Travels Home Mianeh Kish Island West India Qeshm Island Chabahar Ancient Persia Kelardasht UK Hamburg Italy Egypt Paris Budapest

16-20 March 2007, Qeshm International Hotel (4*), Qeshm, Iran.


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About Qeshm Island

Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia


Qeshm Local Time

Qeshm (Persian: قشم - pronounced kē´shm or Jazireh-e-qeshm; Arabic: Jazirat At-tawilah, meaning "long island") is an island situated in the Strait of Hormuz off the south coast of Iran (Persia) and east of the Persian Gulf (26°50′N 56°0′E). It has an area of over 1295 km˛. Clarence Strait separates mainland Iran from Qeshm Island. The surface is mostly rocky and barren. It is Iran's largest and the Persian Gulf's largest island, Qeshm is almost 100 kilometres long. Explorer William Baffin was mortally wounded on Qeshm in 1622 AD during a battle against Portuguese forces. Qeshm island is also a free trade zone, which has made the island very important due to international trade.

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II. Background

Historically, Qeshm island dates back far into the pre-Islamic era. Names as Qeshm, Keshm, Kish and Tunb mark the lengthy stay of Elamites in the area several centuries before Christ's birth. It is, apparently, the island called Alexandria or Aracia by Ptolemy (Book 6, Chap. IV), in the 2nd century CE and as Alexandria by Ammianus Marcellinus (xxiii.6.42) in the 4th century. On account of its strategic geopolitical situation, near the mouth of the Persian Gulf it has been frequently attacked by invaders including Elamites, Omavids, Abbasids as well as the Portuguese and British, whose ravages are still evident. According to historical records, Qeshm Island has been famous as a trade and navigation centre. Its economy flourished during Dialameh and Al-e-Bouyeh eras, as trade vessels sailed between it and China, India and Africa.

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III. Attractions

Qeshm island is famous for its wide range of ecotourist attractions such as the Hara marine forests. According to environmentalists, about 1.5% of the world birds and 25% of Iran's native birds annually migrate to Hara forests which is the first national geo park.

An ancient Portuguese castle, historic mosques, Seyyed Mozaffar and Bibi Maryam shrines, various ponds and mangrove forests are among the tourism attractions in the island, which sits across the azure waters of the Persian Gulf. Several domes, salty caves, the preserved area in Shibderaz Village where turtles hatch as well as numerous ports and wharfs are among the tourist potentials of the island.

Fishing is a leading occupation practiced by the inhabitants of the island. On what little cultivated land there is, dates and melons are grown. Salt is mined on the south-eastern coast. The population of Qeshm Island is about 200,000. Nowadays, Qeshm attracts thousands of tourists every year due to natural beauties and modern malls. There are nice hotels and motels in the island. Hara Sea-Forest is a natural feature of tropical and subtropical forests and is one of the most beautiful attractions of Qeshm island.

Qeshm is also considered a supposed site of the Garden of Eden according to Cassells Bible.

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IV. Iran Air Flight 655

On July 3, 1988, an Iran Air Airbus A300 (Iran Air Flight 655) was shot down by a United States Navy guided missile cruiser USS Vincennes just south of the island, resulting in 290 civilian fatalities. The wreckage splashed down 2.5 kilometres off Qeshm's southern coast.

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V. Hara Forests

The Hara forests is the common name for mangrove forests on the southern coast of Iran, particularly on and near the island of Qeshm in the Persian Gulf. Dominated by the species "Avicenna marina", known locally as the "Hara" or "Harra" tree, the forests represent an important ecological resource. The "Hara Protected Area" on Qeshm and the nearly mainland is a biosphere reserve where commercial use is restricted to fishing (mainly shrimp), tourist boat trips, and limited mangrove cutting for animal feed.

A. Hara Tree Characteristics

The hara tree, "Avicenna marina", grows to heights of three to eight metres and has bright green leaves and twigs. The tree is a salt-water plant that is often submerged at high tide. It usually blossoms and bears fruit from mid-July to August, with yellow flowers and a sweet almond-like fruit. The seeds fall into the water, where wave action takes them to more stationary parts of the sea. The hara seeds become fixed in the soil layers of the sea and grow. The area on the north shore of Qeshm and the neighbouring mainland is particularly suited to the growth of the plant, and large mangrove forests have developed.

The long, narrow, oval leaves of the tree have nutritious value for livestock roughly equivalent to barley and alfalfa. The roots of the tree are knee-form, aerial, sponge-like and usually external. There is a filtration property in the hara tree's bark which allows the plant to absorb sweet water while salt is eliminated.

B. Forest Extent and Significance

The hara forest on Qeshm and the opposite mainland covers an area of approximately 20 km by 20 km, with many tidal channels. The traditional stock breeders of Qeshm Island used the leaves of the hara tree for feeding livestock. In 1972 the Hara Protected Area was established to preserve suitable conditions for the growth and maintenance of the forests.

The area is a major habitat for migratory birds in the cold season, and for reptiles, fish, and varieties of arthropoda and bivalves. Green (or hooked) turtles and venomous aquatic snakes are also indigenous to the forests. Bird life includes herons, flamingos, pelicans, and angler eagles. Another important feature of these forests is the appropriate and suitable seabed conditions for the ovulation of fish in the Persian Gulf.

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VI. Lāft Town

Laft is a historical and ancient city which is dated to more than 2000 years ago. The natural view and scene of Laft is covered with green and verdant tropical trees, tall palm gardens, beside attractive and dazzling beauty of the sea and floating Hara forests that draw the newcomer's attention. The architectural style of the houses of Laft are very amazing and attractive. The most obvious architectural features of the houses is their various windbreaks (windtowers) that are in different size. The people of Laft constructed (and now are still remaining) them for making the inner space of the building cool in summers. The buildings of Laft are constructing near each other with winding and narrow alleys. These buildings are located at gardens and Palm gardens which are doubled the beauty and magnificence of the coastal complex of Laft .Beside the admirable nature of the Laft Complex, there are some Historical monuments that are valuable such as Naderi Castle (square shaped castle with four towers), two rounded dome-like reservoirs, burial ground which some of its inscriptions are dated to 1000 years ago, the Shrines of Seyyed Hassan Mansur, Sheikh Tousi, and Sheikh Andarabi. Behind the Laft castle, in the crater near the castle, based on the Leap year in Iran (each 4 years, one day is added to the total days of the year), 366 Tala (Golden) wells were dug for gathering the rainwater. Some Historians believe that these wells are related to Achaemenian and Sassanian dynasties. At Laft harbour, there is a dock which is related to Median, Achaemenian, and Sassanian dynasties. This dock is about 130 m long and the main seabed thick of about 7m. The walls at the dock are about 3m that are made up bevelled stones. Across from Laft and Khamir harbours, there is a very small Island which is named Sheikh Andarabi. Some parts of this small Island are covered with water at the high tide time. The distance between Laft harbour and Sheikh Andarabi Island can be covered with a speedboat in less than 5 minutes. At the north margin of Sheikh Andarabi Island, the surface of the land is lower than other parts of the Island and there are lots of Hara trees. At the southeast margin of the Island there is a famous dome which is popular as the Shrine of Sheikh Andarabi or Qadamgah-e Sheikh (footprint of Sheikh). At the low tide, the size of the island is expanded, and at the high tide, the size of it becomes less than before, because the seawater covers the majority parts of the Island. Nowadays, nobody lives there, and fishermen and sailors are still respecting this island.

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My Photos

Notes on my trip to Qeshm in Persian

Page 1

Page 1

A descriptive photo album of:

  • Kharbas Caves

  • The Stars Valley

  • Naz Islands

  • Hara Sea-Forest

  • Lāft Town

  • ...

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Page 2

A descriptive photo album of:

  • Lāft Harbour

  • Emam-Gholi Khan Square

  • Bibi water-reservoir Park

  • The Portuguese Castle

  • ...

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My Video

Traditional Music and Dances of South of Iran

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