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Islands in Iran

Islands are not something usually associated with the desert land of Iran. But in this vast and beautiful country, there is a bit of everything. The islands of the Persian Gulf are home to a plethora of geographical wonders, they’re easy to get to, cheap to visit, and have great weather. Yet most people don’t even know they exist.

Just a short 40-minute ferry trip from the south of Iran lie Qeshm and Hormuz islands. Between them, they boast an impressive array of sights and activities that you won’t find in many guidebooks. Qeshm Island has recently been announced as a visa-free zone for all countries, meaning even those who need a tour or special visa for mainland Iran can visit here independently with daily flights from Dubai. So if you love nature, history, culture, camels, and getting off the beaten path, Iran’s islands should be on your radar.

History

Kish Island has been mentioned in history variously as Kamtina, Arakia (Ancient Greek: Αρακία), Arakata, and Ghiss.

Kish Island’s strategic geographic location served as a way-station and link for the ancient Assyrian and Elamite civilizations when their primitive sailboats navigated from Susa through the Karun River into the Persian Gulf along the southern coastline, passing Kish, Qeshm, and Hormoz islands. When these civilizations vanished, Kish Island’s advantageous position was lost and for a period it was subjected to turmoil and the tyranny of local potentates and other vendors. With the establishment of the Achaemenid dynasty, the Persian Gulf was profoundly affected. Kish was, in particular, economically and politically linked with the civilization of the Medes, Persians when they were at the height of their power.

In the shadow of the empire, the islands in the Gulf became prosperous, navigation in the Persian Gulf was expanded, and better vessels were used to carry passengers and goods. Navigational aids, including lighthouses, were set up to facilitate navigation in the Persian Gulf.

In 325 BC, Alexander the Great commissioned Nearchus to set off on an expeditionary voyage to the Sea of Oman and the Persian Gulf. Nearchus’s writings on Arakata contain the first-known mention of Kish Island in antiquity. When Marco Polo visited the Imperial court in China, he commented on the Emperor’s wife’s pearls; he was told that they were from Kish.

In the 1970s, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, the last Shah of Iran, turned the island into a luxury resort for the international elite and a tourism hotspot, complete with a Grand Casino (renamed as the Shayan International Hotel after the Iranian Revolution). Kish Airport was designed to handle the Concorde. After the Islamic Revolution, Kish Island became a duty-free shopping center.

Kish Island is the last known location of Robert Levinson, a “former F.B.I. the agent turned private investigator” who disappeared there on 9 March 2007

 

Tourist attractions

Kish Island

Kish Island is one of the Persian Gulf islands and is part of the Kish region, Bandar Lengeh city in Hormozgan province and is one of the most famous places in Hormozgan province in southern Iran. In the past, it was called “qis”. The shape of the island is elliptical and is located 12 km from the shiboku coast. On average, over one million and 700 thousand tourists visit the island on an average.

Kish Island has been mentioned in history variously as Kamtina, Arakia (Ancient Greek: Αρακία), Arakata, and Ghiss.

Kish Island’s strategic geographic location served as a way-station and link for the ancient Assyrian and Elamite civilizations when their primitive sailboats navigated from Susa through the Karun River into the Persian Gulf along the southern coastline, passing Kish, Qeshm, and Hormoz islands. When these civilizations vanished, Kish Island’s advantageous position was lost and for a period it was subjected to turmoil and the tyranny of local potentates and other vendors. With the establishment of the Achaemenes dynasty, the Persian Gulf was profoundly affected. Kish was, in particular, economically and politically linked with the civilization of the Medes, Persians when they were at the height of their power.

In the shadow of the empire, the islands in the Gulf became prosperous, navigation in the Persian Gulf was expanded, and better vessels were used to carry passengers and goods. Navigational aids, including lighthouses, were set up to facilitate navigation in the Persian Gulf.

In 325 BC, Alexander the Great commissioned Nearchus to set off on an expeditionary voyage to the Sea of Oman and the Persian Gulf. Nearchus’s writings on Arakata contain the first-known mention of Kish Island in antiquity. When Marco Polo visited the Imperial court in China, he commented on the Emperor’s wife’s pearls; he was told that they were from Kish.

In the 1970s, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, the last Shah of Iran, turned the island into a luxury resort for the international elite and a tourism hotspot, complete with a Grand Casino (renamed as the Shayan International Hotel after the Iranian Revolution). Kish Airport was designed to handle the Concorde. After the Islamic Revolution, Kish Island became a duty-free shopping center.

 

 

Siri Island

Siri Island is an Iranian island located in the Persian Gulf. The island is trapezoids and is slightly higher and is far from Abu Musa Island. The island has an area of 17 square kilometers.

Siri island (also known as Siri Island) is situated 76 kilometers (47 mi) from Bandar-e Lengeh and 50 kilometers (31 mi) west of Abu Musa island. The island is one of six in the Abu Musâ Island Group (and is part of Hormozgan province). The island is almost 5.6 kilometers (3.5 mi) long with a width of about 3 kilometers (1.9 mi). It covers an area of 17.33 square kilometers (6.7 square miles). The highest point on the island is 33 meters (108 feet) above sea level. Like the other islands in the Persian Gulf, it enjoys a warm and humid climate.

Siri Island is the location of an oil platform that was once destroyed by the naval forces of the United States during Operation Praying Mantis on April 18, 1988. The platform was reconstructed later, after the war. The Siri District includes the Sivand and Dena Oil Fields, Nosrat Oil Field, Alvand Oil Field and the Esfand Oil Field along with the Nasr offshore oil platforms. The airport located on the island (Siri Airport (SXI)) is uncontrolled with a single 8,140-foot (2,480 m) runway though Iranian military planes have been seen there.

The Iranian Offshore Oil Company (IOOC) has undertaken several major oil and gas development projects on the island including a $0.5 billion (USD) NGL Gas factory and a development contract to develop and increase production of the Iranian Nosrat oil field which is projected to increase crude oil production capacity from 5,000 to 16,000 barrels per day (790 to 2,540 cubic meters per day). Another project plan for the renovation of the crude oil export facilities and construction of two large crude oil storage tanks, each with 500,000 barrels (79,000 m3) capacity, on the island is also planned.

 

Hormoz island

Hormuz is a saltwater dip in the Gulf and 8 km from Bandar Abbas. The island is due to its geographical location and its proximity to the Strait of Hormuz, the key to the Gulf of Persia. This is the position that made it historically, strategically and comfortably important.

The island, known as Organa (Όργανα) to the ancient Greeks and as Jarun in the Islamic period, acquired the name of “Hormuz” from the important harbor town of Hormuz (Ormus) on the mainland 60 km away, which had been a center of a minor principality on both sides of the strait. The principality paid tribute to the Mongol-ruled Ilkhanate and was an important source of income from maritime trade.[1] The town’s ruler decided to shift his residence to the island around 1300, in order to evade attacks by Mongolian and Turkish groups from the interior. The ruler later made peace with the IL khans.

A new town was built on the northern tip of Jarun island which was called New Hormuz for a number of years to distinguish it from the old town on the mainland until this fell into ruins. Slowly the name of the new town came to be used for the island as well.

The island is arid, and during the summer months, the temperature can rise to over 43 °C (109 °F). As such, it was not an ideal location for the capital of a principality as all provisions including water had to be brought from the mainland. Its location, however, gave the island a degree of security which let it grow to be a major trading port for several centuries. As its competitors suffered from intermittent destruction, Hormuz remained a reliable and relatively safe harborage.

Hormuz was visited by Marco Polo, the famous traveler, at around 1290 while traveling by land, as described in his travelogue.

Ibn Battuta also visited the island and New Hormuz.

In the 15th century, Hormuz was visited several times by a Chinese fleet led by Zheng He as he explored the Indian Ocean during the Ming Dynasty’s naval ventures.

In 1505 the reign King Manuel I of Portugal led Portugal to establish a policy of expansion in Africa and western Asia. During attempts to expand Portuguese influence into the Indian Ocean, the Portuguese duke Afonso de Albuquerque captured the island in 1507 and it was incorporated into the greater Portuguese Empire. The Portuguese constructed a fortress on the island to deter potential invaders, naming it the Fort of Our Lady of the Conception. The island became an emergency stopover point for Portuguese ships traveling to Goa, Gujarat and nearby Kish. In 1622 the island was captured from the Portuguese by a combined Anglo-Persian force at the behest of the English East India Company.

Shah Abbas, I distrusted the local population and was not interested in maintaining the island as a trading center or military post; instead, he developed the nearby mainland port of Bander Abbas. Hormuz went into decline. Many of its inhabitants seasonally moved to their fields and orchards around the old Hormuz on the mainland, only fishermen being in permanent residence. The island continued to export small quantities of rock salt and lumps of iron oxide which were used as ballast stones for sailing ships.

After a period of Omani administration in the 19th century, it remained just as a sparsely inhabited fishermen’s island and showed some development in the later years of the 20th century.

 

Qeshm Island

Qeshm is one of the islands of Hormozgan province, which is the largest island of Iran and the Persian Gulf in the Strait of Hormuz. The island has become a tourist and tourist destination in the last few decades. From the spectacular points of the island, the markets and its natural scenery, such as Hara forests, Gorges Caves, Chah-Kouh Strait, Gulf Persian Gulf Dolphins, Valley of Stars, Isle of Nazes, and Caves of Nawkdan.

Qeshm Island is located a few kilometers off the southern coast of Iran (Persian Gulf), opposite the port cities of Bandar Abbas and Bandar Khamir. The island, which hosts a 300-square-kilometer (116-square-mile) free zone jurisdiction, is 135 km long and lies strategically in the Strait of Hormuz, just 60 kilometers (37 miles) from the Omani port of Khasab, and about 180 kilometers (112 miles) from the UAE Port Rashid. The island, at its widest point, located near the center of the island, spans 40 kilometers (25 miles). Similarly, at its narrowest point, the island spans 9.4 kilometers (5.8 miles). The island has a surface area of 1,491 square kilometers (576 square miles) and is 2.5 times the size of Bahrain. Qeshm, located at the easternmost point of the island, is 22 kilometers (14 miles) from Bandar Abbas while the closest point of the island is but two kilometers (1 mile) from the mainland.

The average temperature on the island is approximately 27 °C (81 °F). The warmest months are June through August and the coldest from October to January. The average rainfall is 183.2 mm (7 3⁄16 in).

The island comprises 59 towns and villages and the population was 117,774 at the 2011 Census. The local population is involved in fishing, dhow construction, trade, and services. An additional 30,000 are involved in administrative and industrial workforce and students.

Plans have also been made to build a bridge to connect Qeshm with the rest of Iran.

Qeshm Island has multiple attractions to attract more domestic and foreign tourists.

 

Persian Gulf

Inhabited

  • Abu Moussa
  • Bent
  • Buneh
  • Dara
  • Farsi
  • Faror
  • Farvargan
  • Hendorabi
  • Hengam
  • Hormuz
  • Jonobi
  • Kharg
  • Kish
  • Larak
  • Lavan
  • Minu
  • Qabre Nakhoda
  • Qeshm
  • Shidvar Island
  • Shif
  • Shomali
  • Sirri
  • Lesser Tunb
  • Greater Tunb

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