Visit Portuguese Castle of Hormuz

June 22, 2019

TEHRAN – The crumbling Portuguese Castle of Hormuz Island, built in the early 16th century, is one of the last surviving monuments of the colonial rule in the Persian Gulf. It is now a tourism attraction where you can soak up the silence while traveling through time. For visitors it seems to be easy to imagine the hustle and bustle of Portuguese military forces five centuries ago!

History of the Portuguese Castle of Hormuz Island goes down in time when Commander Afonso de Albuquerque ordered the construction of a fortress in 1507 after his troops captures the island in early 16th century.

Made from reddish stones on a rocky promontory at the north end of the island, the castle was cut off from the rest of the island by a moat, traces of which still remain. The stronghold involves arms depot, water reservoir, barrack, prison, church, command center and central hall.

Muscular-looking walls, chambers and archways as well as sets of rusting cannons in the courtyard still give the area a scenic beauty. A subterranean church featuring vaulted ceilings, a watchtower, and a submerged cistern are amongst other attractions of the site. 

In addition, upper levels of fort offers wonderful views of the island, its village, rugged mountains all surrounded by the blue waters of the Persian Gulf.

Scenic colorful mountains in Iran’s Hormuz Island

There are some Portuguese fortresses (commonly called as Portuguese castles by the locals) scattered across the Persian Gulf, including Qeshm Island, Kong Port, Oman, Ras al-Khaimah (UAE), and Chabahar.

Hormuz, which is mostly barren and hilly, is situated some eight kilometers off the coast on the Strait of Hormuz. It remained occupied by the Portuguese from 1514 to 1622 when it was recaptured by joint Anglo-Persian forces.

Under travelers’ eyes

Here is a select of comments that visitors to the island have posted to TripAdvisor, one of the most popular travel websites in the world:

“Awesome Hormuz”

It has been a super stay on Hormuz. Together with a friend who knows all about this island. There are so many beautiful nature and geologic things to see. So many colors right in nature. Also the people here are super nice. An island you must go! (Leo V. from Leeuwarden, the Netherlands; reviewed November 2018)

“Spend a few days on Hormuz Island!”

This last summer I visited Hormuz Island and it was an incredible experience. I have never seen a more magical place! In this review, I will present some tips and a recommendation for room rental in case you want to spend a few days without having to leave back and forward the island.

We already had prepaid accommodation on Qeshm Island so one day we just decided to take the boat early in the morning and visit Hormuz Island for one day. We had done some research, but not much practical information is available online. First of all, it is advised and very typical that tourists visit this island in the autumn/winter/spring time when the temperatures are bearable. Access: you can get to Hormuz Island only by boat from Qeshm Island or from Bandar Abbas as I know… (Silvia M. from Denmark; reviewed October 2018)

Hormuz Island is teemed with colorful soil used as a kind of spice by the locals

“This island is awesome”

The most amazing island in Iran, in my opinion. There are too many places to see and adore the nature of this island. You can reach Hormuz from Qeshm or Bandar Abbas by small cruises, which are not so equipped but they are safe. (SaEdeh H. from Balwyn, Australia; reviewed June 2018)

“A bit of a disappointment”

There is basically very little here. A few information panels and a lot of stones from what was the Portuguese castle. However, close by there are some delightful murals that make the trip worthwhile. (wrightone50 from Austria; reviewed February 2018)

“Too small to be called castle”

It's a small castle with good maintenance. Considering its size and distance to the residential areas, it would be better to be called as a fort. Better come before sunset as you may enjoy golden ruins with magical call of prayer (adzan). (Iko O. from Jakarta, Indonesia; Reviewed December 2017)

AFM/MG

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