Avoid overtourism and try these hidden gems

Eight incredible places in Iran most tourists don’t know about

April 22, 2020 - 21:0

If you are kind of a traveler who dislikes overtourism, willing to infuse money into local economies, supporting conservation projects and local artisans, and building bridges across cultures, you may find your destination here in this page.

Below are eight fascinating places for avid travelers:

Kal-e Jenni Canyon

Jinni Canyon, or as local people say Kal-e Jenni, is one of the most mysterious and stunning valleys in the country situated in South Khorasan province.

Located some 30 kilometers north of the city of Tabas, a bunch of palm trees and marches in a wide valley, mark the scenic start of the journey, however, romance mixes with horror as the trip continues.

This name consists of two parts: Kal + Jinn. ‘Kal’ is referred to any valley which has been formed by water stream in the long run. And according to the Oxford Dictionary, ‘Jinn’ is “an intelligent spirit of lower rank than the angels, able to appear in human and animal forms and to possess humans.”

There are many reasons to attribute this 16-kilometer-long valley to jinns. Firstly, many mysterious-looking arcs, columns, and walls in the canyon which are basically made by erosion but local people could not find a better constructor than jinn for them.

The next reason is related to wind. When wind sweeps through the valley, it makes strange sounds due to the structure of walls which can really make you think that there are supernatural entities living around. Also, pebbles will hit your face as you walk in the valley in windy weather; locals believed that jinns are throwing the pebbles to defend their territory.

Korshahi Castle

Korshahi Castle, or the “Castles of Thieves”, is a centuries-old structure located in the northeast of ‘Abuzeyd-Abad’ town in Isfahan province.

It is one of the important castles of Sardar Hussein Kashi, one of the bandits and outlaws during the Reza Khan Pahlavi era. The traces of his battles with the government forces can still be observed here.

Korshahi is one of the surviving monuments of the Mongols era which has witnessed the bravery of desert people against the invasion of Mongol armies. During their fight, the soldiers sheltered in this castle and Mongols began to siege it, believing that the Iranian fighters would soon surrender because of the lack of water and food. But the interesting point is that Korshahi fort was built in a location with the shortest distance from the ground waters. So, fighters could reach the water after less than 5 meters drilling and they managed to defeat Mongols within a few days after that.

Korshahi castle is the only monument in the heart of this desert and has access to the water. Besides, the cool and breezy climate of the region makes it a perfect environment for tourists to enjoy the starry sky of the desert.

Pamenar Village

Pamenar is a quiet village, 40 kilometers away from Dezful city in Khuzestan province. It is located between Dez and Karkheh dams and so enjoys a lush, beautiful nature. Because of the low altitude of the village, the earth and the sky seem united during the sunset and this creates a dreamy landscape. This also makes the stars to look brighter at nights and you can enjoy the beauty of the sky in this tranquil environment.

In addition to its diverse, amazing nature, the village has a well-known castle and a cemetery that attracts many tourists each year. Another special attraction of Pamenar village is the lake of Dez Dam. It is one of the most beautiful lakes in Iran and has a spectacular island with an area around 60,000 meters. Tourists who choose spring for traveling to Pamenar will have the opportunity to see thousands of red anemone flowers surrounding the lake.

Shadegan Wetland

A rich habitat for wildlife, Shadegan Wetland is situated southwards of a town of the same name in Khuzestan province. This wetland illustrates the biodiversity of Iranian people and geography. Arab-speaking residents of the area produce meat and dairy products for a living and you will see houses with round ceilings made of sugar cane in this wetland.

Animal life in the Shadegan ponds consists of two species of amphibians, five species of reptiles and some 150 species of birds. You will have the chance to observe pelicans and flamingos there. The area is also known for its birds of prey and an important spot for migratory birds. Shadegan is also home to 40 species of mammals, including Iranian wolf, river otter, jungle cat and wild boar.

Raghaz Canyon

Raghaz Canyon is located 30 kilometers from Darab town in Fars province and is known as the bride of Iran’s valleys and canyons.

Raghaz is where the water and rock create unbelievable manifestations of nature. Each waterfall and pond of this canyon is different from another and bears its own beauty.

The pleasant sound of waterfalls, the opportunity of enjoying the exciting landing, climbing and swimming, as well as seeing the beautiful salmons in the clear ponds of Raghaz, are great reasons for visiting this strait.

Dalkhani Forest

Dalkhani Forest is one of the natural attractions of Ramsar city in Mazandaran province. This beautiful, semi-alpine forest, with a height of approximately 800 meters above the sea level, offers spectacular natural sceneries. Because of its height, Dalkhani could be a good choice for hikers and climbers and the thick fog in this forest create dreamy landscapes. 

“The Corridor of Paradise” is the nickname given to this amazing forest due to its tall lush trees and pleasant climate. In mid-summer when the temperatures in the coastal cities of the Caspian Sea reaches up to 35 degrees, the Dalkhani Forest can be a great option for escaping the heat. During the summer, the temperature in this forest is very cool (around 18 degrees). If you are visiting the forest during the cold season, be sure to bring warm clothes, blankets and hot water to enjoy drinking tea or coffee.

Mamraz Lake

Situated some 12 kilometers away from Noshahr city in Mazandaran province, Mamraz Lake offers you breathtaking views with thousands of dried trees inside, which may seem scary at first glance.

Because of its horrific landscape and strange silence of the lake, it is known as “The Ghosts’ Lake”. The lake is 700 meters long and 300 meters wide and is listed as one of the Iran’s National Heritage sites.

Next to the lake a lush forest is located and there are many dry tree trunks in the water, known as dead trees. The water of this lake is very clear and the reflection of the trees’ images on the lake adds to the beauty of the site. It is a pristine area and a spectacular natural attraction which is less known to tourists and adventurers.

Rainbow Valley

The entire of Hormuz Island, which is bounded by the Persian Gulf, is made of Rainbow Mountains and you can freely walk through most of the middle of it. But this spot is a good place to stop and check out all the colors. In close vicinity of Silence Valley, lies the mesmerizing valley of more than 70 shades of minerals, rendering the valley a perfect subject of Geology studies.

Rainbow Valley is a geologist’s dream and an inspiration for artists and nature enthusiasts. Imagine a narrow valley with multi-hued earth and sand and colorful mountains in shades of red, purple, yellow, ochre and blue – the result of the uneven cooling of molten rock. On all sides, patches of color form geometric patterns. This awesomely photogenic natural site is at its best in the late afternoon.


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