Martian Mountains, a must-see tourist destination in southeastern Iran

June 7, 2021 - 16:24

TEHRAN –The “Martian Mountains”, also called the “Miniature Mountains”, situated near Chabahar in southeastern Sistan-Baluchestan province, are a breathtaking tourist attraction to behold.

Locals call Martian Mountains “Koohaye Merikhi” since it seemed as if aliens – in this case, people from Mars – built them, and their curvy scenery stands in strong contrast with the landscape around.

A natural phenomenon, the attraction provides a truly unique travel experience for tourists and nature lovers alike.

It is not easy to travel to the mountains as the road is steep and winding, however, with the huge golden beach and the dark blues of the Gulf of Oman on one side and the greyish white mountains on the other, choosing a side to enjoy could be a challenge.

For most tourists, the first sighting of the mountains is like stepping into a sci-fi movie, but in reality, the mountains belong to the lesser-known scintillating attractions of the real world, not the fantasy world of movies.

Due to rapid erosion caused by exposure to wind and rain, the mountains are a residual type, with a good deal of edgy slits.

Five to 100 meters is the height of the mountains and there is no vegetation in the grooves of them. The texture is highly resistant and feels like a hard rock when climbing. It is rare, however, for people to climb these mountains, as the pleasure of sight outweighs that of climbing.

Geologists have offered different explanations for the formation of these mountains. While some believe they are a continuation of the Zagros Mountains, a range that ends in Pakistan, others believe they were buried under tons of soil thousands of years ago, and have come to light as climate change and seasonal rains washed soil off their faces.

There are some who believe that the wide horizon in the region can be used to observe the infinite universe and stars, so the mountains have become a source of income for the locals. In exchange for money, they give rides to tourists on their decorated camels.

Ramin village, with an ecotourism residence, is just a short distance from the Martian Mountains. The village has a surfing club where men and women can enjoy surfing. A straw hut is located near the mountains as a place to rest. The straw scent makes it easier to tune in to the atmosphere while it is cool inside.

Besides Chabahar, similar mountains can be found in eastern South Khorasan province, southern Hormozgan province, and southwestern Khuzestan province, as well as Qeshm island in the Persian Gulf.

Back in 2019, provincial tourism officials announced that they were planning on developing a dossier for Martian Mountains for a possible inscription on the UNESCO World Heritage list.

With 24 entries, Iran ranks 10th in the world in terms of the number of historical monuments and sites registered on the UNESCO World Heritage list.

Amongst the UNESCO-designated sites in Iran are “Arg-e Bam” (Bam Citadel) that represents an outstanding example of an ancient fortified settlement, “Bisotun” in western Kermanshah province, which is notable for its Achaemenid-era inscription carved on a limestone cliff, lavish “Golestan Palace” in downtown Tehran which is a masterpiece of the Qajar era (1789 to 1925), and millennium-old “Gonbad-e Qabus” which is a mudbrick tomb tower for Qabus ibn Wushmagir.

For decades, Sistan-Baluchestan used to be shunned by potential foreign travelers though it is home to several distinctive archaeological sites and natural attractions, including two UNESCO World Heritage sites of Shahr-e-Soukhteh (Burnt City) and Lut Desert, shared with Kerman Province.

ABU/MG

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