Natural wonders of Iran: virgin environment in Sistan & Baluchestan

    14 Sep 2021

    Sistan & Baluchestan, Iran’s largest province spanning over 1,100 square kilometers, has created a great capacity of tourism by its virgin environment with various species of animals and plants, as well as mountains, deserts, and the sea.

    The environment of Sistan & Baluchestan Province in southeast Iran has wonderful beauties that have always attracted large numbers of tourists, IRNA states.

    Tide-dominated coasts, mangrove forests, and habitats in the sea, mountains, rocks, and deserts in this province have made a good environment for various species of birds.



    The following are environmental phenomena peculiar to Sistan and Baluchestan Province.


    The 120-day wind


    A child of Hirman River and Hamun Lake, Sistan & Baluchestan’s nature and human life changed after the draught began in 1999 and shrank the province’s 65,000 acres of wheat farms to 4,000 acres five years later and wiped out what was once called a ‘granary’.

    Hamun dried out and forced thousands of villagers to move to cities, changing the ecosystem of the province; however, most people didn’t emigrate to other provinces and stood to overcome difficulties.

    Locally called ‘Lavar Wind’ literally meaning hot and dry, the 120-day wind is a strong summer wind occurring from late May to late September in the east and southeast of the Iranian Plateau with a maximum speed of 100 kph.

    The wind starts smoothly in the morning and speeds up by noon. In the afternoon it calms down and turns into a breeze by night.


    Hamun Wetland


    Located in the north of Sistan & Baluchestan Province, Hamun is the third largest lake in Iran. It consists of three smaller lakes called Hamun Pouzak, Hamun Saburi, and Hamun Hirmand which merge into one lake during periods that water supplies are sufficient.

    The wetland is basically fed up by the Hirmand River originating in Afghanistan, but several other seasonal rivers, including Khashrood, Farahrood, Harutrood, Shourrood, Hosseinababd, and Nehbandan pour into the wetland.



    Drought and cutting up of Hirmand River flow have led the wetland to dry out during the last two decades and has wiped out the wild habitats around it and forced local people to emigrate.

    Seasonal and periodical flow from Afghanistan brought temporary life to the wetland in short periods, but after the Afghanistan government constructed Kamal Khan Damn to control these flows, the wetland has faced the danger of total annihilation.

    Several species of birds flying over the wetland in the middle of their migration spend their breeding period in this wetland, creating picturesque landscapes in Hamun.


    ** Jaz Murian Wetland


    Jaz Murian Wetland is one of the most distinguished capacities of Sistan & Baluchestan Province which has dried out due to cutting its water right, leading to several difficulties for the people living near the wetland.

    The drainage basin of Jaz Murian spans an area of 70,000 square kilometers which has been located almost equally between Sistan & Baluchestan and Kerman provinces.

    This potential significant source of freshwater has turned into a source of haze due to continuous drought. Constructing 36 damns over the rivers feeding the wetland has deteriorated the situation and would cause irreparable damage if remains unsolved.


    ** Gando, the mugger crocodile


    Existing evidence of Sisatn & Baluchestan’s living from ancient times until today, Gandos have a special, sometimes sanctified, position among indigenous people of the province.

    Gando is a threatened species categorized into vulnerable species by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

    Scientifically name Crocodylus Palustris, the reptiles live in habitats in south Sistan & Baluchestan. The latest statistics show that only 200 Gandos live in these areas. There are 4,200 heads of this species that live around the world.


    ** Baluchestan black bear


    A subspecies of the Asian black bear, the Baluchestan black bear has a medium height ranging from 130 cm to 180 cm. Unlike its cousins, the Baluchestan black bear doesn’t hibernate.


    ** Persian leopard


    Although broadly dispersed, over 30 percent of the Persian leopard population lives in northeast Iran. However, a significant number of them live in areas around Nikshahr, Iranshahr, Sarbaz, and Konarak in south Sistan & Baluchestan.


    ** Sea turtles


    Over 20 locations in south Sistan & Baluchestan on the coasts of the Gulf of Oman have been populated by sea turtles for egging. Many of these animals spend their mating and egging period on the shores of the Gulf of Oman.

    Global warming, haze and dust, and water shortage are the most important factors threatening biodiversity and the lives of animals in Sistan & Baluchestan.

    Besides, such problems and non-standard traditional brick factories and exploitation of mazut have caused the emission of vast number of toxic gases, deteriorating conditions for both human and animal life.



    In current times, it is important to raise awareness about the tourism sector given that 90% of World Heritages Sites closed as protective measures to contain the pandemic and young people in rural communities are three times more likely to be unemployed, IRNA states.

    However, domestic tourism is expected to return before international tourism, as per UNWTO foresight. This could benefit rural communities if managed well.

    Sistan-Baluchestan is Iran’s vastest province with an area approximately equal to that of Syria but is less populous. Sistan includes Zabol and the cities around it and Baluchestan encompasses the rest of the cities from Zahedan to Chabahar.

    This province has special significance in the region because of being located in a strategic and transit location; especially Chabahar which is the only ocean in Iran and the best and easiest access route of the middle Asian countries to free waters.

    Zahedan city as the center of Sistan-Baluchestan is the neighborhood of Khorasan province in the north, the province of Kerman in the west, and in the south is within the limits of the townships of Iran Shahr and Khash. To its east are the borders of Afghanistan and Pakistan. The city of Zahedan is the center of the province and lies at a distance of 1,605 km. from Tehran.

    Zahedan is the center of this province, which is also connected to Mirjaveh of Pakistan through the railroad. Sistan and Baluchestan province is considered to be the rainbow of the country’s mines. This province has unparalleled natural and historical attractions and the Chabahar port has also added to its beauty. Share Sukhteh, listed at UNESCO World Heritage is world-renowned.

    Zahedan experiences a tropical type of climate in the south, but to the north, it is comparatively moderate. In the early period of the reign of Fathali Shah Qajar, there was a well in the vicinity of Zahedan which was used by highway robbers. But in the year 1315 AH., a subterranean canal (Qanat) was dug by one of the inhabitants which caused the formation of a small village named ‘Dozdab’. After the Belgians antiblack in this area, in order to install a customs office, it gradually developed and thereby its population increased. The name Dozdab was renamed Zahedan in the year 1935, after which it rapidly expanded and became the center of the province.


    *** Chabahar beauties; The Pearl of Southeastern Iran


    Chabahar, south of Sistan-Baluchistan province, with a clean coastline free of contamination in eight months of the year, is suitable for shrimp farming, which has prompted experts in the area to regard it as the aquaculture paradise to Iran.In addition to its commercial position, Chabahar has many historical and natural attractions. The climate of this city and its surroundings is always spring and temperate, the reason it is called Chabahar or Chaharbahar.

    Chabahar is situated on the Makran Coast of Sistan-Baluchestan province of Iran and is officially designated as a Free Trade and Industrial Zone by the government. Declaring the city as the free trade and industrial zone helped promote the status of the city for international trade and foreign investment. The overwhelming majority of the city’s inhabitants are ethnic Baluch of Iran, who speak their native Baluchi language in addition to Persian.

    Chabahar is Iran’s closest and best access point to the Indian Ocean. For this reason, Chabahar is the focal point of Iranian development of the east of the country through expansion and enhancement of transit routes among countries situated in the northern part of the Indian Ocean and Central Asia.

    The hope is that with the development of transit routes, and better security and transit services, the benefits will reach the local residents. Chabahar’s economic sectors are fish industries and commercial sector, fishery with the largest amount of country’s fish catch, mainly located out of the Chabahar Free Trade and Industrial Zone.


    *** Martin Mountains


    Martian Mountains (also known as Merrikhi Mountains), situated 40 to 50km from the port city of Chabahar, in Iran’s southeastern Sistan and Balouchestan province is one of the famous tourist attractions of the country.The Martian Mountain is one of them, just try visiting it and you would surely get amazed by its eye-catching scenic view.

    The mountains are not beautiful for the snowy peaks or green nature, but because of their special shapes and figures, they could not be found anywhere else in the world but they may exist in Marc. The Martian Mountains are only a part of the beauty of Chabahr which always look like it is spring.

    The Martian Mountains of Chabahr probably date back to over 5 billion years ago according to historians and geologists. They are as high as 100 meters in most sections. Excavation of many fossils belonging to fish indicates that Martian Mountains were underwater in ancient times.


    *** Shahr-e Sukhteh


    In ancient times when human beings were practicing sedentary life, a city which archeologists considered as the world’s first city in terms of urban texture, population, urban planning, etc. emerged in Sistan. The burned City and its creative and intelligent civilization, over 5,000 years old, is the largest urbanization (city-dwelling) in the eastern half of Iranian Plateau and a unique example of science, industry, and culture in ancient times of this land.

    Shahr-e Sukhteh is the remaining of an ancient city in Iran located 56 kilometers from Zabol on the side of Zabol-Zahedan Road in Sistan and Baluchistan Province, Southeast of Iran. The time of this big city’s construction coincides with Jiroft Culture Bronze Age. Iranians lived in this city about 6000 years ago.

    This city was built on the alluvium of Helmand River estuaries to Hamun Lake. Based on discoveries made in the Burnt City during the consecutive years, it can be claimed that this city was the most important place of residence and in fact, the capital of the district during the Bronze Age.

    It is said that Shahr-e Sukhte is the most advanced city of the old world, even more, advanced than Crete City which Sinuhe has mentioned in his book.

    In the 38th convention of UNESCO on June 22, 2014, Shahr-e Sukhte was registered in UNESCO World Heritage.


    *** Gwater Bay; Of the most beautiful attractions in Iran


    Gwater Bay is one of the most beautiful areas of Iran and the farthest southeast of the country and its unique natural beauty attracts every tourist. Gwater Bay is known as the end of Iran’s regional roads in southeastern Iran, bordering Pakistan and except for Sistan and Baluchistan province.

    A small part of Sistan and Baluchestan province that makes everybody feel strange from the beginning of the road, especially if you enter its haunting road in the daylight, you will be amazed by its silence and beauty and you will get a great experience.

    Gwater Bay is one of the protected areas of the environment due to its proximity to mangrove forests. According to the Chabahar Port Department of Environment, Gwater welcomes a large number of migratory birds each year in early fall. About 3 different species of birds enter the area in the form of 4 groups.


    **** Lut Desert


    The Lut Desert has been put on the United Nations list three years ago and is capable of flourishing as a major Iranian tourist resort. Iran’s Lut Desert was registered on the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) natural heritage list in 2016 when the 40th meeting of the body was underway in Istanbul.

    It was the first natural resorts of the country on the list where Iran already had other 19 cultural heritage sites. The stunning desert lies on southeastern Iran, straddling the country’s three South Khorasan, Sistan-Baluchestan, and Kerman provinces.

    Spanning an area of 22,780 square meters, Lut is comprised of dunes, yardangs, nabkhas, hammadas, and basaltic plateau, each with unique spectacular landscapes that rarely can be found in other parts of the world.


    **** Pink lake in Iran’ Chabahar


    Perhaps you’ve seen pictures of colored lakes around the world, but do you know that the Chabahar lagoon is one of them? Pink lake , also known as Chabahar Pink Lake, is one of Chabahar’s spectacular attractions in southern Iran. If you want to know where the lagoon is and how you can reach it, or how it came about and why it’s colorful, continue to stay in touch with us to get to know more.

    Due to the special type of the soil surrounding the lake, its water surface seems shining with pink color during some five months of the year and it reportedly covers an area of 10 hectares.

    The lake and a nearby lagoon of the same name boast beautiful and unique landscapes, a potential attraction for domestic tourists and foreign travelers. They are situated some 20 kilometers east of Chabahar in Sistan and Baluchestan province. Chabahar is a humid port city commonly considered as one of the warmest places in Iran.

    Water levels of the seasonal lake routinely depend on the amount of rainfall. Gaz shrubs, whim, and straw are amongst its topmost vegetation. It is also home to flamingos, pelicans, white and gray hawks amongst other birds.

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