Iran and its beauties

homayounHomayoun Zarghany–

Up to 1935‭, ‬the Europeans knew Iran as Persia‭. ‬Sprawling on 1,648,195‭ ‬square kilometers‭, ‬Iran covers a large segment of Southeast‭ ‬Asia and connects the Arab world‭, ‬Central Asia and the Indian subcontinent‭. ‬Iran’s eastern borders are where the Middle East ends‭.‬

The Iranian territory is a semi-desert plain whose diversity of landscapes is much more than meets the eye‭. ‬Thanks to this extensive diversity‭, ‬one can see arid deserts‭, ‬thickly wooded forests and humid jungles‭. ‬There are other contradictory sceneries in the country like high mountains and plain lands on the shores‭. ‬A large segment of Iran’s land is covered with an arid desert‭, ‬formerly the bed of a sea‭, ‬at an altitude of 1,000‭ ‬meters‭. ‬This large territory includes‭ ‬mountainous regions‭, ‬salty water lakes and desert lands‭. ‬In the eastern half of the country‭, ‬one can see large swaths of deserts‭. ‬Kavir Desert is in the center and Loute Desert is in the south‭.‬

The driest zone in Iran‭, ‬Loute Desert‭, ‬covers an area of 80,000‭ ‬square kilometers‭. ‬Plain lands are productive for agriculture‭, ‬notably near the Caspian Sea and Mount Alborz‭. ‬

Iran lies in the beach of two seas‭ ‬‮–‬‭ ‬Caspian Sea in the north and Indian Ocean in the south‭. ‬The Caspian sea‭, ‬the largest land-locked lake in the world‭, ‬measures more than 371,000‭ ‬square kilometers‭. ‬Its water is a bit salty and its water lies at a level lower than high seas‭. ‬The deepest spot in the Caspian Sea is 995‭ ‬meters‭. ‬Water from the Indian Ocean flows into the Sea of Oman and the Persian Gulf‭.‬

The Persian Gulf begins from the Strait of Hormuz and is home to lots of islands‭, ‬the largest of which is Qeshm covering an area‭ ‬of 1,491‭ ‬square kilometers‭. ‬Other islands in the Persian Gulf are as follows‭: ‬Kish‭ (‬90‭ ‬sqm‭), ‬Lavan‭ (‬76‭ ‬sqm‭), ‬Larak‭ (‬48.7‭ ‬sqm‭), ‬Hormuz‭ (‬42‭ ‬sqm‭), ‬Hangam‭ (‬36.6‭ ‬sqm‭), ‬Kharg‭ (‬20.5‭ ‬sqm‭) ‬and Hendourabi‭ (‬21‭ ‬sqm‭). ‬There are also islands covering areas less than 20‭ ‬sqm‭: ‬Sirri‭, ‬Bani Farvar‭, ‬Farvar‭, ‬the Lesser Tunb‭, ‬the Greater Tunb‭, ‬Abu Moussa‭, ‬Farsi and Minoo‭.‬

The largest lake in Iran is Urmieh Lake with an area of 4,868‭ ‬sqm‭. ‬Its water is salty and its deepest spot is 20‭ ‬meters‭. ‬The lake is located between East and West Azerbaijan provinces‭. ‬Other big and salty lakes are as follows‭: ‬Salt Lake surrounded by Isfahan‭, ‬Qom and Semnan provinces with an area of 1,806‭ ‬sqm‭, ‬Jazmourian Lake shared by Sistan Balouchistan and Kerman province with an area of 1,097‭ ‬sqm and Hamoun Lake near border with Afghanistan‭.‬

Mount Alborz and Mount Zagros are famous in Iran‭. ‬Alborz creates a crescent stretching from west to east between East Azerbaijan‭ ‬and North Khorasan provinces‭. ‬Some mountains in the Alborz mountain range are of heights above 4,000‭ ‬meters‭. ‬Damavand‭, ‬a volcanic mountain and 5,671‭ ‬meters tall‭, ‬is the tallest mountain Iran‭. ‬The plain lands located between Alborz mountain range and Caspian coasts benefit from the Caspian humidity‭.‬1 copy

Zagros is the second important mountain range in Iran‭. ‬It begins from Turkey and stretches from northwest to southeast and Persian Gulf‭. ‬The range measures 1,000‭ ‬kilometers long and 190‭ ‬kilometers wide‭. ‬Some of its summits are more than 4,000‭ ‬meters high‭.‬

Mokran Desert‭, ‬in the south of Iranian Plateau‭, ‬has summits below 2,000‭ ‬meters high‭. ‬There are two other mountain ranges in the‭ ‬central parts of the Iranian Plateau and in the southwest of Khoasan provinces‭. ‬The highest summits in these mountain ranges are‭ ‬Morghoum‭, ‬2,846‭ ‬meters high and Nayband‭, ‬2,993‭ ‬meters high‭. ‬Along the border with Pakistan‭, ‬Taftan‭ ‬‮–‬a dormant volcano‭ ‬‮–‬‭ ‬measures 4,024‭ ‬meters high‭.‬

Due to dry climatic conditions‭, ‬Iran does not have significant rivers‭. ‬The largest river is 900-kilometer-long Karoun River‭. ‬Stemming from Mount Zagros‭, ‬Karoun River flows into the Persian Gulf‭. ‬In this region‭, ‬there are also other rivers serving agriculture‭. ‬Sefidroud River‭, ‬800-kilometer long‭, ‬is the second most significant river in Iran‭. ‬Some other rivers end in salty lakes‭.‬

Forestlands in Iran are seen in the northern parts of Zagros‭. ‬Oaks‭, ‬European ash and elms are widely seen‭. ‬There are also pine and cypress trees‭.‬

Compared with other countries‭, ‬Iran enjoys more biodiversity‭. ‬Caspian Sea‭, ‬Persian Gulf‭, ‬Mount Alborz and Mount Zagors‭, ‬arid lands and deserts are attractive places‭. ‬In the Persian Gulf and Sea of Oman‭, ‬diverse species of fish live‭. ‬In the shores‭, ‬turtles‭ ‬reproduce‭.‬

Caspian Sea is a unique habitat‭. ‬There are few creatures in it shallow parts due to the lack of oxygen‭. ‬Caspian turtle is famous‭. ‬Sturgeon is also well known there as it produces the best caviar in the world‭.‬

Antelopes live in the mountainous forests‭. ‬Gray bear‭, ‬boar‭, ‬wolf‭, ‬leopard and wild cat also live in these jungles‭. ‬In the high mountains of Kerman‭, ‬Mazandaran and Khorasan provinces‭, ‬two precious rams live‭. ‬In the desert and arid lands live deer‭, ‬gazelle and zebra‭. ‬Iranian cheetah‭, ‬a rare species‭, ‬lives in the deserts‭, ‬also home to hyena and jackal‭. ‬A symbol of desert is single-hump camel which nomads used for transportation‭. ‬Flamingos are among migratory birds‭.‬

Generally speaking‭, ‬Iran’s climate could be divided into semi-hot‭, ‬arid and semi-arid‭. ‬Foreign tourists may get confused with Iran’s weather conditions‭. ‬Iran is very large and its climatic conditions from one point to another‭. ‬Difference in temperature between different spots at the same time is significant‭. ‬For instance‭, ‬in October‭, ‬it might be 42‭ ‬degrees Centigrade in Bandar Abbas and 2‭ ‬degrees Centigrade in Tabriz at the same time‭.‬

Esfhan 86 (25)Alborz Mountain Range is the most significant geographical factor affecting climatic conditions in northern regions‭. ‬This mountain range blocks winds and changes their direction‭. ‬Humid weather from Caspian Sea strikes these mountains and causes rainfall‭. ‬Precipitation is low in Iran with average rainfall at 240‭ ‬millimeters‭. ‬The region with lowest precipitation is Loute Desert with‭ ‬half a millimeter per year and the highest precipitation is in Astara‭, ‬north of Iran‭, ‬with 2,000‭ ‬millimeters per year‭. ‬The rainy‭ ‬seasons in Iran are autumn and winter‭. ‬The temperature climbs in Iran between April and September‭. ‬Winters are cold and snowfall covers northern mountains and some parts of the west‭. ‬Other seasons experience moderate weather conditions‭. ‬

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