Qeshm Island:
The Lost Paradise

In the dark blue waters to the south of Iran, along the Strait of Hormoz that links the Persian Gulf to the Sea of Oman, there lies an island of wonder, delight and surprises. It is an island of rare birds, rare plants and rare animals. In summer it is hot, and in winter, and indeed most of the year, the weather is delightfully pleasant. The views are breath-taking: the land, the big mountains, and the mangrove forests that emerge with low tide and disappear under water at high tide; fascinating caves, ancient archaeological remains and the deep blue sea; a world on its own.

Qeshm is an ideal place for the people who take delight in bird-watching, sea sports, and archeology.
Qeshm Island has a population of over 85,000 people who are hospitable, hardworking, cheerful, and very much attached to their wonderful traditional customs. Traditional clothings, local music, unique handicraft, and the native tongue (a sweet dialect of Persian) are some of the particular cultural attractions of this Island. The selection of such names for cities and villages as Deirestan (the place where people pray) Ramkan (the place for raising cattle), Dargahan (the audience hall), Suzan (the scorching place), Ramchah (the well for cattle), Dulab (the place where metal containers are used for obtaining water from wells), Gurzin (the place where saddles for wild asses are made), Kani (the place where mineral products are available), etc, reflect the deep interest of the people of this part of the country in the long-lasting culture and civilization of Iran.

Qeshm Island is about 1500 square km in area. Not only is it the largest island in Iran, but it is also larger than many independent countries of the world. This island is similar to a beautiful giant dolphin, lying along the strategic Strait of Hormoz.

Qeshm is twenty-two kilometers away from Bandar Abbas. The shortest distance from Qeshm to the mainland is 1.8 kilometers, between Laaft port on the Island and Pahl village on the mainland.

The date palm, lotus, tamarisk, castor oil, mangrove, and ivy trees, as well as pharmaceutical plants, industrially used plants (linseed, medlar, collyrium, mallow, etc), are among the various plants that grow on and/or around the Island. Wild rye, white basil seeds, origanum, chicory, and caraway, also grow in abundance on the Island.

Foxes, rabbits, jackals and lizards; turtles and crabs; sea birds, falcons, eagles, pigeons, sea red beaks, vultures, and some migratory birds, are the major non-human living creatures of the Island.

Average annual temperature
Maximum annual temperature
(from 22nd June to 22nd August)
Minimum annual temperature:
(from 22nd December to 19th February)
Sea water temperature in winter
Sea water temperature
(from 21st March to 21st May)
Sea water temperature
(from 23rd July to 23rd August)
Maximum average atmospheric humidity
Minimum average humidity
Average annual rainfall
Average wind speed
27 degrees Centigrade
49 degrees Centigrade

7 degrees Centigrade

20-22 degrees Centigrade
27-28 degrees Centigrade

32 degrees Centigrade

160 millimeters
3.5 to 5 meters per second

The harra tree, whose scientific name is attributed to the Iranian physician and philosopher Avicenna, the avicennia marina, is a small tree of different lengths – from 3 to 6 meters – with bright green leaves and twigs. The harra is a type of tree that needs salt water. The tree sinks up to the top into the sea at high tide. There is filtration property in its bark such that sweet water is absorbed while the salt is eliminated. In Khoran Strait, between Qeshm Island and a part of the coast of Hormozgan Province, there is a harra marine forest, 9,000 hectares in area, that possesses a large variety of living creatures. It is a safe habitat for many different kinds of tropical and migratory birds. During prehistoric times, what we presently call Qeshm Island was under the water of the Persian Gulf. Gradually, the level of water subsided and the parts that appeared from under the water became islands. Among them was Qeshm Island which emerged with many mountains on it. The slopes of the mountains are covered by spongy and bivalve coral layers which have protected the softer soils below them.

However, winds, and rains have eroded the surfaces of the mountains in places. Because of this natural phenomena many beautiful natural sights have appeared throughout the Island. Thus, Qeshm Island, and the other islands around it, have become distinguished for being wonderfully different from other islands of the Persian Gulf.

Due to the accumulation and sedimentation of salt from the seawater in deep faults, some parts of the mountains of Qeshm Island have changed into salt caves and salt hills. Namakdan Cave in the southwestern parts of the Island, as well as many stalactites and salt crystal masses inside giant caves, and brooks of salty water here and there provide very pleasant views, indeed.

In the historical part of Laaft, near the Naderi Fort, there are about 60 wells which the hardworking people of the Island have dug into the hard, rocky ground. The hill near the wells with its coral surface leads rain water to these wells. The bottoms of the wells are of hard gypsum and so water remains in the wells relatively safe and cool for a long time. Within Laaft there are beautiful mosques and houses of traditional architecture, and the remains of the Naderi fort. The old part of Laaft has many ventilation-shafts and dhow-construction workshops which are some of the attractive sights of this port.

Qeshm Free Zone

One of the best things that has happened to Qeshm Island is the formation of Qeshm Free Zone Organization with the object of turning a part of the Island into a free trade and industrial zone.

What to see on Qeshm Island
1- Kharbass Caves
At a distance of 10 km from the city of
Qeshm there is a mountain
overlooking the sea, and on the verge
of a hollow bowl-shaped land.
There are numerous caves which are
the results of tornadoes blowing
away sandy-soil and leaving cavities behind.

2- Archaeological/historical remains
Surrounding the city of Laaft there
are the remains, of a fortress known
as the Naderi Fort.
It is said to have been a strong fortress
built by Iranians to defend the Island
against invaders.
There is also the Guran Historical Dam
from the Achaemenid era, before Christ,
and the British Graveyard.
3- Harra Mangrove Forest
The specie of mangrove that is found
on or around the Island in abundance,
is the Avicennia Marina.

4- Talaa Wells
Close to Laaft and the Naderi Fort, there are a number of wells that the hardworking people of the Island dug into the chistic soil, in the ancient times, to collect rain water.

5- Salt Mountains
These mountains, almost entirely of salt, present very interesting sites.
These and many other features, animals, birds, … make any visit to Qeshm Island, truly worthwhile

During the last half-a-century or so, Iran’s economy has gone through many ups and downs. After the Islamic Revolution which was followed by the US sanction against Iran, and with the imposed Iran-Iraq war, Iran became almost isolated in the world and suffered severely, both economically and industrially. When the Iraqi war was over, the time came for the Iranian nation to reconstruct the country and revive its economy and industry. To facilitate progress and development, a number of free zones were developed, the most notable being Kish and Qeshm.

Qeshm Island was chosen as a Free Trade Zone because of its position and the potentials the Island offers for tourism and for industries as the Island has large natural gas resources.

A part of the Island, measuring about 200 sq km, has been allocated to the Free Zone of which 130 sq km is being used at present. Already a number of factories are in operation in the Free Zone, many trade companies have been registered and established there, and large quantities of cargo are regularly imported and exported through the Island.


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