Landmark in Hormoz Island
One of Hormoz Island's star attractions, these multicoloured geological formations that consist of cliffs and towers of petrified salt combined with various types of rock have a Tolkienesque appeal. The site is inland but can easily be reached from the main road.
In 1505 the reign King Manuel I of Portugal led Portugal to establish a policy of expansion in Africa and western Asia. During attempts to expand Portuguese influence into the Indian Ocean, the Portuguese duke Afonso de Albuquerque captured the island in 1507 and it was incorporated into the greater Portuguese Empire. The Portuguese constructed a fortress on the island to deter potential invaders, naming it the Fort of Our Lady of the Conception. The island became an emergency stopover point for Portuguese ships travelling to Goa, Gujarat and nearby Kishm. In 1622 the island was captured from the Portuguese by a combined Anglo-Persian force at the behest of the English East India Company.
Hormuz was visited by Marco Polo, the famous traveller, at around 1290 while traveling by land, as described in his travelogue.
Ibn Battuta also visited the island, and New Hormuz
Shah Abbas I distrusted the local population and was not interested in maintaining the island as a trading centre or military post; instead he developed the nearby mainland port of Bander Abbas. Hormuz went into decline. Many of its inhabitants seasonally moved to their fields and orchards around the old Hormuz on the mainland, only fishermen being in permanent residence. The island continued to export small quantities of rock salt and lumps of iron oxide which were used as ballast stones for sailing ships
To the south of Semnan lies Rig-e Jenn between the Great Desert and Kavir National Park. Due to high sand dunes, vast swamps, and scarcity of water, the desert challenges even the avid trekker with the most arduous hike.
The Rig Jenn (Persian: ریگ جن ‘Dune of the Jinn’) is a vast area of sand dunes in the middle of Dasht-e Kavir, Iran's central desert in the border region of the Semnan and Isfahan provinces. It was not travelled by the old caravan travellers, who believed it is a place where evil spirits live. Even today some in the neighbouring towns and villages believe this. Sven Hedin, the famous desert explorer avoided this area in his 1900s explorations to Iranian deserts.
Kuhdasht Salt Mine
A low, arid, red-brown ridge scalloped into corrugated hills follows the Garmsar–Qom Hwy south. Look closely and you'll see it's pocked with giant entry holes that occasionally spit out trucks full of rock salt. To see the longest salt cave in the world, you have to take a tour to Namakdan Cave in Qeshm and watch the magnificent scenery of the nature
Varzaneh is located 105 km southeast of Isfahan and 240 km away from Yazd.
It has a population of 14,000 sprawling over 23,000 km² at an altitude of 1477 m above sea level. Like most parts of central Iran, it has a quite dry desert climate where, in July, temperatures can reach 40°C. The temperature sometimes drops below zero in January and February after midnight.
Varzaneh was the last civilization on the Zayanderud river since 5000 years ago. The Zayanderud river ends at Gavkhouni which is 30 km east of Varzaneh. Within the lands between wetland and Varzaneh, signs of very ancient civilization are unearthed. Further investigations on some pots that have been discovered, confirms the fact that the district of Varzaneh has been inhabited for 5,000 years.