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Hormozgan

Hormozgan

05/8/13

Geography and History

Hormozgan province covers an area of 70,669 sq. km. and is situated in the south of Iran and to the north of the Persian Gulf. The Hormoz Strait is one of the focal and vital points in the jurisdiction of this province. The various townships of Hormozgan province are the following: Abumoosa, Bandar Abbas, Bandar Lengeh, Jask, Hadji Abad, Roudan, Qeshm and Minab.
According to the census of the year 2006, the population of this province was approximately 1.4 million, of which 47.11 % dwelled in the urban areas, 52.76 in the rural vicinities and the rest were non-residents. The major portion of the province has a mountainous terrain, with the southern sector of the Zagross Mountain Range stretching out from the northwest to southeast. The same forming limestone and sandy hills, that adjoin the lower most regions and the shores of the Persian Gulf and Oman Sea.

Climate

The province of Hormozgan lies in a desert to a semi-desert like region with a warm (hot) and dry climate. The coastal areas experience a warm and humid weather in summers, while moderate in winters. Rainfall is scant, but humidity along the coastal regions is on a high percentage.

History and Culture

The history of Hormozgan province intermingles with the geographical aspects of the Persian Gulf. Records show that the history of the Bandar-e-Hormoz began from the times of Ardeshir Babakan. Some believe that the prosperity and flourishing of Bandar-e-Hormoz was between the years 211 – 241 AD., when it was considered as a vital center for transactions and trade in the east. In the years 661-750 AD. the territory of the Persian Gulf came under the realm of the Omayad Caliphates and later on under Abbasides. The latter took over the scene from the years 750 – 1285 AD.In the late 8th century AD., that is when the sea-faring enterprises were at its peak, historians believed this to be on an equal level of importance in regards to the Silk Road if not out ranking it.In the year 1497 AD., initially the colonial powers of the west under the leadership of Vasco De Gama entered the ports of the Persian Gulf. Then in the year 1506 AD. the Portuguese in order to safeguard their rights the Bandar-e-Hormoz against the Egyptian and venetian traders besieged the same. This port became the key point at this period regarding trade and commerce in the Persian Gulf region, and also in respect to the route to the spice islands.During the Safavid era, Shah Esmail Safavid considered the aspects of regaining the control of Hormoz which was then in the hands of the Portuguese. But due to being entangled with warfare against the Ottomans was unable to do so. This led to a treaty between them that strengthened the hold of the Portuguese in the realm of the Persian Gulf for a period of time. Shah Abbas the great brought an end to this state and with the aid of the Britain expelled the Portuguese from the region.
Moreover, in the year 1004 AH. the Dutch established their commercial center in Bandar Abbas. This prompted extensive rivalry between Britain and themselves. In the late Safavid era, the government of Iran eliminated the exemption of the custom duty regarding the exports and imports carried out by Dutch, but permitted them to trade in silk in any part of the country. This coincided with the period that the Dutch constructed a fortification or a Dej (Fort) near their trading establishment in Bandar Abbas.The ruler or governor of the Khark Island and Bandar-e-Reeg, Mir Mohana attacked the Dutch in the year 1765 AD. because of their lapse in paying their lease, which was taken as an excuse. This proved fruitful in pushing them out of the Persian Gulf. After which Britannia dominated and brought about various small Sheikhdoms that were weak on their own and this suited the purposes of Britain.After the world war I, the Persian Gulf was an important center regarding oil and other aspects of industrial and economic resources. Thus holding a strategic position which proved eye-catching and caused foreign governments and countries to have a special attention towards this territory.

Hormozgan Province Townships

Abumoosa, Bandar Abbas, Bandar Lengeh, Qeshm, Hadji Abad, Jask, Minab, Roudan.

Abumoosa

The township of Abumoosa comprises of a mass of islands named as, Abumoosa, Tonb-e-Koochak (Small Tonb) and Tonb-e-Bozorg (Greater Tonb), which lie in the southern sector of Hormozgan province. Abumoosa Island is situated at a distance of 222 km. from Bandar Abbas. It experiences a warm and humid climate. Studies reveal that in the first millennium BC., Abumoosa and the other islands in the Pars Sea came under the jurisdiction and control of Iran. In the years 1151-1165 BC., the Pars Sea and Abumoosa was under the power of the Elamites, and during the Medes this island along with other islands were governed by one of the provinces of the southwest and a part of Kerman. In the year 138-171 BC., during the Parthian period and the reign of Mehrdad I, Abumoosa came under the realm of this dynasty.Also during the Sassanid dynasty, when the Iranians held control here. In the Omaya caliphate and Abbaside era this held good when their respective commanders controlled the vicinity. In the year 323 AH., Emad-ud-Dowleh Daylami, occupied the ports and islands of the Persian Gulf including the Abumoosa Island. During the Al-e-Booyeh reign all the ports and islands of the Persian Gulf came under their strong hold, and till the year 538 AH. this island was dominated by the Saljuqi dynasty of Kerman, and ruled by the local rulers of Bani Qeisar.In his conquests Teimoor Gurgani annexed the ports and islands of this vicinity including Abumoosa to the territories formerly in his occupation. In the reign of Shah Abbas Safavid the Portuguese took control of Abumoosa, and in the year 1179 AH., Karim Khan Zand sought control of this island and other islands of the Persian Gulf. Aqa Mohammad Khan Qajar also gained supremacy regarding the islands and Abumoosa.In the late 19th century the British government entered the scene on the pretext of driving out the pirates from the Persian Gulf region, standing against the sale of slaves, and protecting the security of India. Thus the British government naval force forbade the Iranian militia from taking part in sea-faring procedures. After which the Sheikh of Sharjah (aided by the British government) claimed possession of this island, but in the year 1971 the Island of Abumoosa came under the full control of the Iranian Navy.

Bandar Abbas

The township of Bandar Abbas is located at a distance of 1,484 km. from Tehran. The same lies to the south of the province and is within the southern limits of the Persian Gulf. It experiences a warm and humid climate. In the year 924 AH., Bandar Abbas was known as Jerun and was not more than a small village on the northern coasts of the Persian Gulf. In the year 1514 AD., the Portuguese selected the same for the dispatch of cargo and due to the presence of a large number of lobsters or crabs on its shores, named this port likewise. The British government came to help Shah Abbas Safavid who expelled the Portuguese from this port in 1622 AD. Thereafter to commemorate this victory, the port was named Bandar Abbas.
The British government and the Dutch set up commercial centers here and constructed a magnificent edifice on the sea shore. Most of the cargo ships transporting goods from India to Iran, the Ottoman Empire and other vicinities in the region docked at this port.
The Dutch were responsible for constructing a small town in the midst of the city of Bandar Abbas in 1110 AH., after gaining permission from the government of Iran. In the mid 17th century AD., the East India Company was inaugurated in Bandar Abbas, but later due to turmoil in 1759 AD. the same was transferred to Basra. During the reign of Nader Shah, Bandar Abbas and its suburbs were rented out to the Soltan of Muscat in accordance to an agreement. But due to a rebellion in Muscat in the year 1868 AD., this agreement was canceled and Bandar Abbas came under the jurisdiction of Iran.Currently, the city of Bandar Abbas is the center of Hormozgan province and enjoys a favorable position both strategically on the shores of the Persian Gulf and Oman Sea and also in connection with economic fields. Furthermore, the facilitation provided in Bandar-e-Shaheed Rajaie aids in brisk transactions between Iran and other countries.

Bandar Lengeh

The above mentioned township is situated at a distance of 1,631 km. from Tehran. It is to the west of the province and the coasts of the Persian Gulf, and has a warm and humid climate. There is a strong possibility that ‘Bandar-e-Gugana’ which held great importance during the Achaemenian period as a trading port, but later declined due to upheavals, is the current Bandar Lengeh. In the year 1760 AD., an Arab clan or tribe by the name of Javasem occupied the southern coasts of the Persian Gulf, Bandar Lengeh and Qeshm Island in a mass migration. During the reign of Karim Khan Zand 1163-1193 AH. Bandar Lengeh thrived in regards to sea-faring activities as a port, and also because the caravan route to Shiraz which added to its importance commercially. This port was reputedly known as the bride of the ports of Iran during the Qajar era and till the year 1896 AD. the Javasem tribe held the ropes in Bandar Lengeh. The French Consulate was established here in the year 1889 AD. and the Belgians held control of the customs in Bandar Abbas and Bandar Lengeh. In the year 1898 AD. one of the family members of the ruler of Bandar Lengeh enjoyed a prime position in ruling the area, due to weakness of central government. But this continued only for a short while. Bandar Lengeh witnessed decline in the late Qajar period. This state continued throughout the first and second world wars. In 1945 due to infectious diseases and famine the city was further prone towards derangement. At present this port is one of the thriving and active ports in the region.

Hadji Abad

The above mentioned township is located to the north of the province and is divided into two sectors, that is the east and west. The former being Fazqan, surrounded by a branch range of the Zagross Mountains with high summits. But the western segment consists of salt marshes. The vicinity of Hadji Abad experiences warm, dry summers and moderate winters. The thermal springs of Hadji Abad and Dah Sheikh are the natural attractions of this region amongst other such natural attractions in its eastern sector.

Jask 

The township of Jask is located to the east of Hormozgan province and experiences a warm and dry weather, being under the influence of an arid and semi-arid type of climate. In ancient times this region was a center for the Mitraism cult and the temple of Anahita is a remnant here. In 1330 AD., Soltan Qotbuddin ruled Jask, and in the year 1614 AD., the British government selected this region as a trading port. The East India Company was established here in the year 1619 AD. In late 1620 AD. the Portuguese halted the entrance of two ships of the East India Company from docking in the port of Jask. Thus evoking a severe battle between the British government and the Portuguese, which resulted in the defeat of the latter. In order to create further dominating measures in the vicinity, in 1864 AD. the British government set up a telegraph system along with an under water cable thereby setting communications between Iran and India. Today Bandar-e-Jask is a comparatively thriving region and resembles a peninsula that is surrounded by water on the three sides, enhanced by a tranquil and beautiful coastal area.

Minab 

The township of Minab lies in the north of Hormoz Strait, and is at a distance of 1,616 km. from Tehran. It has a mountainous terrain towards the north and east, whilst the plains are located in its central and western sectors. Minab experiences a warm and humid climate and its agricultural lands are irrigated by the Minab River. Its historical past mingles with that of the ancient city of Hormoz, which historians believe to be related to Ardeshir Babakan Sassanid. In the year 1000 AD., one of the Sheikhs of Oman by the name of Mohammad took advantage of the discontentment of the inhabitants in respect to the ruler of the times, occupied Bandar-e-Hormoz. In 1300 AD. the Mongols invaded this city, thus forcing the Amir (governor) of Hormoz and its inhabitants to flee to the current Island of Hormoz.
During the years 1793-1804, the Soltan of Oman, Soltan Ebne Ahmad came to power with the help of the Britain in ‘Gouatre’, and tried to refrain from disputes towards the Iranian rule, but at the same time tried to gain control over Bandar Abbas and Minab. Due to internal involvement, Aqa Mohammad Khan was unable to fortify his power in the south during this period. Thence the ruler of Oman took the seat in the areas of Qeshm and Hormoz. But in the year 1852 AD. a treaty was drawn up to the effect that the coastal lands, Islands of Iran along with Minab city be returned back to Iran. The Hazareh (Bibi Minoo) castle is the most important historical vestige of this township.

Qeshm

Qeshm Island is situated to the north of Hormoz Strait, and the city of Qeshm is located in the southeast of this Island. This region has a warm and humid climate and is somewhat a lengthy island. During the Mongol conquest, a tribe known as Turan were the inhabitants of this island and were responsible for its prosperity. In the year 1507 AD. the Portuguese came ashore on this island and fortified themselves from the military point of view, remaining thus till the reign of Shah Abbas Safavid. In 1645 AD. the Dutch brought about an important military force in the Persian Gulf and occupied the Qeshm castle on the pretext that the Iranians had failed to abide by the trading pact. But the heat of this island compelled the Dutch to leave the place. On the death of Nader Shah in 1747 AD., the influence of Iran in the Persian Gulf weakened, and the Javasem (Arab) tribe increased their supremacy in the vicinity, thereby conquering the Qeshm Island in the year 1760 AD. Britannia founded its naval base in the village of Basaeidoo in the Qeshm Island in the year 1882 AD., but were forced to leave this area due to climatic conditions, i.e., the heat. After the Islamic revolution, Qeshm regained its importance and in the year 1989 accounted for the second ranking economically free port. In 1990 it facilitated custom services and played an active role in this connection in the Persian Gulf and Oman Sea, both in the industry and commercial circles. Thereby further improving trade relations between Iran and other neighboring countries.

Roudan 

This township is one of the ancient vicinities in the province from the geographical point of view. In comparison to the other regions of the province this area has a pleasant climate. Its underground and surface water resources are on a relatively high level and this promotes agricultural activities in the area, and in the 4th century AH. this territory boasted of verdant regions. In the 8th century AH. its agricultural products were grain, cane sugar, grapes and similar yields. The surplus of which were exported to India via the port of Tiab in Minab. This township is devoid of any historical vestiges, but has natural beauty.

Historical Monuments

Fekri Edifice, Bandar Lengeh

This pavilion is a relic of the Safavid era and is located in the vicinity of the ancient pier in the Taleqani Blvd. of Bandar Lengeh. Due to the fact that this edifice has an imprint of European architecture, thus its name which means foreign hat or cap.

 

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Hazareh (Bibi Minoo) Castle, Minab

The only historical structure Minab city is the Hazareh Castle. It is believed that the city was constructed by two sisters named Bibi Minoo and Bibi Nazanin. It is said that in the past two castles were present here, but one of these is no more, and the other is the famous Bibi Minoo Castle. The same was a seat of local rule till the late Qajar era.

 

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Portuguese Castle, Qeshm

This castle was built in the year 1030 AH. to the north east of this island under the decree of the Spanish monarch of the times. The same has two ramparts and towers in the four corners. Within the castle a number of extremely ancient and rusty canons remain to date.

 

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Lashtan Castle, Bandar Lengeh

This castle was constructed in the year 904 AH. and is at a distance of 6 km. east of Bandar Lengeh. Within the castle are a number of ponds, cemeteries, and storage areas for edible commodities, amongst other remains. Stony crypts similar to those of the early cavemen dwellings can be noted on the heights in the surroundings.

 

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Religious Monuments

Malek-ebne Abbas (Ali) Mosques and Tower, Bandar Lengeh 

This ancient mosque is located near the sea and in the western sector of the city of Bandar Lengeh. The same was constructed by Haj Mohammad-ebne-Abbas in the year 1280 AH. The minaret of the mosque reaches a height of 22 m. and is 3.5 m. in girth. The architectural effect at the top of the minaret is a combination of Indian and Iranian design.

 

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Qeshm Jame’ Mosque, Qeshm

The said mosque was constructed in the year 1202 AH., and is a memorial of ‘Sooqiyeh’ the spouse of the ruler of the times in Qeshm. The mosque has a rectangular shaped nocturnal area, with 16 columns in two rows.

 

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Natural Attractions

Genoo Thermal Spring, Bandar Abbas

This spring is situated at a distance of 34 km. northeast of Bandar Abbas and alongside the Bandar Abbas – Sirjan Road. The water from this spring which is calcium sulfuric in nature is used for irrigating the palm groves or plantations and also for bathing purposes. This spring is equipped with two segregated pools for ladies and gents.

 

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Kish Island, Bandar Abbas

Kish Island (economic free zone) is located in the Persian Gulf waters, to the southwest of Bandar Abbas, and is an oval shaped island with an area of 89.7 sq. km. It has a length and width of 15.6 and 7 km. respectively. Its center for cultured pearls and large aquariums are one of the attractions of this island. Besides which its strand offers scope for other leisure such as a round in a glass-bottom boat, water skiing and scuba diving (with the aid of a guide). Shopping arcades prove interesting places and so too other recreational areas.

 

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Qeshm Island, Qeshm

This island lies to the north of Hormoz Strait, its length being 115 km. and its width ranging from 10-35 km. The city of Qeshm is its center, the same being in the northeast of this island with an area of 3 sq. km. and at an elevation of 10 m. above sea-level. The island is situated at a distance of 1,353 km. from Tehran and 12 nautical miles from the main land. Climatically it has one long warm and humid season, and a shorter moderate one. Its rocky coastal areas are favored by crabs and lobsters. Besides which, its forested vicinities such as Harrah (mangroves) Protected Area located between the north of the island and Bandar Khamir are wonderful sights to visit. A Landscape of Qeshm Island shown in the picture below :

 

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Culture and Art

Anthropological Museum, Bandar Abbas  

The Anthropological Museum of Bandar Abbas is located in the ancient Hindu temple of this city. Here former remnants of the former civilizations of the coastal and surrounding islands are on display. Besides which relics such as ancient articles that were in use, local apparel and implements utilized in the past for handicrafts can be noted in this museum. Old coins and relics discovered in the ‘Soroo’ hillock are also on display here.

 

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Qebleh Do’a Ceremony, Bandar Abbas

This ceremony is performed when the rain fail to fall. The chief prayer leader arranges such that the congregation assembles at the public place for prayers or (Mossallah) for this event. Groups of children are sent out amongst the inhabitants to collect money and eatables. Whilst they are busy they chant songs and rhymes to do with rain. This continues till the night or even till another two days. The day after which the people set out to the Qebleh Do’a to eat the special food prepared (that has been blessed). Here the food is distributed amongst the poor and this takes another two days. Then according to the instructions of the chief prayer leader, the people of the city go on a fast for rain. They congregate in the mosques where the Holy Qoran is recited. On the fourth day the inhabitants join the assembly at the Qebleh Do’a where they plead for rain. As it is believed, the wishes of a person who is fasting is granted. On the final day of the ceremony, people wear white and clean apparel, and pray, after which the sermon is read and the prayer leader prays for rain and the congregation chant ‘Amen’.

Zaar Ceremony, Bandar Abbas 

The believes regarding the winds of Zaar came all the way from Ethiopia to the Islamic land. “Hawa” people where those who involved by one of these winds. These are so to speak evil winds that possess a person, who then has to be freed from it by the performance of a special ritual. The person or patient possessed has to encounter with Baba or Mama Zaar, or the exorcist. This ceremony takes place on a Tuesday night. Before the ceremony men and women dress up, comb their hair and lavishly make the use of special scents. First a special potent is prepared for the patient, who Baba Zaar has kept under strict watch and away from the eyes of the others for a week. Within this time if the patient is a man, he is forbidden to set eyes on a dog, hen or any women ( if the patient is a women the case is the opposite). During this week the special potent is rubbed on the patient’s body and a little is also given to him to drink, whilst a few men and women with dark complexion having good voices beat the drums and dance. Before the ceremony is about to begin, a feast is spread out with an array of food, scented herbs and blood. The patient is compelled to drink blood, or else the wind will not speak up! During the dancing, the patient moves in rhythmic movements and gradually goes into hallucination. Now only Baba Zaar can contact with him or rather speak to him, who pleads with Zaar to relieve the patient. There after the patient is compelled to keep clean, wear white clothing, strictly avoid alcoholic spirits, and commit no sin, or else he’d be possessed by Zaar again. Other ceremonies held in Hormozgan province are, the Iranian new year or Norooz ceremony, Chahar Shanbeh Soori or (the last Wednesday function of the year), Eid-e-Fitr (the celebration after the fasting month of Ramadan), Eid-Qorban (the feast of sacrifice), the celebration held on the 15th of Sha’ban or lunar month which coincides with the birthday of the 12th Imam of the Shiite sect. Sacrifices held for rain, wedding ceremonies, prayer ceremonies held in Imamzadeh Seyed Mozafar and ceremonies to celebrate the birth of the Prophet Mohammad (AS).

Universities

The Governmental universities in Hormozgan province

Bandar Abbas University of Medical Sciences,University of Hormozgan,Qeshm Institute of Higher Education,Payame Noor University of Hormozgan,Kish University.

The Islamic Azad universities in Hormozgan province

Islamic Azad University of Bandar Abbas,Islamic Azad University of Roudan.

Handicrafts and Souvenirs, Hormozgan

The handicrafts of Hormozgan province are as follows, earthenware pots known as ‘hableh’, textiles worked with laced gold or silver braids known as ‘golabatoon’, bedding sheets, rugs, carpets, woven baskets and mats, and handicrafts made of shells.

 

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Local and Regional Foods, Hormozgan

In the cities and rural areas of Hormozgan province, a variety of dishes are prepared. Sea food such as fish and shrimps are popular and there is an array to select from.