(Persia Digest) – “Tabas” bears the title of Iran’s geological paradise as its third geopark proposed for Unesco World Heritage registration.
“Qeshm” was the first geopark in Iran and the Middle East to be registered by Unesco in 2006. The “Aras” geopark was also proposed to Unesco for registration in 2008 and is still awaiting a decision. That said, Iran is presently preparing a third geopark file for registration.
In addition to its geological phenomena, Tabas Geopark also has fluorine and coal mines, historic villages, and is a religious and anthropological pole, as explained below.
“Kal Jenni” [Jinn Valley] is one of Tabas’ most important geosites. On the foothills of this valley, the oldest fossil dating back to over 160 million years ago has been found and is kept at the Tabas Geological Museum. Professor Martini, Head of Global Geoparks Network (GGN), has been pleasantly surprised to find such a valley in Iran and has compared it with the Grand Canyon in the US.
“Kal Sar Dar” [Sar Dar Valley], or “Cheshmeh Morteza-Ali”, where hot and cold springs bubble up in the river bed, is a main outing place in Tabas.
Another place to be visited here is “Tagh” or the “Shah Abbasi Dam” which is estimated to be 700 years old.
“Esfahak” village, which was completely abandoned after the 1979 Tabas earthquake, is currently an important geosite for its culture and architecture. It is a gathering place for architects from around the world. The village dates back to approximately 400 years ago.
“Korit” village in Tabas suffered the most during the deadly earthquake. Two water cisterns remain behind here from the Qajar era. Ruins from ancient Persia can also be found here.
“Poshteh Siah” [Black land] is at a distance of 120kms from Tabas. It is an almost unknown land in a large area covered by black volcanic rocks.
Another feature here are the colorful mountains alongside the “Peikuh” village along the “Black plains” route, easily visible from the road.
“Naiband” village, known as the Masuleh [historic village in Guilan Province] of the desert, is another geosite of Tabas with a memorable architecture.
“Dig Rostam” is a hot spring steaming in the distance. According to the locals, temperatures in the hot spring can go as high as 90˚C.
“Korit Dam” was considered as one of the world’s highest arched dams in the world up until the early 20th century.
“Imamzadeh Hossein bin Mousa al-Kazem (AS)” shrine, said to be the brother of Imam Reza (AS), the 8th Shia Imam, has also been added to the geosite list as a religious venue due to its importance among the local people.