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Wednesday, 14-Feb-2007 15:26 Email | Share | Bookmark
To Qeshm Island - PERSIAN GULF

Bandar Abbas
Bandar Abbas
Bandar Abbas
Bandar Abbas

Qeshm (Persian: قشم - pronounced kē´shm or Jazireh-e-qeshm; Arabic: Jazirat At-tawilah, meaning "long island") is an island situated in the Strait of Hormuz off the south coast of Iran (Persia) and east of the Persian Gulf (26°50′N 56°0′E). It has an area of over 500 mi² (1295 km²). Clarence Strait separates mainland Iran from Qeshm Island. The surface is mostly rocky and barren. It is Iran's largest and the Persian Gulf's largest island, Qeshm is almost 100 kilometers long. Explorer William Baffin was mortally wounded on Qeshm in 1622 during a battle against Portuguese forces. Qeshm island is also a free trade zone, which has made the island very important due to international trade.
Historically, Qeshm island dates back far into the pre-Islamic era. Names as Qeshm, Keshm, Kish and Tunb mark the lengthy stay of Ilamids in the area several centuries before Christ's birth. It is, apparently, the island called Alexandria or Aracia by Ptolemy (Book 6, Chap. IV), in the 2nd century CE and as Alexandria by Ammianus Marcellinus (xxiii.6.42) in the 4th century. On account of its strategic geopolitical situation, near the mouth of the Persian Gulf it has been frequently attacked by invaders including Ilamids (Elamites), Omavids, Abbasids as well as the Portuguese and British, whose ravages are still evident. According to historical records, Qeshm Island has been famous as a trade and navigation center. Its economy flourished during Dialameh and Alebouyeh eras, as trade vessels sailed between it and China, India and Africa.

Qeshm island is famous for its wide range of ecotourist attractions such as the Hara marine forests. According to environmentalists, about 1.5% of the world birds and 25% of Iran's native birds annually migrate to Hara forests which is the first national geo park.
An ancient Portuguese castle, historic mosques, Seyyed Mozaffar and Bibi Maryam shrines, various ponds and mangrove forests are among the tourism attractions in the island, which sits across the azure waters of the Persian Gulf. Several domes, salty caves, the preserved area in Shibderaz Village where turtles hatch as well as numerous ports and wharfs are among the tourist potentials of the island.
Fishing is a leading occupation practiced by the inhabitants of the island. On what little cultivated land there is, dates and melons are grown. Salt is mined on the southeastern coast. The population of Qeshm Island is about 200,000. Nowadays, Qeshm attracts thousands of tourists every year due to natural beauties and modern malls. There are nice hotels and motels in the island. Hara Sea-Forest is a natural feature of tropical and subtropical forests and is one of the most beautiful attractions of Qeshm island.

Qeshm is also considered a supposed site of the Garden of Eden according to Cassells Bible.

Iran Air Flight 655
On July 3, 1988, an Iran Air Airbus A300 (Iran Air Flight 655) was shot down by a United States Navy guided missile cruiser USS Vincennes just south of the island, resulting in 290 civilian fatalities. The wreckage splashed down 2.5 kilometers off Qeshm's southern coast.

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