Sanandaj, Kurdestan prov, Sept 8, IRNA-Director general of the Cultural Heritage and Tourism Department of Kurdestan province, Mohammad-Ibrahim Zareie, referred to the province as a significant national hub, given the diversity of its tourist attractions.
He told IRNA that in today's world tourism is considered as a profitable industry and that it earns the second largest revenue after the oil industry.
"The province contains 218 tourist sites including natural, cultural, historical, religious, trade and recreational attractions as well as marvelous villages.
"Zarivar in the town of Marivan, Karaftu Cave, historical monuments, bazaars and bridges in the provincial capital of Sanandaj and Palangan village are some provincial attractions among others," he added.
He noted that lack of proper and standard connecting roads, railway lines, continuous flights, reluctance of the private sector to make investment, lack of accommodations and involvement of unskilled manpower in the tourist industry are the most serious obstacles hindering the promotion of tourism.
"The provincial tourist sites were visited by more than 300,000 domestic and 2,000 foreign tourists last Iranian year (ended March 20)," he added.
The province has been enjoying a unique brilliant civilizational and cultural background in the course of human history. Besides, its climatic features, particular geographical position, exquisite vegetation and forests, wild life and numerous hunting grounds account for its role as a unique national tourist hub.
Zarivar lake, a unique natural phenomenon and the most important provincial marshland, is situated two kms to the west of Marivan at a height of 1,285 meters above the sea level.
Its water boiling from springs at the bottom of the sea smells like natural water and its color is usually greenish.
A variety of aquatic birds spend most of the year at Zarivar lake, given it is a suitable habitat.
With an area measuring 850-900 hectares and depth ranging between a maximum of five and minimum of two meters, the lake is quite appropriate for boating and water skiing.
Provincial governor-general, Asadollah Razani, speaking at a meeting of Marivan tourist officials, said that as the most important tourist attraction in western Iran Zarivar lake deserves special attention.
The longest provincial river called Qezel-Uzun originates from Sanandaj's Chehel-Cheshmeh heights as well as Hezarkanian and Divan-Darreh's Saral mountains.
The water of hot spring of Baba Gargar is known to cure digestive problems and rashitism.
Sultan Sorajeddin heights between Kamyaran and Sanandaj, Nekeh-Ruz mountain to the southwest of Saqqez, Sheida mountain in Qorveh, Salan heights to the southeast of Marivan and Arbaba in Baneh are a few of most charming mountain ranges of the province.
Karaftu Cave in the town of Divandarreh 72 kms to the east of Saqqez made of layers of lime has been subject to constant change in the course of history as human residence. The cave has been engraved into the depth of mountain and is featured by its stone architectural structure built in four stories.
The historical cave has been visited by many outstanding Iranologists and researchers such as De Morgan and various maps of it have been drawn.
Reference to a Greek tablet installed above the door of a room on the third floor of the cave has been made in several essays written and printed by various researchers.
According to the available articles, the cave has been named after the Greek mythological hero Hercules mentioned in the tablet.
Sanandaj's old bazaar is one of the remaining major economic hubs of Safavid era, whose architecture has been inspried by the market surrounding Isfahan Naqsh-e Jahan Square.
The archaic bazaar dating back to the lifetime of Soleyman Khan Ardalan, who was appointed as Kurdestan governor by Safavid kings in 1046 AH.
Several ancient bridges prove the area's unique status as an economic and tourist hub in the past.
Asef Divan monument dating back to Safavid period is one of the most significant relics of the area known for its exclusive architecture, which is now called "Kurd House".
The brickwork of its front view has been built under the impression of Baroque era. The building has been elaborately decorated with plasterworks, mirrorworks and woodworks.
Another ancient monument called Khosrowabad dates back to the lifetime of Khosrow Khan Ardalan, a contemporary to Karim Khan Zand and son of Amanollah Khan Ardalan, the powerful governor of Kurdestan.
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