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Iran's diverse desert landscapes could turn into region's geotourism hub

TEHRAN, Jan. 1 (Mehr News Agency) -- Geotourism is defined as tourism that sustains or enhances the geographical character of a place, its environment, culture and heritage, and the well-being of its residents. The concept is different from ecotourism, which focuses on the environment to the exclusion of local people.

Salt Desert, Iran

Development of geotourism will integrate all aspects of the natural environment with the existing tourism infrastructure, and all products will be aimed at the general public.

Given that geodiversity may well stimulate geotourism, Iran's desert landscapes have the potentials to turn into a major geotourism hub in the region.

Deserts and the steppes account for almost over one third of Iran's area; varieties of landscapes across the nation in particular in the desert regions call for the development of geotourism.

So far, 16 distinct landscape regions have been identified in Iran's deserts, which could play a significant role in the nation's fledgling geotourism. Moreover, the struggle for survival and initiatives taken by early Iranians to face the natural hardships are important and novel issues worthy of presentation to the modern man.

Sustainable water supplies for the communities living in the deserts of the historic nation have always been a mater of concern for the people living in the ancient country. Iranians were the first people who invented "Qanat" for supplying water in the arid steppes and deserts of the nation. The great invention is a horizontal underground gallery (tunnel) that conveys water from an alluvial fan to lower elevation fields.

"Persian Gardens" along with water reservoirs and wind towers - special towers built on top of the buildings in the desert regions located in central Iran to provide ventilation and cool air in buildings and homes - could find their significance as tourist attractions; they are particular to Iran's desert landscapes. Construction of Persian Gardens dates back to the Sassanid era (226-650 AD).

Situated on the Silk Road, an ancient trade route between China and the Mediterranean, Iranians built numerous caravansaries - inns usually with large courtyards, for the overnight accommodation of caravans. A number of the caravansaries have been recently rebuilt or refurbished and are ready to host visitors from all over the world.

... Payvand News - 1/1/07 ... --

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