Iran is great country with a wealth of tourist attractions both historical and natural. The country has a large array of climates ranging from snow tipped mountains to deserts and costs of the Persian Gulf. Ardabil Province is one of the thirty-one provinces of Iran in the northwest of the country And a major tourist hub. Many tourists come to the region for its cool climate (max 35 °C) during the hot summer months. Its famous natural region is the Sabalan Mountains. The province is considered the coldest province in Iran by many. Large parts of the province are green and forested. But apart from its natural beauty, the region is famous for its natural hot springs. This program takes us on a tour through Ardabil.
TIME CODE: 00:00_05:00
Narration: Lying on the slopes of Sabalan Mountain, Sareyn is a small town less than 30 kilometers to the west of Ardabil, the center of Ardabil province. Tourists from various parts of Iran as well as other countries come to Sareyn in droves especially in the summer when they can enjoy the mild climate in this region. Businesses start to open and curious visitors and tourists flock in. Streets get packed with people and cars moving in different directions. If you come here one day, make sure to have its special yoghurt soup called Ashe dough. Ashe Dough contains fresh yoghurt as the major ingredient, a little rice, peas and some vegetable nobody leaves this town without having it. Dairy products, honey, food, and hot mineral water spas everywhere. The dairy products are maybe the most popular in the entire nation as the visitors are aware that they are produced from high quality and fresh cow or sheep’s milk locally. Visitors mostly take home honey and dairy from Sareyn.
SOUNDBITE [Persian] Golnar Farnoud, Host of Program: “These are all from this region?”
SOUNDBITE [Persian]Saleman: “Yeah, they all come from Moghan plain.”
SOUNDBITE [Persian] Golnar Farnoud, Host of Program: “Can I take an apple?”
SOUNDBITE [Persian]Saleman: “ Go ahead.”
SOUNDBITE [Persian] Golnar Farnoud, Host of Program: “Thanks.”
SOUNDBITE [Persian]Saleman: “Sure.”
Narration: There are a large number of restaurants, both traditional and modern, shops of all sorts and of course hotels and inns all over the town. The locals and most of the visitors speak Azeri and, but not many speak English.
SOUNDBITE [Persian] Horseman: “We’ll take a tour of all Sareyn on horse carriage…not all Sareyn.”
Narration: Everybody here is so nice and friendly. They are always there to answer your questions and give you directions. Here you find a variety of cuisines, fruits and all kinds of edibles galore.
Kebabs are also a must-eat. The beef and mutton in this part of Iran are highly favored by everyone. That’s because the cattle are always grazing on the plains and mountains having a surfeit of fresh grass and plants.
The town usually bustles with life but when the sun goes down, it looks as all activities start and go on at full throttle until a couple of hours after midnight.
One of the highest peaks in the country, Sabaln or Savalan is an inactive volcano in northwestern Iran. An altitude of over 4,800 meters makes Sabalan taller than Mount Blanc in the Alps. The mountain offers many attractions throughout the year. On the slopes of Sabalan, lies a major spa destination for health tourists. Sareyn with its hot water mineral springs attracts large crowds of tourists each year, as many have faith in the healing properties of the mineral-rich springs.
TIME CODE: 05:00_10:00
Narration: The Mountain is known for its beautiful sceneries, including the Shirvan gorge, where a few climbers ever venture. Some believe that prophet Zoroaster spent a number of years meditating on Mount Sabalan.
It starts to snow in late autumn, winter, and spring that’s sufficient to sustain seven glaciers near the summit. There are also extensive rock glaciers, several of them being more than 3 kilometers in length.
The area around Sabalan, particularly near Meshkin and Dasht-eh Moghan produces large quantities of grain, including wheat.
SOUNDBITE [Persian]Majid Khodabakhsh, Ardabil Governor General: “The green and second highest mountain in Iran, Sabalan, is located in Ardabil province. With its excellent attractions both in terms of nature and hydrotherapy, the province is host to hundreds of thousands of visitors throughout the year. On the foot of Sabalan lies Meshkin Shahr with great hydrotherapy facilities and tourism potential.”
Narration: The look of it a sight for sore eyes and the sound of it music to the ears. That’s why wherever you find some form of water; you’ll see people around it engaging themselves in fun activities or simply relaxation enjoying nature’s soothing music.
Thanks to the climate produced by the mountain, Ardabil remains pleasantly cool in the summer. There are some really proper slopes for skiing with a lot of snow even in near-summer; along with a very beautiful and useful ski resort named "Alvares" within an hour's drive from Sareyn to the Sabalan Southern ridge.
Iran's plateau possesses a large variety of plant species some them of medicinal use. Traditional or herbal medicine is said to have been practiced in the country for some 4000 years. More than 2,000 plant species are grown in Iran. The land covered by natural flora is four times larger than that of Europe.
Around one-tenth of the country is forested with the most extensive growths on the mountain slopes rising from the Caspian Sea.
The country has 650 kilometers of water border along the Caspian Sea in the north and almost 1800 kilometers along the Persian Gulf and the Sea of Oman in the south.
TIME CODE: 10:00_15:00
Narration:Oak, ash, elm, cypress, and other trees thrive in those areas. People in rural areas cultivate orchards and grow such trees as plane, poplar, willow, walnut, beech, maple, and mulberry. Wild plants and shrubs of all kinds grow all over barren land with the advent of spring.
With one million, six hundred and forty eight thousand square kilometers of land area, Iran ranks eighteenth in size among the world countries of the world. The country has a large of elements of life and a unique ecosystem. Anywhere you see a body of water in any form, be it a ravine, waterfall or a lake, you’ll usually find basic facilities for the people to get together, chat, enjoy food together and have fun. You usually get to find so many things to eat including dried fruits and nuts, local bread and delicious cuisines.
Shop owners offer the passers-by edibles for free in the hope of attracting more customers and making more sales.
There are a large variety of cuisines in this country but Abgusht is one of the most popular meals among Iranians especially Azeri Iranians. Abgusht is a lamb soup with chickpeas, red kidney beans, onions and potatoes. Azeri housewives have a big reputation for making the best Abgusht in the country.
In Iran rainfall is quite seasonal. It mostly rains between October and March. Immense seasonal variations in flow characterize the country's rivers. In many parts of the country, there may be no precipitation until storms, together with heavy rains, dump almost the whole year's rainfall in a matter of a few days. Near the Caspian Sea, rainfall averages about 1,300 millimeters a year. Elsewhere in the country precipitation is much less and water is obtained in other ways. An estimated 60,000 traditional Karez systems in plateau regions like Yazd, Khorasan and Kerman - are being used for different purposes including drinking water for rural areas.
Internal renewable water resources are estimated at around 130 billion cubic meters a year. Surface runoff constitutes a total of 100 billion cubic meters a year and groundwater recharge is estimated at about 50 billion cubic meters a year.
The mountains have helped shape both the political and the economic history of the country for several centuries. They enclose several vast plateaus, on which major agricultural and urban settlements are situated.
TIME CODE: 15:00-20:00
Narration: Now, let’s see why I believe this part of Iran is a heaven for health tourists. It’s not only the crispy and fresh mountain air and high quality mineral water. Sabalan region also offers high quality food. You can find them all in this part of the country. Salmonidae is one of the most valuable fish species in the world with trouts and salmons as the best known. The species are one of the most farmed fish in the world for centuries. They are mostly found in streams and cold lakes of North America and Eurasia. Because of fishermen’s interest on catching this species and simplicity of reproduction, they are widely found in cold and fresh water of the southern hemisphere as well. Trouts and salmons are so compatible with cold and roaring waters.
Iran has been making rapid progress in cold water aquaculture in recent years. Major producers of trout in the world are Chile, Norway, Italy and Iran. Iran ranks third but has the highest growth with nearly 28%.Among the type of fish rainbow trout has the highest value because of its flesh quality, simple farming and sport fishing. Thanks to its compatibility with most conditions and climates it was introduced to other parts of the world including Japan, Europe and Africa. The natural habitat of rainbow trout in fresh water has a temperature of 12 degrees Celsius in the summer. The best temperature is between 10 and 12 degrees Celsius and best spawning happens in 2 to 10 degrees. In the presence of good quality water, proper temperature and ample food the fish get mature in 2 to 3 years’ time.
And here’s a health tourism and natural attraction of Ardabil that’s said to be older than Orumiyeh Lake. Shoorabil is the only natural urban lake in Iran. Situated in a hilly area in southeastern Ardabil, Shoorabil isalmost 1400 meters above the sea level. People with skin diseases and rheumatism used to come to the salty lake and use the mud to cure their ailment. Later water from Balikhlu River was led to the lake to reduce the salt amount so rainbow trout could be bred in the lake. Currently the lake is 180 hectares with 14 million cubic meters of water. A number of migratory bird species together with local birds could be seen around the lake at times. There’s a park with picnicking facilities around the lake together with recreational facilities and hotels. The lake is ringed by a scenic roadway offering views of the lake and the nearby Sabalan mountain.
Breathtaking natural attractions, life-giving hot springs and mineral spa towns, healthy dairy and food, entertainment and fun, low cost at the same time high quality medical and health services all make Iran a unique destination for health tourism.