Nature Reserves and national parks are protected areas that have rare flora and fauna. Due to the dry climate, the modest vegetation and continuous agricultural activity since prehistoric times, in Iran 90% of the steppes are destroyed at the moment. For the protection of wildlife national parks and reserves were opened on the territory of Iran and today there are about 80 parks across the country.
Nature Reserves in Iran: Khar-Turan
Khar Turan National Park is located in Shahrud region. Part of the reserve is located on the territory of the province of Golestan, the other part is in Semnan province. Khar Turan is considered the largest nature reserve and the second largest biosphere reservation with diverse and rare flora and fauna in Iran. The unique ecosystem of the reserve is strictly protected: it has valuable potential for research. In addition, the reserve attracts a huge number of tourists.
Nature Reserves in Iran: Kolah-Ghazi
Kolah Ghazi reserve area of 47,142 hectares is located in Isfahan province. The park is located at the foothill plains salinity of the soil composition are dominating here. The river Zayende Rud flaws through the reserve. On the banks of the river brown soils predominate.
Kolah Ghazi park is located in the continental climate zone: summer here is hot with strong desert winds, and the winter is milder. On the territory of park as well as across the whole country dominates dry weather with liminited amount of annual rainfall. Due to the low rainfall the river dries up completely in the dry season.
Despite the harsh hot climate, Kolah Ghazi national park has a rich flora and fauna. There are about 350 species of plants and a large number of animal species.
The main attraction of the national park is the ancient city of Isfahan, which is known for its rich history and culture, unique architectural designs and natural beauty. One of the natural attractions is a spring Chemshe Darvesh on the Sufa hillside.
Another attraction, which is famous for its national park is Takhti Suleiman. Throne of Suleiman was built as a summer residence of Shah Suleiman Sefid.
Nature Reserves in Iran: Golestan National Park
Golestan national park is located in the eastern part of Golestan province and today it is the most popular park in the country. Moreover, Golestan park is considered the largest national park in Iran, it was included in the list of UNESCO Biosphere Reserve.
The reserve has an area of 900 km2 and a population of about 1,350 plant species and 302 animal species; this is half of all species on the territory of Iran. Height of the highest point in the reserve is 2400 meters above sea level.
National Park is located on the eastern foothills of the Elbrus mountain; national park is characterized by its natural beauty. Landscapes vary dramatically from the plains to the rugged mountains and canyons, dense forests and dry plains.
Golestan is divided into two parts with Madars river. The park is so big that there are several climatic zones on the territory. In the east, dry climate is dominating, while the northern and central part is more about semi-dryclimate, and the western and southwestern parts have semi humid climate. Thanks to several climatic zones the park has diverse plants characteristic of each zone.
Popular resorts Golshan, Golestan, Golzar and Abshar are close to the nature reserve. Every year the reserve and resorts are visited by thousands of tourists every year.
Nature Reserves in Iran: Dasht-e Kavir
Kavir desert is located in the saline Dasht-e Kavir (the northern part of the Iranian plateau) and is one of nine biosphere reserves in Iran. It has an area of 4,000 km2 and extends across four provinces Qom, Isfahan, Semnan and Tehran. Kavir is famous for the diversity of the animal world, including those with the rare species.
National Park was formed around the salt lake Namak. The lake is formed during the river flooding, the lake is not deep and the saline is suitable for transportation. However, due to the large amount of salt it is not recommended to cross lake on any vehicle.
Despite the dry desert climate, there are about 355 species of plants, over 34 species of mammals (among them there are rare species), 155 species of birds and 34 species of reptiles in the national park.
Dasht-e Kavir desert is the largest desert in Iran. Moreover, it is considered one of the most lifeless deserts on the planet. High temperature and frequent storms turn the territory uninhabitable. In the vast desert just a few oases can be found where the drinking water is extracted from the clay mines.
In the center of Dasht-Kevur there are sands of “Dune gin” which, according to legends, is the home of evil spirits. Locals try to stay away from this area.