Sources: ISNA I, ISNA II, ISNA III, IRNA I, IRNA II, IRNA III, Tasnim News Agency (TNA) I, TNA II, TNA III, TNA IV, TNA V, TNA VI, TNA VII, TNA VIII, TNA IX, Azad News Agency, Mehr News Agency (MNA) I, MNA II, MNA III, MNA IV, MNA V, asangardi.com, Fars News Agency
Isfahan was once one of the largest cities in the world. It flourished from 1050 to 1722, particularly in the 16th century under the Safavid dynasty. Even today, the city retains much of its past glory. It is famous for its Persian–Islamic architecture, with many beautiful boulevards, covered bridges, palaces, mosques, and minarets. This led to the Persian proverb “Esfahān nesf-e- jahān ast” (Isfahan is half of the world).
The Naghsh-e Jahan Square in Isfahan is one of the largest city squares in the world and an outstanding example of Iranian and Islamic architecture. It has been designated by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. The city also has a wide variety of historic monuments and is known for the paintings, history and architecture.
Photo gallery: Beautiful pictures of Isfahan in autumn
Today Isfahan is the capital of Isfahan Province and with a population of 1,755,382 inhabitants is also Iran’s third largest city after Tehran and Mashhad. The city is located 340 kilometres south of Tehran, in the lush plain of the Zayanderud River, at the foothills of the Zagros mountain range.
The nearest mountain is Mount Soffeh (Kuh-e Soffeh) which is situated just south of Isfahan, at 1,590 metres (5,217 ft) above sea level on the eastern side of the Zagros Mountains. Isfahan has an arid climate but despite its altitude, the city remains hot during the summer. However, with low humidity and moderate temperatures at night, the climate can be very pleasant.
The site lies in the eastern Zagros Mountains, 50-160 km east of Shiraz, and includes two very large salt-lakes -Tashk and Bakhtegan- and a large area of permanent freshwater marshes and seasonally flooded plains along the lower Kur river to the west (Kamjan Marshes). The two lakes are normally separated by narrow strips of land but may be joined during very wet winters to form a single expanse of water covering up to 136.500 ha.
Supporting more than 20.000 waterfowl, up to 50.000 flamingos and other species (e.g. ducks, geese, swans and cranes), the lakes are extremely important for breeding of a wide variety of species.
Kamjan Marshes formerly comprised ca. 10.000 ha of permanent and seasonal freshwater marshes. Although the marshes have been extensively modified by the drainage canals, 5.250 ha of wetland remains, including expanses of wet mudflats. Some irrigation canals are already silting up, and parts of the drained land are reverting to marsh. In addition, new marshes have developed at the mouths of the three main drainage canals where they enter the western ends of Lake Tashk and Lake Bakhtegan.
The two lakes, their delta and spring-fed marshes are designated as Wetlands of International Importance by the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands. The Ramsar Convention on Wetlands is an inter-governmental treaty established in 1971, establishing a framework for the stewardship and preservation of wetlands.
Shahdad Desert, on the western edge of Lut Desert, is home to unique natural structures called kalut (sand castles) by locals. The area is regarded as an archeological site of Kerman Province with graveyards, forts, and caravanserais which date back to the fourth millennium B.C.
The Lut Desert is a large salt desert located in the provinces of Kerman and Sistan and Baluchestan, Iran. It was inscribed on UNESCO’s World Heritage List in 2016. The hottest part of Dasht-e Lut is Gandom Beryan, an approximately 480km² (190 sq mi) large plateau covered in dark lava, 80 km north of Shahdad city. According to a local legend, Gandom Beryan (toasted wheat) originates from an accident where a load of wheat was left in the desert which was then scorched by the heat in a few days. The surface of its sand has been measured at temperatures as high as 70 °C (159 °F), making it one of the world’s driest and hottest places.
These impressive formations which are scattered over 11.000km² across the desert are called yardangs. They form by erosion in environments where water is scarce and the prevailing winds are strong, uni-directional, and carry an abrasive sediment load.
Founded in 1968, the garden extends over an area of about 150ha (370ac) and is planned to be the main center for horticulture and plant taxonomy in Iran.
A herbarium of Iranian plants is gradually being built up and now consists of some 160,000 species. It also contains gardens of non-Iranian plants, an arboretum, six lakes, hills (to represent the Alborz and Zagros mountains), a rock garden, a waterfall, a wetland, a river about 1 km long, systematic area, fruit garden, picnic area with some pavilions, desert plants areas, a salt lake and a wadi (a dry, ephemeral, riverbed that contains water only during times of heavy rain). The botanical and horticultural library has more than 11.000 volumes.
The area, located at 1320m altitude by the freeway between Tehran and Karaj, is flat and slopes gently to the south. The Albourz Mountains forms the background. The climate is dry with an average annual precipitation of about 240 mm falling between November and May. Temperature reaches as much as 42–43ºC during July and August. During winter the temperature may fall to –10ºC or lower. The natural vegetation of the area is dry Artemisia Siberia steppe.
A supermoon is the coincidence of a full moon or a new moon with the closest approach the Moon makes to the Earth on its elliptical orbit, resulting in the largest apparent size of the lunar disk as seen from Earth.
In 2016 there were three consecutive supermoons (in October, November and December). The moon on November 14 was the closest supermoon since January 26, 1948.