Long ago, it seemed only those seeking solitude would ever plan a journey to a desert. Now, it’s the most adventurous thing a person could do.
Iran’s nature could amaze people in ways they never had ever thought. Iran Deserts are like a great magician, Merlin perhaps, or Dumbledore himself. Many lands with many different shapes could change.
It’s not like if you go to Shahdad salt-pan for instance, the next time, those yardangs would be the same.
Iran offers you various types of deserts and salt pans. Each have their unique features, each has their atmosphere, and spiritually take you to places you have never explored inside you.
The Desert and Salt-pans of Iran could be divided into five sections. Each section contains a different type of desert and salt-pan that has been known so far.
Iran’s central desert is bounded on the north by the eastern Alborz mountain range and Mount Binalud on the east.
This is limited from the north to the eastern and central Alborz mountains, from the south to the Rig-e Jenn desert, from the west to the central mountains of Iran and the Karkas mountain range, and from the west to the western deserts.
This particular desert includes the deserts of Maranjab, Rig Dam, Nakhjir Valley, and mountains such as Siah Kuh and also located in the central parts of Iran and the western margin of the central desert. Maranjab desert is located in the south, and Kavir National Park is located in the west.
Lut Desert or the Dasht-e Lut
It is another impassable desert not just in Iran but also in the world. In some parts of this desert, there are no living creatures, not even one single bacteria. The hottest spot on earth is located in this desert.
Darreh-ye Khoshk Rud
Or in English, “the Valleys of the Dry River”, are located in Kerman province and 150 km from Shahdad city in the direction of Nehbandan, northern Dasht-e Lut.
Kal Shor is the only permanent river in Lut. At the same time, other channels flow into the area of Lut pits, the most important of which is the Khoshk River. This route does not have permanent water, but it is the passage of seasonal waters in northern Lut.
Three parallel paths with a steep slope from north to south fall into Lut’s salt pit.
Water erosion in a vertical direction has affected sedimentary strata with different pressure and has created scattering systems and sedimentary blocks.
It looks like the ruins of a city known as the city of Lut. This example and complications are specific to this region and have not been created in other areas of Lut.
It extends 20 km to the south of the corner of the dry valley in the form of a claw and is about 400 m above sea level, with vertical walls that intersect in a pyramidal shape. The grooves are created vertically as a result of techno-kite movements.
The yardangs of Kerman are located in a plain that is on the southern edge of the Lut desert.
The shapes you see in Shahdad are the result of wind and water erosion over many years. They seem to be the ruins of an old city doorway, walls, and everything but these shapes are compacted masses of soil, sand, and tall pebbles.
Although, some archaeologists believe that this desert was once inhabited.
Shahdad is full of eerie wonders. You could easily feel invisible people staring at you, and if you shout, the mighty winds will steal your voice.
From above it looks like a ladle, and on the surface of the earth, it has almost flat basaltic rocks. These rocks are the result of the eruption of several volcanic craters.
Within the heart of these volcanic plains lies the hottest spot on earth. In Persian, they call it “Gandom Beryan”. In English, it means, roasted wheat.
Some locals believe that travelers would place their wheat grains on black basalt stones and after a while, they would roast due to the heat. Color-infrared Aerial Photography has proven that this special spot is the hottest place on earth.
Ok, the thing about deserts in Iran is that they have weird names. In Persian, Rig means pebbles, that’s fine but Jenn is the word for “Goblin”. It is the boundary between Tabas and Yazd deserts. This dessert is one of the most impassable areas in the world due to its vast swamps, high and vast dunes. Only a limited number of people have crossed it so far. Tabas and Yazd deserts are also the boundary between the Dasht-e Lut and the Great salt-pan. Gavkhouni swamp is located in this area.
The Lack of water resources in this vast expanse of dunes, along with natural barriers such as salt marshes, have been the reasons why this region has out of human’s reach for centuries. Therefore, it was known as the goblins’ territory.
Folk tales, obscure myths, and legends about Rig-e Jenn have generally originated from the inability of travelers to cross this desert.
Anyway, there is no clear boundary for the goblins’ territory. Briefly, this region is located in central Iran in the western part of the central desert and salt-pans.
Located in Isfahan province and its average altitude is about 850 meters above sea level. Most of this desert is dunes and is rich in vegetation. The vegetation of this area includes saline plants such as turmeric trees and arches and shrubs.
The Maranjab Desert and its beautiful nights can compete with any forest or sea. Maranjab Desert’s features have attracted around 120% of the tourists who come to Kashan in the first four months of the year. 120 percent means over one and a half million people.
Along with the dunes that are the main attraction of the desert, the presence of Maranjab Castle and the island wandering in the Maranjab Desert, gives more motivation to tourists to come and explore this region.
Contrary to popular belief that the desert plain lacks a sign of human life and livelihood, we must hand it over to the deserts that were once magnificent places for the early humans to live in.
Evidence from the desert reflects the fact that in prehistoric times, human groups continued to live in their particular social forms in today’s desert, which had different living conditions.
However, because of gradual climate change and under the impact of certain geographical and historical conditions, they have been forsaken.
This is perhaps why, nowadays they look as if they are weird, mysterious, and even scary. But planning a journey to the desert could change your life forever. There is more to the desert and salt-pans than what we hear about or see in pictures. It’s a journey from within.