Varzaneh Desert, 2-Day Tour
This tour starts in the morning from Yazd or Isfahan toward the famous Varzaneh Desert in Iran. (In case picking up from Yazd, 25 Euro will be added to the whole tour price). On the way, there are numerous attractions which we can explore. Let’s visit Ghortan Citadel that lies 110 km to the east of Isfahan in Ghortan Village. Many believe this ancient village dates back to the Sassanid era. Although some pots are discovered in the area and it’s estimated they belong to the Achaemenid time. It means the village is even older.
Ghortan Citadel a historical citadel that includes different monuments. Surprisingly it’s one of the few adobe citadels in the world that is still residential. At the moment, four families are living there. Visiting Ghortan Citadel is available for travelers and there’s no limited time.
As the area is more than 45000, it’s considered the largest adobe citadel after Bam Citadel in Iran. Ghortan Citadel was built due to military purposes. That’s why it has many watchtowers and the walls are thick. There are two gates, which one opens toward Zayandeh Roud River.
We will also visit Pigeon Tower and some handicrafts on the way.
Reaching the eco-lodge, we will have dinner and get some rest for the next day’s plan. In the morning, we will head to Khargoushi Caravansari. This stone-built caravanserai is located on Isfahan-Yazd Road near Gav Khuni Wetland. It dates back to Safavid era, built by the order of Shah Abbas.
Khargoushi Caravansari area is 80*80 meters. You can observe its made of stone and bricks. The workers of Safavid time used the stone of mount nearby for the construction. That’s why it’s been stable after so many years. Different spaces include rooms, water reservoirs, and stalls. The inscription at the entrance may grab your attention. It’s written Shah Abbas on 15 greenish stone pieces by the well-known caligrapher of that time Ali Reza Abbasi.
The next observation would be really interesting and unique for you. It’s called Gav Chah. Gav means cow in Persian and Chah is well. Gav Chah is considered a well which its water is extracted by a cow. In fact, the farms needed lots of water for irrigation, and it was not possible to get it by human strength. They tie a rope around the cow’s neck and there’s a big bowl at the other end. They put the bowl in the well full of water. Then the cow goes to another direction on a slope until the bowl is lifted on top of the well. Meanwhile, some traditional poems are said to motivate the cow.
Shotori Asiab is a mill which has more than 300 years of antiquity (Safavid Era). It’s unique in its own league. Many tourists come to this area yearly to visit Shotori Asiab.
The main course in Persian dishes is bread which can be made of wheat and barley. So they made the mills to grind these plants and produce floor.
Although most mills were built on qanats to use the water for grinding, they applied another technique in Shotori Asiab. There’s a big handle connected to some round stone pieces which grind these seeds. The whole system turns around by a camel. Of course, the eyes of the camel should be covered so it doesn’t get dizzy.
Using this system 5 hours a day produces 300 kg floor every day. The word Shotor means camel an Asiab is a mill.
Next, we will see some local handicrafts that you may buy some as souvenirs. Let’s explore the Khara salt lake too. 50 km to Varzaneh Desert, you face this wonderful pure area full of salt. This mass of salt is the result of intense evaporation of saline water in the desert. Khara salt lake is one of the main salt mines in Iran as kilos of salt is extracted from the region daily. Amazingly you can observe some red seaweeds grown in the middle of the salt lake and this creates spectacular scenery of nature.
Passing the salt lake, we get Varzaneh Desert, the peaceful and quiet area where we can camp. Staying in the desert at night, watching stars in the pure sky, and have a talk around the fire are unforgettable experiences you can have in Iran.