Due to Varzaneh’s historically fertile wetlands and surrounding farmlands, the city has several notable ancient sites which testify to its age. Some of the oldest artifacts, including clay pots and cutlery, found within historic parts of the city were determined to be over 5,000 years old. The Ghoortan Citadel, located 12 km west of the modern city of Varzaneh, is over a thousand years old.
The locals of Varzaneh still speak in an ancient Pahlavi dialect, which was originally used more than 1,500 years ago during the reign of the Zoroastrian based Sasanian dynasty (224-651 AD). This language is the predecessor and foundation for modern Farsi which is spoken throughout Iran. According to some of the linguists, the word Varzaneh may have derived from the ancient Pahlavi verb “Varzidan”, which means “to train the land”.
The Climate and People of Varzaneh
The city of Varzaneh has a population of 14,000, spread over a 23,000 km² area. The city, like most cities located in central Iran, is quite elevated, sitting at an altitude of 1,477m above the sea level. The City of Varzaneh and all areas usually used for tours and trips are within short driving distances of emergency medical services, extra food and water, and any other necessities.
The climate is quite dry and desert-like. Varzaneh’s deserts are some of the most accessible deserts in all of Iran. The sand dunes, which may range between 5 to 62 meters high, are not just fun and entertaining, but can also be ideal areas for stargazing. They are also ideal for meditation sessions, sandboarding, and even paragliding.
Varzaneh is the city of women in white. White is the symbol of pureness and cleanliness in Zoroastrian religion and wearing white is a traditional Zoroastrian custom. Although most women in Iran wear black chadors (a long piece of clothing covering from head to toes), women of Varzaneh show their respect to this tradition by wearing white chadors.
There is a traditional smithery still working in Varzaneh. It is located near Yousefi House (anthropology museum). The owner still works with old manual wooden and metal instruments to manufacture sickles, shovels and etc.
There is also a tradition called Gavchah (ox-well). Haj Ebrahim Heydari has revived the tradition and is using a special bull that has a big hump on his neck and usually lives in Sistan (southeast of Iran) to pull up water from well instead of a motor. He believes that singing, motivates the bull to work harder and occasionally sings and whispers some folklore poems to his bull.