Persian Qanat: System, Structure, famous Iran Qanats

There are arid regions in Iran with no river curving or crawling on it; with the lowest amount of rain touching its body, yet settlements initiate and thrive in them. Living in these areas is only possible if the water is transferred to the region in an inexpensive and uncomplicated way. The invention of Qanat was a brilliant solution to this matter. Qanat was born three millenniums ago in the deserts of Iran as the most effective technique for the best adaptation to arid areas.

Qanat is a tunnel system that carries water from a bed source of higher elevation to flatlands. It consists of a series of vertical wells built along a gentle slope that is connected to a horizontal duct at the bottom. The word “qanat” is derived from the Persian term “kanāt,” meaning “channel” or “conduit.”


how does a qanat work?

The duct must have enough space for Qanat workers to move and dig in it. Vertical shafts are for removing the excavated material and supplying oxygen to workers. Also, they provide proper access to different parts of the duct for repair and maintenance. Mother well is the first well that is the deepest of all. The tallest Mother Well in Iran is 300m deep in Gonabad, Razavi Khorasan Province.

The final destination of a Qanat is Mazhar-e Qanat where the water flows to the surface after its long voyage.

According to the Iranian Ministry of Energy, there are 363000 Qanats in Iran. For each of these Qanats, If the average length of the duct is 6km and the total depth of wells is 4km with a mouth with a one-meter diameter, there will be 376068 km of soil which is 9.4 times longer than the earth’s equator and covers 97.9% of the distance between the earth and the moon.

Vazvan & Moon Qanat in Isfahan

One remarkable Qanat in Iran is Vazvan in Isfahan province. The extraordinary character of Vazvan is that its duct is dug in stone and there are dams in some wells to save water during winter and use it at other times of the year. This Qanat was built during the Sassanid era (224–651) and is one of eleven Qanats registered in the UNESCO world heritage list.

Another unique Qanat is Moon in Ardestan, Isfahan province. Moon has two ducts at two levels. The first duct is 30m below the ground and the second is 3m higher at 27m depth. Water running in the second duct does not transmit to the duct below.

Historical Significance of Qanats

The creation of Qanat goes back to the 7th century BC in Iran but during Achaemenid Empire, it had a major extension throughout the territory. Qanat specialists started building numerous Qanats from the shores of the Mediterranean Sea to Chinese Turkistan which resulted in expanding and establishing settlements in dry regions of Persia. Arabs had a share in extending this water system worldwide through their invasions across North Africa, Sicily, and Spain.

Persian Qanats have not only shaped the landscape but also influenced the cultural and social fabric of Iran. These remarkable water systems have been celebrated in Persian literature, art, and architecture, emphasizing their importance in Persian civilization.
Qanats have also played a significant role in urban development, allowing the establishment of cities and towns in arid regions. Their presence enabled the growth of communities along the qanat routes, fostering trade, and supporting human settlements.

On July 15, 2016, the World Heritage Committee of the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) met in Istanbul, Turkey, and registered eleven Qanats in different provinces such as Kerman, Khorasan Razavi, Yazd, Arak, and Isfahan.

Are Qanats Still in Use Today?

While the traditional use of qanats has declined, some are still functional and continue to provide water in certain regions. The qanats principles and engineering concepts continue to inspire modern water management practices. Some contemporary applications and adaptations of qanats include Sustainable Urban Planning, Revitalization Projects, and Educational Initiatives.

The Persian Qanat system stands as a testament to the ingenuity and resourcefulness of ancient civilizations in managing water resources. These remarkable underground tunnels have not only sustained communities for centuries but also offer valuable insights into sustainable water management practices. By learning from the wisdom of the past and embracing innovative approaches, we can address the challenges of water scarcity and build a more sustainable future.

Are you planning to travel to Iran? Check out our Iran tours.

Kish Island

Kish Island Travel Guide: Things to do, Best Time to Go, Hotels

Whether you are an adventurous scuba diver looking to explore the coral reefs of the Persian Gulf or looking for a warm sunny beach to lie down on the silver sand, enjoy the smell of salt and read your book; Kish Trade-Industrial Free Zone Island has it all for you. Kish Island is one of the small yet charming islands in the Persian Gulf and one of the most beautiful coral islands in the world.

Kish Island

Kish Island is one of the small yet charming islands in the Persian Gulf.

Kish Island Attractions

The main attraction of this island is its gorgeous beaches. Even though Kish is not a big island (91 km²) most of its area is covered by beautiful beaches where you can go swimming in the blue-gem waters of the gulf.
The coral reefs in the bed of the sea purify water and make it crystal clear so you can see the underwater world and enjoy your beach relaxation even more.
Even on the most luxurious island of Iran, you can enjoy a visit to a cultural heritage dating back more than two millennia. Kish Island has been inhabited by Iranians since the Achaemenid Empire and it is as rich in history as it is in beauty.
Kariz-e Kish is a remaining of an ancient Qanat (aqueduct) that has turned into an underground city and museum for people to visit.
Iranians designed the Qanat system as an adaptation to arid climate five to six thousand years ago before the Roman Aqueducts. It is a hydraulic water system consisting of multiple vertical wells along a gentle slope that filters and guides water toward the arid areas.
Kariz-e Kish or Kish Qanat was built 2500 years ago to supply drinking water for island inhabitants. It’s a massive series of tunnels (10,000 square meters) snaking in a sixteen meters depth in coral earth of the island. To have a good functioning Qanat it must start from a high elevation going down gradually to the valleys. But Kish Island does not have high elevation areas and still, its Qanat is one of the best functioning in Iran.
Another factor that gives Kariz a unique characteristic is being in a coral ground. The coral reef purifies water very well plus when you walk in this cool ancient underground city, the walls and ceiling are covered with 500-600 million-year-old fossils of turtle, shells, and other species of the sea.
Kish Island is one of the most favorite tourist destinations among Iranians and specifically younger generations. Beautiful shopping malls, restaurants, water activities, and beaches create a great package for a relaxing and romantic getaway.
One reason for this high fame is because the island is warm and nice during winter. When other parts of Iran are cold and covered with snow you can put your toes in the warm white sands on the beach and jet ski on the turquoise water of the Persian Gulf.

Don’t forget to take a Selfie with the Greek ship when the sunset sky turns orange and purple in the background, it will be the most romantic and serene shot from your trip to Iran. If you go for a walk on the west beach of the island, you will see an abandoned ship sitting in the water. Fifty years ago this ship, belonging to Greece, came too close to the shore where she got stuck in the mud and she has remained beached ever since.

Kish Island - Greek Ship

Don’t forget to take a Selfie with the Greek ship while you are in Kish.

The best time to travel to Kish Island

The best time for Kish is from January to April. Kish climate is hot and humid with an average of 26°C in a year. In summer it can get as hot as 40°C (104°F).
Kish is a free trade zone where fifteen percent of all imports to Iran are through this region plus it has many investment incentives. You can take a short fly or a cruise from all the countries bordering the Persian Gulf to the Island. Tourists do not need a visa for entrance regardless of their nationality.

Kish- Persian Gulf

The best time to travel to Kish is from January to April.

Where to stay in Kish?

Imagine staying in a hotel looking like the palaces of Achaemenian emperors with the Persian soldiers and half-man half-lion stone statues, and lofty columns with intricate decorations all around you, and a tropical view out of your room will make your trip even more remarkable.
If you are more of a marine-hotel-person you can choose Toranj Hotel. Toranj Marine Hotel is the first hotel in Iran with on-water villas, drawing the shape of Paisley on the gulf, and glass floors to view the colorful marine life swimming beneath you in the Persian Gulf. In this five star hotel, you will experience an unforgettable stay with a panoramic view of sunset and sunrise over the sea every day.

Are you planning to travel to Iran? Check out our Qeshm Island tours.

ramadan in iran

Where to Go & What to Eat in Iran During Ramadan?

Millions of Muslims in Iran and around the world have marked the beginning of the holy month of Ramadan. Fasting is aimed at reminding the faithful of the plight of the poor and is a major incentive for Muslims to engage in charitable activities. In addition to taking special care to avoid certain sins mentioned in the Quran, Muslims must abstain from food or drink of any kind during the daylight hours of Ramadan. Non-Muslims, too, will be expected to respect and adhere to the local culture in many Islamic countries and should be aware to follow certain rules and regulations. However, some travelers and non-Muslim tourists still wish to visit a Muslim-majority country during this important religious festival. During Ramadan, quotidian life is completely transformed and visitors to these regions are in for a serious and exciting culinary treat! Depending on the country you are in, there will be a whole array of festivities and events centered on the time of breaking fast, known as Iftar. Iran Doostan Tours proposed some cities in Iran for traveling during Ramadan. The report also includes some of the traditional cuisines served in the mentioned cities. Food can reveal some of its rich and varied regional identities. Here we go:

Mashhad: A religious city with delicious food

Home to the Holy Shrine of Imam Reza (A.S), Mashhad is the most important religious city in Iran and several Iranians and Muslims travel to the city during the holy month of Ramadan. Sheshlik Kebab, Shole Mashhadi, and Dizi are some of the renowned dishes served in Mashhad during the month of Ramadan.

Sholeh Mashhadi

Sholeh, the meat and wheat stew.

Don’t miss Shiraz’s Baq-e Eram and Shah-e Cheragh Shrine!

Baq-e Eram or Eram Garden is one of the crowded places during Ramadan in Shiraz. The traditional coffee houses around the place serve Iftar during Ramadan. On the eve of Ramadan, the ninth month of the Islamic calendar during which Muslims fast, the Shah Cheragh shrine was cleaned and dusted due to an old tradition to get prepared for the pilgrims during the holy month. Aash-e Sabzi, Aash-e Karde, and Kalam Polo, as well as Tare Halva in Shiraz, are also amongst the favorite cuisines served during the holy month of Ramadan in Shiraz.

Kalam polo Shirazi

Kalam Polo: Shirazians’ favorite dish.

Break your fast on the Zayanderud riverside in Isfahan

Most people in Isfahan break their fast with their families by going for a picnic near the Zayanderud River. Halim made of lentils and milk, Mast Stew, Beryuni, Halim Bademjan, and Shole-Qalamkar are traditional Isfahani cuisines served during Ramadan in Isfahan’s restaurants.

Beryooni Isfahan

Beryuni, made of baked mutton & lungs.

Try local foods in Tabriz!

Imamzadeh Seyyed Hamzeh in Tabriz and El-Golu Park is a popular hangout during the Ramadan month in Tabriz. Imamzadeh Seyyed Hamzeh is one of the religious centers in the city and people flock to it during the holy month of Ramadan. Aash-e Shir is one of the cuisines served during Iftar in Tabriz. Other traditional cuisines of Tabriz include Kufteh, Dolmeh, Aash-e Abghureh, and colorful jams, which are served at the city’s restaurants.

Koofteh Tabrizi

Koofteh Tabrizi: super meatballs stuffed with berries.

Grandma’s Aash in Rasht, a good appetizer for Ramadan

If you decide to travel to Guilan Province during Ramadan, do not forget the traditional neighborhood of the city: Chellehkhaneh. There is a famous cooking center there named Grandma Aash, which serves Aash with locally grown vegetables. There is also a famous sweet named Reshteh-Khoshkar, which is made of fried rice paste and served in confectionaries and restaurants throughout the city.

Ash Reshte-Iranian dish

Ash Reshteh: A kind of Iranian thick soup which is a lifesaver in cold winter days.

Qazvin and renowned Halim

There are several tourist sites in this city that amaze visitors. However, don’t forget to eat Obey Zakan Halim during your sojourn in this historic city. Sholeh- Zard, Aash-e Dough, Ashe- Reshteh, Shir Berenj, kheer, and Ranging are some of the alternative cuisines served during the holy month of Ramadan in Qazvin.

Halim Ghazvin

Halim of Qazvin is a soft nutritious food for breaking fast.

Are you planning to travel to Iran? Check out our Iran tours. Maybe you will find interesting Ramadan in Iran.