Maranjab Desert is a famous tourism destination and in fact one of the most beautiful parts of the Iranian desert in Aran-O- Bidgol region of Isfahan Province.Including high-valuated landscapes of sand dunes and hills, Maranjab Desert is located close to a salt lake and is linked to a forest arch. Wanderer island is another spectacular parts of the desert the Maranjab is a caravanserai on the Silk Road, which is located in the desert.
Maranjab desert average height of sea level is 850 meters and the highest point of this desert measures about 880 meters of sea level.
Flora and fauna of Maranjab Desert
Most of the vegetation of Maranjab Desert consists of Halophyte plants such as Tamarix trees, Haloxylon trees, and Zygophyllum bushes.
The animal species coverage in the region consist of species such as wolf, jackal, hyena, fox sand, sand cat, lizard, chameleon, a variety of lizards, snakes, scorpions, dull-yellow partridge, eagle, hawk.
Sand Dunes of Maranjab Desert
The spectacular unique attraction of the Maranjab Desert is probably its sand dunes. The tallest sand dunes on the east side of the desert , are about 70 meters high
On the southern side of Maranjab Caravanserai, “Kolang Mountain” is located which is a mountain surrounded by sandhills and dunes of the Maranjab desert.
Only With a 15-minute walk you can reach the summit of the mountain and enjoy the view of the desert from the top of that summit, which will turn to an unforgettable experience
The high sand dunes which are the moving dunes of Maranjab Desert create a wonderful landscape. Don’t miss the memorable barefoot walk on the sand dunes; Since the temperature rises in the desert at midday, remember to walk on the moving sand dunes, early in the morning or late afternoon, In the evening.
Walking on these high sand runes and playing with the flowing sand, rapidly changing into different forms, is one of the important activities of a trip to Maranjab Desert.
Shah Abbasi Caravanserai of Maranjab Desert
Maranjab Caravanserai, is one of the most famous caravanserais in the whole of the country.
It has 3500 square meters and has 29 rooms, This accommodation complex is located right in the middle of the Silk Road, which used to link the northeast of Iran to the central parts like Isfahan. It was built by the order of Shah Abbas Safavid
The Architecture of the Shah Abbasi Caravanserai of Maranjab Desert
The first things come to the eyes are without a doubt the significant square-shaped of this 400-year-old brick complex, the six watchtowers and the pool in front of the southern portal entrance.
It consists of twenty-nine rooms around the courtyard, including an added number of porches (ayvan in Persian language), which in today’s era provide the basic facilities for the accommodation of tourists.
The plan of Maranjab Caravansary is based on the prevalent architectural style of the Safavid period. Based on this plan, the rooms of this one-storied caravansary were built around the main courtyard and stables were placed behind them. Also, the caravansary included a Qanat or aqueduct which used to provide the necessary water for the travelers who had to pass through the arid desert of Maranjab on the way to their destination.
This qanat is a phenomenon in a desert full of salt lakes and a perfect example of Persian architectural execution intelligence.
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History of the Shah Abbasi Caravaniserai of Maranjab Desert
Caravansaries in Iran date back to the time of Achaemenids era. Darius, the great Achaemenid king, developed a vast networks of roads to connect different parts of his empire together.
To provide the travelers and facilitate their trip on these newly-built roads, He executed accommodations in built them in shape of caravaniserais in order to lesser the exhaustion and hardships of the long road journeys. So the travelers could take good rest and have refresh to continue their journey.
From that time onward, caravansaries became part of the traditional architecture of Iran.
A long time ago, when the Silk Road was still a prospering commercial route, Shah Abbas the first, the great Safavid king predicted this accommodation so not only people could reside and rest in this 3500 sqm caravansary, but also provided them with sweet water of its old qanat
In addition, defensive building was constructed in the caravaniserai meant to guarantee the security of merchants and travelers. In this building, hundreds of armed soldiers were kept on duty on top of the castle to watch over the caravans trading from China to Europe.
Accommodation Conditions and Services
Today Maranjab caravanserai is a famous guest house with 29 rooms.
It mostly accommodates tourists who are visiting this wonderful Maranjab desert. Instead of beds you will use sleeping bags to sleep on the ground.
Each room accommodates one or two people and the bigger rooms are for seven people. It doesn’t have shower facilities, but there is water in the toilets located outside the main building, about 3mins walk. The caravanserai has also a small restaurant that serves food. The around the area of Maranjab Caravanserai is safe and is a great place for camping.
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Dastkand Well of the Maranjab Desert
As mentioned above there are many features that turn Maranjab desert on the outstanding desert areas in the whole of Iran and one of them is the historical and cultural monuments of the region.
Dastkand Well is among these cultural-historical features, which is located five kilometers east of the caravanserai and stores fresh and drinkable water. The reason for the purity of the water is the layers of sand that absorb the salt and purifies the water.
Salt Lake of the Maranjab Desert
Salt Lake as a natural attractions of Maranjab is as significant as its historical attractions. This lake is also known as Masileh and Salt Lake of Aran va Bidgol.
It is located nine kilometers from Shah Abbasi Caravanserai. approximately 100 km east of the City of Qom and 60 km of Kashan
The lake has a surface area of about 1800 km². The water from Salty River and some other rivers pour into this lake During most of the year, it is covered with salt. So it is obviously used for salt extraction.
After the rains and when the water evaporates, geometric forms can be found on the surface of the ground, which are made of salt crystals. In the science of geology, they are called Polygons.
The lands around the salt lake are swampy, so it’s better to visit the salt lake with a local guide who knows the area.
September, October, and November, (the whole autumn) is flamingoes migration time. So you may see some of the if you are visiting the lake during these times.
Wanderer Island or Jazire Sargardan of Maranjab Desert
Wanderer island or Jazire Sargardan in Persian, located close to the Salt Lake in north east of it.
This island is floating not in the water, but in a vast plain of salt. The floating and movement of the island can be seen after the rains.
When you watch the island from far away, the moment the rain starts, water surrounds the island. The movement of the water makes it look like it is the island that is moving around.
Because of rainfall, only one or two moth of year this lake is visible and in the remaining days of the year turns to salt marsh