Bandar Abbas

Bandar Abbas

Bandar Abbas  is a port city and capital of Hormozgān Province on the Persian Gulf. The city occupies a strategic position on the narrow Strait of Hormuz, and it is the location of the main base of the Iranian Navy.

Its current name derives from that of Shah Abbas I  (r. 1588–1629) paired with bandar – “port”.

The city was conquered by the Portuguese in 1514, and was an important location to protect their commerce in the Persian Gulf and India. They named the city Comorão, due to the presence of lobsters and crabs on its shores.

An earthquake in July 1902 damaged parts of the city, including the governor’s house and the customs office, and nearby Qeshm Island.

Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi paid particular attention to Bandar Abbas as a strategic port and during his time the government invested huge amounts of capital in the infrastructure.

Bandar Abbas serves as a major shipping point, mostly for imports, and has a long history of trade with India, particularly the port of Surat. Thousands of tourists visit the city and nearby islands including Qeshm and Hormuz every year.

It was a small fishing port of about 17,000 people in 1955, prior to initial plans to develop it as a major harbor. By 2001, it had grown into a major city. It has a population of 450,000 (2011 estimate).

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Hormuz Island

Hormuz Island is an Iranian island in the Persian Gulf. Located in the Strait of Hormuz, 8 kilometres off the Iranian coast, the island is part of Hormozgan Province. Reddish ochre on the island and its beaches, called Golak by natives, has been exploited for artistic and culinary purposes and also attracts tourists. Degradation due to overuse of the ochre has resulted in actions by the Department of Environment to protect it.

Hormuz Island has an area of 42 km2 It is covered by sedimentary rock and layers of volcanic material on its surface. The highest point of the island is about 186 metres above sea level. Due to a lack of precipitation, the soil and water are salty. Specialists have helped cultivar white mangrove or Hara trees to grow in the climate. Due to the lack of fresh water, Iranian engineers have constructed a water pipeline from the mainland. There are many virgin beaches that go all around the island.

The island is arid, and during the summer months the temperature can rise to over 43 °C . all provisions including water had to be brought from the mainland. Its location, however, gave the island a degree of security which let it grow to be a major trading port for several centuries.

Hormuz was visited by Marco Polo, around 1290, while traveling by land, as described in his travelogue.

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The Fort of Our Lady of the Conception, also known as the Portuguese Castle, is a red stone fortress on Hormuz Island. It is one of the last surviving monuments of Portuguese colonial rule in the Persian Gulf

The building of the castle was ordered by Portuguese commander Afonso de Albuquerque in 1507, when his forces seized the island for a short time, being then named “Fort of Our Lady of Victory” . Engaging his men of all ranks in the building works, Albuquerque faced a revolt and had to retreat. He came back and reconquered the island in 1515, when he completed and renamed the fort.

Qeshm Island

Qeshm Island is located in the Persian Gulf a few kilometers from the port city of Bandar Abbas in the Strait of Hormuz. it is a free zone of 300 km2, 135 km long and its thickness varies from 9.4 to 40 km. it is 60 km from the Omani port of Khasab and about 180 km from the Rashid port of the Arab Emirates United. The island has an area of ​​1,491 km2 and is 2.5 times the size of Bahrain. The nearest distance to Bandar-Abbass is 2 km.

The average temperature on the island is around 27 ° C. The hottest months are from June to August and the coldest from October to January. The average precipitation is 183.2 mm.

The island comprises 59 towns and villages and the population was 117,774 at the 2011 census. The local population is involved in fishing, dhow building, commerce and services. 30,000 others are administrative or industrial workers or students.

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