KISH ISLAND HISTORY
Kish (Persian: کیش (Kīsh) listen (help·info)) is a 91.5-square-kilometre (35.3 sq mi) resort island in the Persian Gulf off the southern coast of Iran. It is part of the Bandar Lengeh County in Hormozgān Province of Iran. Owing to its free trade zone status it is touted as a consumer’s paradise, with numerous malls, shopping centres, tourist attractions, and resort hotels. It has an estimated population of 26,000 residents and about 1 million people visit the island annually.
Kish Island is the fourth most visited vacation destination in Southwest Asia after Dubai, United Arab Emirates, and Sharm el-Sheikh.
Foreign nationals wishing to enter Kish Free Zone from legal ports are not required to obtain visas prior to travel. Valid travel permits are stamped for 14 days by airport and Kish port police officials.
Kish Island has been mentioned in history variously as Kamtina, Arakia (Ancient Greek: Αρακία), Arakata, and Ghiss.
Kish Island’s strategic position served as a way-station and link for the ancient Assyrian and Elamite civilizations when their primitive sailboats navigated from Susa through the Karun River into the Persian Gulf along the southern coastline passing Kish, Qeshm and Hormoz islands. When these civilizations vanished, Kish Island’s advantageous position was lost and for a period it was subjected to turmoil and the tyranny of local potentates and other vendors. With the establishment of the Achaemenid dynasty, the Persian Gulf was profoundly affected. Kish was, in particular, economically and politically linked with the civilization of the Medes, Persians when they were at the height of their power.
In the shadow of the empire, the islands in the Gulf became prosperous, navigation in the Persian Gulf was expanded and better vessels were used to carry passengers and goods. Navigational signs, including lighthouses, were set up to facilitate navigation in the Persian Gulf.
In 325 BC, Alexander the Great commissioned Nearchus to set off on an expeditionary voyage to the Sea of Oman and the Persian Gulf. Nearchus’s writings on Arakata contain the first-known mention of Kish Island in antiquity. When Marco Polovisited the Imperial court in China, he commented on the Emperor’s wife’s pearls, he was told that they were from Kish.
In the 1970s Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, the last Shah of Iran, turned the island into a luxury resort for the international elite and a tourism hotspot, complete with a Grand Casino (renamed as the Shayan International Hotel after the Iranian Revolution). Kish Airport was designed to handle the Concorde. After the Islamic Revolution, Kish Island became a duty-free shopping center.
Kish is located in the Persian Gulf 19 km (12 mi) from mainland Iran and has an area of around 91 km2 (35 sq mi) with an outer boundary of 40 km (25 mi) and a nearly elliptical shape. Along Kish’s coast are coral reefs and many other small islands. The Island is positioned along the 1,359 km (844 mi) long Iranian coastline north of the Persian Gulf, at the first quarter from the Hormuz entrance to the Persian Gulf. The island is 15.45 km (9.60 mi) long from west coast to the east coast (the distance between Mariam Complex and Hoor field). Its maximum width extending from the southern shorelines to the northern shorelines is 7.5 km (4.7 mi) (the distance between Gomrok Port and the lighthouse). The island’s surface is flat, lacking mountains or even high hills. Kish International Airport is built in the center on an elevated area 35–40 m (115–131 ft) from the sea level. Its highest surface inclination extends from the airport to the shores near Shayan hotel.
Climate, nature, and geobotany
Kish, like the other Persian Gulf Islands, especially the islands in the Strait of Hormuz, is located on a narrow strip of tropical vegetation in the Northern Hemisphere, with the Persian plateau to the north and the Arabian Peninsula to the south. In addition to its special geographic and climatic attributes, Kish Island, like other nearby islands, such as Forur, Hendurabi, Shatuar and Lavan and even Qeshm, is under the sway of the semi-equatorial climate dominating this band of vegetation.
Kish Tourist attractions
Kish is a small island but it has numerous tourist attractions.
The Greek ship is the wreck of a 1943 cargo steamship, the Koula F, on a beach on Kish’s south-west coast.She was originally a British ship, Empire Trumpet, and was built in Scotland. She ran aground in 1966 and all attempts to salvage her failed. When Koula F’s crew abandoned her they set her on fire, and all that remains is her steel hull.
Another attraction is the ancient underground aqueduct, also called the ‘Underground City’, which is partly open for tourists. It was built about 1,000 years ago for transportation and water supply across the different parts of the island.
Other attractions are the beaches with a bluish tint and the long shoreline that sees many tourists visit during the winter season. The water is so clear that fish can be seen swimming in the sea all year long.
Sports in Kish
Kish acts as the location for numerous international sporting events. Kish Island is part of the Professional Squash Association’s annual tour, holding the Fajr International Squash Championship.
Kish Island also holds Iran’s Traditional and Heroic Games Contests annually attracting over 17 countries worldwide. As part of the Flower of the East project Kish will have an 18-hole championship golf course based on PGA standards and a 9-hole course for beginners.
Kish is home to a multi-purpose Olympic stadium seating 1,200 spectators, it caters for 11 sports including volleyball, basketball, handball, futsal, gymnastics, wrestling, taekwondo, judo, karate and chess. All of these are supervised by professional and international coaches.
It attracts top national football teams and clubs who often use Kish as summer training camp with high quality facilities, good weather and a tranquille environment making it a good location. The Kish Karting Track is one of the largest in Southwest Asia, and one of the first of its kind in Iran. A great array of water sports are also on offer in Kish such as snorkeling and scuba diving courses, jet skiing, diving cruises, water skiing, sea skiffs, cruises to other islands around Kish, parasailing, jet boat rides, cruise fishing boats, pedal boating, banana boat rides, and windsurfing. Recently, Ocean Water Park, first Iranian themed and outdoor water park was officially opened at Kish Island; it offers 14 water rides, 4 swimming pools and other attractions.
Kish has 3 international standard volleyball courts, Kish held the 2006 Asian Beach Volleyball Championship.
Kish Island has 1 professional football team, Kish Air FC plays in the Hormozgan Provincial League.
In 2016 Kish was the host to an officially sanctioned FIVB beach volleyball event. Hosting the Kish Island Open 2016 from February 15 to 17. In 2017 for the second time qualification round at the 2017 FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour event on Iran’s Kish Island from 15 to 18 February 2017.
Major Kish Island projects
International Oil Bourse
The International Oil Bourse is a commodity exchange which opened on February 17, 2008
Ocean Water Park
Ocean Water Park is a 5.6 hectare water park; it is the first Iranian themed water park and outdoor water park located at Kish Island. It was opened in January 2017 and currently has 13 rides, 4 swimming pools and one spa in addition to numerous restaurants, non-alcoholic bars, coffee shops and shopping areas. Ocean theme water park one of the best and most memorable Kish Island’s entertainment in Kish Island tour. Sports of Theme Water Park Ocean island are the most advanced and updated playground equipment and modern equipment that the world’s leading supplier of water park amusement equipment, the company has been providing Canadian White Water West and some of it was purchased from Belgium.
Kish Hidden Pear
In 1999, a project to build an underground complex was begun by 300 artists and excavation workers. After deep excavations rigid coral ceilings were discovered, and this was included in the final design. Once completed, the city will include restaurants, tourist resorts and underground therapeutic mud pools.
Kish Dolphin Park
The Dolphin Park is a 70-hectare (170-acre) park located at the south east corner of Kish Island. It is surrounded by over 22,000 palm trees, and includes a dolphinarium, butterfly garden, silkworm compound, bird garden, artificial rain forest, volcanic mountain, orchid garden, and cactus garden. The dolphinarium includes the largest man made pool on the island, and exhibits dolphins, sea lions, and white whales.
The Bird Garden in the park is home to more than 57 species of birds and other animals from around the world including pelicans, ostriches, blue-and-yellow macaws, storks, toco toucans, turacos, swans, African penguins, and marsh crocodiles.
The Art Center on the island includes an aquarium that displays marine species unique to the Persian Gulf.