Scores of small and big islands in the Persian Gulf waters, as well as some in the Caspian Sea, are an integral part of Iran's history and culture. These islands are home to decent and endeavoring people. Qeshm Island is the largest island in the Persian Gulf, which is bigger than the island state of Bahrain.
Qeshm Island with an area of about 1,500 square km is two-and-a-half times bigger than Bahrain. The 135 km long island is located along the Strait of Hormuz and lies parallel to the port of Bandar Abbas on its northeast and the port of Khameer on northwest. The island, at its widest point spans 40 kilometers and at its narrowest point 11 km. It is interesting to note that the Strait of Hormuz with a width of only 34 km is one of the most strategic waterways of the world, through which the world's 60 percent crude oil supplies pass. Hormuz Strait connects the Persian Gulf to the Gulf of Oman and the international waters. Some 200 square km of the northern coast of Qeshm island is covered with the Hara marine forests that abound in the Persian Gulf and are considered Iran's protected areas due to their special ecological and environmental features.
Qeshm Island, which has a 300 square km free trade zone, attracts businessmen from all over Iran and from other parts of the world. Many major industries and plants have been established with foreign collaboration, and an international airport is being built. It has got excellent port facilities and lies 60 km from the Omani port of Khosab, and 180 km from the UAE. It has a land surface of 1491 km and has 59 towns and villages. The average temperature of Qeshm Island is approximately 27 degrees Celsius. The warmest months are June through August and the coldest from October to January. The average rainfall is 183.2mm. About 1.5 percent of the world birds and 25 percent of Iran's native birds annually migrate to the Hara forests of Qeshm, which are classified as national park.
An ancient Portuguese castle, historic mosques, Seyyed Mozaffar and Bibi Maryam shrines, various ponds and mangrove forests are among the tourism attractions in the island, which seems to float in the azure waters of the Persian Gulf. Several domes, salty caves, the preserved area in Shibderaz Village where turtles hatch, as well as numerous ports and wharfs are among the tourist potentials of the island.
Fishing is a leading occupation practiced by the inhabitants of the island, who also grow dates and melons. Salt is mined on the southeastern coast. The population of Qeshm Island is about 200,000. Nowadays, Qeshm attracts thousands of tourists every year due to its natural beauties and modern malls.
There are nice hotels and motels in the island. The Hara sea-forest, which thrives on saline waters, and where trees grow to a maximum of 6 meters, is one of the most beautiful attractions of Qeshm.
There are no natural rivers or permanent lakes in Qeshm Island, but there are some springs, whose Sample Imagewaters are mostly saline, such as the Kargeh and Gouri springs. The waters of Kargeh Spring are relatively warm and have sulfuric elements, which explain for their unpleasant smell. Nevertheless, the waters of Kargeh Spring have healing effects, and the local people use the water and mud of the spring to treat several skin diseases and muscular pains. The sea waters around Qeshm have as much as 1000 types of fish and other marine creatures. So far 170 types of local and migratory birds have been identified on this island including pelicans, flamingos, eagles, and a variety of sparrows. This invaluable treasure of marine and bird life has made Qeshm a key destination for the world's tourists and nature enthusiasts.