Historic Monuments of Sistan and Balouchistan
Among the most visited places in the province, Mount Khadjeh has the privilege of attracting the attention of visitors. The Burned City (Shahr-e Soukhteh) is undoubtedly the most important archaeological site of the region.
The history of Sistan and Balouchistan is closely associated with Iranian mythology. According to the Avesta, it was the eleventh land created by Ahura Mazda (God of Ancient Persia). It is also mentioned in the Shahnameh and historians attribute the birth of this province to King Garchasb, one of the descendants of Kiomars who was the first mythical king of Persia. It remains that according to the existing documents, there are the Sakas, an Arian tribe, who reigned for the first time (hence the name of the province). Given its history, the Sistan and Balouchistan currently has many historical and cultural sites that would allow it to maintain a profitable and constructive tourism policy.
Among the most visited places in the province, Mount Khajeh has the privilege of attracting the attention of visitors. Called in the Pahlavi language oushida (the eternal mount), this mountain is the only notable height of the plain of Sistan, located about thirty kilometers from the city of Zabol. Seen from above, this basalt mountain looks like an island in the middle of Lake Hamoun. He is revered by the Zoroastrians who consider that their prophet, Zoroaster, will reappear there one day. Muslims and Christians also show respect for him. Various dynasties have left their mark on this mountain, namely the Arsacids, the Sassanids and some Muslim dynasties. Since the Sassanids, the place has never been separated from Persia.
The Burned City (Shahr-e Soukhteh) is undoubtedly the most important archaeological site of the region. This unique place dating back more than 5200 years is without doubt the first modern city in the world. In particular, we found the first cartoon of the world, clues of the practice of brain surgery and an artificial eye.
The sanctuary of Karkouyeh, located in the city of Zabol, dates back to the Achaemenid era, in the fifth century BC. From the whole monument, apart from a brick wall and some small secondary structures, there is not much left. The origin of this sanctuary is attributed to Keykhosro and it is maintained that it was used until the 14th century. According to the description given by Islamic historians, two domes decorated the roof, on which two large horns were installed. A sacred fire was placed under the two cupolas. This shrine is repeatedly evoked by travelers and scholars of the Islamic era. Estakhri speaks of Karkuye as the first way linking the Sistan to Herat, and Yaghut Hommavi speaks of it as a sanctuary of the first importance of the Zoroastrians of the Sistan.
Dahaneh-ye Gholamans is another historical city in Sistan and Balouchistan province. Located near the city of Zabol, it was discovered by Italian archaeologists in 1960, before being searched from top to bottom between 1962 and 1965. It possessed gigantic vertical buildings, temples, places of residence, streets, military and economic areas. This city is the only city dating from the Achaemenid era, of which traces remain. It clearly testifies the extent of the influence of this dynasty on the eastern regions of Iran.
Bibidoust, another notable place, is a pilgrimage center near the town of Zabol. To the east of Zabol, one can also visit the ruins of a small town called Zahedan-e Kohneh. The ruins of the dam of this city still evoke its destruction by Tamerlane (1369-1405) during his conquest of Persia. Arnold Henry Savage Landor (1865-1924), anthropologist, painter, globe trotter and English geographer, visited this city in 1901 and compared it to East London. From the city of Zahedan-e Kohneh there remains today only the wall and a great fortress built under Tamerlane.
The mausoleum of Khadjeh Ghaltan is the most popular pilgrimage site in the city of Zabol. A large number of pilgrims meet there every year on the occasion of the feast of Norouz (New Year). This rectangular mausoleum includes a pediment and a vaulted room. The tomb measuring three meters inside the room belong to the brother of the prophet Daniel.
The Sistan and Balouchistan are home to other historical sites, including some towers including that of Sam, belonging to the Arsacid and Sassanid period, the tower of Kahak Kahzad, serving as a military citadel, the Rostam Tower, the largest in the region and dating from the Islamic era, the Mochi Tower, near the Burned City; the Ramroud tower and a small village, Seh Kouheh, dating back to the Qadjar period.
The Sistan and Baluchistan also has a rich culture, which manifests itself in particular by the customs and traditional art of the natives of the region. Its inhabitants are divided into two groups: sedentary and nomadic (the latter are mostly part of the Baloch tribe). The first live on agriculture and the second on cattle breeding. The singing and craftsmanship of the Baluchi people reflect their daily lives and their folklore. The craft is essentially a feminine art. Embroidery is the first art a little girl has to learn. She is the one who will have to embroider her own wedding dress. Pottery, tapestry, weaving kilim, carpet, straw mat, tent cloth, curtains, embroidery pieces of mirrors and lace, embroidery on silk fabric background, and kharrati, are the most popular crafts by Baluchi women.
Baluchi tales have passed through the centuries by word of mouth, revealing many details about the way of life, beliefs, values, hopes and anxieties of the people of the region. Tales include three main genres: children's stories, adult stories and mythological tales for children and adults. In Sistan and Balouchistan also lives a small community of Sikhs Indian settled for more than eighty years. The descendants of the Nassaris kings, who played a large role in the preservation of the region against external attacks, also live in the region.
The juxtaposition of the cultural, historical and natural heritage of Sistan and Balouchistan province has created a colorful mosaic of tourist attractions that can fascinate, or at least catch the attention of travelers. If its resources have been underestimated or if its treasures have not been preserved with the attention they deserved, perhaps the growing interest in tourism and eco-tourism will likely change given.
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