Situation and access: Province of Sistan.
Altitude 1,300 meters, 210 km to N-E of Zahedan on track. Zahedan
airport, Iran Air services to Kerman, Mashad.
The Sistan region is no doubt the most impenetrable but also the
strangest in the whole of Iran. It is at the same time the paradise
and the inferno of archaeologists. Formerly a sort of enchanted
garden, celebrated by poets, and the seat of a refined civilization,
the tumult of history has now turned it into an almost deserted
countryside which houses fascinating vestiges.
Zabol is its capital which can be reached from Zahedan on a 230-km
track which is particularly trying in summer. The Sistan region
froms a vast bowl with several lakes in its center into which real
rivers run including the enormous Hirmand river which comes down
from the heart of Afghanistan.
On dry land, where one occasionally sees wheat fields, sesame, cotton
and melons, alongside arid steppes, there are a large number of
ruins. The visitor will particularly remember the dead city and
striking Parthian citadel of Kuh-e Khvaja. Archaeologists of various
nationalities struggle to survive there because, in the Sistan region,
the average summer temperature is 50 degrees centigrade and in
winter is easily drops to 20 degrees below Zero. Also swept by wicked
icy winds, this region which in Antiquity was called Drangiane,
the country of the legendary hero Rostam, has everything needed to
attract curious minded tourists, and also to make them hesitate.
Bandar-e Chabahar, maritime gateway into Baluchistan, near
the Pakistan frontier remember World War II when convoys
of lorries from the besieged Soviet Union previous came to
pick up material unloaded from allied ships. Repair work is
under way in the port, and the long road toward Zahedan-Mashhad
is begin modernized.
Thus even the most remote regions are participating in Iran's fabulous
development effort and are benefiting from the nation's economic
expansion. This does not prevent hundreds of kilometers of this
rocky and hilly coastline with its deep bays and many islands from
remaining a natural reserve which will undoubtedly enchant tourists
who are fond of sports, solitude, sunshine and deep-sea fishing in
warm fish-strewn waters. In the hinterland, palm oases can become
interesting bases for winter vacations.