Aran-o-Bidgol City, The Gate of Iran's Desert
Aran-o-Bidgol County is spread out over an area of 2,939 sq.km with a population of 90,000 people. It is located to the south of the Salt Lake of Qom and Semnan Provinces and to the northwest of Natanz and to the north of Kashan and 195 km to the north of Esfahan. The center of the county is a city of the same name, with a population of 58,000 people. It is nearly 910 m above sea level.
Aran-o-Bidgol City, The Gate of Iran's Desert
Aran-o-Bidgol County is spread out over an area of 2,939 sq.km with a population of 90,000 people. It is located to the south of the Salt Lake of Qom and Semnan Provinces and to the northwest of Natanz and to the north of Kashan and 195 km to the north of Esfahan. The center of the county is a city of the same name, with a population of 58,000 people. It is nearly 910 m above sea level. Due to the arid climate, roughly 80% of the population lives in Aran-o-Bidgol City. Most of the populated areas are located in the southern and western strip of the county whilst a vast area of the county is dry plain. Sefidab, Abrizan and Latif Mountains are the highpoints of the county. The climate is arid and the temperature varies from -5°C in winter to 50°C in the summer time. Natural and historical attractions of the county; One of the exquisite attractions is Maranjab district, a fertile spot right in the middle of nowhere. It is located in a remote area at 810 m above sea level, next to a very famous sand desert area called Band-e Rig. Maranjab is irrigated by two qanats with salty and fresh water. Maranjab is surrounded by Siahkuh Mountains in the northwest and to the northeast by Band-e Rig and Chahdastkan areas. Five kilometers to the west of Maranjab is found the unique phenomenon of the Salt Lake. Maranjab drew a lot of attention when Farah Abad in Mazandaran Province (south of Caspian Sea) was decreed the second Safavid capital. It was ideally located beside the stone-paved royal road which ran from Naqsh-e Jahan Square to Farah Abad in the north of the country. There were caravanserais for the caravans to stay overnight. The remnants of many bridges still can be found. Flocks of Iranian zebra, antelope, and other animals can be seen near Maranjab. The construction of such a road was not only for the caravans but also gave access to the hunting potential of the region. In 1692, the last year of Shah Abbas the Great's reign, a road was built from the Maranjab Caravanserai to the hunting lodge in Sefidab. A palace was built next to the hunters' building. The palace was 86 m by 47 m with two huge courtyards. The southern courtyard was reserved for the king and the hunting crew but the northern courtyard was maintained for the royal family.
The Aran-o-Bidgol to Maranjab road was the junction of some major roads giving access to important cities. It connected Esfahan to Kashan, Mashad, Garmsar, and Varamin on one side and to Ardestan and Yazd on the other. The major roads were important because they were connected to the Silk Road. There are a few caravanserais in Maranjab area for which the construction dates are not clear but they were built before the Safavid era. Chahdastkan is one of these caravanserais, with the appearance of a stronghold. Two other caravanserais to the west and southeast predate the one in Maranjab. Maranjab Caravanserai was built upon the order of Shah Abbas the Great and is located 50 km from Aran-o-Bidgol City and 60 km from Kashan. The entrance faces east and leads to a brilliant hashti at the end of the four-iwan courtyard. The rooms for the caravan members are around the main courtyard. Stables with vaulted ceilings and a platform to unload the goods and the luggage are behind the courtyard rooms. In the four corners of the caravanserai are four watchtowers for security. The entrances to the watch towers are in the stables and on the roofs of the chambers. A massive water pool outside the gate (supplied by qanat) makes the atmosphere very pleasant.
Noosh Abad an underground city
One of the most ancient underground marginal cities of Kavir-e Markazi (Central Desert) of Iran, has an area of 2 sq.km. It boasts more than 100 historical memorials as well as some remnants from the Islamic era. It is made up of three levels as follows, the first floor to a depth of 3 m, the second floor goes to 16 m deep and the third floor is found 18 m below the surface. It is one of the largest constructions dug by hand ever built in this land, dating back to the Sassanid dynasty (3rd to 7th centuries). The labyrinthine city includes vestibules, diverse structures, and areas awaiting discovery.
Ghazi Masjed Jame, Bidgol Naqshineh Masjed Jame
Noosh Abad Masjed Jame, Abu Zeyd Abad Caravanserai and Abanbaar, Khajeh Rakhtshuykhaneh and Hammam, Sizan and Korshahi Ghalehs and Emamzadeh Helal make up the other tourism attractions of the county. An annual camel race, the Salt Lake itself, some 50-meter-high sand dunes, Yakhab Mountains along with other desert attractions are amongst the highlights of the area.
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