Articles

Hormozgan Province

Vahid Pourtajrishi  6/28/2014

About the province:

 

Hormozgān, ostān (province), southern Iran, bordering the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman on the south and bounded by the ostāns of Būshehr and Fārs on the west and northwest, Kermān on the east and northeast, and Sīstān-e Balūchestān on the southeast. The province was named after Hormuz, an 8th-century principality on the Rūdkhāneh-ye (stream) Mīnāb, later abandoned for a new site, subsequently named Hormuz, on the island of Jarun. Bandar ʿAbbās, the capital of the ostān, was founded by ʿAbbās I the Great in 1622 and was conceded with the adjoining territory to the Sulṭān of Muscat (Oman) in 1793; it remained part of this sultanate until 1868. The region was controlled by the South Persia Rifles, organized by Major Percy Sykes as a counter to the Russians, during World War I. Hormozgān was part of former Banāder va Jazāyer-e Khalīj-e Fārs va Daryā-ye ʾOmān ostān until the mid-1970s.

 

Forming part of the wider physiographic region of Tangistān, the Zagros highlands in Hormozgān rise from the Persian Gulf with no intervening coastal plain. Ridges front much of the coast and have produced a coastline with few indentations. Farther east, near Bandar ʿAbbās, are numerous salt domes; some reach altitudes of 4,000 feet (1,200 metres). The main streams are the Mīnāb and the Kui, whose small size and deeply indented valleys have reduced the possibility of irrigated agriculture and the occurrence of natural pastures. There is cultivation of barley, wheat, rice, tobacco, indigo plants, dates, mangoes, and vegetables. Goats, sheep, and camels are raised. Development of Bandar ʿAbbās as a major port in the 1970s led to the establishment of many industries, including a cement unit, electricity-generation plant, a steel mill and desalination plant, food-processing units, and fisheries. Salt, iron ore, copper, and sulfur are mined. Roads emanate from Bandar ʿAbbās and connect it with ports on the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman; a railway route links it with the Trans-Iranian Railway at Kermān. Area 25,819 square miles (66,870 square km). Pop. (2006) 1,403,674.

 

The political history of Hormozgan:

 

Although Hormozgan is known to have had settlements during the Achaemenid era and when Nearchus passed through this region, the recorded history of the main port of Hormozgan (Bandare Hormoz) begins with Ardashir I of Persia of the Sassanid Empire.

 

The province is said to have been particularly prosperous between 241 BC and 211 BC, but grew even further in trade and commercial significance after the arrival of the Islamic era.

 

Marco Polo visited the port of Bandar Abbas in 1272 and 1293, and reported widespread trading in Persian jewelry, the ivory and silk of Indochina, and pearls from Bahrain in the bazaars in the port of Hormuz.

 

In 1497 European colonialists landed in the region for the first time, headed by Vasco da Gama. In 1508 the Portuguese, led by Afonso de Albuquerque invaded the area with 7 warships, under the pretext of protecting their interests from Egypt and Venice. The port of Hormuz was at this time considered a strategic port for commercial interests in the Persian Gulf.

 

Ismail I who was trying to counter the Ottoman Empire to the west, was unable to save the port from the Portuguese, until Shah Abbas I was finally able to drive them out of the Persian Gulf with the aid of the British. The name of Bandar Abbas comes directly from the name of Shah Abbas I.

 

 

The British, meanwhile, were competing for influence in the region with Dutch colonialists, who finally invaded Qeshm Island and dispatched warships to Bandar Abbas during the final years of Shah Abbas' reign. The Persian government was unable to defend itself against this attack. However, with the souring of British and Dutch relations, military tensions grew in the region. The Dutch finally resorted to moving their base up to Khark Island.

 

The Amir of Khark, Mir Mahna, was however able to defeat the Dutch forces at Khark, leaving the British firmly in charge of the entire region. Soon Britain took control over the entire Persian Gulf via the British East India Company. The British adopted a policy of encouraging local autonomy throughout the Persian Gulf so as to prevent any possible formidable unified force from threatening their establishments in the Persian Gulf.

The strategic importance of the Persian Gulf further increased after World War I with the discovery of oil in the region.

 

Attractions:

Hormozgan has 4- and 5-star hotels with modern amenities. The Cultural Heritage Organization of Iran lists 212 sites of historical and cultural significance in the province. Some of the more popular attractions are:

 

    Emarat-e Kolah Farangi (built by and during the Dutch occupation)

    Berkeh haye Baran (6 traditional water reservoirs)

    Gele-dari traditional Bath

    The Hindu temple

    Latidan Bridge, built during the era of Shah Abbas I

    Fekri House

    Sa'di House

    Fort of Our Lady of the Conception in Hormoz Island

    Qeshm Island

    Hara marine forests

    Kish Island, the most popular tourist resort in southern Iran in the Persian Gulf

    Geno UNESCO natural biosphere reserve

    Hara UNESCO natural biosphere reserve

    Various hot water springs

*** The Fort of Our Lady of the Conception, Hormoz Island, Iran

 

References:

Wikipedia.org and Britannica.com


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