Some say that the Kish island is missing page in the Persian history books. Most of this beautiful island’s history still remains unknown to everyone. Nearchus, one of Alexander’s naval officers, mentioned an island in the Persian Gulf. In 325 B.C, he was set off to find new lands. His voyage took him to an island he called later Arakata or Arakia, that today we know as Kish.
Despite the lack of information, there is something we know for sure about the history of this island. Kish gained great strategic value after the Islamization of the old Persia. Its importance brought many old western superpowers to the waters of the Persian Gulf, where bloody fights took place over the control of the island.
One of the most famous conquerors who stepped foot on this island is Afonso de Albuquerque. In the year 1506, this Portuguese naval general surrounded the island with his troops and forced the Iranian officials to sign a treaty with him. By the terms of the treaty, he gained full control over the island and used Kish as a staging port for naval assaults. Eventually, Shah Abbas of the Safavid dynasty, put an end to the Portuguese’s reign over the island. He restored Kish to the Persian empire but, sadly, Kish never recovered from its terrible fate. The establishment of the new port of “Bandar Abbas” on the coast of the Persian Gulf, pushed the island of Kish into the dark depths of history and gradually, an exceptional culture vanished.
Also check out: the best hotels in Kish
Location & Weather
Kish is a free-trade-zone island, located in the Strait of Hormuz, and only 19 kilometers off the coast of Bandar Abbas. Kish is a 91-kilometers-square resort island surrounded by few smaller islands.
International tourists can spend up to 14 days on the island without having a visa. So, If you want a taste of Persian hospitality, Persian food, and Persian culture, put Kish on your go-to list.
Kish has a semi-equatorial climate with not much of raining during a year. This means unbearable summer-heat from June to September. So don’t go to Kish if you can’t handle the heat!
But what makes Kish so intriguing? Aside from its dramatic history, things like lush landscapes, modern shopping centers, luxurious hotels, and ancient cities make this island one of the main tourist destinations in Iran. Although laws of the central Iranian government apply to this island, tourists usually have a good time eating up the relative freedoms. Don’t get me wrong. Hijab is still a must for women, no matter where ladies want to go or the type of activity they want to do, even if it’s diving, flyboarding or jet skiing and etc. If you want to know more about the Persian Gulf check out this article: Persian Gulf
Kish has mind-blowing historical sites, some even dating back to 2500 years ago (The Achaemenid empire).
1.The underground city of Kari
Kariz, which means Qanat, is a series of underground tunnels people dig in the desert areas to reach the water. The genius idea behind these tunnels depicts the intelligence of the Persian people. Kariz tunnels are located 16 meters beneath the surface. They span over 15 kilometers hosting more than 270 wells. Lately, a handicrafts museum has been built inside of the city where they keep fossils, jars, and other historical artifacts that were extracted from the coral walls of the tunnels.
2.The Greek Ship
A stroll on the western beaches of the island will take you to a surprising sight; seven thousand tons of rusted metal, that one day belonged to a Greek businessman, stranded near the beachfront.
This brilliant view is a good example of how old junk can create memorizing eyeshot. The Greek Ship might look a bit terrifying in daylight but, as the evening sun gradually sits down on the horizon, everything changes. Fabulous lighting on the sunken ship’s body enchants all the spectators, making the western beach the best place for romantic couples. The image of the Greek ship serves as a symbol for the island.
3.The Ancient City of Harireh
This one isn’t hidden under the ground. The ancient city of Harireh is located on the north side of the island. This city was once home to many wealthy local traders. Harireh is a symbol of the 8th century, the golden era.
Exotic landscapes and beaches, spot the face of the island. From the coral beaches to the Portuguese Valley, various plant life has grown all over the island, painting it with lavish colors.
1.The Green Tree Complex
The north side of the island is a peculiarly well-known for its plant life, where a resort complex has been built around one of the oldest lur (banyan)trees of the island believed to be more than 600 years old. Locals believe that this tree brings them luck and its sacred.
2. Marjan Beach
Located on the east side of the island, this beach is named for the beautiful coral that can be found there. The coast is lined with pergolas, which, along with the palm trees and landscaping, provide an especially panoramic view. This beach is a particularly popular site to watch an unforgettable sunrise.
Where to shop?
As far as the eyes go, twenty-first-century malls and stylish shopping centers have no place to hide. A free trading-zone and easy sea routes to ports like Dubai have opened the way for popular brands to make their way into the demanding local market.
1. Damoon shopping center
Fancy and expensive mini mall with great decoration and an especial gigantic chandelier! No fake products can be found in Damooon and a huge food court on the last floor. Here you can find what you need from different brands with ease.
2. Pardis 2 Mall
Pardis 2 is one of the oldest shopping malls located in the middle of the island. With over 200 shops, there is enough space for any business in this mall. Shop owners sell all kind of product, from groceries to clothing and housing items.
Where to eat?
1. Kooh-e Noor
The first thing you will notice as you walk into the Kooh Noor restaurant, is its marvelous cave design, live music, and the cool weather brushing against your skin due to the restaurant’s natural rocky environment. Kooh Noor is considered a pricey restaurant but, nonetheless, when it comes to ordering, you will always find yourself in a pickle. Not because the food here costs a lot, because the whole menu is so freaking delicious. A word of advice, go with the traditional Persian dishes such as Kebabs.
2. Lavazza Coffee
This small joint offers some of the very best coffee. Its menu may be short but, a balcony with a great atmosphere definitely makes up for it. Also, it Shishas are great. You can smoke away all your tiredness while enjoying an unforgettable view of the island.
3. Mirmohana Restaurant
Looking for a good place to have some seafood? No worries, just head over to Mirmohana restaurant. Users rank this classy restaurant, which by the way has an awesome view of the sea, as one of the top places in Kish where you can find fresh well-cooked seafood.
Other things to do in Kish
1. Bike riding
A 51 kilometers bike path goes around the island. Rental stations are located throughout the island. This path gives you easy access to some of the island’s most secluded places for photography, as well as crowded beaches.
2. Water sports
Kish is like Disney land for people who love marine life and don’t mind spending a good portion of their vacation money on jet skis, fly boards, and other water sports. Plenty of water sports clubs or private trainers are ready to take the vacationers into the depths of the Persian Gulf. The wonders of this beautiful ocean are one of a kind and If you are into water sports, you’re going to have a heck of a good time in Kish.
3. Themed water park
The theme is based on a Mystery of the Sun Castle. The first Iranian water amusement park currently has 13 rides, 4 swimming pools and one spa in addition to numerous restaurants, beverage stops, coffee shops, and shopping areas.
There is a good number of good hotels around the island but we’re going to stick with the very best.
Also check out: Kish island hotels list easily through 1stQuest
1. Maryam Sorinet Hotel
Maryam Hotel joined Sorinet Hotels Group in March 2012. As one of its customers puts it: “The hotel has a charming touch and rooms are clean and comfortable.” Special Spa salon, high-speed internet, airport transportation, and many more are just some of the services this hotel provides, making it a suitable choice.
2. Vida Hotel
A large swimming pool and great leisure facilities of Vida hotel put it in the top 5 hotels in Kish. Professional staff will attend to your every need and they are as helpful as it gets. If you pick this hotel for your vacation, you will definitely have a delightful time.