Some people may think that Iran only has forests, deserts, and mountains, but the vast land also has a group of islands in the southern part of the country in both the Persian Gulf and Oman Sea.
The beautiful Hormuz Island, known as the Rainbow Island is located in the Persian Gulf. Visiting this amazing island is a must which often, unfortunately, gets left off most travel itineraries. Here, we are going to get you through this majestic area.
Where is Hormuz Island?
Hormuz Island is located in the Persian Gulf, in the southern part of the country. The island covers an area of almost 42 km2 (16.2 sq. mi) with the highest altitude of 186 meters (610 ft.) above the sea level. The small island is about 5 miles (8 km) off the Iranian Coast in the Hormozgan Province. Its surface is covered by sedimentary rock and layers of volcanic material.
What’s the weather like in Hormuz Island?
Due to its location, Hormuz Island has a tropical climate. Almost all the year, the humidity is about 95%. Summers are extremely hot and humid, with sunny days, and an average high temperature more than 45 °C. The lowest temperature at night is approximately 30 °C.
To visit the island it is best to travel there between November and April, in which the weather still remains warm, but not hot!
What is the language and culture of Hormuz Island residents?
The life on Hormuz is still very much traditional; all people are centered in the main and only village of Hormuz. According to the 2016 census, there is around 7,000 inhabitants living on the island who speak a language which is a mixture of Farsi, Hindi, Arabic, and English. The language is also influenced by the dialect of local Bandar Abbas.
One of the main attractions of Hormuz Island is the way the local women dress. These clothes that are known as “Bandari Clothes” consist of slim-fit pants embroidered with gold threads and a chador full of floral patterns. In fact, their clothes are just like their nature; colorful and enticing! You can also see women working alongside men in the whole island.
What is the history of Hormuz Island?
The island has changed during centuries. It was known as Organa to the ancient Greeks and as Jarun in the Islamic period. Its name changed to “Hormuz” from the important harbor town of Hormuz on the mainland. Marco Polo visited the island in 1290 while traveling by land, as he described in his travelogue. Later, Ibn Battuta visited the island and New Hormuz.
In the 15th century, Hormuz was visited several times by a Chinese fleet led by Zheng He, as he explored the Indian Ocean during the Ming Dynasty’s naval ventures.
In 1507, the Portuguese captured the island and it was incorporated into the greater Portuguese Empire. They constructed a fortress on the island to deter potential invaders, naming it the Fort of Our Lady of the Conception. As a result, the island became an emergency stopover point for Portuguese ships traveling to Goa and Gujarat. Finally, the island was captured from the Portuguese by a combined Anglo-Persian force at the behest of the English East India Company in 1622.
During the Safavid Era, Shah Abbas I did not have trust in local people of the island. Later he developed the nearby mainland port of Bander Abbas to become the center of trade. Therefore, the Hormuz went into decline during that time and many of its inhabitants seasonally moved to their fields and orchards around the old Hormuz.
After a period of Omani administration in the 19th century, it remained a sparsely inhabited fishermen’s island. It experienced some development in the later years of the 20th century.
Today, Hormuz Island is one of the most visited islands in the southern part of the country, especially during the fall and winter when the weather is pleasant.
What are the best places to visit in Hormuz Island?
There are numerous places to visit in the island which totally depend on how much time you have to explore the area. Of course, in only one day you can easily see the main attractions of Hormuz Island. But if you have plenty of time to stay on the island you may discover some secrets of the place. Here is the list of places you can go and enjoy while traveling around the island.
The Portuguese Fort (The Fort of Our Lady) is a red stone fortress and one of the last surviving monuments of Portuguese colonial rule in the Persian Gulf.
The fortes are located in the northern part of the island and were constructed on the reddish stone on a rocky promontory. It is said that the fort was originally cut off from the rest of the island by a moat, traces of which still remain. Although most of the roof caved in long ago, much of the lower part of the very substantial outer walls are intact, with the remains lying on different levels of the site.
The Silence Valley is where you will be definitely amazed by its beauty and great silence. To reach the place you need to walk a few hundred yards to enjoy the wonderful mountains covered with crystalline salts. It is believed that the rock salt releases very positive energy, therefore, after spending some time in the area, you will surely have a great deal of energy.
Valley of the Statues
With a few hundred meters to the beach, there is tall status in the area. These are all likened to an animal with the imagination of viewers. If you use your imagination you can see a dragon, birds and some other mythical creatures.
True to its name, and the reasons why Hormuz Island is nicknamed the Rainbow Island, the Rainbow Mountains is a must-see while on the island. The site is easily accessible from the main road.
The entire island is made of colorful mountains and you can freely walk through most of the middle of it. This particular spot is the best place to stop and check out all the colors.
The Museum and Gallery of Dr. Nadalian
The Museum and Gallery of Dr. Ahmad Nadalian exhibit the artwork of this environmental artist who is internationally well-known. Many of his works are in other museums around the globe. His environmental art projects include the carving of rocks and paintings by natural colors.
What is the local cuisine of Hormuz Island?
Since the area is all surrounded by the sea, it is not a surprise that the main food of the people in Hormuz Island is seafood. Make sure to try a grilled fish served with spicy sauce while you are on the island. The signature dish of Hormuz is indeed the Ghalyeh Mahi which is cooked by fish, fresh herbs, and spices and served with rice.
The other popular dish of the island is spiced shrimps with rice (Ghalyeh Meigoo). There are also a couple of sandwich shops serving falafel and ‘bandari’ a mix of sausage and spicy sauce.
Where to stay on Hormuz Island?
There is no hotel on the island but a couple of budget hostels. You may find a room belonging to local people and stay a night with them. Costs for a room vary greatly depending on the type of rooms.
Here is the list of hostels if you want to stay with them while traveling to Hormuz Island:
Hazim Backpacker Hostel