Protected Areas Climatic and geographic variation in different parts of the province has caused the appearance of fauna and flora diversity. The most important protected areas in Zanjan province are: Angooran Protected Area, Located in Angooran district covering an area of 111,00 hectares, Sahrein Protected Area, located in the limits of Zanjan town ship, The most important wildlife of these regions are: Mammals like wild goat, wild sheep, gazelle, bear, hyena, leopard, wolf, rabbit, wild cat, fox, jackal, bore, squirrel and sable. Endemic birds like partridge, turtledove, grouse, ringdove, vulture, owl, dull-yellow partridge, pigeon, heron, goose, crane, duck, eagle, falcon, starling and. Migratory birds like waterfowl, bustard, flamingo, crane, pelican, wild goose, grouse and different species of fishes Protected wildlife zones Some areas in Mazandaran Province, due to the presence of a variety of fauna and wildlife have come to be known as protected areas. In these areas, the most important wild species are reindeer, leopard, brown bear, wild goat, roe buck, boar, yellow deer (Iranian follow deer), as well as pray birds, flamingo, waders, pelican, turtledove, grouse, ringdove, vulture, owl, dull-yellow partridge, ortolan, spoonbill, kingfisher, pigeon, heron, goose, crane, duck, eagle starling, boar, etc. Miankaleh Wildlife Refuges, Behshahr: These are in the Gulf of Gorgan, Ashooradeh Island and Miankaleh peninsula, and extent to approximately 7,000 hectares and are known to be among the most attractive areas in the world. The Department of the Environment as a wildlife refuge protects it and UNESCO has registered it as one of the Biosphere Reserves.Semeskandeh Wildlife Refuges, Sari: The same extends over an area of approximately 1,000 hectares and the yellow deer (Iranian follow deer) is protected here.Dasht-e-Naz Wildlife Refuges, Sari: The said extends over an area of approximately 55 hectares, and is located to the northeast of Sari in the forest plains of this vicinity.Do Dangeh and Chahar Dangeh Protected Area, Sari: Located in the forestlands covering an area of approximately 6,000 hectares in the rural vicinity of Dodangeh and Chahar Dangeh. Valasht Lake This lake encompasses an area of about 15 hectares, and is located in a deep valley to the southwest of Chaloos and to the northeast of Kelar Dasht region. This area forms a suitable habitat for waterfowls and a variety of water species. Sald Lake The said lake is in actual fact a part of the salt desert of Iran and is located to the east of Qom. It is a section of an ancient lake, currently dried up and rich in mineral sedimentation due to gradual evaporation. This salt desert lies amidst the provinces of Khorassan, Sistan, Qom, Esfahan and Yazd. The Salt lake contains water only in the winter months, whereas in summer a crust of salt attracts attention. This region experiences an extremely dry climate and the difference between day and night temperatures range till approximately 70° C. This difference in temperatures make the rocks of the surrounding elevations crack, crumpling into mounds of sand, and air currents cause them to move. Ali Sadr Cave The said cave is the largest in the world, containing water and offering the use of canoes. This cave is located in the village of Alisadr, district of Kabudrahang, and was inaugurated in the year 1967. In the hills where the Alisadr cave is located, there are two other caves by the names of Soo Bashi and Sarab Caves. The water present in Alisadr Cave, takes its source from that of the Sarab Cave. The Alisadr Cave comprises of a number of small and large 'halls' or spaces, in a maze like fashion, connected to each other by passages. The water within the cave is extremely cold but very clear, odorless, colorless and with an ordinary taste. It comes under the calcium bicarbonate category, is nearly neutral in PH, but unfortunately polluted. The ceiling of the cave is covered with a sedimentation of pure calcium carbonate and a mixture of other chemical compounds. Thus forming stalagmites of unique beauty and design, which draws the attention of visitors. The air within the cave is light and static. To date, all the canals of this cave have not been discovered, and only approximately 2,100 m. have been recognized. Here, the height of the ceiling is between 1-35 m. the width of the canals 2 - 15 m. and the depth of the water 1 - 17 m. Within the cave, electric power, and paddling canoes (seating 4 persons) aid visitors to see parts of this cave. Sarv-e Abar Kooh ( old tree) Located 140km south of Yazd, the main road of Yazd-Shiraz passes through Abar Kooh. It is hot and dry in the summer and cold and dry in the winter. Dating back to several hundred years ago, this town was on the main road which linked China to Europe. The Jame' mosque and a 4500 year old cypress tree are among the sights of this town. Damavand Mountain Sixty-six km to the east of Tehran, to the right of Tehran-Firuz Kuh road, Damavand is a small town set in a closed-off and well-watered valley below the foothills of Mount Damavand whose cone is not visible from this place. During the summer months, its populations are swollen by an influx of holidaymakers. Archaeological excavations carried out in the site of the modern town of Damavand have shown its occupation since the Neolithic times fifth millennium BC. The origins of the town go back to the Sassanian period. In the historical districts of the town as well as in its neighboring villages, there remain some relics belonging to the beginning of the Islamic period, the 11th century AD, and the Seljuk period. The most important amongst these is are the Jom’eh Mosque and its minaret, of the same period, however restored in later periods particularly during the Safavid rule and thus turned into a new building void of any historical significance. The mosque’s circular and simple brick minaret, which rests upon a rectangular brick base, is the only remaining relic of the structure. Traces of a Kuffic inscription and of other decorations, in the 11th-century style, remain to this day upon the minaret. At Damavand there are also two funerary towers of the kind found so abundantly in the Caspian region. The Imamzadeh Shams od-Din, to the southeast of the mosque, is thought to date from the Seljuk period. The Imamzadeh Abdollah, near the northeastern edge of the town, must date form the beginning of the 14th century, although the carved wooden doors are of a later date than the building. Two barred windows were recently added on the south. Anzali Lagoon It extends to the south western coast of the Caspian Sea, west of the Sefid Rood delta and south of the port of Anzali. Rivers, streams and water from irrigation drains into this wetland, which covers an area of more than 100 square kilometers. Most of the rivers terminating in this wetland take their source in the mountains of Talesh, and after a steep incline end up in the plains. Apart from the economical and environmental aspect, it plays an important role in Gilan's social, geographical, political and cultural atmosphere. It is also of importance in connection with several scientific backgrounds such as zoology, biology and environmental studies The wetland displays a spectacular view. Its aqua atomshere is a suitable bed for the spawning of various types of fish, which play an important role in the economy of the region. This wetland is one of the best and appropriate surroundings for various waterfowls. Hundreds of species of migrant birds choose to settle in this area for breeding . The Anzali wetland and its islands have a beautiful view which attract nature lovers Abr Forests The forests areas of the province are the natural forests located in the northern fringes which are the continuation of the mountainous forests of the Alborz mountains, the juniper forests on the southern skirts of the Alborz range with tall and dense trees, the desert forests situated in the vicinity of Chah Jam and Khar Tooran with tamarisk trees. Artificial forests that come under the category of parks alongside the cities. In addition to which the entrance and exit routes of the province have also been manually planted for about 160 km. The most important parks in Semnan are, the Forest Parks of Sookan, Komesh and Mahalat in Semnan , the Forest Parks of Garmsar, Damqan and Shahrood.The major portion of Semnan province is in the desert area. The Kahak Desert, south of Garmsar and the Haj Ali Qoli Desert, south of Damqan can be quoted as good examples worth visiting. Semnan province has such areas, like that of the Khosh Yelaq in the northeast of Shahrood, Parvar to the north of the township of Semnan, and Khar Tooran in the southeast of Shahrood. A special species of the 'wild ass' inhabit the region of Khar Tooran. Other species of wildlife noted in Semnan province are, partridge, bustard, grouse, hare, leopard, musk deer, wild sheep, wild goat, ram, gazelle, sable and Other different flora and fauna species are also scattered in the mountainous, plains and desert regions. Lout Desert The plain of Loot is the largest hollow or pit in the plateau of Iran and a part of which is located between Sistan Va Baluchestan. This plain is one of the hottest and driest in the world with a minimum trace of water. To the west of this plain, is another area of wilderness called Namakzar, which is impenetrable in the rainy seasons. The eastern half of the plain is covered by moving sands, but a part of its southern sector is penetrable. Due to the hot sun and strong winds, heavy masses of sand move to the south and the southeast, forming a chain of sandy hillocks. Shevi Waterfalls The waterfall is located in the village of Shevy in the district of Dorood, and gushes out of a cave. This waterfall draws hordes of people to the site in the spring season. Caspian Sea Beaches Covering an area of approximately 438,000 square kilometers, it is the world's largest land-locked body of water or lake. It spreads between Iran, Russia, Turkamenistan, Qazaqistan and Azarbayjan. Its southern shores belonging to Iran are from the Makhtoom Ali Bay to Astara. 'Heerkany' is Khazar's ancient name and foreign maps and books also called it the 'Caspian'. Its shores are shallow and sandy. The average depth in the northern section is 6 m. and a maximum of 1,000 m. in the south and south west. One of the most important clefts in the southern parts of the Caspian Sea is the Anzali Wetland, located to the south west of the Caspian; and the Mian Kaleh Peninsula which is seperated from the Caspian Sea by the Qazian and Gorgan Bays. These are amongst the famous attractions of Gilan and the Mazandaran provinces. The Caspian Sea consists of three main sectors named as, the northern, central and southern. Its shores cover a distance of more than 6,380 m. of which about 657 m. beginning from Astara to the delta of the Attrak River is in the realm of Iran. The calm blue sea forms the northern view, and the dense forests covering the foot of the northern Alborz Mountains forms the southern landscape. The surrounding shores are covered by paddy fields, plantations and citrus orchards which create a wonderful scenery. As far as tourism is concerned, it comprises of active and semi-active areas. Parts of the eastern and the central shores are the main areas of tourist attractions. Other parts such as Talesh and the Astara coast are the semi-active areas. Being far from the cities and industrial establishments, the sandy shores and natural landscapes form a healthier environment in comparison to other coastal areas. Samirom Waterfall The Semirom waterfall is one of the reputed of the province and is located 4 km. east of Semirom. The same is at an elevation of 35 m. This vicinity offers different facilities for visitors. Niasar Cave This cave dates back to approximately 2000 years ago and nestles in the limestone hills overlooking the Niyasar Village of Kashan. This cave has been dug out with the help of primitive implements and resembles a meandering stony tunnel in the breast of the Karkas Mountains. The same comprises of long and narrow passages, several chambers and wells. It is well worth mentioning that appropriate gear is required to gain access to this vicinity. The Niyasar Cave is in three floors, and has a number of wells. Its passages and chambers cover approximately 500 square meters. The underground tunnels or passages are less than one square meter in area, and in some locations measure 100 x 70 sq. cm. Vertically 45 wells are connected to each other at an average depth of 118 m. This cave has four entrances and is of two separate sections. The central sector comprises of seven chambers in variable heights and very skillfully carved out. The same is connected to the floor beneath by the wells and halls. The other portion is a lengthy passage with a gradual incline and is connected to other wells, this ends in a beautiful hall. At the extreme end of this sector there is a large area with several dug out chambers. The Niyasar Cave has 20 chambers, the largest of all being 28.6 sq. m. and the smallest 1.8 sq. m Gav Khooni Swamp The above mentioned can be considered as one of the reputed wet lands in the central plateau of Iran. This vicinity covers an area of 476 sq. km. and is located 167 km. southeast of Esfahan. The same is 1,470 m. from sea level and the maximum depth of this wetland is 150 cm. This wetland has high biological resources, including other activities in regards to environment. The area also accounts as a refuge for immigrant birds, thereby adding to the tourist attractions. Rose Water Extraction in Ghamsar The industry of rosewater extraction is associated with Ghamsar city near Kashan. This annual national ceremony is held during the months of May, June and July. Most workshops have been created between the cities of Ghamsar and Kashan. The liquid essence is exported to France and Bulgaria as they are the largest producers of perfume in the world. Shadegan Logoon Shadegan wetland extends over an area of 296,000 hectares, and its surface is covered by great varieties of vegetations. It creates a suitable habitat for a number of migrating waterfowls, which fly to this area from north Europe, Canada and Siberia in autumn. In this wetland there are different fish varieties which live in salt and sweet-water. This vicinity is a habitat and breeding ground for the 'Marbled Teal' in the world, and rare birds species such as the 'Spotted Curlew' and the 'African Glossy Ibis', are also found in the surroundings of this wetland. Generally speaking, this vicinity can be accounted as a habitat for one-third of the animal and herbal species that are on the verge of extinction. The said wetland, in addition to international values, according to the regulations of "Supreme Council for Protection of Environment" under title of " Shadegan International Wildlife Refuges" has been given to "Department of the Environment". Chal Nakhjir Cave Chal Nakhjir is a rare geological phenomenon which was recently discovered in 1989 and is located in the township of Delijan. This cave belongs to the Cenozoic period and has been formed as a result of tectonic factors and aerobic chemical reactions. It has beautiful decorative stones. The height of this cave in some places reaches over 20 m. and has deep valleys in its divergent paths. The reflection of light through prism of crystals and calcite stones, beside variable hangings from ceiling and spongy crystalic covering of the walls and flooring, create an exotic sight and ranks this cave to one of the most beautiful and outstanding caves of the world in attracting tourists. Certain characteristics such as passages, lakes, pools and columns have presented a special beauty to this cave. It is said that there is a pool of water at the end of this cave with large halls alongside. This cave is a rare and exceptional site for tourists is worth seeing. Golestan National Park The Golestan National Park is the first Iranian National Park that is situated in Golestan, Semnan and Khorassan provinces. Because of its natural value such as the existence of verdant and virgin forests and different species of flora and fauna, it is famous in Iran and the world. This park has been a protected area since 1957 under the name of "Almeh" and "Yashki" and in 1976, these two parts combined and became the Golestan National Park with 91,890 hectares of land area. This park is formed of slightly sloping hills and high calcareous rocks.Its climate is very damp and in some places dry. Some important areas around the Golestan National Park are: Loweh, Dasht, Takhteh Iran, Yan Bolaq, Gildaq and the Qorkhoud protected areas. The most important animals of the Golestan National Park are: Rabbit, tiger, golden eagle, wolf, fox, panther, bear, sable wild cat, wild goat, wild pig (bore), gazelle, ram, deer, venison, kinds of snake, kinds of fish, black dall, delijeh, pray birds etc. Most important plants of this park are: fig, mulberry, wild pear, walnut, raspberry, barberry, different medicinal plants etc. Sisangan Natural Park This park is located near the town of Noor and contains natural attractions as well as resort facilities. Its location near the sea and rare species of trees has given it a remarkable sightseeing value. Shourabil Lake This Lake is located in the rout of Mohaghegh Ardebili University. Its water was salty in the past but today due to adding the sweet water its salinity has been decreased. A kind of Qezel Ala fish is grown in its water. This lake includes recreational, sport and cultural facilities such as boating, running track, cycling, zoon, hotel, amusement park, and restaurant and so on. Neor Lake It is located in 48 km. of eastern south of Ardebil. Its extent is 220 hectares and includes two small and large lakes. These lakes joint together and make a unit lake in spring. Neor Lake is an ecosystem for some species of emigrant birds, using lake for a short time. Main bird is Coot. Qezel Ala Fish of the Lake is famous in the world. Areas Arround the lake are important tourism centers of Ardebil. Every year fishing competition is hold in this lake. It is a tourism attraction. Moghan Plain Covering an area of more than 300-350 thousand hectares, the Moqan plain is located to the north of Ardabil province and west of the Caspian Sea. it is considered as an important agricultural pole of Iran becuse of its mild winters and humid summers. Vast verdant orchards and farmlands as well as related industries have been established in this area. Tribal lifestyle of Shahsavans tribe is one of tourism attractions in this area. Agh Gol Protected Zone This protected zone is located between Makoo and Poldasht. Different Animals and live in this region. In addition to natural ecosystems there are hunting regions under the supervision of Environment Organization. Some of this hunting regions are located in Khoy and Makoo. Dalaki River This river originates from the mountains located in the west of Shiraz. Dalaki River irrigates wide gardens and groves in the northern part of Borazjan. Shabankare Dam has been constructed on this river. Around the dam is a natural resort for visitors. Atashgah Waterfall This waterfall is located in the southern part of the province, 40 km. southeast of Lordegan City, in a village called Atashgah. This village is in fact a narrow valley brimming with natural and fresh beauty. The valley besides its picture beauty has a turbulent stream running through it. Sarigol Protected Zones The same is located to the northeast of Esfarayen in a span area of 28,000 hectares. Trees such as Araxes, korku and the wild willow can be seen here besides a number of other species. There are various species of animals and birds in South Khorasan. These animals and birds are as follows: Antelope, deer, gazelle, ewe, ram, wolf, hyena, fox, weasel, rabbit, vulture, eagle, stork, crow, mouse, pigeon, shallow, lizard, snack, beetle, scorpion, owl, woodpecker, and son. Binalood&Aladagh Mountains These mountains are the continuation of the Alborz Mountain. The Aladaq running 170 km. at a stretch lies between the Koorkhod Mountains to the west, and Binalood Range to the east. From the north the Aladaq Range is limited by the Atrak Valley and to the south it stretches out towards Esfarayen and Jajrum. The highest peak of this range called Shah Jahan width is 3,032 m. in height and the distance between the two cities of Quchan and Sabzevar forms its utmost limits, that is, the Aladaq and Binalood Ranges. At this point the Binalood Mountains span a distance of 120 km. and separate the Kashaf Valley in the north from the plains of Neishabur in the south. The Binalood peak with the height of 3,410 m. stands northwest of Neishabur. To the south of Mashad city the hills of Fariman and Torbat Jaam stretch in continuation to The Binalood Ranges. In this area, the Binalood Mountains segregate the Kashaf Rood Valley from the Torbat-e-Jaam region and has a peak of 2,256 m. in height. In spring and summer this region forms an excellent spot, full of natural enhancements.