People, Travel

Qom on Eco-Tourism Map

Qom on Eco-Tourism MapQom on Eco-Tourism Map

For tourists, eco-tourists, or travelers who, for any reason, pass by Qom, passenger lodges of Shadqolikhan water reservoir (Abanbar in Persian) and Shah Abbasi Caravanserai of Pasangan are two pleasant places to rest and sip soothing herbal teas.

Qom is better known as a religious destination for pilgrims, and the eco-tourism potential of the region is still unexplored. There are numerous investment opportunities. Ebrahimipur brothers are active in this field and have been able to use the opportunity to make tourism their priority source of income and create jobs for at least 20 people. They have renovated Pasangan Caravanserai and Shadqolikhan Abanbar which were deserted for long, and have launched them as tourist residences.

 Reviving History

Some 500 meters from the shrine of Hazrat Ma’sumeh (S.A.), sister of Imam Reza (A.S.), on the archeological site of Shadqolikhan, dating back to 6000 years ago, is found a water reservoir from Qajar Era. The site is registered on Iran’s National Heritage list.

Saeed Ebrahimipur launched the reservoir as a tourist settlement after its renovation completed in 2012. Two years prior to that, he renovated the over 400 years old Pasangan Caravanserai which is 30 km from Qom-Kashan highway. In 2010, Pasangan started to be used as a lodge for accommodating domestic and foreign visitors.

Ebrahimipur says, there is usually a tourist rush to Qom 9 months of the year. Despite the lack of support, the high potential of the centers in absorbing visitors has succeeded in making these historical sites a good source of income.

In three years, a total of $245,000 was spent on the renovation, reconstruction, and decoration of the two sites. Consultants from Qom Cultural Heritage Organization have also assisted the projects. This indicates a national resolve to expand tourism in the region.

 Design and Facilities

The design of both centers follows an Iranian traditional pattern including sections such as traditional restaurants (Persian: sofreh-khaneh), traditional tea house (chai-khaneh), handicrafts shops, and traditional photography (akkas-khaneh). Rebuilding tea houses at these centers has led to the revival of traditional tea houses from Safavid Era where people could also drink traditional cool ‘sherbets’ in addition to different kinds of normal and herbal teas.

The handicrafts shops offer various handmade products from Qom Province – more than 100 different handicrafts especially Kharmohreh, Persian turquoise-colored bead.

Pasangan Safavid Caravanserai is a place for several exciting activities including trekking, desert dwelling, bird watching, and star gazing. It is used as a location for movies and TV series every once in a while. Its name is mentioned in the books of famous explorers like Jane Dieulafoy and Müller.

Now Majid Ebrahimipur, as the manager of the complex, is trying to register the name of the two centers on global travel guide books such as Lonely Planet to introduce them to a larger number of tourists.

Such cooperations between government and private sector in cultural heritage and tourism area could make a significant contribution to the economy of the country through revival and expansion of ecotourism.