Qeshm, Top Destination for Sea Travel

Qeshm, Top Destination for Sea TravelQeshm, Top Destination for Sea Travel

According to the latest figures of the Ports and Maritime Organization (PMO), Qeshm remains the top destination for travel by sea, despite the growing number of sea travel options in the country.

The PMO has registered more than seven million tourists in Qeshm in the first six months of the year, making it the top destination for sea travel, Eghtesad News reported.

With its unique geographical position in the Persian Gulf, Qeshm serves as a seaport for many passenger ships during the high season.

Many holiday makers choose to travel by car and arrive on the Island by ferry. The number of cars brought to the Island by visitors reached 97,000 in the first six months of this calander year (started March 21).

Although there have recently been many discussions to establish new international sea routes in conjunction with new travel routes in the pipeline, the majority of sea travel remains limited to a handful of the southern islands, especially Qeshm Island.

The status of sea travel in the north of the country is still vague.  Short distances between Caspian Sea littoral countries predicate a high volume of sea travel is the region, but political unrest in the region prevents the establishment of new sea routes for passenger travel.

“The main obstacle is in the obtaining of expert ratification on the passenger ships, after which the potential for sea travels in the Caspian Sea can be unlocked,” stated deputy assistant of PMO.

Notwithstanding, the volume of marine traffic in the Persian Gulf region remains incomparable to any other marine region in the country.  The 89,000 vessels around Qeshm Island alone in the first six months is a good indicator of the high capacity.

Considering the importance given by the Minister of roads and urban development to improving the quality of life in the coastal regions, perhaps the increased number of holiday makers to beach towns can play a vital role in facilitating this trend.  

 History of Seafaring

Qeshm has always been famous as a trade and navigation center. Its flourishing economy has lured invaders such as Elamites, Umayyads, Abbasids, the English and the Portuguese.

After the Portuguese forces seized the island in 16th century, their commander Alfonso de Albuquerque commissioned the construction of a fortress which was named the Fort of Our Lady of Conception, or more simply the Portuguese Castle today.

The fact that such an important place was in foreign hands annoyed the Safavid king Shah Abbas I (1587-1629) so much that he eventually convinced the East India Company to carry his forces aboard the British ships onto the island. In 1622 Shah Abbas wrested the island from the Portuguese.

The castle left from the Portuguese is without doubt the most impressive colonial fortress in Iran. Made from reddish stones on a rocky promontory at the north end of the island, the castle was cut off from the rest of the island by a moat, traces of which still remain.