A Potential Tourism Hub

A Potential Tourism HubA Potential Tourism Hub

The Bushehr provincial director general of Iran Cultural Heritage, Handicrafts, and Tourism Organization (ICHHTO), Mohammad Ebrahim Fozouni, announced that marine tourism in the Persian Gulf will evolve after the modern passenger vessel is launched between Kharg and Bushehr.

Speaking with Marine Association News Agency (MANA), Fozouni emphasized that Kharg Island is one the oldest places in Bushehr Province and has a rich culture and numerous ancient historical attractions which makes it a perfect potential as a tourist destination.

He said the cuneiform inscription on the island is an example of the ample attractions of the area.

To make this a reality, Kharg needs to open its door to tourists; domestic and foreign. However, several factors are preventing this: its location in an oil-rich region is one major obstacle, the official asserted.

In addition, due to hosting major industrial and military sites, commute to Kharg Island is currently exclusive to the inhabitants. Those interested in traveling there need to contact either the governor’s office in Bushehr or district governorate of the island, explain the aims of the trip, and obtain a permit to enter.

Currently, all marine tours to Kharg are unofficial. Although, special tours have been designed exclusively during the Nowruz holidays when the demand for travel is high.

Fozouni noted that the required infrastructures for expanding tourism in Kharg are inadequate and said at a minimum, a traveler needs a place to stay which is not adequately available in Kharg due to limitations; a fact that forces visitors to travel for daytrips.

He hoped that passenger vessels traveling to and from Kharg, “will help put the island in a place it deserves in terms of tourism.”

The vessel bought from Japan is funded by the private sector. It has a capacity of 300 passengers. The route to reach Kharg is normally through Bushehr or Genaveh ports, both in Bushehr province.


Kharg is a continental island in the Persian Gulf belonging to Iran. The island is located 25 km off the coast of Iran and 483 km northwest of the Strait of Hormuz. Administered by the adjacent coastal Bushehr Province, Kharg Island provides a sea port for the export of oil and extends Iranian territorial sea rights into the Persian Gulf oil fields. Located on the Island is Kharg, the only city in the Kharg District.


Mentioned in the Hudud al-’alam as a good source for pearls around 982 CE, Kharg was visited by French traveler Jean de Thevenot in 1665, who recorded trade at the time with Isfahan and Basra.

Alongside pearling, Kharg’s economy was based on fruit and date palm cultivation.

In 1753 the Dutch Empire established both a trading post and a fort on the island. In 1766 the Dutch fort was captured by Mir Mahanna, the governor of Bandar Rig.

The island was briefly occupied in 1838 by the British to block the Siege of Herat (1838) but was soon returned.

Once the world’s largest offshore crude oil terminal and the principal sea terminal for Iranian oil, the Kharg Island facilities were put out of commission in the fall of 1986. Heavy bombing of the facilities from 1982 through 1986, by the Iraqi air forces, during the Iran–Iraq war all but destroyed most of the terminal facilities. The Darius Oilfield was also destroyed by the intensive bombing.

In 2009, Iran exported and swapped 950 million barrels of crude oil via the southern Kharg oil terminal.

On November 14, 2007, a cuneiform inscription dating back to Achaemenid era was discovered on Kharg Island in Old Persian. The inscription is carved on a coral rock in Old Persian semi-syllabic cuneiform signs. Despite the usually well-ordered regular system of Achaemenid inscriptions, this one is in an unusual order written in five lines.

The inscription reads: “The not irrigated land was (became) happy (with) my bringing out (water) Bahana wells.”

Jean de Thévenot noted the presence of qanats (aqueducts) on the island that would have provided ancient irrigation.

Among other historical monuments and sites are: tombs-temple of Palmyrene, dating back to Parthian Empire, Poseidon temple, the Zoroastrian fire temple, garden of the birds, Azarpad or Phoenix valley, and also the mausoleum of Mohammad Hanafiyeh.

Kharg is one of the few islands in the Persian Gulf with fresh water.

A variety of wildlife can be seen in the island’s nature reserve including antelope, house crow, egretta, heron, flamingo, goose, great cormorant, and grey and see-see partridge.