Its calm coasts are covered with coral sands that shine in the sunlight, creating a unique and fascinating sight. The clear coastal waters allow one to view several meters deep into the sea and watch the beautiful movement of the fish. Diverse plants and native trees, as well as a pleasant climate seven months a year are among the outstanding characteristics of the island.
The island has attracted many tourists, travelers and writers throughout history due to these very characteristics. Among those who have written in praise of this island are Niarkhous, the Greek navy commander who traveled to Kish in 225 B.C., and wrote about its beautiful palm fields, Marco Polo, Ibn Batuta and Hamdullah Mostofi, as well as Ms. Fatemeh Al Ali the contemporary Kuwaiti writer who traveled to Kish in February 2002 and compared the island to a “gem on a king’s crown”.
Kish is lies between the 53 degrees and 53 minutes ,to 54 degrees and 4 minutes of the eastern longitude of the Greenwich Meridian, and 26 degrees and 29 minutes, and 26 degrees and 35 minutes of the northern latitude.
With an area of 90,547 square kilometers, the island is located only 18 km off the southern coast of the Islamic Republic of Iran. This beautiful oval-shaped island is 15 km long and seven km wide.
The distance from Kish to Tehran is 1052 km by air and 1600 km by land. Kish is at a distance of 1200 km from Isfahan, Iran’s historic and tourist destination city which attracts thousands of international visitors each year.
Kish is an almost flat island with an average altitude of 22 meters above the sea level. The highest region of the island (in the east) is 45 meters above the sea level. The island has shallow fissures formed as a result of erosion by heavy winter showers.
Temperature Kish has a warm and humid climate with an average temperature of 30 degrees Celsius. The weather is temperate and pleasant in fall, winter and two months into the spring.
The humidity is high in the majority of the months of the year. The humid season begins in mid April and continues for nine months.
Kish receives little and varying rainfall like in other parts of the Persian Gulf. The average annual rainfall in the island is 170 mm, 82 % of which falls in winter, 10 % in fall and the rest in spring and summer. The rain falls in the form of strong drizzle in spring and summer, and in small continuous drops in winter.
People The native people of Kish are a combination of Iranians and Arab- Iranians of the country’s southern provinces, who had migrated to the island during its ancient times of prosperity. Thus they speak Persian and Arabic. The complexion of the native people is dark and their physical characteristics are similar to those of the natives of the southern Iran.
Based on the census carried out in 2001, Kish has a population of 16501 comprising 4454 households. The increase in population is the result of the migration of Iranians from all parts of the country who come to work or invest in Kish. This has created considerable job opportunities and encouraged more migration to the island.
The island has a youthful population. Around 49.7% of the population is in the 25-64 age group, economically classified as active. The current population structure is a reflection of the inflow of job-seekers. With the ongoing development projects coming to fruition, the population structure is expected to normalize, approaching the patterns in other regions of the country.
History of Kish
Kish has a long history of about 3,000 years, being called under various names such as Kamtina, Arakia, Arakata, and Ghiss in the course of time. In 325 BC, Alexander the Great commissioned Niarkus to set off an expedition voyage into the Sea of Oman and the Persian Gulf. Niarkus's writings indicate that he visited Araracta in the 4th century BC. His descriptions of Araracta precisely match with the characteristics of Kish.
Once again, greatness, ability, creative power, intention and diligence have appeared in revival of one of the Iranian Traditions. Those who were living on Kish Island tens of centuries ago, with their Iranian inherent intelligence in building aqueducts-under ground canal-mostly known as Qanat or Kariz-stroked the coralline layers of Kish Island in search of potable water, and were rewarded with "fresh water" or "sweet water" as the people say here. for centuries afterwards, the sweet water of Kish Island not only relieved the thirst of the local residents, but by exporting it to neighboring state, the local residents could swapping it with sugar or cash.
Nowadays, the Kariz Kish has changed into a world unique phenomenon. The ancient canal were expanded, and an bellow the surface of the Kish Island, with museum, art galleries, handicraft workshops, traditional and modern tea/coffee shops. The present length of the under ground complex is about 3000 meters, and the visitors will have the choice either to walk inside it or to sail in power/pedals boats and see its beauties on board.
The Ancient Town of Harireh
For those who are interested in the history of Iran in general, and in the history of Iranian islands in the Persian Gulf in particular, a visit to the ancient town of Harireh is a must. Harireh is most probably the town that the renowned Iranian poet, Sa'adi, has referred to in his book 'The Rose Garden'. There are references in the works of Iranian and Arab historians to the location of the town on the island. These say that the town was situated in the middle of the northern part, precisely where the ruins are standing today.
A tour of Harireh can give the visitor a chance at imagining the ancient times of Iran. Then a short stroll over to Derakht-e-Sabz (Green Tree) Park will provide a chance at relaxation in the tranquil atmosphere.
Traditional Water Reservoirs
Drinking water in Kish is somehow limited. That is why, since ancient times, the indigenous people resorted to different methods of supplying their drinking water. The remnants of some of them attest to this fact.
As in many other areas of the country where water is scarce, the past inhabitants of Kish used a special type of water reservoir to collect rainwater. These reservoirs were dug at the end of natural basins deep in the ground.
With the innovation of desalination technology traditional water reservoirs became obsolete. But, what remains of them is a sight to visit for tourists. The architecture of these structures is unique and very interesting.
To collect surface waters, two such reservoirs were built in the Portuguese Valley in 1992. The water collected is being used to irrigate the parks and green areas.
An ancient water reservoir is Payab. It has been restored and is now one of the attractions of the island. Payab is over 2,000 years old. Once it was renovated, the floor was carpeted with corals. A teahouse has also been provided to serve refreshments to visitors. In Persian, Payab means bottom of the sea.