Zahedan, the capital of the province, which lies at a height of 1,268 m above sea level, 1,605 k from Tehran, is a relatively new city and does not have much of history. The region of Sistan, in the north, however, has a history that goes back to the era of the Achaemenids when it was a very prosperous area. The mythical hero of Iran, Rostam, a character created by the country’s greatest epic poet, Ferdowsi, is supported to have come from Sistan. The region was conquered by the Muslim army circa 644 A.D. Later in history, it suffered a great deal at the hands of the Mongols. The central and southern parts of the province, known as Baluchestan, have a long history of some 5,000 years.
Iranshahr, another of the main cities of the province, too, has a long history. When Alexander the Macedonian wanted to invade India, Iranshahr was one of the main centers of his campaign. The inhabitants of Baluchestan, Baluchs, Have a dialect, costumes and traditional of their own.
This province lies in the southeast of Iran on the border with Pakistan, and covers an area of 178,431 km2. It is surrounded by Oman Sea to its south, Pakistan and Afghanistan to its east, the provinces of Kerman and Hormozgan to its west and Khorasan to its north. The capital of this province is the city of Zahedan. It also has seven large cities and 16 towns. The cities include Chahbahar, Khash, Iranshahr, Nikshahr, Saravan, Zabol and Zahedan. This is the second largest province of Iran, in area. In 1996, this province had a population of about 1,722,579. The region north of province is known as Sistan, and the central and the southern parts as Baluchestan. Some of the inhabitants of this province are migrating nomads. Wheat, barley, alfalfa, dates, grapes, bananas, coconuts, citrus fruits and sugar cane make up the range of the agricultural products of this province. It has considerable mineral deposits especially copper, magnesium, decorative stones, chromate and salt. Its major industries include those of textiles, chemicals, foundry and food. This province is one of the Iran warmest. The warmest city in this province, Iranshahr, has an average annual temperature of 27°C while the temperature in Zahedan, the coolest city, is 18.2°C. The maximum absolute temperature in Iranshahr passes beyond 50°C, at times. The average relative humidity in Zahedan at 06:30 hours is 48% and at 12:30 hours, 23% average annual rainfall is 84 mm; maximum amount of rainfall on a single day, 52 mm; average number of frosty days 55.2; and the average number of hours of sunshine over the entire year is 3,176. The maximum wind speed is 32.5 meters per second, blowing in the direction of 220°. In other parts of this province (besides Zahedan) the temperature rarely falls to zero.
Major natural Features
Hirmand River, the largest in the province, originates in the highlands of Afghanistan and is 1,390 km long. It is the most important river of the eastern parts of Iran and western parts of Afghanistan. A section of this river, about 60 km long, defines the border between Iran and Afghanistan. This river is the greatest source of water for the inhabitants of Sistan, in the north of the province. Kalat River, 313 km long, which runs in the south of the province, and Bampour River, 275 km long, which passes by Iranshahr, are two other major rivers of this province. Lake Hamoon, in the north of province, is one of the most outstanding natural and environmental features of this province. A part of this lake falls within the Afghan territory. The lake and the region surrounding it provide suitable habitat for wild ranges of flora and fauna. The Hamoon Jazmoorian swamp lies partly in the province of Sistan-va-Baluchestan, and party in Kerman. Its maximum length is 52.5 km and its average width 21 km. This lake-swamp dries up in the warm season, leaving a muddy bed behind. The coast on Oman Sea, in the south of the province, is of great economic importance. It also provides great tourist and sport attraction. Chahbahar is the major port and also provides a most attractive natural spot, where water sports are common. Most of the mineral water springs of this province are to be found around Mount Taftan, the best known being Eskelabad, Ameni, and Barab in the west; Barabak, Jamchin and Doushing in the north; Zang and Morghab in the east; and Torshab in the south.
Zahedan Museum: Museum of archaeology, anthropology and art
Zabol Museum: Museum of anthropology
Name: Burnt City
Type: Ancient place and residential complex
Description: The remains of an old civilization, consisting of a palace, a residential complex and ancient tombs, have been discovered, 60 km south of Zabol. They were apparently destroyed in a great fire. Archeologists have also found there brass statues, earthenware articles, and human skeletons.
Name: Mount Khajeh
Type: An ancient complex. Description: This is an island in Hamoon Lake high above water, where admirable historic monuments are to be found. There is palace and fire-temple on the island dating back to the first century A.D. There are also shrines related to the Islamic period such as Khajeh Mehdi’s and Khaje Ghaltan’s tomb, which are much venerated by the people of the region.
Name: Sam Castle
Type: Castle. Description: This sun-dried brick castle has 36 watchtowers and lies at a point 28 km from Zahedan-Zabol Road.
Name: Dahane Gholam
Type: Ancient city and hill. Description: This complex consists of large buildings and a temple, made of clay and sun-dried bricks, and dates back to the Achaemenid era.
Name: Chehel Dokhtaran (Forty Daughters)
Type: castle. Description: This castle, which has a minaret, is located on a stone terrace.
Name: Shah Ali Mosque
Type: Mosque. Description: This old mosque has very impressive inscriptions.
Name: Imamzadeh Gholam Rasouli
Type: Shrine. Description: This shrine, which was renovated in the Safavid era, displays beautiful plaster work and striking paintings.
Zahedan: Jame Mosque, Imamzadeh Malek Siyah, Shour Gaz Carvanserai
Zabol: Tasouki Hills, Hakim Mosque, Sharifi Mosque, Kord Kouy Fire-Temple
Iranshahr: Doost Mohammad Khan’s Castle, Firooz Abad Castle, Iranshahr Castle, Pip Castle
Chahbahar: Tis Castle, Sheikh Shamil’s Tomb, Ghasre Ghand Castle
Saravan: Old Mosque,Dar-ol-Oloum Mosque, Sib Castle (Apple Castle), Baba Haji’s Tomb
The main handicrafts of this province are kilim, carpet and cushion weaving, mat making, pottery and tent making.