Kish Island Tourist Attractions 20 May 2024 BY Batul Iddi

Discover History at Harireh Ancient City in Kish

All of the ancient world's greatest civilizations boasted a mighty metropolis. These ancient cities rose and fell with powerful empires and left legendary legacies that still endure today.

When we think of the Ancient World, our minds are drawn to the mighty ancient cities at the heart of great empires and cultured civilizations. One such remarkable city awaits us on the picturesque island of Kish in the south of Iran: Harireh.

Harireh ancient city is a city with immense historical significance, and stands as a testament to the rich cultural heritage of Iran. It is not only a captivating destination for tourists but also holds a paramount position in the country's history. If you're planning to travel to Kish, visiting the ancient city of Harireh is essential. Join us as we explain why this city is a must visit destination for you and uncover the hidden secrets of this enchanting city.


Harireh Ancient City in Kish History

Harireh Ancient City in Kish History

Harireh city is an ancient city that was built hundreds of years ago in the northern part of Kish Island. Its history dates back to around 800 years ago during the reign of the Sassanian dynasty.

According to archaeologists, Harireh City was constructed during the rule of the Qasid dynasty on this island. Although the construction of this city dates back to that period, the golden age of Harireh City is associated with the Ilkhanate era. During the Ilkhanate period, many parts of Harireh City were completely destroyed and practically uninhabitable. However, with the decline of the important and bustling port of Siraf, the rulers turned their attention to Harireh City.

Historical records and ancient artifacts recount that after the decline of the port of Siraf, the government began the reconstruction of Harireh City. In this city, many structures were built that were unlike other rural houses in Iran, as they were not made of mud and brick.

The walls of the houses and buildings in this city were all made of stone and had plaster coatings. The primary building materials used were limestone, Sarooj (a type of mortar), and gypsum.

After the reconstruction of Harireh City during the Ilkhanate era, this city received great popularity. Many people migrated to this city for a living, and due to its favorable location, it became one of the commercial cities.

Many merchants traveled to southern Iran for trade and business. Most of them preferred to reside in Harireh City during the Ilkhanate period. Even large houses and inns were built in this city to accommodate foreign guests and traders. Therefore, it can be said that the city, which is now almost in ruins, was considered one of the best and most prosperous cities in Iran during the Ilkhanate era. It was registered as a national heritage site in September 1997.

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Reason for Naming The City Harireh

Reason for Naming The City Harireh

In the historical and ancient documents found regarding Harireh in Kish, it is evident that this city was once a vibrant, lively, and verdant city. According to historians, the historical city of Harireh resembled a beautiful and lush silk, and for this reason, it was named Harireh. According to some other historians, the reason for naming this city was both its beauty and its commercial significance for the people.

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Architecture of Harireh Harireh Ancient City in Kish

Architecture of Harireh Harireh Ancient City in Kish

Harireh city is located by the sea, on the shores of the Persian Gulf, with an area of 120 hectares, and it is composed of various spaces. The map of the ancient city of Harireh indicates its status as a port city. This city was built as a fortress to prevent pirate attacks and had a tower and a watchtower.

Currently, the remains of Harireh city are seen in the form of large stacks. The use of bricks and clay is not very evident in this city, and the construction of buildings has involved seashell stones, limestone, and coral. Some of the structures in Harireh city reach a height of more than 6 meters, indicating the presence of multiple levels.

A collection of horizontal and underground channels and numerous wells can be seen in and around Harireh, although their exact function is not clear. However, they were likely associated with fishing activities such as fish hunting, pearl diving, and coral harvesting, and were built to provide easier access to the sea.

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Harireh Ancient City Attractions

Harireh Ancient City Attractions

Harireh ancient city consists of various sections and parts. According to research and archaeological excavations, this city includes a harbor, a noble house, a mosque, a bathhouse, ancient qanats (water canals), industrial and workshop sections like a glassblowing workshop. Below are some popular attractions in Harireh ancient city:


Harireh Harbor

The remains of the pier and harbor of Harireh city can be seen near the coast, featuring semi-circular supports, several corridors, a stone mouth, and stairways leading to the sea. The entrance and exit channels remain intact. Due to the use of limestone and coral, the buildings of this harbor have suffered physical and chemical erosion.


Harireh Palace 

Adjacent to the harbor building is a structure that locals call the palace. On the ruins, there are writings by Vassaf that indicate a tall palace named Malek Jamshid Palace existed here.


Harireh Mosque

The presence of a mosque in Harireh city indicates the residence of Muslims. Harireh Mosque, with an area of 2000 square meters, is located in the center of this city.

It has Seljuk architecture and has been restored in later periods. The mosque includes a prayer hall, four mihrabs, a tall minaret with a circular plan, and a water reservoir. In addition to being a place of worship, Harireh Mosque served as a gathering place and temporary accommodation for merchants.


Harireh Noble House 

The noble house is one of Harireh's sections discovered through archaeological excavations. This mansion is located 300 meters south of the coastal complex, midway to the rocky northern shore. It resembles old houses in Yazd, Kashan, and Isfahan, where multiple families lived together. It also represents a type of collective housing along the Persian Gulf coast.

Harireh Mansion includes an entrance, a royal room, a large northern house, and a smaller southern house. Many pottery objects and wall decorations, such as plasterwork and glazed tiles from the 13th and 14th centuries, were found here. The star-shaped tiles are similar to those found in Takht-e Soleyman and Soltaniyeh. These imported tiles indicate that this house belonged to one of the city's wealthy residents.

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Harireh Bathhouse 

The city's bathhouse, covering an area of 500 square meters, is located northwest of the noble house. This bathhouse went through three phases of construction, expansion, and renovation during the Ilkhanid and Timurid periods.

It includes an enclosure, multiple courtyards, service areas, a storage room, a worker's room in the northern part, a dressing room, a hot room, a furnace, and two small and large reservoirs south of the hot room.

Given its limited capacity and extensive outer wall extending to the noble mansion, it seems to have been a private bath belonging to the mansion's owner. Harireh Bathhouse is also one of the oldest known Iranian bathhouses.


Workshop and Industrial Section

The workshop and industrial sections of Harireh are located along the coast. One workshop features grooved floors used for extracting date syrup. The syrup would flow through the grooves into a corner tank.

Holes were dug along the coast for transporting syrup jars, making it easy to load them onto ships. One of the holes has both positive and negative steps, facilitating cargo handling. These holes, scattered along three kilometers of the coast, indicate the high volume of trade in Harireh.


Glass Production Workshops 

Another part of Harireh city is its glass production workshops, discovered through archaeological excavations. These workshops contain furnaces, indicating a high volume of glass production. There might have been more such workshops in other parts of the city.

Based on recent findings, during the Ilkhanid period, the city's residents engaged in fishing, pearl trading, and other crafts, as well as production and export, given the volume of workshop outputs exceeded local consumption.


Water Facilities 

In the eastern part of Harireh, a massive complex of water reservoirs is carved into the rock. These reservoirs, along with water bases and stairways, resemble qanats (subterranean aqueducts) and are thus called qanat-reservoirs. They are large enough for several people to walk through comfortably.

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Harireh Archaeological Artifacts 

Harireh Archaeological Artifacts

Throughout Harireh, numerous pottery shards are visible, the most common being celadon pottery with dragon, fish, and decorative flower designs, sgraffito pottery with engraved patterns, and glazed pottery with blue-black designs on a beige background. The city's porcelain dates back to the 14th and 15th centuries. Other artifacts, such as luster tiles and coins, have also been found in this area.


Attractions Near Harireh Ancient City

Attractions Near Harireh Ancient City

Kariz Underground City

One of the attractions near Harireh City is the Kariz Underground City, which is 2,500 years old. This city is actually a network of underground water canals, also known as Kish Qanat. The Kariz Underground City is located 16 meters below the ground and covers an area of 10,000 square meters. 

Address: Kish Island, Mir Mohanna Boulevard, after Olympic Square, before Faroor Square.

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Traditional Water Reservoir of Kish 

The Kish Water Reservoir, or the Twin Water Reservoir of Kish, is located 1.5 kilometers from Harireh City. This reservoir was built in 1993 to collect surface water on the site of an old reservoir and features two domes and five windcatchers. The architecture of the Kish Water Reservoir is reminiscent of traditional Yazd architecture.

Address: Mir Mohanna Boulevard, Olympic Boulevard, Green Tree Street.


Damoon Shopping Center 

Damoon Shopping Center is one of the most modern and well-equipped commercial centers in Kish, located near Harireh and Damon Beach. This center offers various amenities, including two commercial floors with various shops, an ice skating rink, and a dedicated floor for a food court and restaurants with a stunning view. 

Address: Kish Island, beside Damoon Kish Air Complex and Damoon Coastal Kish.


Aquarius Marine Club 

Aquarius Marine Club is one of the recreational spots around Harireh Ancient City, where you can have fun and exciting moments. The club offers thrilling activities such as diving, speed boating, shuttle rides, banana boat rides, and parasailing. 

Address: End of Hormoz Street, behind Persian Gulf Towers.

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Harireh Ancient City in Kish Location

Historical city of Harireh is located in Hormozgan province and is one of the attractions of Kish. This city is situated in the north of this beautiful island, adjacent to the Olympic Sports Complex. Its history dates back to the 10th century AD when it flourished and prospered, but it was abandoned after the 10th century.

Address: Kish, Mir Mahna Boulevard, Olympic Boulevard, Harireh Square, Karaneh Street.


How to Get to the Ancient City of Harireh

How to Get to the Ancient City of Harireh

An important question that may arise for those interested in traveling to Harireh, Kish, is how to reach this city or what are the access routes to Harireh? In the following section, all access routes to Harireh Kish will be fully examined for you.

To access Harireh, Kish, you first need to travel to Kish Island. Travel to Kish is possible by air and sea.

For air travel, you can travel to Kish island from any city in Iran. However, for travel by sea, you first need to go to Bandar Abbas or Bandar Lengeh by bus or private car. Then, at these ports, you can take a ship or boat to Kish. The transportation of private vehicles by ship is also possible.

After arriving on Kish Island, you can use the local bus lines and taxis to reach the ancient city of Harireh.


Best Time to Visit Harireh Ancient City in Kish

Best Time to Visit Harireh Ancient City in Kish

One of the best seasons to visit Kish in terms of weather is spring. During this season, the weather in Kish is mild, neither too cold nor too hot. If you visit Harireh in the spring, you can enjoy beautiful and colorful flowers and its lush nature.

If you are looking for the best season to visit Harireh Kish in terms of fewer tourists, winter is the best season for you. This is because Kish does not have many visitors during this season. The peak tourist season for Harireh Kish is in the summer.

Opening Hours: 10 AM to 10 PM

Ticket Price: Free


Bottom Line

The ancient city of Harireh on Kish Island offers a unique glimpse into Iran's rich historical and cultural past. With its well-preserved ruins, including the grand mansion, ancient bathhouse, and impressive industrial workshops, Harireh provides a fascinating exploration for history enthusiasts and casual visitors alike. The best time to visit is during spring for its pleasant weather and lush scenery or winter for a quieter experience. Whether you're marveling at the architectural remnants or imagining the bustling life of this once-thriving city, make sure to include Harireh ancient city in your Kish tour as it offers an unforgettable journey into the heart of ancient Persian civilization.

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