Guided tours through three cities in Iran has been organized for all participants in IJSO 2012. The fixed program is sightseeing in Kish Island, Shiraz or Isfahan on December 10-12 .
Kish (Persian: کیش) is a 91.5-square-kilometre (35.3 sq mi) resort island in the Persian Gulf. It is part of the Hormozgān Province of Iran. Due to its free trade zone status it is touted as a consumer's paradise, with numerous malls, shopping centres, tourist attractions, and resort hotels. It has an estimated population of 20,000 residents and about 1 million people visit the island annually. Kish Island was ranked among the world’s 10 most beautiful islands by The New York Times in 2010, and is the fourth most visited vacation destination in the Middle East after Dubai, U.A.E, and Sharm el-Sheikh.Foreign nationals wishing to enter Kish Free Zone from legal ports are not required to obtain visas prior to travel. Valid travel permits are stamped for 14 days by airport and Kish port police officials.In 325 BC, Alexander the Great commissioned Nearchus to set off an expedition voyage into theSea of Oman and the Persian Gulf. When Marco Polo visited the Imperial court in China, he commented on the Emperor's wife's pearls, he was told that they were from Kish. After the Islamic Revolution, Kish Island became a duty-free shopping center.
Kish is located in the Persian Gulf 19 km from mainland Iran and has an area of around 91 km² with an outer boundary of 40 km and a nearly elliptical shape. Along Kish's coast are coral reefs and many other small islands. The Island is positioned along the 1359 km long Iranian coastline north of the Persian Gulf, at the first quarter from the Hormuz entrance to the Persian Gulf. Its longitudinal and latitudinal positions are 26.32N and 53.58E degrees. The island's surface is flat, lacking mountains or even high hills.
Kish, like the other Persian Gulf Islands, especially the islands in the Strait of Hormuz, is located on a narrow strip of tropical vegetation in the Northern Hemisphere, with the Persian plateau to the north and the Arabian Peninsula to the south. In addition to its special geographic and climatic attributes, Kish Island, like other nearby islands, such as Forur, Hendurabi, Shatuar and Lavan and even Qeshm, is under the sway of the semi-equatorial climate dominating this band of vegetation.
Kish's climate is considered to be a very dry semi equatorial climate. For an 8 years span of time, the median annual rainfall in Kish has been 145 mm (54% in winter, 28% autumn and 14% in summer) and the annual temperature 26.6 °C. The relative atmospheric humidity in Kish makes it like a sea island except in cold seasons. The humidity is about 60% most of the year. In the months of October to April, Kish's weather is mild, ranging between 18 to 25 °C. The statistical data in the Kish free zone's archives show that the island's temperature varies form very hot to moderately hot, accompanied by relatively high humidity often interspersed by heavy rains of short durations in certain seasons. With the exception of some southeastern coastal areas and a few other islands in the Persian Gulf, Kish Island has the longest sunny hours in the region which is roughly 3100 hours a year. 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.
There are many attractions around the island that make it a tourist-oriented place.One of the spot that draws much visitors is the Greek Ship stranded near to its shores. Another attraction is 'Underground City' which is partially open for tourists was built around 1000 years ago for transportation and water supply across the different parts of the island.The next attraction are the beautiful beaches that all captivate the eye with their bluish tint and the long shoreline that attracts many tourists during the winter season. The water is so clear that fish can be seen swimming in the sea all year long.
KIsh University founded in 1996; it now has 360 students. The importance of public education from the lowest to the highest levels as a main element in the steady development of Kish is now being paid special attention.The total area of educational space on the island was over 4658 square metres in 2005, which shows a 40% rise as compared to the beginning of 2001. Some of the institutes in Kish Island include:
- Kish Institute of Arts and Sciences (teaching foreign languages)
- Kish Institute of Graph-Rayaneh (teaching computing)
- Parto Institute (teaching English)
- Sadaf Cultural Centre
- Kish Institute of Science and Technology
Kish Island is part of the professional Squash Association's annual tour . As part of the Flower of the East project Kish will have an 18-hole championship golf course based on PGA standards and a 9-hole course for beginners.
Kish is home to a multi-purpose Olympic stadium seating 1200 spectators, it caters for 11 sports including volleyball, basketball, handball, futsal, gymnastics, wrestling, taekwondo, judo, karate and chess. All of these are supervised by professional and international coaches. It attracts top national football teams and clubs who often use Kish as summer training camp with high quality facilities, good weather and a tranquille environment making it a good location. The Kish Karting Track is one of the largest in the Middle East, and one of the first of its kind in Iran. A great array of water sports are also on offer in Kish such as snorkeling and scuba diving courses, jet skiing, diving cruises, water skiing, sea skiffs, cruises to other islands around Kish, parasailing, jet boat rides, cruise fishing boats, pedal boating, banana boat rides, and windsurfing. Maryam Bowling Complex includes 16 bowling lanes, a health club with a fitness suite, and a jacuzzi. Kish Equestrian Club hosts national races and is capable of holding international competitions. Kish has 3 international standard volleyball courts, Kish held the 2006 Asian Beach Volleyball Championship.
Kish Dolphin Park
The Dolphin Park is a 70-hectare (170-acre) park located at the south east corner of Kish Island. It is surrounded by over 22,000 palm trees, and includes a dolphinarium, butterfly garden, silkworm compound, bird garden, artificial rain forest, volcanic mountain, orchid garden, and cactus garden. The dolphinarium includes the largest man made pool on the island, and exhibits dolphins, sea lions, and white whales.The bird Garden in the park is home to more than 57 species of birds and other animals from around the world including.
Kish Aquarium:The Art Center on the island includes an aquarium that displays marine species unique to the Persian Gulf.
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.