AttractionsDestinationsIran TourismKish

Kish Island: A Journey to the Underground City of Kariz

Where Ancient Persian Engineering and Cultural Heritage Converge

Kish Island is a treasure trove of amazing attractions that require multiple visits to fully explore. One such marvel is Kariz Kish, a name you’ve likely heard even if you haven’t visited the island. This renowned underground city is a harmonious blend of Iranian artistry and the island’s natural beauty, attracting numerous tourists from Iran and abroad to the southern shores of Iran.

The Historical Depths of Kariz Kish

Kariz Underground City, Kish, Iran
Kariz Underground City, Kish, Iran

During your trip to Kish Island, allocate a day to delve into an underground city that sits 16 meters below the surface, dating back 2,500 years. This experience offers a glimpse into the skill and expertise of ancient Iranians.

Kariz Kish is one of the island’s historical tourist destinations, boasting a history of approximately 2,500 years. It showcases the architectural brilliance and craftsmanship of Iranian architects from that era, now transformed into a fascinating recreational site. Unique features of this underground structure, such as its coral composition, fresh water flow, cool underground air, and a coral ceiling filled with ancient fossils, place it among the most significant attractions in Iran and globally.

What Will You Discover in Kariz Kish?

Kariz City, Kish Island
Kariz City, Kish Island
  • Fossils dating back 270 to 570 million years
  • A ceiling adorned with sea shells and corals
  • The distinctive coral ceiling, once a seabed with a diameter reaching 7 meters, now teeming with fossils easily visible to visitors. Research by the University of Munich, Germany, on these fossils dates the ceiling between 53 to 570 million years, indicating its ancient origin.

Highlights of Kariz Kish

Architecture of Kariz City
Architecture of Kariz City
  • A turtle fossil over hundreds of millions of years old
  • The Persian Gulf Museum
  • The ancient Kariz aqueduct
  • Various geological layers
  • Kariz wells

Originally comprising two channels sourced from different island areas, these channels merge into three upon reaching the current site of the cultural and tourist complex of the underground city of Kish. The water flows towards the old city of Harireh, observable at the end of the Kariz Kish tour. Along the water’s path, 274 wells were constructed for water extraction, with 74 wells within the Kariz Kish complex. The presence of these wells along a qanat (aqueduct) system indicates both stationary and flowing water within the Kariz, showcasing an advanced understanding of water management.


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The Natural Water Purification of Kariz Kish

The water in Kariz Kish, resulting from seasonal rainfall in the area, is purified by the corals along its path and stored in marl clay to flow through the qanat. This water was consumed by the inhabitants of the region and traded for other goods, highlighting the island’s role as a Persian Gulf and Oman Sea trading hub around the 5th and 6th centuries AH, with its drinking water highly valued by neighboring countries.

The Constant Cool Climate Underground

One of the most significant features of Kariz Kish is its perpetually cool climate, making it an ideal visit any time of the year. This moderate air temperature keeps the water at an ideal drinking quality.

Visiting the Underground City of Kariz in Kish

Visiting the Underground City of Kariz in Kish
Visiting the Underground City of Kariz in Kish

For a long time, this qanat remained unnoticed by tourists, but gradually, the fresh water, cool and moderate air, and especially the fossilized coral rock textures drew people’s attention, encouraging investors to revitalize this historical site. In September 1999, with investor collaboration and public interest, this historical complex was revived, not as a qanat but as a historic and ancient city welcoming tourists from Iran and worldwide. The restoration began with an Iranian engineer from Germany, who, after 32 years abroad, returned to Iran to examine the qanat. With private investment, he initiated the project to restore Kariz using traditional Iranian architectural principles.

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During the restoration, a protector was placed over the fresh water source and its channels to prevent damage to the water quality. This protector, known as “Kool,” consists of cement pillars that safeguard the wells, tunnels, and aqueducts. Following its reinforcement, a bazaar, museum, and restaurant with traditional architecture were established along the path to Kariz, enhancing the visitor experience and attracting many tourists to this site.

Visiting Hours: Daily from 9 AM to 10 PM

Address: Kish Island, Mirmohana Boulevard, between Olympic and Farvar Squares, Kariz Kish City

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SURFIRAN Editorial Team

SURFIRAN is an Iranian tour operator and travel agency offering tour packages to those interested in Iran. It provides the tourists with services needed to travel to Iran, offers tours across the country, and assists the tourists in obtaining Iranian visas.

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