Qasr-e Bahram Caravanserai
Qasr-e Bahram Caravanserai is a historical monument located in the middle of the desert and is a wonderful destination for astronomers and astrophotographers.
History and location of Qasr-e Bahram
In the middle of “Kavir National Park”, near Garmsar city in Semnan province, there is an astonishing building. Qasr-e Bahram Caravanserai is the name of this ancient monument which literally means the “Palace of Bahram”. It is said that Bahram V (also known as Bahram Gor), the fifteenth king of Sassanid empire, built this place. During the Safavid era, Shah-Abbas Safavid rebuilt and turned it to a caravanserai.
Although the caravanserai is a magnificent monument itself, the unique location of it has turned Qasr-e Bahram to a wonderfully unique tourist destination. It lies in the slopes of Siahkooh Mount and in the middle of Dasht-e Kavir, the largest desert of Iran. The region, with an area more than 4000 square kilometers, is a protected ecological zone called Kavir National Park. It is one of the largest and oldest protected areas of the country. It is also known as little Africa or Iran’s Serengeti, as it has a wonderful biological diversity in wildlife.
Wildlife to observe around Qasr-e Bahram
In Kavir National Park, you will have the chance to see some of the most important wildlife species of Iran such as onager, Asiatic cheetah, leopard, striped hyena, caracal, beech marten, camel, flamingo and even ruddy shelduck. By reserving a safari tour you will have the chance to enjoy watching the wildlife of the region.
As well as a very diverse wildlife, Namak lake (Salt Lake) is another attraction of the region. This Salt Lake resides near Kavir National Park and thousands of travelers visit it each year. This impressive natural attraction is known as the largest natural mirror of Iran as it perfectly reflects the picture of the sky above it.
A perfect place for peace seekers
As Qasr-e Bahram caravanserai is situated right in the middle of this vast protected area with no human inhabitants, it has become a perfect place for those who seek peace and tranquility of the desert. Astronomers, astrophotographers and sky lovers will will find this place ideal as it is far from any light pollution.
In fact, it is one of the most popular spots for watching the starry sky in the darkness of the desert night. So many people select staying at this caravanserai because they would be able to enjoy watching and photographing the clear starry sky of the desert. So, if you are fond of observing stars, it would be a great idea to consider spending the night in this ancient palace.
Qasr-e Bahram is also notable for its architecture and stone structure. Unlike the most caravanserais in Iran, no brick or clay is used in constructing this monument. Yes, it is all made out of stone! The building is well-preserved and even today, serves as a residential complex. It consists of four semicircular towers and 24 rooms facing a rectangular pool.
Near this ancient structure, there are other historical buildings as well. As only kings used the main caravanserai in the past, another caravanserai was built close to the main one for ordinary people. In addition, you can see the ruins of a palace called “Haramsara” located to the south of Qasr-e Bahram.
The water system is another masterpiece of the building. The water comes from the Cheshmeh Siah spring. It is then transferred right to the central courtyard of the caravanserai via a waterway carved from white boulders. You will also have the chance to visit the spring as it is located 5.7 kilometers from the building.
Best time to visit
Because of the geographical location and dryness of the region, the best time to visit the caravanserai and the region in total would be around Mid-Autumn and late November. However, If you intend to be there only for observing the night sky, then you won’t have much problem in other seasons of the year.
Best way to get there
You can access the caravanserai through a pavement road. People used it in the past to cross the caravans through the marshy lands of Dasht-e Kavir. You need a 4wd vehicle for passing the road. Otherwise you might consider taking a tour to reach the Qasr-e Bahram caravanserai. It takes about 6 hours to get there from Tehran and there are several ways to reach the caravanserai such as Tehran-Garmsar or Kashan-Aran-Maranjab road.