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Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Mount Damavand

Mount Damavand is the biggest peak in Iran highest point in the Middle East and the biggest volcano in Asia. It has a special place in Persian mythology and folklore. It is also known as Donbavand which is located in the middle Alborz Range, adjacent to Vararu, Sesang, Gol-e Zard and Mianrud. It is a potentially active volcano, since there are fumaroles near the summit crater emitting sulfur, which were known to be active on July 6, 2007. The mountain is located near southern coast of Caspian Sea, in Amol County, Mazandaran, 66 kilometres or 41 miles northeast of Tehran.

Mount DamavandThe best place for mountain climbers is the new Iranian Mountain Federation Camp in Polour village, situated on the south of the mountain. There are nearly 16 known routes to the summit which have different complexities, very dangerous and require rock climbing. The most popular route is Southern Route which has step stamps, camp midway called Bargah Sevom Camp / Shelter at 4220 m or 13,845 ft. The longest route is the Northeastern and takes 2 days to reach the summit starting from downhill village of Nandal and a night stay at Takht-e Fereydoun elevation of 4300 m or 13,000 ft a two-story shelter. The western route is famous for its sunset view. Simorgh shelter in this route at 4100 m or about 13,500 ft is a newly constructed shelter with two stories. There is a frozen waterfall or Icefall in Persian name Abshar Yakhi about 12m tall and the elevation of 5100m is the highest fall in Iran and Middle East.

An anthropologist of Mazandaran Cultural Heritage and Tourism Department, Touba Osanlou, has said a proposal has been made by a group of Iran mountaineers to register the highest peak in the Middle East, Mount Damavand as a national heritage site. Mazandaran Cultural Heritage and Tourism Department has accepted the proposal, the Persian daily Jam-e Jam reported. Osanlou noted that the Iranian Cultural Heritage and Tourism Organization is presently in the process of renaming an upcoming ancient festivity after Mount Damavand.

Damavand is the symbol of Iranian resistance against despotism and foreign rule in Persian poetry and literature. In Zoroastrian texts and mythology, the three-headed dragon Azi Dahaka was chained within Mount Damavand, there to remain until the end of the world. In a later version of the same legend, the tyrant Zahhak was also chained in a cave somewhere in Mount Damavand after being defeated by Kaveh and Fereydun.

Mount Damavand Fumarole Emitting SulphurMount Damavand Volcanic CraterThe mountain is said to hold magical powers in the Shahnameh. Damavand has also been named in the Iranian legend of Arash as the location he fired his arrow to mark the Iran border. The famous poem Damavand by Mohammad Taqi Bahar is also one fine example of the mountain's significance in Persian literature.

Mt Damavand has some thermal springs Abe Garm Larijan with therapeutic qualities. These mineral hot springs are mainly located on the volcano's flanks and at the base, giving evidence of volcanic heat comparatively near the surface of the earth. The most important of these hot springs are located in Abe Garm Larijan in a village by the name Larijan in the district of Larijan in Lar Valley. The water from this spring is useful in the treatment of chronic wounds and skin diseases. Near these springs there are public baths with small pools for public use.

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