The long, narrow alleyways in Sarakhiyeh Village are surrounded by waters; a simplified version of Venice in Italy. The internationally recognized ponds in Khuzestan Province are a must-see site in the country.
The ponds, a precious ecosystem, comprise freshwater and salt ponds where a rich biodiversity exists in the whole area. Ponds lie down the Jarrahi River basin between Shadegan, Abadan and Mahshahr cities. Actually, the main sources for the ponds are Jarrahi besides Bahreh River, a branch off Karun River. The Persian Gulf’s tides and Karun floods feed the ponds. Connoted to the Persian Gulf, Shadegan wetlands characterizes a large-scale area, naturalness, and remarkable biodiversity and is the main source of income for locals. The populations here alongside the surrounding villages rely on the ponds for their livelihood. Artifacts are part of the inhabitants’ economic life, too. Exquisite handicrafts like Jajim (coarse and loosely-woven woolen cloth), Abaa (men’s loose sleeveless cloak open in front), matting, wickerwork, and baskets are made by local families. They use date palm leaves and reeds on the banks of ponds. The hot, sultry weather in Shadegan makes it fertile land for raising tropical produce; wheat, rice and dates are among the major crops here. Farming is also commonplace and high-quality dairy products are produced.
Once with a more huge area at the time of joining Ramsar Convention, it is now shrunk to about 54,000 hectares. A main habitat for indigenous and migratory birds, the wetlands involve 174 bird species like pelicans, geese, eagles, herons, flamingoes, and storks. A variety of freshwater and saltwater fish exist in the ponds. Some are threatened due to illegal hunting. There are efforts going on to prevent threatening elements such as water pollution, factory drainage, climate changes, long-term drought, oil leakage, and human interference, which not only disbenefit dwellers but the wildlife as well.
Among the famed Iran’s wetlands, holidaying at the -not-so -packed site is an enjoyable experience; boating and photographing options are frequent. And what’s more you can try local foods and buy elegant handicrafts as souvenirs.
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