2nd Festival of Ecotourism & Herbal Plants/ Natanz, Isfahan

Cultural Heritage Desk: Natanz in Isfahan Province can be introduced as an international destination for ecotourism and herbal plants, said a senior official of Iran's Cultural Heritage, Handicrafts and Tourism Organization.

He said: "We managed to register 600 herbal plants in the First Festival."

The program intends to introduce the potentials of Natanz.

Apart from its herbal diversity, Natanz boasts tourism attractions such as a 700-year-old Jame' Mosque. Also, Abyaneh Village is located in Natanz.

"We have over 15 castles in Natanz," he noted.

He said the number of tourists visiting Natanz has increased significantly.

Natanz Five-Star Hotel is nearing completion, he added.

Also, Leila Azhdari, another tourism expert said Natanz is less known to tourists. Therefore, such festivals could help introduce the city, she added.

She said traditional medicine is one of the capacities which Natanz boasts of.

For over a decade, the name of Natanz has been associated with its nuclear energy facility. A Google search provides 413,000 instances most of which pertain to nuclear issues. However, to an Iranian, it brings to mind rare and unique souvenir such as a type of pear grown in Tameh Village.



Located 326km from Tehran, 138km from Isfahan and 74km from Kashan, Natanz lies on the back of famous Karkas mountain range and en route to Isfahan's deserts.

The city boasts of dozens of aqueducts which play a significant role in creating gardens and registering the city as one of the most beautiful garden cities. Based on 2011 census, Natanz's population was 42,239.

Unemployment rate is very high among the youth and migration from villages to cities is common in Isfahan Province. Therefore, investment in tourism sector can infuse a new life into the city's economy.

Tourism experts differentiate between tourism potentials and the actual attractions.  If tourism potentials are tapped and completed with infrastructures such as roads, transportation system, rest houses and recreation compounds, they will turn into tourism attractions. Therefore, Natanz is the city with tourism potentials which have yet to be turned into attractions.

Due to its appropriate climate and geographical location, it is an important crossroads linking the north to south and central Iran.

Since publicity for Natanz is poor, some of its potentials are attributed to the adjacent city of Kashan.



Natanz attractions are categorized into two groups: The first includes landscapes outside the city's periphery, i.e. Abyaneh Village, Badroud city and Aqa Ali Abbas Shrine which are situated better than those in the second group which includes attractions that are located within the city.

Natanz' glory reached its zenith during the rule of Safavid dynasty. The two palaces of Abbasabad and Tajabad are historical monuments which were built during the Safavid era.

The city is also home to many holy shrines, some of which are mentioned as follows:

● Monastery and tomb of Sheikh Abdol Samad Isfahani is the most significant historical monument of the city. Dating back to 700 years, it is the symbol of the city. Sheikh Abdol Samad Isfahani was a noted mystic who lived in Natanz during Ilkhanid era. He died at the end of the 13th century CE. The monastery's portal has been inspired by Iranian architecture and adorned with beautiful decorations.

The monastery's altar was stolen in 20th century but it eventually reappeared in Victoria and Albert Museum, in London.

There is an ancient sycamore tree in front of the tomb. It is considered as one of the most important natural attractions of Iran.

● Natanz Jame' Mosque is located near Sheikh Abdol Samad Isfahani Tomb. Its dome house is a heritage of Al-e Bouyeh dynasty. This time, the altar was plundered by the Europeans.

● Natanz Fireplace, which is next to Jame' Mosque, dates back to the pre-Islamic era.

● Natanz Mir Mosque is located in the vicinity of Sheikh Abdol Samad Isfahani Tomb. It has a famous altar with beautiful plasterwork.

According to André Godard, a renowned French architect and constructor of National Museum of Iran, the altar of Mir Mosque is more delicate than the one located in Isfahan Jame' Mosque.

Afooshteh historical district, which has large gardens with sycamore trees, is the second tourist site of the city. The district used to be the city's chief residence with political and military importance. It is home to ancient monuments pertaining to the Teymurid and Safavid eras.

● Afooshteh Pantry was the resting place of the kings and aristocrats during the Safavid era.

● Afooshteh Bath (built in pre-Safavid era) and Afooshteh Jame' Mosque are among the must-see sites of the district.

Natanz was also one of the favorite hunting grounds of Safavid king Shah Abbas. It is said that the king had a goshawk which died in 1580 CE. When the king returned from hunting, he ordered the construction of a memorial in memory of the bird on one of the peaks of Karkas Mountain.


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