Cultural - IRAN
The country is undoubtedly one of the most interesting destination in terms of history, culture and tourism. The most striking feature of the traveler is the quality of interpersonal relationships and hospitality (ta'arof) of the Iranian people. Besides the large reserves of raw materials, Iran has another great asset: the youth dynamics and high level of education.
The country boasts the most beautiful architectural aesthetics representative of Islam (the Taj Mahal in India is a Persian monument). Mosques, madrassas, minarets, mausoleums, squares and gardens decorated by ceramic craftsmanship and high-quality color. Miniatures, mosaics, crafts, including the famous carpets are known to the world. Poetry is a national sport still exercised. Pilgrimages to the tombs of great poets are constant from all age groups and young people are also proud of their inheritance.
Rumi, Hafez, Khayyam, Ferdowzi and Sadi left a poetic legacy to all humanity. The stratification of historical styles and cultures dates back thousands of years, culminating in the exciting visit of Persepolis. The Persians are the majority among the many ethnic groups of the country (Kurds , Turks , Arabs , Baluchi,or nomadic as the Qashqai and Lori being the others) and the farsi language is the main language spoken.
The desert of the LUT, east of Kerman, is characterized by geological diversity: Not only the classic sand dunes, which are present, but also spectacular rock formations eroded by the wind until they resemble polished backs of cetaceans (the Dolphin Valley is one example). The Qalut formations are also sandy/rocky, but they manage to get to incredible heights - more than 450 meters - winding through the dunes and taking on strange shapes. Qalut can be small as well as huge (sometimes the scene recalls the Death Valley) narrow or wide, sinuous or spiky. The desert stretches for many kilometers and reaches different altitudes; for one part is located in the most depressed Iran, where the temperatures are very high, especially in summer, this is why vegetation and water in these conditions are not frequent attendance.
There are, however, perhaps the most bizarre appearances: the Nepkas and Qanat. The former are trees that did not give up, so to speak, and have maintained the position clinging to their strip of land expanding, despite the wind and his work of erosion. They have the appearance of a very narrow hill, a sort of fairy chimneys in Cappadocia, with the shaft to act as a sentinel on top.
The Qanat however, are the work of man. Of human genius, in this case. Canals dug for over 40 km to bring water from the high mountains of Iran to the villages in the desert. The inhabitants just have to walk down a handful of steps to find water, and to keep life in their centers.
Going from Kerman to Shaadad the Rayen Arg can be seen and visited: a well preserved medieval citadel built with mud bricks and clay.
A few kilometers away there is also the old caravanserai, now perfectly refurbished, where the caravans in transit on the Silk Road could stop for comfort food, water, a bed to spend the night and a little rest for the animals. From here the race will start, and the athletes will sleep inside the ancient building before facing the desert.
You will be surprised to know that in the Lut desert flows a salty river, creating surreal landscapes, and there is even a large tract of land covered by salt (by the way this area is included in one of the stages of race). Here they roar, incredibly, also real salty waterfalls
The Lut also holds a record: that of being the hottest place on Earth. The Gandom Beryan (which literally means "roasted corn" from the ancient story of a caravan who lost its cargo of wheat in this area, then find it... roasted!) is a volcanic platform of huge dimensions. The origin of the volcanic rocks is a little mystery, because there are no volcanoes nearby. It's another scenario to cross during the race, and here there was registered the highest temperature of the entire planet, certified on over 70 degrees centigrade.