Secret of the unearthly landscapes of the colorful island of Hormuz

On the Iranian coast in the Persian Gulf, not far from the mainland, there is a small island called Hormuz. This small piece of land is essentially just a mound of salt, gypsum, and anhydrite.

The favorable location allowed Hormuz to become a rather important trading port. It was able to remain as such for several hundred years. Of course, the economic boom as a strategic outpost has long since sunk into oblivion. Moreover, this is not the main wealth of the island. Most of all, Hormuz is rich in the fabulous beauty of nature. Its unearthly landscape attracts tourists from all over the world.

Geological miracle

Hormuz Island is a true geological wonder. It is a kind of salt dome overlooking the rocks. Rock salt, or halite, is a soft mineral. It dissolves easily and takes on a liquid state. High pressure raises it to the surface. Added to this are other soil layers: clay, carbonates, shale, and iron-rich volcanic rocks. On the way out, it all takes on fantastic shades of red, yellow, and orange.

The rains and winds have cut the rocks so that they look like fairy dragons and chimeras
The rains and winds have cut the rocks so that they look like fairy dragons and chimeras.

The brightest of these colors is red ocher. It is found everywhere, from the beautiful local beaches to rugged rocky cliffs. The locals call it Golak. This sand is used to produce all kinds of paints, cosmetics, ceramics, and to finish the facades of buildings. There is even a special type of bread called “Tomshi”. One of the ingredients in this pastry is colored earth from Hormuz Island.

Who lives on Hormuz island

The weather is extremely dry here. There is no freshwater, and accordingly, there is no vegetation either. It is unbearably hot on the island in summer. Only fishermen and those who extract salt and colored sand live here permanently. All live in the only village in the northern part of Hormuz.

The island is mostly uninhabited
The island is mostly uninhabited. ©Lucas Bischoff/Dreamstime.com

The houses are few and far between. These are modest one-story houses. Locals move around mainly on motorcycles. This is even though everything is within walking distance. The women dress quite differently from their sisters in faith from the mainland. Traditional clothes are honored: multi-colored harem pants and a bright chador of all kinds of colors.

There are several grocery stores and eateries in the village. Mostly tourists and Iranians who come on business or on vacation hang out in the cafe.

Hormuz has no rich history

Hormuz Island does not boast outstanding ancient architecture. The only attraction is the Fort of the Virgin Mary of the Immaculate Conception, better known as the Portuguese Castle. This imposing Redstone fortress dates back to the 16th century, when Portugal ruled the island. For tourists-aesthetes and art lovers on Hormuz, there is a gallery of local artist Ahmad Nadalyan.

The main value of the island of Hormuz is, of course, not the fortress and the art gallery, but its fabulous nature. The rest of the island is uninhabited. It is there that all the most interesting is. The unearthly landscape and the fantastic riot of colors seem at first glance to be something fake, artificial. Nevertheless, this stunning landscape is the work of the Creator. Such incredible beauty fits into this tiny piece of sushi.

There are several colorful rocks and sands
There are several colorful rocks and sands. ©Lucas Bischoff/Dreamstime.com

A local panorama is a paradise for any geologist or artist. The hilly surface is painted in dozens of incredibly bright various colors and shades. The rocks, thanks to the winds and downpours, have acquired very bizarre shapes. If you look closely, you can mistake the stones for some kind of fabulous creature. Everything here is fantastic. A real valley of dragons and chimeras.

The beach on Hormuz is not completely red. It looks more like yellow-black-red sand placers generously strewn with glitter. This is the true wealth of Hormuz. The mineral is loaded onto dump trucks and taken away for ocher extraction.

The colorful beach of island of Hormuz
The colorful beach of the island of Hormuz

If you walk around the island for a long time, then the clothes will be dyed in this beautiful color. The landscape resembles a Martian landscape. Tourists love to hold photo sessions here. The area around is deserted and wild: a fabulous beach, the sea, and wind. Although these are Islamic territories, it is quite safe here.

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