Anzali Lagoon one of the most valuable natural attractions in our country. This wetland is home to Indian lotus which is considered to be a unique flower. Boat riding and going to local restaurants around the lagoon can be quite fun. This wetland is the ultimate destination for rare and migratory birds.
We want to take you to the northern parts of the country and talk to you about the Anzali Lagoon, which shines on the southwest coast of the Caspian Sea. You will surely be tempted to see pictures of the Anzali Lagoon and hope that someday you get the chance to see it up close. It is beautiful but at the same time, the importance of it in the economy of the region is unparalleled.
A unique attraction
After entering Bandar-e Anzali you can ask around for a boat to take you there. Just a quick ride on one of these boats and before you know it you get to see the spectacular attraction for yourself. Anzali Lagoon is one of the most beautiful and most popular tourist destinations in Iran, and it is considered to be the habitat of many life forms. This particular lagoon is not comparable with any of Iran’s wetlands because of its geographical location, its high humidity, and water quality. It is also on the way of rivers that go through to the Caspian Sea and it plays the role of a refinery. This wetland has the most beautiful natural scenery in the region. Anzali Lagoon hosts several islands and cities such as Bandar-e Anzali and Abkenar which are on its shore. Anzali Lagoon is known for its Indian Lotus; a plant that comes with the territory. The role of this wetland in the prosperity of the region’s tourism and its economic impact cannot be simply ignored.
You can have the time of your life in this particular lagoon.
Riding boats and watching flowers
From late May to the end of summer is the best time for traveling to Anzali Lagoon. During this period the lotus flowers will be on display. It has large, round, heart-shaped leaves that come out of the water. They are green and blueish with thick and numerous pink petals. They are commonly mistaken for water lilies, but with a little attention to the details, you can see that they have differences. It is a floating plant with its root in the water, plus the leaves and flowers just outside of it.
In Anzali Lagoon, you can rent a boat by paying a fee, then you can go see the flowers up close. Do not miss the opportunity to see the beauty of this wetland. This type of beauty can also be a good excuse for photography.
A large number of birds coming to Iran from northern neighboring countries end up in Anzali wetlands. This makes Anzali Lagoon the perfect place for an activity called birdwatching. You can sit and examine birds and their behavior.
Once upon a time, Kayak was only used by Eskimos in the North Sea and around the Arctic, but these days Kayak is well-known for recreational and sporting activities. At the edge of the lagoon, you can find some Kayaks and go for a ride.
An activity that has a lot of fan base. In the lagoon and in the rivers around Anzali Lagoon, you can experience the peace and quiet of fishing and enjoy yourself.
Saleh Wildlife refuge
The attractions don’t end here and can be seen in various places like the Wildlife Refuge. Saleh is one of the most valued northern regions of the country that attracts a large number of migratory birds each year and is one of the few wetlands which hosts Red-breasted Goose, Swan, and even Blue-footed booby.
The Range of the Refuge
The wildlife sanctuary is a 360-acre area, located in the southern parts of the Anzali wetland and within the boundaries of Sowme’eh Sara. This area is bound from north to the lagoon itself, from east to Sufiandeh River, from south to the agricultural fields of Hindukhaneh and Sufiandeh villages and from the West to Hindkhaleh River.
Black-Kashim protected area
Southwest of the lagoon, in the city of Sowme’eh Sara, there is a protected area called Black-Kashim, reaching about 4114 hectares and forming the southernmost part of Anzali wetland.
Birds such as swan, geese, Ferruginous duck, Crested duck, Eurasian Teal, Mallard, varieties of herons, Northern pintail, and hunters including eagles, Hobby, Falcon, Western marsh harrier, Tern, Larus, and etc. This area has been used widely for the regeneration of Terns and it is the largest place used for laying eggs by gray herons south of the Caspian Sea. Gray heron is the largest heron found in Gilan province, and in this protected area, more than 43 pairs live and prosper.
Vegetative species include common cattail, reed, Carex, curled pondweed, Sparganium, elderberry, Trapa, Indian lotus, water lilies, Ceratophyllum, aquatic species such as straw, European black nightshade, pokeweed and dry species such as alder, are found in Black-Kashim.
Anzali Wetland Islands
Among the lagoon there are several islands:
Ghulam-Gudeh: an island that extends along the outer or southern and eastern end of the Anzali Beach, and usually ships are anchored there. The island has a deep and long passage that is similar to a river and is 125 meters wide. The ships on this passage can dock near the beach and load or unload safely. The island is covered with shoals and also the cattle roam in the dry parts of the island. It is separated by a river from the city and there is a bridge for passage, so it’s not disconnected from the outer world.
Mian-Pashteh: In front of Ghalam-Judah, there is another island which is mostly forest and is covered with trees. The island is just 1 meter above the surface of the water and suffers from flooding. Its length from east to west is 1260 meters, and the broadest part reaches 765 meters. The northern coast of the island is 630 meters long. The island is connected to the city with a bridge.
In the past, there was a gun powder warehouse on the island, in which there was a garden called the Shah’s Garden, which dated back to the Qajar period. Except this, there are five other villas and forty-five fishing cottages and two institutes for drying Caterpillar and a garden called Youssef-Abad located on this island.
Mian-Judah and Akbar-Abad: Akbar-Abad is a very small island located near Ghalam-Judah and next to it is of course Mian-Judah.
Mian-Pashteh Kul: A small island located above Mian-Pashteh known for its infamous trees.
Morad-Gudeh Island is similar in form to a pool and is called “Salah” in the local language. The inhabitants of the Bolivar neighborhood in Bandar-e Anzali come to the island for hunting ducks. In this area, a person who makes a living out of hunting ducks is known as “Sal”. Part of the island has been reconstructed for agricultural purposes.
Cheragh-Pashtun: This Island is located 6 km from Anzali and east of Morad-Judah.
Other islands: East of Anzali, there are islands or grasslands such as Khushky, Seyed Kazem Garden, Pileh Ali Garden (Peleh Ali Garden), Mir Hassan Garden, Taleghani and Abkenar.
Best season for traveling to Anzali Lagoon
In general, Anzali Wetland has warm and humid summers and mild winters, and the best season for it can be spring and autumn.
Spring: In the spring, you can go to see the beautiful flowers of this lagoon and enjoy nature.
Summer: Hot and humid weather in the area is a bit annoying, but you still see travelers braving the weather.
Fall and winter: The weather is humid and mild, but there is no trace of Lotus flowers.
Other sights in Bandar-e Anzali
In order to have a better trip, you can go to other sights in the city. We have named some of these attractions for you:
Anzali coastal park: The first European and Modern Park in Iran
Anzali Hafezia: A building similar to the Tomb of Hafez
Anzali military museum: A building which dates back to the first Pahlavi era
Coastal village of Bandar Anzali: Famous for having the largest garden in Iran
Saint Mary Church
Shopping centers And etc.
The plants in Anzali Wetland are divided into different categories:
Marginal or stable plants
Plants whose roots are in the soil, the lower parts in the water, and all or a large part of the vegetative section and their reproduction parts, such as leaves and flowers, is outside the water. These plants are usually on the fringes of swamps and rivers such as reed, Sparganium, common cattail, Mini bulrush, Polygonum, Mentha aquatic, Alismataceae, curled pondweed, Butomaceae, Nelumbo, field horsetail, grass rush, smartweed, and Indian lotus.
About two-thirds of the entire Anzali wetland area and its eastern and central parts are covered with reed, but as we said the best-known plant which has a world reputation is the Indian lotus. This flower is known in the local language as “Saleh Bagheli” before it has blossomed. This plant has green and small beans and is used in traditional medicine due to its medicinal and therapeutic properties.
These types of plants float on the surface of the water; it means that the main parts of the plant, especially the leaves, are placed on the surface of the water and their roots are in the bedding of the lagoon and their flowers are either floating or out of the water. Plants such as Utricularia, Shalin, Hydrocharis
The lotus flower is red, white and grey all at the same time, and is in danger of extinction. Besides its beautiful appearance, it is also of particular importance in various religions. In Buddhism, this flower symbolizes the purity, divine birth, and symbol of a bright person.
Because the lotus flower comes out of the mud and it’s a hard procedure, it is considered a sacred and purified flower. This process can be seen as how we come to life. In a way, this flower is much like us.
The use of this flower in the architecture of Taq Bostan and Persepolis shows its importance in ancient Persia and its name in the poems of Iranian poets such as Qatran Tabrizi, Seraj-Aldin Segzi and Abu-Shakur Balkhi expresses its value.
One of the main places where the Trains lay eggs is a place where the Indian lotus is available. The Trains lay their eggs on a flower called “Sekule” and their chicks are born there. This plant has a life span of just one year and it floats on the surface of the water, the roots of this type of flower can get to the bed of the lagoon and provide a stable home for the chicks.
These plants are immersed in the water, and their flowers may float on the surface of the water, such as Microfilm, Saratofilum Dormouse, Saratofilum Submerzom, Potemagnit Pectinatus, Najas marina, Achillea millefolium, Hydrilavar Tissylate and etc.
Herbs located around the lagoon
The presence of wet soil around the wetlands has made it possible for plants that require a lot of moisture to grow. These plants are often trees and shrubs, including Persian silk tree, Artemisia, alder, wetland palm trees, and Juncus.
Anzali Wetland is considered a safe habitat for a variety of species that can be classified as:
TheCaspian Sea is one of the most important habitat areas for native and migratory aquatic birds, located at the center of geographic distribution of geese and ducks on the west coast of Siberia, the Caspian Sea and the Nile. Each year more than 10 to 12 million species of ducks and geese, Swans and other birds come to it. Many of these birds live in the Caspian Sea between one and three months and among them, the Lagoon and basins around the Caspian Sea, especially Anzali Lagoon, are the best place for them. The diversity of vegetation in Anzali Wetland has attracted migratory birds and is suitable for breeding.
This lagoon is located in the direction of the migration of northern birds and is one of the most important sanctuaries in the cold seasons. Several species of birds, such as little cormorant, Dalmatian pelican, lesser white-fronted goose, White-tailed eagle, and Northern lapwing. They are exposed to global threats and they choose this particular lagoon for winter.
Of the birds in the wetland, we can point out:
Varieties of ducks and geese include White-headed duck, Ferruginous duck, crested duck, Tufted duck, Common Pochard, Red-breasted Goose, Mallard, and Greylag goose.
Swan types include Whooper swan, Mute swan, and Tundra swan.
Heron types include purple herons, gray herons, and Great egret.
Cormorant types include Great cormorant, little cormorant, and Darter.
Other types of birds include gulls, Southern giant petrel, Greater spotted eagle, Moorhen, Eurasian Teal, Black kite, Sandpiper, Pelicans, Flamingo, Bittern, Grebe, Chickpea, Tavosk (Thurs), Swallowtail (Haj Haji), Chak was (Kulakapis), Tit, Common blackbird, Green Bee-eater, Pica, Eurasian magpie, Green Bee-eater, Cattle egret, Sparrow Gillette, Eurasian wigeon, Wagtail, Typical warbler, White Morgus, Gosh (Golden), Church, Gypsy Cock, Hawk, Great Morgues, Eurasian sparrowhawk, Common Linnet, Trumpeter Finch and etc.
Anzali wetland has more than 50 species of fish and is considered as the most important source of reproduction of sturgeon and bony fish in the Caspian Sea.
we can mention the following in this regard: Esox, carp, large walnut, turbot (catfish), king of gypsy, black gypsy, Zander, white Zander, hawthorn Zander, yellow saffron, whitefish, Mullet, Rutilus caspicus, Silver carp, bighead carp, grass carp, white Amur, Asp, Mackerel, Nemacheilus, Atlantic sturgeon, Mud Carp, Atlantic salmon, Mrigal carp, Fried Redfish, Beautiful Catla carp, Crucian carp, Electric eel
Fish is known as the most important aquatic species in the lagoon, which, according to fishermen, is of vital importance. Some of these fish are present in the lagoon all year round, some come to the pond for breeding and spawning, and others are left to ruin, and only a few remain.
One of the most gourmet crabs in the world
In the Anzali Lagoon, crabs are also grown and these are among the best crayfish in the world, which are in terms of weight and protein content come after American crab and before European crab.
The most endangered species of Anzali wetland are decreasing evermore as a result of shrinking wetland habitats, as well as over-fishing. The mammals found in this region are Sheng, Boar, Hedgehog, Weasel, Pinniped, Jackal, Blue Cat, Forest Cat and etc.
Other species of animals
This wetland is also home to other species of animal that include: Reptiles including lizards, turtles and snakes and amphibians including frogs, insectivores like wicker insects and rodents including Black Mice.
In accordance with the definition of the Ramsar Convention (A Convention on important international wetlands, in particular, wetland habitats for aquatic birds) a wetland is defined as:
A lagoon is comprised of natural, synthetic, permanent or temporary water complexes with still, flowing, sweet, saline water that does not exceed the depth of water more than 6 meters.
Anzali Lagoon wetland is one of the first international wetlands registered in Iran and its name was registered in 1974 in the list of international wetlands of the Ramsar Convention. The regions recorded in this list include all wetlands, including the Black Sea region, Salke protected area and other numerous Anzali Wetland bays, which have dramatic differences in terms of chemical, morphological, physiological and geographical characteristics.
The Anzali Wetland has a sister link with the Kushiro Wetland in the National Park of Koshiro Shitsogon, Japan. The wetland has also been introduced by the Ramsar Convention as well as the International Organization for Animal Bird as an important habitat for birds. The drought and the dangers facing the wetland also caused it to be enlisted in Montreal in 1993 due to hazards such as changes in the level of the Caspian Sea, increase in sediment, pollution, etc. This means that it requires more care to prevent drought.
The name of this lagoon is likely to come from the word “Hamzeli”. In Gilaki, the word Hamzeli means the wear and tear of water and land, which can be called due to the presence of a wetland in the region, and has changed to Anzali due to the passage of time.
In Greek, words like Anzlyvs and Anzlya meaning swamp are considering which date back 15,000 years. It is likely that the designation in the distant past was even named the city of Anzali, which also of one of the largest wetlands in the world that was originated in this region.