The Maranjab Desert, located 53 km from Aran and Bidgol town, 62 km from Kashan and 720 km from Isfahan, is a part of Isfahan province.
This desert is bordered by the Aran and Bidgol Salt Lake to the north, by the Masile Desert and the Salt Lakes of Howz Soltan and Howz Mareh to the west, by the Bandrig Desert and Kavir national park to the east and by Aran and Bidgol town to the south.
The Maranjab Desert is located at an altitude of 850 meters above sea level.
The Maranjab Desert is covered with sandy and rocky hills. This area is also covered with salt-tolerant plants and trees like Ghaz (Tamarix), Tagh (Haloxylon), Ghich (Zygophylum), Arte (calligonum), Smirnovia iranica.
Most of the animals of this area include wolf, jackal, Rüppell’s fox, sand cat, monitor lizard, chameleon, cheetah, snake, scorpion, eagle and hawk.
It is difficult to dig a well in this sandy area. That’s why it is named Maranjab.
Mard (Man) + Ranj (pain) + ab (Water) = Maranjab
Access roads to this beautiful area are as follows:
- Aran and Bidgol town, army garrison, Maranjab dirt road and finally Maranjab desert
- Pishva town, Mobarakeh town, Sefid-Ab caravanserai and Maranjab desert,
It should be noted that passing along some of the roads, above mentioned, requires the permission of the Environmental Protection Agency.
- Aran and Bidgol town, Abouzeid Abad town, Sefid-Ab caravanserai and Maranjab desert
Best time to visit
The average temperature in Maranjab desert, from the second half of the spring to the end of summer, is about 40 degrees Celsius, and it’s better to avoid visiting the area during this time because of the risk of heatstroke. Therefore, the best time to travel to this area is in the autumn, winter and at the beginning of spring.
In these seasons, the average temperature lies at 19 ° C during the day and 5 ° C during night.
Maranjab Castle (Abbasi Caravanserai)
This Caravanserai was built in 1603 under the order of Shah Abbas, the Great Safavid King.
Before Uzbeks and Afghans attack against Kashan and Isfahan, it was thought that the cities in this area would not be threatened due to the presence of the salt lake and the extent of the desert. However, after the attack, a Caravanserai and a fortress was built to protect the area under the command of Shah Abbas.
It is written above the entrance door that there were 500 soldiers to protect people and caravans in this place.
The Abbasi caravanserai is on the Silk Road, a route caravans used to travel to Europe or Asia. So, this caravanserai and the castle were built to shelter the caravans traveling through this route.
The caravanserai covers an area of over 3,500 square meters and includes 29 rooms that are still used by the travellers and tourists visiting this area.
The Salt Lake
Among the attractions in this area, we should definitely mention the salty lake. The lake, located 9 km from the Abbasi Caravanserai, is fed by Roudshour River. The lake is dry most of the year due to salt causing the water to evaporate, but after raining in the area the water reaches a depth of up to 5 centimeters, which, by the optical phenomenon of “mirage” and at a glance, it looks like the lake is rocking. This is one of the reasons for naming the area “the wandering land”.
The Maranjab desert and salt lake can be considered as one of the great sources of edible and industrial salt.
The Dastkand Well
There is a freshwater well about 5 km from the Caravanserai. This well is one of the wonders of the area. Since the water of this well passes through the sand, it loses its salt and becomes sweet.