Gate opening to UNESCO-designated desert under construction
A massive entrance gate is being constructed to lead sightseers to Shahdad, which is a famed slice of Iran’s Lut desert.
Organizing tours, regulating and guiding tourists, as well as protecting the UNESCO-registered Lut Desert are the main objectives of the project, the director of the World Heritage site said on Tuesday. A budget of six billion rials (about $143,000 at the official exchange rate of 42,000 rials per dollar) has been allocated to the project, which is scheduled to be completed within four months, Moein Afzali said. Situated in southeastern Kerman province, Shahdad is home to shifting sands, salt plains, meteorite fields, and rocky terrain, which offers visitors breathtaking vistas and unparalleled serenity of the intact nature and wilderness. It has long been a destination for adventurers, nature lovers, off-roaders, and trekkers. The Lut Desert, widely referred to as Dasht-e Lut (“Emptiness Plain”), is a large salt desert encircled by the provinces of Kerman and Sistan- Baluchestan, and South Khorasan. It is the world’s 27th-largest desert and was inscribed on UNESCO’s World Heritage List on July 17, 2016. Seven years of satellite temperature data analyzed by NASA show that the Lut Desert is the hottest spot on Earth. Based on the research, it was the hottest during 5 of the 7 years and had the highest temperature overall: 70.7°C in 2005. The desert is also considered one of the top areas in the world for finding meteorites, thanks to its unique parameters. In recent years, significant finds have been made, with the efforts of national and international teams of researchers.