Runners stage competition inside scenic desert
A trail running competition was held in the UNESCO-registered Lut Desert in east-central Iran on Friday, to promote the region as a tourist destination, IRNA reported on Saturday.
Tens of male and female runners took part in the 35-kilometer race, which began from the historical Shafiabad Caravanserai in Shahdad, a famous piece of the Lut Desert, the report added. The competition was organized in collaboration with the Cultural Heritage, Tourism and Handicrafts Department of Kerman. Situated in southern 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. The big and sprawling Kerman province has been a cultural melting pot since antiquity, blending Persians with subcontinental tribe dwellers. It is home to myriad historical sites and scenic landscapes such as Bazaar-e Sartasari, Jabalieh Dome, Ganjali Khan Bathhouse, Malek Jameh Mosque, and Shahdad Desert to name a few.