Sunday, December 20, 2009

Savashi Strait

Strait of Vashi or Savashi (تنگه ساواشی), is located 15 kilometers northwest of Firoozkooh and is 300 meters long with rocky mounds about 100 meters high. The area’s favorable climatic conditions in summers can host a large number of tourists. The narrow access road to this strait is located to the west of Firoozkooh, forcing tourists to hire mules or horses to visit the strait across a rocky terrain. The narrow gorge has been created by a year round stream of water originating from a series of waterfalls upstream. Given the proximity of this strait to the city of Tehran, it is possible to visit the strait in a one-day trip.  

In order to reach the strait, after traveling 2 kilometers on the Firoozkooh-Tehran Road, visitors take a side road. They reach Jalizjand Village after traveling for 9 kilometers. This village is situated near a green plain marked with wheat and potato farms and fruit gardens. One must pass through the village and travel for about 4 kilometers on a road that runs alongside water streams. The river passing through this area originates from Savashi Mountain. Crossing this river, which is located in a stone valley, is one of the most attractive aspects of traveling to Savashi Strait.  

After passing through the first strait and a beautiful plain, visitors reach a second strait--about two kilometers away. This strait is also eye-catching like the first strait and cool water springs flow from different parts of its rocky areas. Toward the end of this strait is a beautiful waterfall where people can swim in summers.  

A rare local plant called Barijeh grows in this area, which is protected by the Department of Environment. It is illegal to pick this plant.  

Savashi Strait is also known for a historical relic. One of the three famous bas reliefs of the Qajars from Fath Ali Shah’s era is located in this strait. The two other bas reliefs are located in Shahr Rey’s Cheshmeh Ali and Vana Tunnel on Haraz Road. Fath Ali Shah, who lived in Shiraz before ascending the throne, was impressed by the city’s bas reliefs. Hence, he assigned three people to make these bas reliefs in Tehran.  The bas relief in Savashi Strait measures 6 by 7 meters. Fath Ali Shah’s era is depicted on the Bas Relief. It also shows a hunting scene with a horse, a spear and the prey. Images of the shah’s sons, namely Abbas Mirza and Ali Naqi Mirza, as well as his grandchildren can be seen hunting in this bas relief. It also shows a gazelle and deer that continue to inhabit the strait. The Jalizjand Bas Relief was three years in the making and dates back 185 years. It was created by Ghasem Hajjar, whose name also appears on the Bas Relief. The Jalizjand Bas Relief has been carved in a mountain in a way that it remains protected from rainfall and the sun’s radiation, although not from the hands on vandals. Furthermore the absence of any type of security forces or park rangers and the increasing number of tourists threatens the area’s natural beauty to be overcome with litter in the form of leftover food and empty plastic containers and bottles. 

The remains of a Qajar guard tower also remain at the top of one of the mountain passes.

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