Lorestan (Luristan) is one of Iran’s most underrated cities. Let’s face it, this region of Iran mostly gets overshadowed by tourism giants like Isfahan, Shiraz, and Tehran. But the truth is, Lorestan does not receive the attention it so richly deserves. This beautiful province has as much natural and historical wonders to offers as Iran’s top tourist destinations.
Lorestan is most famous for its primeval oak forests, waterfalls, and mountains. However, few people know that it is also one of the oldest civilizations. Not only in Iran but also in the five continents.
Dating back to thousands of years ago, cave paintings and ancient crafts and relics unearthed in the area are of great value to the world’s history and archeology. ‘Lorestan’ means the “Land of Lors,” a major ethnic community in Iran; they speak in ‘Lori’ dialect. These people are skilled carpet weavers. Therefore, rugs and mats are perfect souvenirs to take from Lorestan.
Now, let’s get to know Lorestan better. This article will answer your most important questions about a trip to this beautiful part of Iran.
Basic Facts You Need to Know about Lorestan:
Climate: It’s a province for all seasons. The northern parts are cold and mountainous. And, as you reach southern lands, it gets warm and relatively dry. Weather in summer is pleasantly warm and winters do not get bitingly cold; nothing you cannot manage with a good jacket! It is during spring and autumn though, that one can perfectly grasp the dazzling beauties of nature in Lorestan.
Access Routes: You name it!
1) Air travel: depart from Tehran or Mashhad to land in Khorram Abad airport. Ticket fare: around 3,500,000 Rials.
2) Train Ride: You can choose to stop either at Khorram Abas (Sepiddasht Station) or at Dorood. Ticket fare: around 650,000 Rials.
An amazing route you can take in Lorestan (even for short tours inside the province) is via Dorood-Sepiddasht railway. It runs through Zagros’ beautiful forests and gives you a spectacular view.
3) Road Trip. Available in every town and city. Prices vary depending on your departure and destination points; 700,000 Rials on average.
Managing your Time: Generally speaking, 2-4 days short trip is all the time you need for sightseeing in Lorestan and crossing out the must-see tourist attraction. However, if you are the explorer type, you are going to need much more time to dedicate to Lorestan for a thorough journey.
What to See and Explore in Lorestan
Falak-ol-Aflak: Lorestan’s signature landmark dating back to the Sassanid era (year 651). It is a hybrid between a castle and a fortress and has 8 towers all around it.
With walls as high as 22.5 meters (~73 ft), this is where many royalties and heads of state dwelled in until one hundred years ago. Between the Safavid and Qajar eras, few changes were made to the initial design of the building, including some extensions that have made its architecture even more unique. It is currently turned into a cultural complex housing a museum, a library, etc.
Although this majestic monument is around a millennium and half old, the design is fairly innovative. Natural dehumidifiers, for instance, are canals that were dug to control the level of humidity and moisture, and therefore, preserve the foundations of the building. The word Falak-ol-Aflak means “the heaven of all heavens”.
Bisheh Waterfalls: ‘Abshare Bisheh’. Now, this is Lorestan’s signature natural wonder. It is located at the heart of Zagros mountains and embraced by mighty trees. The fall cascades down over mossy stones into the ‘Sezar’ (Caesar) river. The whole picturesque scenery has become a favorite spot for camping, having a picnic as well as photo shooting.
This waterfall is only a few hundred meters away from the Sepiddasht Train Station. You can also visit ‘Bisheh’ village.
Kahman Valley: ‘Darreye Kahman’ or ‘Takhte Shah’ is where the kings made their excursions (keh, key= king, man, aman=haven. also, ‘Takhte Shah’ signifies a throne). Just the lush countryside for royalties the roam, it is paradisiac, pristine, and picturesque. This idyllic retreat enjoys several caves, water springs, glaciers, and gorgeous woods.
Khazineh Valley: ‘Darreye Khazineh’. ‘Khazineh Valley’ is where you find an amazing curve at the center of the mountain. People have started calling the place “Iran’s Grand Canyon”. Not because it is as big as the GC, and not because it is a canyon. Rather, for the famous Horseshoe bend the like of which is only to be found on the other side of the planet.
This tourist attraction is shaped by the significant erosion of the rocks: a giant rock grandly stands at the center of the curve where a meandering river, ‘Seymareh’, flows. Climb for a while and you get a picture-postcard view of this natural wonder.
Other Spectacular Waterfalls: Nozhian is Lorestan’s highest waterfall. After hiking a gorgeous winding path in Nozhian forest park, you are rewarded with the great scenery of the falls and its surroundings. Take a 10-minute walk from Nozhian towards the next beautiful fall, ‘Wark’. By the way, many medicinal plants grow in the surrounding forest.
‘Gerti’, ‘Chakan’, ‘Ab-Sefid’ (White Waters), ‘Afrineh’, ‘Tough’, ‘Serkaneh’, ‘Golhou’, and ‘Qoslgah’ make other worthwhile trips in this long list. See? It is no wonder that Lorestan has come to be known as the “Land of the Falls”.
Gahar Lake: For the ultimate escape into a lovely day, Gahar Lake is where you should head to. This clear, freshwater lake is encircled with pastures and fields of awesome wildlife and rich flora. Stretch out by the lakeside, relax, and even go for a dip in shallower depths of the lake.
Special platforms on the western side of the lake are raised for visitors and travelers to set up their camping nets. However, make sure you have everything you need for a short trip to Gahar. Being a remote camping site, the facilities are not as proper as what you find in villages or towns.
As if the beauties of the lake were not enough, adjacent to it lie beautiful fields of anemone and fritillary. Gahar Lake is located in Aligudarz.
Wondering if only there were more lakes? There is! Seriously, this province abounds with aquatic sights. ‘Shat Tami’ is a natural lake and ‘Chogha’ is an artificial one. The former is located in Aligudarz and the latter in Chogha Recreational Hill in Borujerd.
Bonus: ‘Shat Tami’ is one of the areas where nomadic tribes (called Ashayer) stay during summer. Ask your tour guide about the exact time and place and get yourself acquainted with their fascinating lifestyle.
Baame Lorestan: The roof of the city is a must-go place in Khorram Abad. Most particularly for those who love an amazing view. I would recommend you be there in the evening to see the flickering lights in the picturesque landscape of the city. But this is not all you get to experience.
There are to be found recreational facilities; hotels, restaurants, shops, a zoo, etc. The best one, however, is ‘Kaasin’ Observatory. A telescope is set up for visitors to look up at the stars.
Other Sights You Might Also Want to Check out:
Brick Minaret: ‘Manareye Ajori’, is a 30-meter (98 ft.) tower that dates back to approximately 950 years ago. In the old days, this high minaret has been a watchtower to direct caravans and pilgrims, provide lighting, and send signals (most probably to Falak-ol-Aflak, for defensive measures).
Shapouri Bridge: Also, Pol-e-Shekasteh’ or the ‘Broken Bridge’. Ancient remains of a stone bridge from the Sassanid era leaves you to ponder over history and its movements.
Lake Keeyow: This beautiful aquamarine lake located in Khorram Abad is a favorite spot for a night stroll.
Bazaars: Khorram Abad and Borujerd are Lorestan’s biggest cities. So, you know, they have grand markets and bazaars. Commonly known as Rasa, Borujerd’s open market is a historical market that has survived from the Qajar era. The shops are still open and many specialize in handicrafts of Lorestan or Iran.
Where to Stay and Eat in Lorestan?
You will not have any problems with your accommodation in Lorestan. Wherever there is a major landmark, be sure that villas, hostels, suits, and ecolodges are close. Hotels are also to be found in town centers and some villages.
Prices: Budget travelers love Lorestan. It is not as expensive as other major cities in Iran. This includes your travel fares as well. What’s more, except for a few places like ‘Falak-ol-Aflak’ visitors are usually not charged for entry.
Although lodging costs a bit more in Khorram Abad, it is nothing fancy or extra. Therefore, from economic to affluent; the prices start from 1,000,000 and rise up to 3,500,000 Rials. ‘Zagros’, ‘Azadi’, ‘Tourist’, and ‘Rangin Kaman’ are popular hotels in Lorestan.
I would recommend you dine at ‘Shemshad Nemuneh’, ‘Zafaran Talaii’, and ‘Rangin Kaman’ in Khorram Abad or ‘Rezaii Kababi’, ‘Pedar Salar’ and ‘Haj Shafie’ in Borujerd.
You might know that ‘Ash’, a soup-like dish, is a well-liked food in Iran’s cuisine. All over Iran, every area has its own special Ash. In Lorestan it is ‘Ash-e-Tarkhineh’ or simply Tarkhineh. ‘Ash Gusht’, and ‘Sholeh Mash’ are tasty, too. However, Kebab is Lorestan’s specialty.
Chicken Kebab, Shish Kebab, and ‘Kubideh’ (ground beef) are so delicious you will end up licking your fingers.