Markazi province lies in western Iran and is considered one of the important industrial areas of Iran. As this region was part of the Median Empire, Markazi has some of the oldest footprints of human civilizations in it. The major cities of Markazi are Arak, Saveh, Mahallat, Delijan, Khomein and Tafresh. In this article, we take a look at this province and its tourism potentials.
Top attractions in Markazi
Nearly 10 kilometers away from Delijan, there is an area named Chale-e Nakhjir. It is a must-visit for all the people who take a journey to Markazi. Nakhjir has a famous cave of its name, which is easy to reach for visitors. This cave has a main and some side branches, and people walk in it on a smooth floor.
The walls inside the cave are generally crystallized, and you will see lots of beautiful stones in it. It is believed that Nakhjir cave is 70 million years old.
Right in the heart of the wilderness, a 25 thousand hectares wetland overlooks its beauty. Meighan desert is located 15 km north-east of Arak and has made a fantastic ecosystem that provides life for lots of migratory animals. If you are interested in birdwatching, this beautiful desert is a must-visit for you.
Meighan wetland is a crucial region for Markazi province. Not only it provides water for a desert city, but also it helps its weather to remain clean. If there is enough rain, you will see it full of water, but in low rain years, it looks like a desert. It is important to note that if you go there for birdwatching, winter and spring are the best time for visiting.
In the highest point of Mahallat, you will face an attractive spring located in a beautifully designed park. This spring, named Sarcheshmeh, has been the most visited tourist attraction in Markazi province, and it is easy to guess why. Duo to its beauty and pleasant climate, it would be a perfect place for a walk that will relax your mind and stroke your soul.
Because of the cultivation of colorful and ornamental flowers and clean, refreshing air, Mahallat has been named the Netherlands of Iran. If you want to sit in Iranian-like traditional restaurants or cafes and enjoy a meal or cup of tea, you will have many options in this park.
In the central district of Komijan, Esfandan rural district, there is a village that with its pleasant climate, lush gardens and landscapes, attracts many tourists each year.
Vafs village Its greenery and freshness in the spring and summer can be compared to green communities in the north of Iran. In addition to the colorful nature, building design and architecture of Vafs can delight every tourist. This village is considered as one of the essential ecotourism capacities in Markazi province.
The fossils in the mountains around Vafs are solid shreds of evidence of old human civilizations in this region. It is surprising for every visitor that this village has 16 mosques in it. Do not forget to take a look at Jame Mosque, the most important one in Vafs, that is approximately seven centuries old.
It would be a huge miss if we talk about ancient cities in Iran and forget about Bazaars. Arak Bazaar was founded nearly 210 years ago in the central context of Arak city. One of the reasons for building this market was the strong economy around Arak.
The high quality of agricultural products in the region of Arak, as well as the worldwide popularity of Saruq carpets, has made this market one of the most successful bazaars in Iran economically. Arak Bazaar is one of the oldest buildings in the city, and hence, this indoor market has become an essential symbol of Arak’s identity and history.
Due to the presence of high mountains, proximity to areas such as Salt Lake and desert of Meighan, neighboring with central parts if Iran and most importantly, because of its location at the junction of Alborz and Zagros mountains, Markazi province has a variety of climates which has a dramatic effect on growth of native plants, fruits and vegetables. This makes Markazi one of the richest regions in terms of food and diet.
Ash (or Aush) is a thick soup that is considered one of or maybe the most important cuisine among traditional Iranian foods. In terms of food, Markazi is best known for its wide varieties of Aush dishes with different ingredients. If you have already traveled to Iran, tasted and loved Aush, you must try these different cuisines of Ash in Markazi.
Saveh has the best pomegranate in Iran and hence, its unique kind of Ash, pomegranate Ash (Ash-e Anar) is an authentic cuisine. Ash-e Anar in addition to excellent taste is of high nutritional value. It contains significant amounts of vegetables that are very valuable for health.
Plum Aush (Ash-e Aloo) mixes the appetizing flavor of plum with beans. This one is again a local Ash related to Saveh. Maybe hearing the name of cucumber Ash (Ash-e Khiar) seems a bit strange but when you taste it for the first time, you will understand why this Ash is one of the most delicious ones in Markazi. The cucumbers used to make this dish are different from ordinary cucumbers. This special cucumber has a firmer texture than regular ones.
Koohestan restaurant of Arak, Keshavarz Naharkhoone, Shabhaye Saveh restaurant and Golbaran restaurant are among the best choices you have in Markazi. In addition to traditional local foods, do not forget to try famous Iranian foods in these restaurants too.
Where to Stay in Arak
Amir Kabir Hotel of Arak is the best residence in Markazi. Not only in the province, but also among all the Iranian hotels, Amir Kabir is known as one of the best. It is evident, though, cause we are talking about a five-star hotel. In addition to being clean and having satisfying service, Amir Kabir Complex will offer you a wide range of amenities.
Tennis court, swimming pool, skating rink, bike lanes and billiard saloons are some amenities of this complex. Depending on the number of beds and quality, the costs of the rooms are from 40 to 100 dollars per night.
If you want a cheaper hotel with one less star, Payam International Hotel would be an excellent choice. All rooms in Payam have air conditioning, TV, bathroom and private toilets. The hotel’s restaurant serves a variety of Iranian and international cuisines. Located in the center of the city, Payam hotel makes convenient access to crucial shopping and tourist spots. It takes only 10 minutes from the hotel to the Grand Bazaar of Arak.
Souvenirs and Handicrafts of Markazi
The souvenirs of Markazi province are very diverse, from a variety of handicrafts such as handmade rugs and carpets to local pieces of bread and foodstuffs.
Unleavened bread (Nan-e Fatir) is a kind of bread that is not prepared with raising agents like yeasts. Fatir bread is made in different cities of Iran with separate orders and flavors and different shapes and sizes. Arak Fatir is a popular type of it in the whole country.
This bread is made of flour, sugar, eggs, and other ingredients and is cooked in the oven. People in Iran tend to eat this kind of bread with hot beverages. So you can try them with your tea or coffee on your trip to Iran.
It is impossible to talk to Iranians about pomegranate and they do not mention Saveh. This fruit, which is called Anar in Persian and Nar in the local language is an essential part of Saveh economy and people from all over Iran head to this region of the country to buy the best pomegranate at the end of summer. But it is not all about the pure fruit.
Pomegranate juice and pomegranate paste are also famous among Iranian people. You will love the sour taste of pomegranate paste the moment you feel it in your mouth.
Khomein city in the south of Markazi has become a significant hub of honey production and processing. More than 30 tonnes of honey is exported abroad annually. If you have decided to visit Khomein, you will not regret buying some jars of honey. It is hard to find any other product as high-grade as this one globally.
Located in the north of Arak, there is Sarooq city that its hand-made carpets are among the best in the world. One important reason for such fame is its perfect texture and detailed design. If you want to buy something on your trip to Markazi, which you can have and use for years, Sarooq carpet is the best option possible.
Giveh, traditional foot ware of Markazi, is the only handcraft made in Senejan. This product was exported to other cities in Iran. This special kind of shoe is used in both cold and warm seasons.