South Khorasan Province


South Khorasan Province


South Khorasan is one of the border provinces of our country. It has received less attention than it should in terms of tourism. It is a large province with warm and hospitable people and scattered attractions across the province. 



There was no province named South Khorasan until 2004. The current provinces of South Khorasan, Razavi Khorasan, and North Khorasan together formed the Greater Khorasan Province. However, in 2004, the Great Khorasan Province was divided into three provinces, and South Khorasan was established with Birjand as its center. Then, changes were made to the counties of the province, so that South Khorasan Province is currently the third largest province, in terms of area, in the country. 



South Khorasan Province is bordered by Razavi Khorasan Province to the north and by Isfahan and Yazd provinces to the west. Sistan and Baluchestan and Kerman provinces are also located to the south of South Khorasan. The eastern part of the province also shares a border with Afghanistan. The province used to include only four counties. However, now, with the implementation of new changes, the number of counties in the province has reached eleven. Birjand, Qaenat, Tabas, Ferdows, Nehbandan, Sarayan, Sarbisheh, Darmian, Boshruyeh, Khoosf, and Zirkouh are the counties of South Khorasan Province.



The climate of South Khorasan Province is dry and desert-like. However, due to altitude variations, the climate of different parts of the province can be classified into two dry and hot, and dry and mild conditions. Rainfall in South Khorasan Province is scarce, and like some other desert provinces, it faces water scarcity issues. Summers in this province are relatively warm, but autumn is a proper time to travel to South Khorasan. Travelers who visit this province in the autumn will enjoy the pleasant weather and will have the opportunity to see the saffron harvest up close. Spring is also a fine to travel to this province.


Cities of South Khorasan Province

South Khorasan Province offers a combination of historical and natural sites; from historical villages and astonishing valleys to mosques and ancient gardens.



Birjand is the center of South Khorasan Province including numerous sights. Band-e Derakhshan is one of the main recreational areas here; this dam was built in 1875 which is registered as a national monument.

Birjand has several historical gardens, among which Akbarieh Garden, Amirabad Garden, Shokatabad Garden, and Rahimabad Garden and Mansion can be mentioned. Manzariyeh Garden is another tourist monument in the city of Birjand.

The mansion or Kalaat Kolah Farangi in the center of Birjand is an interesting attraction in this county. The mansion is today served as the Birjand governor's office. The construction of mansion dates back more than a hundred years.

But if you want to go further back in time, you can visit the Forg Citadel. This citadel, a remnant of the Ismaili era, is located near Darmian, in the east of Birjand County.



The city of Tabas used to be part of Yazd Province until 2012 when it joined South Khorasan Province. It is a desert city with a large number of tourist sites which is considered one of the chief tourist destinations in South Khorasan Province.

Golshan Garden in Tabas has an atmosphere where upon entering people completely forget about the desert environment of the city. There is a beautiful mansion in this garden that, combined with the plants and ponds of the garden, has created an attractive atmosphere.

Morteza Ali Spring is another beautiful tourist landmarks in Tabas. On one side of this spring, which is located 30 kilometers away from Tabas, near the village of Kharv, hot water boils, and on the other side, cool water flows, at the same time. 

Kal-e Jeni is an extraordinary natural sight in Tabas, which is about 30 kilometers away from the city. It includes a winding valley that is the result of years of erosion. In some parts of the route, there is also water flowing, creating a contrasting environment with the desert city of Tabas.

There are also spectacular historical villages in Tabas, among which Esfahak and Nayband are the most famous. Esfahak village is located 38 kilometers east of Tabas. The most significant feature of this village is its historical texture, which has been well restored.

Travelers should not forget to visit the stair-stepped Nayband Village when traveling to Tabas. A village similar to Masuleh but desert-like, surrounded by palm trees.



Qaen or Qaenat is one of the major cities in South Khorasan. The Jameh Mosque of Qaen is a significant attraction here, located right in the center of the city. A little farther from the mosque and slightly outside the city, the tomb of Bozorgmehr Qaini is located. Overlooking the tomb on a mountain, you can also see a historical castle where people call the mountain castle. The tomb of Bozorgmehr Qaini is one of the main tourist attractions in Qaen.

Qaen County is the center of saffron cultivation in Iran. Travelers who visit this city in the month of Aban will have the opportunity to witness the saffron flowers being harvested up close. Several historical houses have also been prepared for public visits in Qaen County. Imam Street near the Jameh Mosque is one of the best options for buying saffron and other souvenirs of the city.



You cannot find luxurious and fancy hotels in Birjand. Mountain Hotel, Jahangardi Hotel, Qaem Hotel, Sepeher Hotel, and Moghaddam Hotel are among the suitable accommodations in Birjand. Zaghe Boor Eco-lodge is also located in Birjand. In addition, various guesthouses in the center of South Khorasan Province are ready to host travelers.

On the other hand, there are relatively many eco-lodges in this province. The traditional Emad Nezam in Ferdows Hotel and Namakzar eco-lodges (near the Se Ghaleh Desert), Nardoon, and Naranjestan in Tabas, and Pedari House in Khorashad in Birjand are some of the other eco-lodges in South Khorasan. There are also various eco-lodges in the villages of Nayband and Esfahak.


Local Foods

Tasting the local foods of each region is a necessity of any trip. Qoroot (Kashk) and Bademjan are flavorful foods whose main ingredient is Kashk, while they differ from Kashk and Bademjan cooked in other cities. Balgur is another tasty food of this province. Various Eshkenes are also prepared in South Khorasan, among which Eshkeneh of Balgur, Lentil, and Nabat (sweet) can be mentioned. Shalgham Ash is another local cuisine of this province.



Mehr-e-Tabas Restaurant, Jahangardi Hotel and Restaurant in Boshruyeh, and Naranjestan Restaurant in Tabas are some of the well-known restaurants in this province.

The restaurants of Jahangardi Hotel, Sepeher Hotel, and Moghaddam Hotel are among top-grade restaurants in Birjand. Pey Restaurant in Birjand is also recommended for those who want to try foreign dishes where dishes like pasta, pizza, and steak can be found on its menu. While Ashkadeh and traditional Tuba Restaurant in Birjan  have a more traditional atmosphere.



Like every region of the country, this province has also its own specific handicrafts. Gelim weaving, Bast weaving, carpet weaving, Jajim weaving, Tarkeh Weaving, and Giveh weaving are some of the handicrafts of the province. 



Saffron is the most important souvenir of South Khorasan Province, which is mostly cultivated in Qaen city. Barberry, plum, and pomegranate are other souvenirs of this province. Pomegranate is also famous, mostly cultivated in Ferdows County.


Customs and Traditions

Among the various customs and traditions stand out in this province, one can mention the detailed celebration of Yalda night, which is accompanied by various foods. One of the foods prepared on this night is "Kaf," a type of sweet made from the root of a plant called Choobak (or Bikh in the local language).

"Chelehi Night" is another tradition of the people of this province on Yalda night, in which gifts from the groom's family are given to the newlyweds. 

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