Sarv-e Abarkuh (Cypress of Abarkuh) The third oldest tree in the world
Sarv-e Abarkuh is a Cypress tree that is considered among the most fascinating living things on this planet which favors the eye and soul by its beautiful, majestic look. Cypress of Abarkuh which is likewise called the Zoroastrian Sarv is the oldest life form in Iran. The beauty and greatness of the tree will leave a great impact on you when you stand in front of it.
Where Is Sarv-e Abarkuh located?
This old tree is situated in Abarkuh, Yazd province of Iran, which is between three historical cities of Isfahan, Yazd, and Shiraz. Abarkuh itself is an unbelievable spot located on the once junction of the Silk Road and has numerous exquisite adobe houses and antiquity of over 4000 years.
In the city, you can discover a lot of tourist attractions, including Robat Castle, Yakhchal Kheshti, Nezam al Mulki Gate, Darbe Ghale area, Ali Dome, Aziz-al-Din al-Nasafi Tomb, and Anthropology Museum. Among them, Aghazad mansion and its 18-meter wind catcher dates back to the Qajar time and is one of the extraordinary landmarks. You can even see its image on the 2000-toman bill of Iranian currency.
The Antiquity of the Tree
Sarv-e Abarkuh is a slow-growing, evergreen tree that sprouts in the middle of spring. A Mediterranean cypress tree that has a height of 25 meters, with a width of 11.5 meters at its trunk and an 18-meter circumference. It has more than 4,500 years of age and has the world’s third rank as the oldest tree still alive today, after a Great Basin bristlecone pine (5,062 years of age) and Methuselah (4,845 years old) and in a way, it could be viewed as a peer of the ancient Egyptian pyramids.
The poet of the Ilkhanid period, Hamdullah Mostofi says a sentence in his writings that shows it has been a marvel even 700 years ago:
“There’s a cypress in that city, which is famous all over the world.”
The Roots of Cypress in the Culture of Iran
In ancient Iran, planting a tree was considered very important and Cypress is seen in many related symbols and old Persian poetry. It can likewise be viewed as a symbol of life and beauty in some Achaemenid sculptures in Persepolis. Cypresses have been regularly the first chosen tree for Iranian gardens. In all of the popular Persian gardens, such as Fin Garden, Mahaan, and Dowlat Abad, this kind of tree plays a major role in their design.
In ancient Iranian tales, the origin of this tree is credited to Japheth, the child of Noah, while others believe Zoroaster, the ancient Iranian prophet and leader, had planted it. Legends state that this tree has a special soul that can continue living for thousands of years.
Characteristics of Sarv-e Abarkuh
Sarv-e Abarkuh has unique qualities by which it is renowned. The tree has worldwide popularity and has positioned as the second among his peers. A magnificent tree that surprises all the visitors, tourists as well as scientists and botanists from all over the globe are eager to see, research and study about it.
The tree’s life span has been credited to favorable natural conditions of its area. It’s clear that the tree’s environment has changed these days, for instance, there were loads of pomegranates trees surrounding it in the past. Nowadays, with the development of cities and tourist and vehicle traffics, the tree’s normal habitat seems to be in a greater need to be secured.
Preservation of the Tree
Needless to say, all ancient and historical landmarks need care and protection, just like the case with Sarv-e Abarkuh, and several activities have been done to protect the straight and heavy Cypress.
There are fences all around the tree. Individuals shouldn’t approach or touch it as when the soil is condensed due to their footsteps, it won’t have a chance to absorb water and microorganisms will be altered. Tragically, some visitors have put some parts of the tree into the fire before, and as of now, the minimum distance we can get near to it is 2.5 meters.
The Cultural Heritage and Tourism Organization of Yazd has taken some measures, for example, killing vermin to guarantee that the tree would keep on living for the upcoming years.
Some other moves have also been made to protect the tree, including keeping it away from pests and insects harm, checking the issues related to visiting and tourism necessities, taking care of the withering problems of the tree because of dust on its foliage, inhibiting branches that have been damaged due to its age, natural enclosures around the tree under current conditions to decrease tree’s damage, utilizing trained workforce to protect this national monument, and providing lightning protection.
In spite of the magnificence and popularity of this tree all around the globe, Cypress of Abarkuh is unfortunately not registered as a UNESCO’s world heritage yet.
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