Miyānkāle peninsula (Persian: شبه جزیره میانکاله) is a narrow but long peninsula in Māzandarān Province in the north of Iran situated in the extreme south-eastern part of the Caspian Sea. The long and narrow peninsula is 48 km long, and between 1300 and 3200 meters wide.
It sets apart the Gorgan Bay from the Caspian Sea. The elevation of the peninsula from the sea level is 23 meters and four villages are situated on it namely: Ashuradeh, Qezel-e shomali, Qezel-Mehdi and Qavasatl. The city situated at the opposite side of the peninsula's end is Bandar Torkaman. The island of Ashuradeh lies off the eastern tip of the peninsula.
Miankaleh peninsula is one of the richest ecological havens in West Asia and perhaps in the whole world. It is home to many unique Caspian bird and reptile species native to this region. It's also a very important internationally recognized refuge for migratory birds. Flora and fauna include:
- Raspberry, common medlar, Mediterranean hackberry, Jerusalem thorn, Populus, Salsola, Cyperaceae, and Polygonum;
- Wolf, jackal, fox, hedgehog, wild boar, Caspian seal, flamingo, black francolin, falcon, peregrine falcon, and little bustard;
- Common carp, Caspian white fish, zander, crucian carp, mullet; and
- endangered birds: Coot, purple swamphen, smew, flamingo, white-headed duck, red-breasted goose, and whooper swan.
The peninsula, with Gorgan Bay, has been designated an International Wetland (Ramsar site) in 1975 and an international UNESCO Biosphere Reserve in 1976. On the national level, it is protected under the "Wildlife Refuge" status by the Iranian Dept. of Environment.
This nature reserve is vulnerable to industry and tourism. While tourism-related activities continue to pollute the area, the Iranian government plans to build a huge hotel complex right in the middle of this nature park. Parts of the peninsula have already been sold by the government for industrial & residential purposes. The number of migratory birds has fallen significantly during the past few years. Extensive fishing & hunting has damaged the ecological balance & many species are either moribund or under threat of total extinction.
- Bakhtiyari, Sa'id, Atlas-e gitashenasi-ye Ostanha-ye Iran (Geographical atlas of Iran's provinces), Tehran: 1383 H.sh., p. 168.
- Memar, Parya, „New urban Settlements in the ecological context; Miānqāla and its new settlement in the south eastern coasts of Caspian Sea“. In: Sustainable Development of Emerging Settlement Patterns, Berlin 2006: pp. 88–102 (ISBN 978-3-7983- 2022-2)
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