Living more than 5000 years on this planet, Abarkuh ancient cypress tree has so many secrets inside itself. As one of the oldest living creatures on earth, this cypress is not an ordinary one. Imagine living this long, how many secrets have you heard, and how many memories you got? If you travel to historical Yazd and go to the desert, while sitting around a bonfire at night, locals can tell you the stories of the tree’s spirit that keeps it alive. Then you have the whole night to look at the stars, find the shape of a cypress among them, and think about the tale that you just heard. Then, when you see the tree with your own eyes, you will definitely feel the unique atmosphere of it. The memory of this ancient cypress tree and that magical moment will stay with you for the rest of your life to talk about it with your friends and family.
The History of Ancient Cypress Tree in Abarkuh
Abarkuh cypress is the oldest living organism in Iran and one of the oldest ones on the whole planet. We can not say for certain how old this tree is, but archaeologists believe that the tree is something between 5000 to 7000 years old. Hamdallah Mostowfi, who was an Iranian historian and geographer wrote about this tree in his book called Nehzat-al Gholoub. He mentions that there is an ancient cypress tree in Abarkuh of Yazd that is well known in the world, even more than other cypresses that existed at that time. Also, some people claim that Marcopolo visited this tree when he was exploring Iran and talked about it in his diary as a green lantern that guides the way toward the desert.
Abarkuh cypress tree has always been a part of Iranians’ lives and especially the lives of people of that area. Today, to keep the tree safe, people in power put fences around the tree and marked the area as a special place. Also, they added a lightning arrester to prevent any possible damage to the tree. It is not only about the tree, but it is also the significant history behind it that makes it valuable, so everyone wants to keep it safe and let other generations see it.
What Does Abarkuh Ancient Cypress Look Like?
If you travel to Yazd and go to Abarkuh, you can see the cypress from kilometers ahead. Like a glamorous emerald, Abarkuh ancient cypress shines vividly and leaves you to stand in awe the moment that you take a look at it. This tree belongs to the Mediterranean cypress species and is known as Shiraz cypress as well because you can find many of this type of cypress in Shiraz. Besides the significant value of this tree in literature and mythology, people use it for its wood too.
The cypress tree has 25 meter height, and the diameter of the tree trunk is more than 4 meters. The diameter of older branches of this tree is about 2 meters which shows how old the cypress can be. The dark green color of it touches the sky and melts inside fluffy white clouds to create a picturesque image for visitors.
Cypress Tree in Persian Literature
Iranians adore the cypress tree and consider it as a symbol of good fortune. The cypress is even known as Iran’s national tree in the world. You can look at the walls of Persepolis or ancient Persian writings to see how important this tree is. Zoroastrians believe that cypress is a symbolic tree that belongs to Zoroaster. This tree is always green even in autumn and winter. The most dangerous hurricanes cannot break it, so cypress shows eternity and endurance. Some parts of Iran like Yazd have dry and hot weather which are perfect areas for this tree to grow and look amazing.
In Persian literature, Saadi, the great Persian poet, talks about his lover who is tall and pretty like a cypress tree. But, it is not only about the appearance, in more ancient Persian poetry, like Shahnameh, Ferdowsi also illustrates the concept of freedom using cypress in his poems and mentions that this tree belongs to heaven, so it comes from Ahura Mazda.
By reading the works of Iranian poets you get the feeling that nothing can destroy the glamour and dignity of a cypress tree, so using it as a metaphor comes with positive feelings and attitudes.
Myths and Tales about Abarkuh Ancient Cypress
There are many stories that include this magical tree. Locals claim that Adam himself planted this tree and took care of it. That is why this tree is still alive. Some others believe that Noah, the prophet or his son, planted this cypress. Since Noah lived a very long life, this tree lives long too. Other tales talk about a spirit that lives inside Abarkuh ancient cypress and protects it. This idea is similar to Dryad or trees’ nymph in Greek mythology.
How to Visit Abarkuh Ancient Cypress Tree
In order to visit this amazing cypress, you need to apply for an Iran visa and travel to this gorgeous country. Then, your destination would be Abarkuh which is one of the oldest areas in Yazd province. While riding toward the cypress tree, you can look at the architectural design of the houses in a way that minimizes the effect of hot weather on people living in them. The houses are made of clay and have extraordinary wind-catchers that can surprise you with their mesmerizing beauty and function. After getting to Abarkuh, there are many signs that guide you toward Abarkuh ancient cypress. Besides, you can see its location on google map as well.