Sistan & Baluchistan comprising 19 counties and the center of Zahedan are placed in the southeast of the country as the largest province of Iran. It borders South Khorasan, Kerman, and Hormozgan provinces, Oman Sea, and Pakistan, and Afghanistan countries. The area with a warm and dry climate has Sistani and Balochi inhabitants who speak Farsi (with Sistani dialect) and Balochi languages.
Darius the Great (reign: 522-486 B.C.) has referred to the Baluchestan region in the Behistun and Persepolis Inscriptions as “Mecca”. According to the mythological history of Iran, Sistan was the birthplace of Rostam, a character in the epic masterpiece of Shahnameh written by Ferdowsi. Rostam was the ruler of Sistan that encompassed Zabulistan, Bast, Ghazni, and Kabulistan regions. The natives called this area “Zarnak”, while after the invasion of the Scythians, the name was replaced by Sakestaneh or Sajestan meaning the Land of Scythians.
Ardeshir Babakan, the founder of the Sassanid Dynasty (224-651 A.D.), conquered the Sakestaneh region, and later in the aftermath of the conquests of Muslims, Yazdegerd III (reign: 632-651) escaped to Sistan after his defeat in Kerman city. Importantly, Sistan became a part of the territory of the Samanid (819-999), Ghaznavid (977-1186), and Seljuk (1037-1194) Dynasties. When the Safavid Dynasty (1501-1736) came to the throne, Shah Ismail I seized Sistan.
After the death of Nader Shah (reign: 1736-1747) during the Afsharid Dynasty (1736-1796), a disagreement between Afghanistan and Iran over Sistan in 1835 led to the intervention of Britain and the establishment of a new border between the two countries.
Baluchestan was attacked several times since the advent of Islam in 651 through the Qajar Dynasty (1796-1925). For example, following the attack of Seljuk to Kerman, the Baluch people apparently migrated from Kerman to Makran district. In the Qajar period during which Baluchestan was totally inside the borders of Iran, this area came out of the authority of Khanate of Kalat (Baluchestan province in current Pakistan). In 1835, the Kalat border with Baluchestan of Iran was determined and a part of Baluchestan attached to Pakistan.
Of the historical attractions of the province include the remains of the early civilizations in Dahan-e Gholaman, Mount Khajeh, and other ancient hills distributed in the area. Furthermore, the natural attractions of the region include wetlands, deserts, Martian mountains, Taftan Summit (the only semi-active volcano in Iran), mud bubbles, Oman Sea coasts, rivers, and protected areas of Bahu Kalat as the habitat of the short muzzle crocodile (Gando). Chabahar Free Trade Zone, Hara jungles, pink lake, and Machi windmill are among other attractions of this province.
Meanwhile, the Lut Desert and Shahr-e Sukhteh (burnt city) have been registered on the UNESCO World Heritage list.
The province’s handicrafts include different kinds of traditional jewels, musical instruments, Lenj (a form of a traditional boat), saddlebags, mat weaving, embroidery, coin, and mirror sewing, Balochi needlecraft, wall hangings, pottery (Village of Kalporagan), and curtain.
The most common souvenirs in the province are different kinds of tropical fruits like date, mango, bananas, papaya, olive, Indian white shrimp, lobster, and various fish. Local cuisine also includes Tanoorcheh kebab, yellow curd, Pekore, Shilanj, Kahli, Halkary bread, Qalifi, Zaboli curd, and Baluchi stews.