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History of Kish Island

Kish Island is first recorded in the memoirs of Nearchus, the Greek sailor commissioned by Alexander the Great to explore the Persian Gulf in 325 ВС. In the Middle Ages Kish became an important trading centre under its own powerful Arab dynasty and at one time supported a population of 40,000. The main town was Harireh, which is believed to be the town referred to by poet Saadi in his famous work, Golestan (Rose Garden).

In the XII and XIII centuries, Kish was an important Arab port, known for the quality of its pearls; when Marco Polo was visiting the imperial court in China, he remarked on the beauty of the pearls worn by one of the emperor's wives and was told they had come from Kish.

In the XIV century Kish fell into decline and remained obscure until the 1960s, when it was developed as a semi-private retreat for the shah and his guests - complete with international airport, luxury hotels and a casino. Since the Revolution, Kish has become a popular destination with Iranians who come here for duty-free shopping, in particular for electronic goods, which are much cheaper than on the mainland.