Red Beaches, Multi-Hue Mountains & Designer Domes: Hormuz Island is a Unique Haven

There are unique places on Earth then there are simply places like nowhere else. Enter the world of Hormuz Island, 8km off the coast of Iran in the Persian Gulf, you’ll experience one of the most exclusive locations in the world. While the island’s red beaches and colourful mountains define the stunning spot all on its own, the 42sqkm stretch of land is also home to spectacular architecture.

Residing on the island is a uniquely beautiful retreat of around 200 brightly coloured domes overlooking the Persian Gulf. Set about 8km from the island’s main town, the magical community titled “Presence in Hormuz,” is the design of ZAV Architects.

Described by the architectural studio as a ‘cultural residence’ the collection of buildings is based on the ‘superadobe’ architectural technique of the late Iranian architect Nader Khalili. His ‘superadobe’ system came to life in 1984 in response to NASA’s call for designs for human settlements on the Moon and Mars. 

Whilst the foundational style comes from Khalili’s innovation, the overarching design of the domes takes its inspiration from the local landscape and unique topography of the island. Ultimately the domes celebrate the community and provide tourists with a stunning alternative to standard high-rise holiday apartments.

The majority of the interconnected domes form accommodation including 15-holiday homes of varying sizes. Alongside these other domes contain communal areas and amenities such as restaurants, cafes, souvenir shops, tourist information and a reception area. There are also dedicated rooms for handicrafts and prayer.

Source: Design Boom
Source: Design Boom

The special domes are only half of Hormuz Island’s story. The location may be more well-known as the ‘rainbow island of Iran’ thanks to its red beaches and colourful sands.

Understandably the question most people ask is why is Hormuz Island red? The cause of the bright red hue is the high presence of iron oxides. They create a red oxide called “gelack” that gives the water its red tinge. The oxide is also a popular ingredient used in cosmetics, fabrics and ceramics.

The red beach of Hormuz Island isn’t the only colour spectacle. The multi-hued mountains of more than 70 different colour spectrums display rock in shades of black, white, red, purple, yellow, ochre and blue. The patches of colour also form geometric patterns that shine best in the late afternoon. The result of the uneven cooling of molten rock, the colourful mountains make Hormuz Island one of the most photogenic places in the world.

Although famous for its outstanding environment, head to the northern part of Hormuz Island and you’ll find a wonderful historical attraction, the Portuguese Castle. More commonly known as The Fort of Our Lady of the Conception, the castle sticks with the mostly red theme of the island being made of red stone. One of the last surviving monuments of Portuguese colonial rule in the Persian Gulf, the castle was built in 1507 by Afonso de Albuquerque. 

This article originally appeared on Fancy

About the author


Hi! I’m Ozzie!

Before joining Australia Exploring, I was a writer at Tripadvisor.

I'm looking for the best posts for you about travel adventures in Australia and around the world. This website has the purpose to inspire you to travel… travel more and better. I hope it can help you explore the world a little bit better.

I graduated from the University of Sydney. I live in California with my wife and two children.


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