The Cypress of Abarkuh: The Oldest Tree in Asia

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The world’s oldest cypress is also Asia’s oldest tree.

The cypress tree holds a prominent position in Persian culture and has been incorporated into the design of the famous Persian Gardens. The prophet Zoroaster is said to have planted two cypress trees as good omens. Photo: reibai

If you are looking for a unique and ancient natural attraction, you might want to visit the Cypress of Abarkuh, also known as Sarv-e Abarkuh or Zoroastrian Sarv. This majestic cypress tree is located in Abarkuh City, Yazd Province, Iran, and it is estimated to be over 4,000 years old, making it the oldest living tree in Asia and possibly also the oldest living organism on the entire Asian continent.

The Cypress of Abarkuh belongs to the species Cupressus sempervirens, which is native to the Mediterranean region. It has a height of 25 meters (82 feet) and a circumference of 11.5 meters (37 feet) at its trunk and 18 meters (59 feet) at its branches. It has a dark green foliage and a conical shape that resembles a flame.

The Cypress of Abarkuh has height of 25 meters (82 feet). Photo: Yann Forget

The Cypress of Abarkuh has witnessed many historical events and changes throughout its long life. It has been protected by the Cultural Heritage Organization of Iran as a national natural monument and is a major tourist attraction.

It is also revered by the Zoroastrians, who consider it a sacred symbol of life and beauty.

A sacred symbol of life and beauty. Photo: Ninara

There are many legends and stories associated with the Cypress of Abarkuh. One of them says that it was planted by Zoroaster, the founder of Zoroastrianism, who stopped at Abarkuh on his way to spread his teachings to an Iranian city.

Another legend says that it was planted by Japheth, the son of Noah, after the great flood.

The tree has a circumference of 11.5 meters (37 feet) at its trunk Photo: TruthBeethoven

The Cypress of Abarqu is a remarkable example of nature’s resilience and longevity. It has survived harsh weather conditions, wars, invasions, and human interference. It has also provided shade, shelter, and inspiration for countless generations of people. It is a living witness to the history and culture of Iran and Asia.

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