A caravanserai was a roadside inn where travelers could rest and recover from the day's journey. Caravanserais supported the flow of commerce and people across the network of trade routes covering Asia, North Africa and Southeast Europe, most notably the Silk Road. Caravanserais were a common feature not only along the Silk Road, but along the Achaemenid Empire's Royal Road, a 2,500-kilometre-long ancient highway that stretched from Sardis to Susa according to Herodotus: "Now the true account of the road in question is the following: Royal stations exist along its whole length, excellent caravanserais. Other significant urban caravanserais were built along the Grand Trunk Road in the Indian subcontinent in the region of Mughal Delhi; the word is rendered as caravansary, caravansaray and caravansara. The Persian word کاروانسرای kārvānsarāy is a compound word combining kārvān "caravan" with sarāy "palace", "building with enclosed courts", to which the Persian suffix -yi is added. Here "caravan" means a group of traders, pilgrims or other travellers, engaged in long distance travel.
The word serai is sometimes used with the implication of caravanserai. A number of place-names based on the word sarai have grown up: Mughal Serai, Sarai Alamgir and the Delhi Sarai Rohilla railway station for example, a great many other places are based on the original meaning of "palace"; the Persian caravanserai was built as a large road station, outside of towns. An inn built inside a town was known in Persian as a khan. In the Middle-East the term "khan" covers both meanings, of roadside inn as well as of inner-town inn. In Turkish the word is rendered as han; the same word was used in Bosnian. The Greek pandocheion, lit.: "welcoming all", thus meaning'inn', led to funduq in Arabic, pundak in Hebrew, fundaco in Venice, fondaco in Genoa and alhóndiga in Spanish. Al-Muqaddasi the Arab geographer wrote in 985 CE about the hostelries, or wayfarers' inns, in the Province of Palestine, a province at that time listed under the topography of Syria, saying: "Taxes are not heavy in Syria, with the exception of those levied on the Caravanserais.
The reference here being to the imposts and duties charged by government officials on the importation of goods and merchandise, the importers of which and their beasts of burden stopping to take rest in these places. Guards were stationed at every gate to ensure that taxes for these goods be paid in full, while the revenues therefrom accruing to the Fatimid kingdom of Egypt. Most a caravanserai was a building with a square or rectangular walled exterior, with a single portal wide enough to permit large or laden beasts such as camels to enter; the courtyard was always open to the sky, the inside walls of the enclosure were outfitted with a number of identical animal stalls, niches or chambers to accommodate merchants and their servants and merchandise. Caravanserais provided water for human and animal consumption and ritual purification such as wudu and ghusl. Sometimes they had elaborate baths, they kept fodder for animals and had shops for travellers where they could acquire new supplies. In addition, some shops bought goods from the travelling merchants.
Multani Caravanserai, established in the 14th century in Azerbaijan and now houses a restaurant, was constructed in a square shape. It has ancient style with balconies around the courtyard. Caravan city Islamic architecture Shaki Caravanserai, a historical monument in the Shaki Khanate, Azerbaijan Architecture of Azerbaijan Turkish architecture Persian architecture Persian gardens and bagh List of caravanserais List of caravanserais in Azerbaijan List of Seljuk hans and kervansarays in Turkey List of streets and gates in Grand Bazaar, Istanbul Branning, Katharine. 2018. Turkishhan.org, The Seljuk Han in Anatolia. New York, USA. Cytryn-Silverman, Katia. 2010. The Road Inns in Bilad al-Sham. BAR, Oxford. ISBN 9781407306711 Encyclopædia Iranica, p. 798-802 Erdmann, Erdmann, Hanna. 1961. Das anatolische Karavansaray des 13. Jahrhunderts, 3 vols. Berlin: Mann, 1976, ISBN 3-7861-2241-5 Hillenbrand, Robert. 1994. Islamic Architecture: Form and meaning. NY: Columbia University Press.. Kiani, Mohammad Yusef. 1976.
Caravansaries in Khorasan Road. Reprinted from: Traditions Architecturales en Iran, Tehran, No. 2 & 3, 1976. Schutyser, Tom. 2012. Caravanserai: Traces, Dialogue in the Middle East. Milan: 5 Continents Editions, ISBN 978-88-7439-604-7 Yavuz, Aysil Tükel. 1997. The Concepts that Shape Anatolian Seljuq Caravansara. In: Gülru Necipoglu. 1997. Muqarnas XIV: An Annual on the Visual Culture of the Islamic World. Leiden: E. J. Brill, 80-95. Shah Abbasi Caravanserai, Tishineh Caravansara Pictures Consideratcaravanserai.net and photos on research on caravanserais and travel journeys in Middle East and Central Asia. Caravanserais in Turkey The Seljuk Han in Anatolia
The "Jiroft culture" is a postulated early Bronze Age archaeological culture, located in the territory of present-day Balochistan and Kermān Provinces of Iran. The hypothesis is based on a collection of artifacts that were confiscated in Iran and accepted by many to have derived from the Jiroft area in south central Iran, reported by online Iranian news services, beginning in 2001; the proposed type site is Konar Sandal, near Jiroft in the Halil River area. Other significant sites associated with the culture include; the proposition of grouping these sites as an "independent Bronze Age civilization with its own architecture and language", intermediate between Elam to the west and the Indus Valley Civilization to the east, is due to Yusef Majidzadeh, head of the archaeological excavation team in Jiroft. He speculates they may be the remains of the lost Aratta Kingdom, but his conclusions have met with skepticism from some reviewers. Other conjectures have connected Konar Sandal with the obscure city-state of Marhashi, that lay to the east of Elam proper.
Many artifacts associated with Jiroft were recovered from looters described as "destitute villagers" who had scavenged the area south of Jiroft before 2001, when a team led by Yusef Majidzadeh began excavations. The team uncovered more than two square kilometers of remains from a city dating back to at least the late 3rd millennium BC; the data Madjidzadeh's team has gathered demonstrates that Jiroft's heyday was from 2500 BC to 2200 BC. The looted artifacts and some vessels recovered by the excavators were of the so-called "intercultural style" type of pottery known from Mesopotamia and the Iranian Plateau, since the 1960s from nearby Tepe Yahya in Baft; the "Jiroft civilization" hypothesis proposes that this "intercultural style" is in fact the distinctive style of a unknown, long-lived civilization. This is not universally accepted. Archaeologist Oscar Muscarella of the Metropolitan Museum of Art criticizes that the excavators resorted to sensationalist announcements while being more slow in publishing scholarly reports, their claims that the site's stratigraphy shows continuity into the 4th millennium as overly optimistic.
Muscarella does acknowledge the importance of the site. Earlier excavations at Kerman were conducted by Sir Aurel Stein around 1930. One of the most notable archaeological excavations done in Kerman Province was one done by a group led by Professor Joseph Caldwell from Illinois State Museum in 1966 and Lamberg-Karlovsky from Harvard University in 1967. Archeological excavations in Jiroft led to the discovery of several objects belonging to the fourth millennium BC. According to Majidzadeh, geophysical operations by French experts in the region indicate the existence at least 10 historical and archaeological periods in the region belonging to different civilizations who lived in this area during different periods of time in history. According to the French experts who studied this area, the evidence remained from these civilizations may be traced up to 11 meters under the ground. "What is obvious is that the evidence of Tal-i-Iblis culture in Bardsir can be traced in all parts of the region. Tal-i-Iblis culture, known as Ali Abad period was revealed by Joseph R. Caldwell, American archaeologist," said Majidzadeh.
The primary Jiroft site consists of two mounds a few kilometers apart, called Konar Sandal A and B with a height of 13 and 21 meters, respectively. At Konar Sandal B, a two-story, windowed citadel with a base of close to 13.5 hectares was found. Helmand culture of western Afghanistan was a Bronze Age culture of the 3rd millennium BC; some scholars link it with Shahr-i Sokhta and Bampur. The term "Helmand civilization" was proposed by M. Tosi; this civilization flourished between 2500 and 1900 BC, may have coincided with the great flourishing of the Indus Valley Civilization. This was the final phase of Periods III and IV of Shahr-i Sokhta, the last part of Mundigak Period IV. Thus, Jiroft culture is related to Helmand culture. Jiroft culture flourished in the eastern Iran, the Helmand culture in western Afghanistan at the same time. In fact, they may represent the same cultural area. Mehrgarh culture, on the other hand, is far earlier. An inscription, discovered in a palace, was carved on a brick whose lower left corner only has remained, explained Yusef Majidzadeh, head of the Jiroft excavation team."The two remaining lines are enough to recognize the Elamite script," he added.
"The only ancient inscriptions known to experts before the Jiroft discovery were cuneiform and hieroglyph," said Majidzadeh, adding that" The new-found inscription is formed by geometric shapes and no linguist around the world has been able to decipher it yet." Archeologists believe the discovered inscription is the most ancient script found so far and that the Elamite written language originated in Jiroft, where the writing system developed first and was spread across the country. Other scholars have called the authenticity of the cyphers into question, suggesting they may be examples of several modern forgeries in circulation since the earlier looting at the site. Prehistoric Iran Kulli culture International Rankings of Iran in History Jiroft, Fabuleuse Decouverte en Iran, Dossiers Archeologica 287, October 2003. Yousef Mazidzadeh, Jiroft earliest oriental civilization. O. White Muscarella, Jiroft and "Jiroft-Aratta": A Review Article of Yousef Madjidzadeh, Jiroft: The Earliest Oriental Civilization, Bulletin of the Asia Institute 15 173-198.
Andrew Lawler, Anc
Kerman Province is the largest province of the 31 provinces of Iran. Kerman is in the southeast of Iran with its administrative center in the city of Kerman. In 2014 it was placed in Region 5. Mentioned in ancient times as the Achamenid satrapy of Carmania, it is the first-largest province of Iran with an area of 183,285 km2, that encompasses nearly 11 percent of the land area of Iran; the population of the province is about 3 million. Kerman province is considered a paradise for palaeontologists because of an abundance of vertebrate fossils from different geological eras. Fossils include Placodermi and jawless armoured fish dating back to the Devonian period and mammals from the Tertiary period; the history of human settlements in the territory of Kerman dates back to the 4th millennium BC. This area is considered as one of the ancient regions of Iran and valuable historical vestiges have been discovered here. Jiroft is an example, where a unknown settlement dating back to around 2500 BC has been established by archeologists.
Kerman has an abundance of historical sites and landmarks, 283 in total, according to Iran's Cultural Heritage Organization. Ancient abandoned citadels such as Arg-e Bam and Rayen Castle have been preserved in the desert for 2,000 years. Historical documents refer to Kerman as "Karmania", "Kermania", "Germania", "Carmonia", "Žermanya", which means bravery and combat. Geographers have recorded Kerman's ancient name as "Go'asheer"; the altitudes and heights of the province are the continuation of the central mountain ranges of Iran. They extend from the volcanic folds beginning in Azarbaijan and, by branching out in the central plateau of Iran, terminate in Baluchestan; these mountain ranges have brought about vast plains in the province. The Bashagard and Kuh-e Banan Mountains are the highest in this region and include peaks such as Toghrol, Palvar, Sirach and Tahrood. Other ranges that stretch out from Yazd to Kerman and Challeh-ye-Jazmoorian include high peaks like hazaran 4501 meters above sea level, kuh-e Shah 4402 meters, bahr Aseman and Khabr mountain in Khabr national park and others.
Most of the province is steppe or sandy desert, although there are some oases where dates and pistachios are cultivated. In antiquity "Carmanian" wine was famed for its quality; the province is dependent on qanats for its irrigation. In the central parts, Mount Hezar is 4501 meters above sea level. Kerman is prone to natural disasters. A recent flood for example, unearthed the archeological ancient city of Jiroft, in the south of Kerman province. Arg-é Bam on the other hand, the world's largest adobe structure, was destroyed in an earthquake in December 2003. On February 22, 2005, a major earthquake killed hundreds of residents in the town of Zarand and several nearby villages in north Kerman; the counties of Kerman province are Baft County, Bardsir County, Bam County, Jiroft County, Rafsanjan County, Zarand County, Sirjan County, Shahr-e-Babak County, Kerman County, Kahnuj County, Qaleh Ganj County, Manujan County, Rudbar-e Jonubi County, Anbarabad County, Rabor County, Rigan County, Arzuiyeh County, Fahraj County, Faryab County and Ravar County.
The climate in the province varies across regions. The north and central areas experience a dry and moderate climate, whereas in the south and southeast, the weather is warm and humid; the city of Kerman and the surrounding regions have a semi-moderate and dry climate, with a maximum and minimum temperature of 39.6 °C, -7 °C, respectively. The average temperature during the months of March–June has been recorded as 20°-25 °C; these months are the most suitable for traveling and tourism. Most of the population of Kerman are Persians, Shi'a Muslims. There is a minority of Baloch population living in the south of Kerman Province and are predominantly Sunni. Kerman has a small but culturally significant Zoroastrian minority. In 2011 the population of the province was 2,938,988 in 786,400 households. 1,684,982 lived in urban areas, 1,242,344 in rural vicinities and 6,082 accounted as non-residents. In 1996, 52.9% of Kerman's population lived in urban areas, 46% in rural vicinities, the remaining 1.1% accounted as non-residents.
In 2006 urban population made 58.5%, in 2011 this rate decreased by one percent. The city of Kerman embraces about 80% of the urban population, being the most developed and largest city of the province. Natural attractions include thermal and mineral springs, recreational areas, verdant spaces and peaks, pools, protected areas and the special desert features for adventure seekers; as of 1920, the province was known for the quality of its caraway. Today, Kerman is. Sirjan, a specially designated economic zone, is considered a passageway for transfer of imported commercial goods from the south. Arg e Jadid, is another specially designated economic zone of Iran, located in Kerman province. Kerman province contains the following universities: Jiroft University Kerman University of Medical Sciences Rafsanjan University of Medical Sciences Shahid Bahonar University of Kerman Sirjan University of Technology ValiAsr University of Rafsanjan Kirman Kerman Province parliamentary districts List of monuments in Kerman Province Carmania (s
An āb anbār is a traditional reservoir or cistern of drinking water in Greater Iran in antiquity. To withstand the pressure the water exerts on the containers of the storage tank, the storage itself was built below ground level; this provides resistance to earthquakes. Many cities in Iran lie in a region, affected by large earthquakes. Since all ab anbars are subterranean structures capped above ground level, they inherently possess stable structures; the construction material used for ab anbars were tough and extensively used a special mortar called sarooj, made of sand, egg whites, goat hair, ash in specific proportions, depending on location and climate of the city. This mixture was thought to be water impenetrable; the walls of the storage were 2 meters thick, special bricks had to be used. These bricks were baked for ab anbars and were called Ajor Ab anbari; some ab anbars were so big that they would be built underneath caravanserais such as the ab anbar of Haj Agha Ali in Kerman. Sometimes they would be built under mosques, such as the ab anbar of Vazir near Isfahan.
The bottom of the storage tanks were filled with metals for various structural reasons. The 18th century monarch Agha Muhammad Khan, is said to have extracted the metals from the bottom of the Ganjali Khan public baths to make bullets for a battle; some ab anbars had storage space tanks that were rectangular in design, such as in Qazvin, as opposed to cylindrical designs in Yazd. There were several designs for the arched roof of the storage spaces of each ab anbar, namely ahang, kazhāveh, or combinations of these depending on the features of the storage space. In the particular example of Sardar-e Bozorg ab anbar in Qazvin, the storage space was built so large that it became known as the largest single domed ab anbar of Iran. Doming the square plan was not an easy task, yet dome construction was not something new to these architects as is evident from the numerous domed masterpieces such as Soltaniyeh; some sources indicate that the architects would first construct the storage space and fill it up with hay and straw all the way up to where they could start constructing the dome.
After finishing the dome, the straw would be set on fire. However holes can be seen in the walls of many storage spaces where scaffolding may have been used. A storage space with a rectangular plan is much harder to dome than a circular one, it is not known why architects in particular places chose rectangular or circular layouts, considering that cylindrical spaces were easier to cover, were deemed more hygienic for water storage due to lack of any corners in the space. Cylindrical tanks had the advantage of experiencing homogenous forces throughout the walls caused by earth pressures, as opposed to the rectangular designs. Rectangular plans however have the advantage of containing larger volumes of water within rectangular property limits. Examples of ab anbars with a square plan include the Sardar-e Bozorg ab anbar in Qazvin by Sardar Hosein Qoli Khan Qajar and his brother Hasan Khan Qajar Some required columns to be built inside the storage space; the Sardar e Kuchak ab anbar in Qazvin for example, uses a massive column in the center that splits the space up into four 8.5 X 8.5 meter contiguous spaces, each separately domed.
The Zananeh Bazaar ab anbar of Qazvin e.g. uses 4 columns inside its storage tank. The Seyed Esmail ab anbar in Tehran for example, is said to have had 40 columns. In order to access the water, one would go through the entrance which would always be open, traverse a stairway and reach the bottom where there would be faucets to access the water in the storage. Next to the faucet would be a built-in seat or platform, a water drain for disposing water from the faucet, ventilation shafts. Depending on where the faucets would be, the water would be warmer; some storages would have multiple faucets located at intervals along the stairway. Thus nobody had direct access to the body of water itself; the storage compartment is isolated from the outside except for ventilation shafts or windcatchers. To further minimize contamination, the storage tank’s interior was scattered with a salty compound that would form a surface on top of the water; the storage tank would be monitored year round to ensure that the surface had not been disturbed.
The water of course would be drawn from the bottom using the pasheer. In some ab anbars, such as in Qazvin, the stairway and storage would be constructed adjacently alongside each other, whereas in Yazd the storage and stairway had no structural connections to each other and the stairway was positioned independently; the number of steps would depend on the capacity of the storage. The Sardar-e Bozorg ab anbar, for example, has 50 steps that would take the user to a depth of 17 m below grade. Nabi mosque ab anbar had 36 steps, Haj Kazem 38 steps, Jame’ mosque 35 steps, Zabideh Khatun with 20 steps. To provide a brief relief when traversing the steps, there would be one to three landings built midway into the stairway. All stairways are linear; the person responsible for filling the ab anbars was someone called a meerab. In effect, he was responsible for distributing the kariz network at various times. If a house wanted its ab anbar filled, they would ask the meerab to open up the kariz to their ab anbar.
An overnight appointment would be enough to fill a typical house ab anbar. The ab anbar would have to be cleaned once a year from settled sediments; the Sardar is an arched entrance that descends down int
A castle is a type of fortified structure built during the Middle Ages by predominantly the nobility or royalty and by military orders. Scholars debate the scope of the word castle, but consider it to be the private fortified residence of a lord or noble; this is distinct from a palace, not fortified. Usage of the term has varied over time and has been applied to structures as diverse as hill forts and country houses. Over the 900 years that castles were built, they took on a great many forms with many different features, although some, such as curtain walls and arrowslits, were commonplace. European-style castles originated in the 9th and 10th centuries, after the fall of the Carolingian Empire resulted in its territory being divided among individual lords and princes; these nobles built castles to control the area surrounding them and the castles were both offensive and defensive structures. Although their military origins are emphasised in castle studies, the structures served as centres of administration and symbols of power.
Urban castles were used to control the local populace and important travel routes, rural castles were situated near features that were integral to life in the community, such as mills, fertile land, or a water source. Many castles were built from earth and timber, but had their defences replaced by stone. Early castles exploited natural defences, lacking features such as towers and arrowslits and relying on a central keep. In the late 12th and early 13th centuries, a scientific approach to castle defence emerged; this led with an emphasis on flanking fire. Many new castles were polygonal or relied on concentric defence – several stages of defence within each other that could all function at the same time to maximise the castle's firepower; these changes in defence have been attributed to a mixture of castle technology from the Crusades, such as concentric fortification, inspiration from earlier defences, such as Roman forts. Not all the elements of castle architecture were military in nature, so that devices such as moats evolved from their original purpose of defence into symbols of power.
Some grand castles had long winding approaches intended to dominate their landscape. Although gunpowder was introduced to Europe in the 14th century, it did not affect castle building until the 15th century, when artillery became powerful enough to break through stone walls. While castles continued to be built well into the 16th century, new techniques to deal with improved cannon fire made them uncomfortable and undesirable places to live; as a result, true castles went into decline and were replaced by artillery forts with no role in civil administration, country houses that were indefensible. From the 18th century onwards, there was a renewed interest in castles with the construction of mock castles, part of a romantic revival of Gothic architecture, but they had no military purpose; the word castle is derived from the Latin word castellum, a diminutive of the word castrum, meaning "fortified place". The Old English castel, Old French castel or chastel, French château, Spanish castillo, Italian castello, a number of words in other languages derive from castellum.
The word castle was introduced into English shortly before the Norman Conquest to denote this type of building, new to England. In its simplest terms, the definition of a castle accepted amongst academics is "a private fortified residence"; this contrasts with earlier fortifications, such as Anglo-Saxon burhs and walled cities such as Constantinople and Antioch in the Middle East. Feudalism was the link between a lord and his vassal where, in return for military service and the expectation of loyalty, the lord would grant the vassal land. In the late 20th century, there was a trend to refine the definition of a castle by including the criterion of feudal ownership, thus tying castles to the medieval period. During the First Crusade, the Frankish armies encountered walled settlements and forts that they indiscriminately referred to as castles, but which would not be considered as such under the modern definition. Castles served a range of purposes, the most important of which were military and domestic.
As well as defensive structures, castles were offensive tools which could be used as a base of operations in enemy territory. Castles were established by Norman invaders of England for both defensive purposes and to pacify the country's inhabitants; as William the Conqueror advanced through England, he fortified key positions to secure the land he had taken. Between 1066 and 1087, he established 36 castles such as Warwick Castle, which he used to guard against rebellion in the English Midlands. Towards the end of the Middle Ages, castles tended to lose their military significance due to the advent of powerful cannons and permanent artillery fortifications. A castle could act as a stronghold and prison but was a place where a knight or lord could entertain his peers. Over time the aesthetics of the design became more important, as the castle's appearance and size began to refle
The Lut Desert referred to as Dasht-e Lut, is a large salt desert located in the provinces of Kerman and Sistan and Baluchestan, Iran. It is the world's 27th-largest desert, was inscribed on UNESCO's World Heritage List on July 17, 2016; the surface of its sand has been measured at temperatures as high as 70 °C, making it one of the world's driest and hottest places. Iran is climatically part of the Afro-Asian belt of deserts, which stretches from the Cape Verde islands off West Africa all the way to Mongolia near Beijing, China; the patchy, light-colored feature in the foreground is the northernmost of the Dasht dry lakes that stretch southward 300 kilometers. In near-tropical deserts, elevated areas capture most precipitation; as a result, the desert is an abiotic zone. Iran's geography consists of a plateau divided into drainage basins. Dasht-e Loot is one of the largest of these desert basins, 480 kilometers long and 320 kilometers wide, is considered to be one of the driest places on Earth.
The area of the desert is about 51,800 square kilometres. The other large basin is the Dasht-e Kavir. During the spring wet season, water flows down from the Kerman mountains, but it soon dries up, leaving behind only rocks and salt; the eastern part of Dasht-e Loot is a low plateau covered with salt flats. In contrast, the center has been sculpted by the wind into a series of parallel ridges and furrows, extending over 150 km and reaching 75 metres in height; this area is riddled with ravines and sinkholes. The southeast is a vast expanse of sand, like a Saharan erg, with dunes 300 metres high, among the tallest in the world. According to one study more than half of the desert's surface is covered by volcanic rocks. Evaporites can be observed during hot periods. Measurements of MODIS installed on NASA's Aqua satellite from 2003 to 2010 testify that the hottest land surface on Earth is located in Dasht-e Lut and land surface temperatures reach here 70.7 °C, though the air temperature is cooler.
The precision of measurements is 0.5 K to 1 K. The hottest part of Dasht-e Lut is Gandom Beryan, a large plateau covered in dark lava 480 square kilometres in area. According to a local legend, the name originates from an accident where a load of wheat was left in the desert, scorched by the heat in a few days. Dasht-e Kavir Geography of Iran International rankings of Percy. A History of Persia. Macmillan and Company: London. Pp. 60–62. NASA image and info NASA survey on temperatures around the globe
Sunshine duration or sunshine hours is a climatological indicator, measuring duration of sunshine in given period for a given location on Earth expressed as an averaged value over several years. It is a general indicator of cloudiness of a location, thus differs from insolation, which measures the total energy delivered by sunlight over a given period. Sunshine duration is expressed in hours per year, or in hours per day; the first measure indicates the general sunniness of a location compared with other places, while the latter allows for comparison of sunshine in various seasons in the same location. Another often-used measure is percentage ratio of recorded bright sunshine duration and daylight duration in the observed period. An important use of sunshine duration data is to characterize the climate of sites of health resorts; this takes into account the psychological effect of strong solar light on human well-being. It is used to promote tourist destinations. If the Sun were to be above the horizon 50% of the time for a standard year consisting of 8,760 hours, apparent maximal daytime duration would be 4,380 hours for any point on Earth.
However, there are physical and astronomical effects. Namely, atmospheric refraction allows the Sun to be still visible when it physically sets below the horizon. For that reason, average daytime is longest in polar areas, where the apparent Sun spends the most time around the horizon. Places on the Arctic Circle have the longest total annual daytime, 4,647 hours, while the North Pole receives 4,575; because of elliptic nature of the Earth's orbit, the Southern Hemisphere is not symmetrical: the Antarctic Circle, with 4,530 hours of daylight, receives five days less of sunshine than its antipodes. The Equator has a total daytime of 4,422 hours per year. Given the theoretical maximum of daytime duration for a given location, there is a practical consideration at which point the amount of daylight is sufficient to be treated as a "sunshine hour". "Bright" sunshine hours represent the total hours when the sunlight is stronger than a specified threshold, as opposed to just "visible" hours. "Visible" sunshine, for example, occurs around sunrise and sunset, but is not strong enough to excite the sensor.
Measurement is performed by instruments called sunshine recorders. For the specific purpose of sunshine duration recording, Campbell–Stokes recorders are used, which use a spherical glass lens to focus the sun rays on a specially designed tape; when the intensity exceeds a pre-determined threshold, the tape burns. The total length of the burn trace is proportional to the number of bright hours. Another type of recorder is the Jordan sunshine recorder. Newer, electronic recorders have more stable sensitivity than that of the paper tape. In order to harmonize the data measured worldwide, in 1962 the World Meteorological Organization defined a standardized design of the Campbell–Stokes recorder, called an Interim Reference Sunshine Recorder. In 2003, the sunshine duration was defined as the period during which direct solar irradiance exceeds a threshold value of 120 W/m². Sunshine duration follows a general geographic pattern: subtropical latitudes have the highest sunshine values, because these are the locations of the eastern sides of the subtropical high pressure systems, associated with the large-scale descent of air from the upper-level tropopause.
Many of the world's driest climates are found adjacent to the eastern sides of the subtropical highs, which create stable atmospheric conditions, little convective overturning, little moisture and cloud cover. Desert regions, with nearly constant high pressure aloft and rare condensation—like North Africa, the Southwestern United States, Western Australia, the Middle East—are examples of hot, dry climates where sunshine duration values are high; the two major areas with the highest sunshine duration, measured as annual average, are the central and the eastern Sahara Desert—covering vast desert countries such as Egypt, Libya and Niger—and the Southwestern United States. The city claiming the official title of the sunniest in the world is Yuma, with over 4,000 hours of bright sunshine annually, but many climatological books suggest there may be sunnier areas in North Africa. In the belt encompassing northern Chad and the Tibesti Mountains, northern Sudan, southern Libya, Upper Egypt, annual sunshine duration is estimated at over 4,000 hours.
There is a smaller, isolated area of sunshine maximum in the heart of the western section of the Sahara Desert around the Eglab Massif and the Erg Chech, along the borders of Algeria and Mali where the 4,000-hour mark is exceeded, too. Some places in the interior of the Arabian Peninsula receive 3,600–3,800 hours of bright sunshine annually; the largest sun-baked region in the world is North Africa. The sunniest month in the world is December in Eastern Antarctica, with 23 hours of bright sun daily. Conversely, higher latitudes lying in stormy westerlies have much cloudier and more unstable and rainy weather, have the lowest values of sunshine duration annually. Temperate oceanic climates like those in northwestern Europe, the western coast of Canada, areas of New Zealand's South Island are examples of cool, wet, humid climates where cloudless sunshine duration values are low; the areas with the lowest sunshine duration annually lie over the polar oceans, as well as parts of northern Europe, southern Alaska, northern Russia, areas near the Sea of