Wooden boats – so-called Lenj – are one of the oldest indigenous handicrafts in southern Iran. After the discovery of Sassanid period antiquities in the territory of present-day Mongolia and the discovery of Parthian and Sassanid ports, we can consider the seafaring of Iran much older. Traditional Skills of Building and Sailing Iranian Lenj Boats in the Persian Gulf were inscribed as the eighth Iranian Intangible Heritage in 2011.
Residents of the north coast of the Persian Gulf used these hand-built wooden boats for sea voyages, trade, fishing, and pearl fishing. In the past, they sailed and traded in Mumbai, Basra, and East Africa, and Tanzania. The industry has a rich cultural background. The songs of boatmen at work can be considered the intangible heritage of this industry. Old Lenj is made of moisture-resistant wood, the trunks of local trees such as plum, melon, sage, non-local tree trunks such as mulberry and sycamore, as well as a type of high-quality Indian wood called “sai” which is used for the hull. In the past, Bandar Kong, Bandar Lengeh, and the historic port of Laft (on Qeshm Island) have been the major centres of lanyard construction. The shutters are closed, and water is allowed to penetrate into them.