Gilan

Gilan

Gilan Province is one of the 31 provinces of Iran. It lies along the Caspian Sea, just west of the province of Mazandaran, east of the province of Ardabil, north of the provinces of Zanjan and Qazvin. The northern part of the province is part of territory of South (Iranian) Talesh. At the center of the province is the main city of Rasht. Other towns in the province include Astara, Astaneh-e Ashrafiyyeh, Fuman, Lahijan, Langrud, Masooleh, Manjil,  Rudbar, Roudsar, Shaft, Talesh, and Soumahe Sara.

The main harbor port of the province is Bandar-e Anzali (previously Bandar-e Pahlavi).

The first recorded encounter between Gilak and Deylamite warlords and invading Muslim Arab armies was at the Battle of Jalula in 637 AD. Deylamite commander Muta led an army of Gils, Deylamites, Azerbaijanis and people of the Rey region. Muta was killed in the battle and his defeated army managed to retreat in an orderly manner.

However, this victory appears to have been a Pyrrhic victory for the Arabs, since they did not pursue their opponents. Muslim Arabs never managed to conquer Gilan. Gilaks and Deylamites successfully repulsed all Arab attempts to occupy their land or to convert them to Islam. In fact, it was the Deylamites under the Buyid king Mu’izz al-Dawlah who finally shifted the power by conquering Baghdad in 945. Mu’izz al-Dawlah however allowed the Abbasid caliphs to remain in comfortable but secluded captivity in their palaces.

In the 9th and 10th centuries AD, Deylamites and later Gilaks gradually converted to Zaidite Shi’ism. It is worth noting that several Deylamite commanders and soldiers of fortune who were active in the military theatres of Iran and Mesopotamia were openly Zoroastrian (for example, Asfar Shiruyeh a warlord in central Iran, and Makan, son of Kaki, the warlord of Rey) or were suspected of harboring pro-Zoroastrian (for example Mardavij) sentiments. Muslim chronicles of Varangian (Rus, pre-Russian Norsemen) invasions of the littoral Caspian region in the 9th century record Deylamites as non-Muslim.

These chronicles also show that the Deylamites were the only warriors in the Caspian region who could fight the fearsome Varangian vikings as equals. Deylamite infantrymen actually had a role very similar to the Swiss Reisläufer of the Late Middle Ages in Europe. Deylamite mercenaries served as far as Egypt, Islamic Spain, and in the Khazar Kingdom.

Buyids established the most successful of the Deylamite dynasties of Iran.

The Turkish invasions of the 10th and 11th centuries CE, which saw the rise of Ghaznavid and Seljuq dynasties, put an end to Deylamite states in Iran. From the 11th century CE to the rise of Safavids, Gilan was ruled by local rulers who paid tribute to the dominant power south of the Alborz range, but ruled independently.

Before the introduction of silk production to this region (date unknown, but definitely a pillar of the economy by the 15th century AD), Gilan was a poor province. There were no permanent trade routes linking Gilan to Persia. There was a small trade in smoked fish and wood products. It seems that the city of Qazvin was initially a fortress-town against marauding bands of Deylamites, another sign that the economy of the province did not produce enough on its own to support its population. This changed, however, with the introduction of the silk worm in the late Middle Ages.

Gilan recognized twice, for brief periods of time, the suzerainty of the Ottoman Empire without actually rendering tribute to the Sublime Porte, in 1534 and 1591.
The Safavid emperor, Shah Abbas I ended the rule of Kia Ahmad Khan, the last semi-independent ruler of Gilan, and annexed the province directly to his empire. From this point in history onward, rulers of Gilan were appointed by the Persian Shah.

The Safavid empire became weak towards the end of the 17th century CE. By the early 18th century, the once mighty Safavid empire was in the grips of civil war. Peter I of Russia (Peter the Great) sent an expeditionary force that occupied Gilan for a year (1722–1723).

Qajars established a central government in Persia (Iran) in late 18th century CE. They lost a series of wars to Russia (Russo-Persian Wars 1804-1813 and 1826-28), resulting in an enormous gain of influence by the Russian Empire in the Caspian region. The Gilanian cities of Rasht and Anzali were all but occupied by the Russian forces. Anzali served as the main trading port between Iran and Europe.

Gilan was a major producer of silk beginning in 15th century CE. As a result, it was one of the wealthiest provinces in Iran.

Safavid annexation in 16th century was at least partially motivated by this revenue stream. The silk trade, though not the production, was a monopoly of the Crown and the single most important source of trade revenue for the imperial treasury. As early as the 16th century and until the mid 19th century, Gilan was the major exporter of silk in Asia. The Shah farmed out this trade to Greek and Armenian merchants, and in return would receive a handsome portion of the proceeds.

In the mid 19th century, a widespread fatal epidemic among the silk worms paralyzed Gilan’s economy, causing widespread economic distress. Gilan’s budding industrialists and merchants were increasingly dissatisfied with the weak and ineffective rule of the Qajars. Re-orientation of Gilan’s agriculture and industry from silk to production of rice and the introduction of tea plantations were a partial answer to the decline of silk in the province.

After World War I, Gilan came to be ruled independently of the central government of Tehran and concern arose that the province might permanently separate at some point. Prior to the war, Gilanis had played an important role in the Constitutional Revolution of Iran. Sepahdar-e Tonekaboni (Rashti) was a prominent figure in the early years of the revolution and was instrumental in defeating Mohammad Ali Shah Qajar.

In the late 1910s, many Gilakis gathered under the leadership of Mirza Kuchik Khan, who became the most prominent revolutionary leader in northern Iran in this period. Khan’s movement, known as the Jangal movement of Gilan, had sent an armed brigade to Tehran which helped depose the Qajar ruler Mohammad Ali Shah. However, the revolution did not progress the way the constitutionalists had strived for, and Iran came to face much internal unrest and foreign intervention, particularly from the British and Russian Empires.

The Jangalis are glorified in Iranian history and effectively secured Gilan and Mazandaran against foreign invasions. However, in 1920 British forces invaded Bandar-e Anzali, while being pursued by the Bolsheviks. In the midst of this conflict between Britain and Russia, the Jangalis entered into an alliance with the Bolsheviks against the British. This culminated in the establishment of the Persian Socialist Soviet Republic (commonly known as the Socialist Republic of Gilan), which lasted from June 1920 until September 1921.

In February 1921 the Soviets withdrew their support for the Jangali government of Gilan, and signed the Soviet-Iranian Friendship Treaty with the central government of Tehran. The Jangalis continued to struggle against the central government until their final defeat in September 1921 when control of Gilan returned to Tehran.
Gilan has a humid temperate climate with plenty of annual rainfall. The city Rasht which is the center of the province is known internationally as the “City of Silver Rains” and within Iran as the “City of Rain”. The Alborz range provides further diversity to the land in addition to the Caspian coasts.

The coastline is cooler and attracts large numbers of domestic and international tourists.

Despite of the abundant humidity, Gilan is known for its moderate, mild and Mediterranean-like climate.

Large parts of the province are mountainous, green and forested. The coastal plain along the Caspian Sea is similar to that of Mazandaran, mainly used for rice paddies.

In May 1990 large parts of the province were destroyed by a huge earthquake, in which about 45,000 people died. Abbas Kiarostami made his films Life, and Nothing More… and Through the Olive Trees based upon this event.

The majority of the population speaks Gilaki as their first language while many children, particularly in the cities, tend to use Standard Persian amongst themselves. Gilan has some Azerbaijani-speaking people in Astara and Manjil. The northern part of the province is inhabited by Talesh people. The Kurdish language is used by some Kurds who have moved from Arbil to the Amarlu region. The language of Rudbar is Tati. Gilanis call themselves gilamard, which is a combination of ‘Gil’ and ‘Amard.’

Gilan’s position on the Tehran-Baku trade route has established the cities of Bandar-e Anzali and Rasht as ranking amongst the most important commercial centers in Iran. As a result, the merchant and middle-classes comprise a significant percentage of the population.

The province has an annual average of 2 million tourists, mostly domestic. Although Iran’s Cultural Heritage Organization lists 211 sites of historical and cultural significance in the province, the main tourist attraction in Gilan is the small town of Masooleh in the hills south-east of Rasht. The town is built in a fashion not dissimilar to the Pueblo settlements, with the roof of one house being the courtyard of the next house above.

Gilan has a strong culinary tradition, from which several dishes have come to be adopted across Iran. This richness derives in part from the climate, which allows for a wide variety of fruit, vegetables and nuts to be grown in the province. Seafood is a particularly strong component of Gilani (and Mazandarani) cuisine. Sturgeon, often smoked or served as kebab, and caviar are delicacies along the whole Caspian littoral. Other types of fish such as mahi sefid, kuli, kulmeh, Caspian salmon, mahi kapur and many others are consumed. Fish roe, or ashpal, is widely used in Gileki cuisine. Traditional Persian stews such as ghalieh mahi (fish stew) and ghalieh maygu (shrimp stew) are also featured and prepared in a uniquely Gilani fashion.

More specific to Gilan are a distinctive walnut-paste and pomegranate-juice sauce, used as a marinade for ‘sour’ kebab (Kabab Torsh) and as the basis of Fesenjān, a rich stew of duck, chicken or lamb. Mirza ghasemi is an aubergine and egg dish with a smoky taste that is often served as a side dish or appetizer. Other such dishes include pickled garlic, olives with walnut paste, and smoked fish. The caviar and smoked fish from the region are, in particular, widely prized and sought after specialities in both domestic and foreign gourmet markets. Gilan is a popular tourism destination.

The most famous handicrafts of the province are: wooden articles, hand woven textiles, carpets, jajeems (a type of loosely woven woolen material), Gelims (a coarse type of carpet), silk weaves, earthenware and wooden vessels, statues, felt articles, wicker work, bamboo products, crochet articles, cotton fabrics etc.

Music in Gilan, contrary to other parts of Iran, reveals to be of various types. This difference in particular can be noted in areas such as Talesh, Daylaman and Espily. In the Talesh region there are three basic kinds of melodies, i.e., “Qadim Dastan”, “Talesh Dastan” and “Tazeh Dastan”. In the province, melodies are usually related to the life style of the inhabitants and are inspired from subjects such as rustic life. Some of the rhymes are chanted along with the appropriate dances, whereas others are cordial. Lamentations that are colloquial are common, besides lullabies, love songs and nursery rhymes. The famous musical groups of Gilan are the Ashiq Gilan, Gil Ava, Saba and Sarang.

Villages

The most beautiful vicinities of Iran are found in northern Iran, and especially in Gilan Province. Coverage of green forests, diverse sources of water, local architecture, and cultural specifications are eye-catching; forming a basis for the development of tourism. Some of these rural attractions, known both internally and internationally are:

Harzavil Village, Roodbar- Manjil
The history of this village dates back to over a thousand years, and is situated near the city of Manjil. Nasser Khosrow, the famous Iranian poet had traveled to this village and had mentioned this vicinity in his travel accounts. There is an ancient cypress tree in the village that attracts crowds of people every year. The tomb of Aqa Seyed Mahmood Marandi and Imamzadeh Ebrahim are other attractions of this area.

Kiashahr Village, Rasht

This village has made impressive progress during the years and has turned into a city. Kiashahr is located on the banks of a beautiful wetland, and enjoys a wonderful landscape and pleasant weather. Here there are wooden docks and some cottages for temporary use and fishing. Rest houses and restaurants have been constructed in the forest park close to the sea, so as to provide services to visitors. This village is one of the beautiful attractions of Gilan.

Masooleh Village, Fooman

This village is situated in the south west of Fooman, 63 km. from Rasht. It enjoys a moderate climate. Local architecture, springs, waterfalls, the ‘Rood Khan’ River and dense forests all make it an attractive tourism spot. Masooleh’s integrated architecture and its houses are of two storied. These comprise of an entrance corridor, cellars and other unique architectural features, and are linked to each other by a staircase, such that the terrace of each house is the court-yard of the house above. The presence of the ancient Own Ebne Ali and Own Ebne Mohammad in Masooleh are pilgrimage sites and hold cultural importance.

Museums

Mian Poshteh Palace Museum (Navy Exhibition), Anzali

The historical structure of Mian Poshteh is located in one of the most beautiful locality of Bandar Anzali. In the year 1924, this palace was reclaimed by Reza Shah from its owner who was a Russian merchant. In 1977, this museum was inaugurated as the Navy museum. In this double storied structure, paintings and intricate plaster adornments can be noted. There is also a portrait attributed to Nasseredin Shah Qajar.

Rasht Museum, Rasht

The Rasht Museum extends over an area of 560 sq. m. and is a double storied structure. These premises belonged to Mirza Hossein Khan Kasmaie, (an ally of Mirza Kuchak Khan Jangali). The same was purchased by the Cultural and Arts Organization in 1970. After the required renovations, the structure was converted into a museum. The said museum is under control of the Cultural Heritage Organization at present, and was inaugurated in the year 1989. The museum comprises of three sections named as, the archaeological, anthropological and a sector displaying documents. Objects discovered in the excavations of hillocks such as Marlik, Tukam, Daylaman, Cheraq Ali and the Tegran cave are on exhibit here.

Gilan’s Rural Heritage Museum

About 15 Kilometers far away from Rasht, there is a green and calm highway, with its two sides surrounded via rush and pine trees.

Stepping or driving a little forward, you’ll reach an open and wide area decorated with wooden tableaus and billboards including the text “Musee patrimoine rural de Guilan” next to “UNESCO” and “Aix Du Province University” logos.

That French title remembers the glorious opening ceremony of “Guilan museum of rural heritage” in March 2007 where Prof. Christian Bromberger gave an interesting lecture about the history of Gilak tribe in front of hundreds of people, those in love with Persian culture.

Guilan museum of rural heritage is a fantastic and unique Eco-Museum that has been constructed in order to show the hidden corners of Guilan people’s culture and lifestyle to the tourists from all around the world.

After paying a very skimpy amount of fee to the attendant at the entrance gate, you will find your way into a natural corridor with tall maple trees on the two sides and their foliage acting as roofs, preventing the sun and rain from damaging the traditional cobblestone floor of this narrow rural route.

The artificial wooden fence on the two sides of this corridor extends all around the museum that is designed exactly such as a small village and includes all parts of a real hamlet such as teahouse, playground, municipality, stable and lake.

Mainly, this museum is dedicated to anthropology and is considered a good and reliable source for sociological studies especially to researchers who want to gather more valuable information on Gilak’s life.

The Eco-museum shows the cultural and ethnic diversity of 27 Gilak subgroups in 27 cottages, in each of them there are girls wearing traditional costumes, some of them cooking cuisines, foods and some others making handicrafts. It is necessary to know that the total surface area of museum is about 260 hectares.

Darya Beigi House, Langerood

One of the ancient houses of Langerood is the Darya Beigi house, one of the reputed families of Gilan. It is a double storied structure, and the rooms on the upper floor have latticed sash windows. This house has two large wooden doors with spikes and knockers. Flanking the doors are mantles with ancient mirrors. Each floor has three chambers, each accompanied by a beautiful balcony. The hall is adorned with paintings and valuable plaster work of the Qajar period. The interior adornments of this house are the important historical and artistic works of Gilan.

Monajem Bashi House, Langerood

The said is located in the Feshkalay locality, near the Sabzeh Maidan square in Langerood. This house belongs to the Monajem Bashi household, and is composed of the interior and exterior segments, private quarter, a mosque, bath and stables. Between the entrance and hall is a vestibule, which is connected to the upper floor by stairs. The upper floor comprises of a hall and three chambers. The adornments of the former depict the architectural effects of Gilan in the Qajar era. Four exquisite sets of doors displaying shrubs and floral designs, adjoin the chambers to the hall. This structure is registered as a national monument by the Cultural Heritage Organization.

Other Old Houses

Other ancient houses of the province which are mostly relevant to the Qajar period are: The houses of Haj Mirza Ahmad Abrishami (Rasht), Ayatollah Aqa Roodbari (Rasht), Dewan Beigi (Rasht), Mohammad Sadeqi (Lahijan), Dawoodzadeh (Rasht), Haj Seyed Hashem Bahrani (Rasht) and Sardar Mowtamed Rashti.

Mohtashem Orchard of Gilan-Mohtasham Garden-Bagh e Mohtasham

The Mohtashem Orchard is another tourist attraction site of the city of Rasht. It dates back to 130 years ago, and its tall sycamore trees are outstanding. Hence, the majority of those, who visit this city, spend a few hours under the shadow of the trees of this orchard.

One of the important sections of this orchard is its two-storey building, which has two large chambers in each floor. This building’s area is nearly 240 square meters. Its blue pillars and beautiful ceiling has distinguished this building from all of the other buildings of the city of Rasht. This building which previously had a 7,000-meter yard, and was surrounded by a wooden fence, was the place of residence of the rulers of Gilan.

Rasht Market-Bazar e Rasht-Bazare Rasht-Rasht Bazaar-Rasht Baazar

One of the other attractions of the city of Rasht is its market. The city’s market is situated in the central and ancient district of Rasht and is considered as a commercial hub of Gilan Province. Everyday thousands of residents of surrounding cities and villages attend this market for trade. In this market, in addition to a diverse range of agricultural products, the everyday necessities of people can be found.

Rasht market covers 24 hectares and has 14 guest houses, which are interconnected. These guest houses have been constructed in the Qajarid era and early days of Pahlavi regime as commercial hubs. These guest houses include Taqi Bozorg, Taqi Kouchak, Sa’aadat, Mohtashem, Chinichian, and Malek motels.

The Taqi Bozorg guest house was built in 1321 AH, south of Taqi Kouchak guest house. The Taqi Kouchak guest house has been constructed north of Rasht market, next to Haj Mojtahed Mosque.

Sa’aadat guest house is situated next to the main and large square and dates back to the Qajarid era. In the past it was considered as one of the important trade poles.

Rasht traditional market is one of the attractions of Gilan Province. Whenever tourists enter this market they search for their considered good in a large number of displayed products, while also paying a visit to this city’s ancient guest houses.

Gilan Province, which covers an area of almost 147,000 square kilometers, is situated in northern Iran, and lies on the southwestern coastlines of Caspian Sea. This province is next to Caspian Sea and Azerbaijan Republic from the north; Ardabil Province from the west; Zanjan and Qazvin Provinces from the south; and Mazandaran Province from the east.
The coastal plain of the Caspian Sea is made of the alluvium of rivers, which have originated from Alborz and Talesh Mountains, and which pour into the sea.

The majority of agricultural activities and the main cities and residential regions of Gilan Province are situated in this plain. Throughout the southwestern corner of this plain, there is a wider distance between the mountainous forests and the sea. However, this gap narrows in western and eastern Gilan to less than five kilometers.
Alborz Mountain Range, with an average altitude of 3,000 meters, is extended in west and south Gilan like a huge wall. Gilan Province is linked to Mazandaran Province via Chaaboksar; and to Azerbaijan Republic via Astara. This province maintains a moderate Mediterranean climate, which results from the climate of Alborz Mountain Range and the presence of the Caspian Sea.

The northern foothills of Alborz Mountain Range; and eastern foothills of Talesh Mountains maintain a cold and humid climate. This region of Iran has the highest rainfall compared to other regions of Iran. The accumulation of steam of the Caspian Sea and the presence of Alborz and Talesh Mountains prevent the scattering of the clouds, leading to a high rainfall and adjustment of temperature in this region. The northern atmospheric currents and the Mediterranean currents result in a rise in the rainfall in the region.
In fact, the temperature in Gilan plain is relatively steady throughout the year.

Gilan Plain is one of the most fertile regions of Iran and holds a special status among other Iranian provinces due to its paddy fields, and tea and tobacco cultivation. The Alborz and Talesh Mountain Ranges in southern and western regions have surrounded Gilan Province. The majority of mountainous regions are covered with thick forests. Usage of Gilan forests plays a decisive role in Iran’s economy.

To get familiar with the historical background of Gilan, we seek the assistance of archeologists and study their findings. With the help of works that they have unearthed, archeologists take us to thousands of years ago. The findings of the archeologists make us aware of this province’s ancient history.

Based on the gained documents and evidence, resulting from the searches of the archeologists throughout the Caspian Sea coastlines, signs of life has been detected in the northern Iran region, several thousand years ago.

The renowned researchers and historians, such as Arthur Keith, and Henry Field, in accordance to findings, believe that a highly advanced civilization had existed in Gilan and Mazandaran Provinces, almost five thousand years ago. Even a number of historians and researchers believe that Gilan’s advanced civilization dates back to seven thousand years ago. Also, some are of the opinion that the ancient civilization and arts of Gilan decisively influenced the other civilizations of that period of time.

Undoubtedly, an ancient civilization existed throughout the Caspian Sea coastlines, including Gilan and Mazandaran, several thousand years ago. The historical works unearthed throughout the regions of Rahmat-Abad, Talesh, Roudbaar, Daylam, and other regions of Gilan confirm this fact.

Within the scientific excavations in the said regions, numerous historical items, such as ceramic plates in different colors, in addition to stone-made and gunmetal objects, home tools, different types of decorative items, and even highly delicate objects, such as needles, have been discovered; some of which date back to 2000 BC.

The Australian Oriental Scholar, William Galikan, in his book, confirms the view of other researchers, who believe that a major and glittering civilization existed throughout the Caspian Sea coastlines, three thousand years ago, and the people of this region were familiar with culture and arts.

In his book, this Australian oriental scholar refers to the discovered items in Gilan, and concludes that all these unearthed objects date back to 900 BC. At the time, an advanced and skilled ethnicity had settled throughout the northern and western foothills of Alborz Mountains, which was not influenced by the existing civilizations in the Mesopotamia. The creativity of these people is evident in their ceramic items. These objects are considered as the feats of potters of that era and in fact the performance of those artists can be imitated by the best present-day sculptors.

A number of researchers believe that because this province has been the place of residence of a tribe named: “Gel”, it has been named as Gilan.

Meanwhile, the Russian Iranologist, Alexander Chodzko, in his book: “The Land of Gilan” has noted that the province of Gilan is full of marshlands and swamps. And in fact this region of the Caspian Sea coastlines maintains a lower altitude compared to other regions of this coastal belt. A large number of rivers that originate from the Caspian Sea region’s mountains feed this province, leading to establishment of a humid climate in the region.

The green province of Gilan has been the land of courageous people throughout the course of history. Brave and valiant people lived on the foothills and mountainous forests of this region, which were highly skilled in combat. These brave people took shelter in the provincial forests and mountainous regions, living independently and freely. All those who have carried out research on Gilan Province, including historians and researchers of ancient times, era of advent of Islam, and post-Islamic era up to the current period of time have confirmed that people of this province have been courageous and independent and have never bowed down to foreign powers. In the coming programs, we will make you further familiar with these people’s braveries.

The province of Gilan consists of several cities and villages. Based on a regional classification, Gilan Province is comprised of four regions; each of which maintains a different language, dialect, ethnicity, and history.

Gilan Province’s economy is based on farming, animal husbandry, fishing, and apiculture.

The most important agricultural products of this province are tea and rice, which are cultivated in different cities of this province, including Laahijaan and Roudsar. Olive is another farming product which is cultivated in the city of Roudsar. Astara, Kianshahr, and Anzali ports are considered as the most important fishing centers of this province. Regions such as Ashkevar, Amarlou, Daylamaan, and Talesh are the most important apiculture centers of this province. Animal husbandry is common across the foothills. Wheat, barley, peanuts, and tobacco are the other agricultural products of this province which are cultivated in different regions of Gilan Province.

Meanwhile, Caviar is one of the valuable exports of this region, which is produced through netting Sturgeons.

Throughout the rural and nomadic communities of Gilan Province, handicrafts have also played a decisive role in meeting the economic needs of people alongside farming, fishing, and animal husbandry. The climate and agricultural activities of people of Gilan has made the growth of handicrafts in this province in line with the daily needs of farmers who cultivate rice in paddy fields.

The historical works unearthed in archeological excavations reveal that Gilan’s metalworkers and glassworkers have created valuable works in these domains and have been highly skilled in these arenas.

The famous Iranologist, Professor Grishman, introduces valuable examples of the works of Gilani metalworkers throughout the era of Medes, Sassanid and Parthian dynasties, including highly delicate and priceless dishes, statues, weapons, and decorative pieces, which date back to 8th and 9th Centuries BC.

Glasswork industry has a long history in Gilan Province. Based on evidence resulting from archeological discoveries, Gilani artists have been familiar with glass for the past 3400 years and had honed their skills in glasswork industry.

In fact, throughout the excavations in the region of Daylaman, beautiful glass-made plates have been unearthed.

In regard to stonecutting, a number of stone-made items discovered in excavations show that Gilan maintains a long history of stonecutting industry and has reached perfection in this industry.

Basket weaving and straw-weaving, in the view of many researchers, is one of the most ancient industries, which mankind has become familiar with. This industry originated many other handicrafts including rug-weaving and pottery.

Enjoying splendid natural beauty, a pleasant climate, lofty mountains covered with lush vegetation and luxuriant forests, this province attracts a large number of visitors each year. Situated to the south of the Caspian Sea (the largest land locked body of water in the world), Gilan covers an area of 14709 sq kms. This province is bounded on the north by the Caspian Sea, on the west by the Ardabil Province, on the coast by Mazandaran, and on the south by Zanjan. The high Alborz Mountains, scaling off the narrow Caspian strip, traps humidity and creates a mild humid region with luxuriant forests and swamps, and has caused it to be the most humid region in Iran. Along the coast of the Caspian Sea there are many swamps, the largest of which are the swamps of Anzali and Amir Kelayeh. The Anzali Swamp is in the south of the port of Anzali. It supports natural vegetation which is unique in its kind. There are recreational facilities for boating on the swamp. The people who inhabit Gilan province are called Gilak, speaking the language of Gilaki. Rasht is the capital city, while Astara, Masouleh, Astaneh-e Ashrafiyyeh, Anzali, Fuman, Langrud, Lahijan, Rudbar, Rudsar , Soumaeh Sara, and Talesh are the other towns of the province.
Rasht:

Located in the centre of the plateau of Gilan, Rasht is 323 kms from Tehran. It has a mild humid climate. Dating back to the pre-Islamic period, this city has been an important centre for trade and agricultural activities. While these continue to be of high importance in the economy of Rasht, the development of industries has changed it into a semi industrial city. Utilitarian and decorative articles in wood and crochet produced in Rasht have nation-wide fame.

 

Anzali:

Situated 40 kms northwest of Rasht, this town is the most important northern seaport of Iran. It is a peninsula, 33 kms long separating Anzali swamp from the Caspian Sea. Fishing, exporting caviar, and tourism are among the main sources of income in Anzali. Pol-e Ghazian, Shanbeh Bazaar (the Saturday market), the palace of Miyan Posht are among the interesting places to see. Anzali swamp, having a fascinating landscape, attracts many visitors.
This seaport links Iran with the Black Sea via the Volga-Don channel. The recreational ship, the Mirza Kuchek Khan, transports passengers from Anzali to the countries on the northern coast of the Caspian Sea.

 

 

Rudkhan Castle:

Rudkhan Castle dates back to the Seljuk period (1038-1194) and is 20 kms away from Fuman. Built of bricks and stones, its entrance is flanked by two towers. In the past it was used for different purposes, e.g., as a fortified building for protection during the wars and battles, and as a storehouse for military supplies. Natural spectacular landscapes as well as pleasant weather and the impressive castle have great attraction for tourists.

 

Gilan’s handicrafts:

The handicrafts of Gilan are rich in diversity. The most well-known of which are decorative and utilitarian articles in wood, Straw, gelims, jajims, earthen ware, ceramics, peasant’s shoes and felt carpets.
Olives, various kinds of regional jams and sweets (the most welt-known of which is Koluchcheh) produced in Gilan have nation-wide fame.
Abu Ali Sina (Avicenna):
Hamadan is home to the tomb of Avicenna, the philosopher. The mausoleum of Avicenna is an imitation of the oldest historic building of the Islamic period namely the Ghabus Gonbad. This mausoleum has been constructed on 12 tall cement pillars. The grave of Sheikh-ul Raeis Avicenna has been placed in the center of the 12 foundations and next to it is the resting place of Sheik Abu Saeid Dakhdook who was Avicenna’s friend.
Another poet is honored in Hamadan.  Baba Taher, who lived during the same period as Ibn Sina, was born in Hamadan, Iran, in the early eleventh century. He was considered by his contemporaries as one of the most eminent, erudite mystics and sentimentalists of his time, a reputation he has held in the affection of his countrymen to the present day.
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