Iran City Guides – Qazvin:


  • close to the fortress city of the Assassins in Alamut
  • situated at the foot of the Alborz mountains
  • 165 km northwest from Tehran
  • population 342,000; altitude 1800 meters

Located northwest from Tehran, the historic city of Qazvin is the capital of Qazvin province. Known for its famous carpets, Qazvin is the jumping-off point for a visit to the fortresses of the Assassins in Alamut, 30km away.


Founded in the Sassanian period in the 3rd century by Shapur II, Qazvin was briefly the PersianSafavid capital in the mid-16th century before the court moved to Esfahan. In between these two eras of prominence, the city was taken by invading Arab forces in 644 AD and ravaged by the Mongols in the 13th century. Situated on the strategic road between Tehran and the Caspian Sea, the city has long been fought over and Qazvin was occupied by the Russians during World Wars I and II. The city’s long history means there is much of archeological interest in the area.

Attractions & Sights in Qazvin

Little remains from the period when Qazvin was Persia’s capital, though the Chehel Sotunpredates this period and was used as a Safavid royal palace. The building, with a large pool at its front, was built in 1510 and is located in what is now the town’s central park. Chehel Sotun is attractively floodlit at night. The name Chehel Sotun means “Forty Columns” and refers to the reflection of the 20 wooden pillars of the building in the pool, which seems to double their number. The interior has a number of fine frescoes and paintings and also contains a recent calligraphy museum.

The Imamzadeh Hossein shrine commemorates Hossein, a son of Imam Reza (765-818), the seventh descendant of the prophet Muhammad and dates from the 16th century. The facade is from the Qajar period and the building is topped by a fine blue dome with a fountain pool at the front.

The Jameh Mosque, said to be built over a Zoroastrian fire temple, dates from around the 10th century or earlier, has been remodeled over the ages and has a beautiful blue dome and interior relief calligraphy. The al-Nabi Mosque is from the Qajar period (1794-1925) with four large iwansin its courtyard.

Regarding geographic situation, Qazvin province, as a bridge, connects the capital of the country to the northern and western regions and European and Caucasian countries as well. While this province is developed from agricultural point of view, it has become one of the important focal point for development of the country due to its suitable condition.
Qazvin province was separated from Tehran province in 1996 as a new province in divisions of the country. Qazvin and Takestan townships constitute the administrative and political limits of this province.
The population of Qazvin province was 968,257 in 1996, out of which 57.11% were urban dwellers and 42.89% were lived in rural areas. The sex ratio of the province is 101.
From geographical setting point of view, Qazvin province is divided into two mountainous and plain sections. The mountainous part is situated in the northern part of the province which includes the southern part of Alborz Mountain Range. The Alborz valleys extend southward as well.
The climate of the province is cold in the north and moderate in the south. Generally, winters are cold and snowy in the north with moderate summers, but in plain areas winters are relatively cold and summers are relatively warm.
The antiquity and historical records of the province dates back to Median government in 9th century BC. In that time, Qazvin region was the arena of invasions of different tribes and clans including Tabarestan Dialameh tribes. In early Islamic period Qazvin was settled by victorious Arab forces. In early Safavid time, Qazvin was chosen as capital. Due to closeness to Tehran, Qazvin was one of the important governmental centers in Ghajar time.

Qazvin township is located in a vast plain 144 km. west to Tehran. The city was founded in the time of Sassanide Shapour I, famous as Shad Shapour, in order to prevent the invasions of Dialameh and it was gradually developed as the main nucleus of Qazvin city.
After the invasion of Arabs to Iran and commencement of Islamic conquests, this city was surrounded by one of the famous Arab commanders named Bera-ebn Azeb in the year 24 AH. In Islamic era, Qazvin became one of the military bases of Arab forces.
In Omavi time, Jome’ Mosque, which was one of the reputable mosques of the city till Haroon-al-Rashid’s reign, was constructed.
In 176 AH., another city or castle was established in front of the old Qazvin city which was famous as Madineh.

Caliph Haroon-al-Rashid, after being aware of bravery of Qazvin’s people against Dailamian invasions, ordered to construct a mosque in Madineh Mobarakieh as well as a wall around it. After his death, the work was completed by one of his Turkish commanders in 256 AH.
From late 5th century AH. to the time when Ismailieh castles were attacked by Mongol Holakoo, Qazvin was influenced by the events relating to Hasan Sabbah (Ismailieh) movement and his successors and it was also the witness of long clashes and wars between central government and Ismailieh.Qazvin was selected as capital by Safavid and several buildings and monuments were constructed over there.
In Ghajar time, Tehran was selected as capital and Qazvin became a city of importance due to locating in the course of the way to Europe.Presently, Qazvin city is one of the important cities of the country and is considerably developed from economic and social points of view and also it is one of the centers of industrial, agricultural and service development of Iran.
The important natural, historical and religious sights of Qazvin are as follows:
Several mineral water springs,
Portals of Ali Ghapoo and Chehel Sotoon edifices in Qazvin,
Several castles including Alamout, Nowzer Shah, Lambsar, Semiran, Sangrood, Shahrak, Sasan, Shirkooh and …,
Barajin castle, Sangi (stone) castle with Koofi inscription,
Safa public bath,
Several underground water reservoir,
Yaleh Gonbad and Kafar Gonbad domes,
Several old private houses like Razavi, Saadieh, Zarab Khaneh, Golshan, Vasir, Hadgi Reza and Shahroodi inside the city,
Seyed Alikhan and Sepahsalar ancient dams,
Old graveyards of Hasan Abad and Shah Kooh,
Gazorkhan and Harzvil ancient villages,
Nosrat Abad, Ghazanchal, Hossein Abad, Meshkin Tapeh, Tapeh Alvand, Agha Baba, Dolat Abad and …. ancient hills,
Several Baazars and Timcheh (arcade),
Several caravansaries,
Old gates of Qazvin,
Museum and Kolah-Farangi edifice in Qazvin,
Kabir, Haydarieh, Masjedolnabi, and Sanjideh Jame’ mosques,
Several mourning places (Hosseinieh) and old schools,
Several old tombs and mausoleums,
So many Imanzadeh.


Today Takestan, which was called “Siadeh” or “Siadhen” in the past, has a long history and it was very thriving with distinguished situation in Sassanide time. Very interesting pieces of plaster work have been discovered in “Tapeh Khadoo” located in east north of Takestan which belong to Sassanide period.Takestan township is one of the centers for agricultural activities in the province and is situated in the course of Teheran-Europe main road.
The important natural, historical and religious sights of Takestan are as follows:
Yaleh spring,
Avaj hot water spring,
Soltan Abad, Khandoo, and Dakan histirical hills,
Ghaleh Dokhtar castle 15 km. to Takestan-Zanjan road,
Shah Abbasi public bath,
Several Imamzadeh,

Tourism Facilities

There are suitable transportation, communication, and health facilities both in Qazvin and Takestan and they are easily accessible. Qazvin has suitable hotels, guest houses and other accommodation facilities. People are well acquainted with tourism. The most important handicrafts of the province are Stony objects, tilling, inlaid works, carpet, plaster works, calligraphy, and mirror making.


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