GEOGRAPHY AND HISTORY
With an area of 95815 square kilometers, the Province of Semnan is located to the east of the province of Tehran. It includes 4 districts which are: Semnan, Shahrood, Damghan and Garmsar.
In 1991 the population of the province was about 1457000, which is formed of 61.6% registered to be urban dwellers, and the remaining 38.4% as villagers. Although the city of Semnan is the administrating center of the province, the city of Shahrood is the largest and the most populated city. available information shows that the population of the province is consisted of 105 male against every 100 female.
The province of Semnan is located on the south of the mountainous chain of Albors, in which the height of the land decrease southward, and it is connected to the Kaveer desert from the south. So this province is consisted of two major geographical areas; the mountainous to the north, and the fertile outskirts and plains to the south. The mountainous area contains mines as well as some beautiful landscapes, while the outskirts have been suitable to the establishment of the old cities during the history.
The province of Semnan is significant for its variable climate. It is very cold on the mountains, temperate in the outskirts and very hot in the desert. The old city of Damghan has very cold weather in the Winter because of the wintry winds which come from the north, and a temperate summer, for the same reason. It is cool in the Summer. The climate in the old city of Semnan is significant for its temperate Winter and hot Summer. The weather in Shahrood is very cold in the northern part, temperate in the middle, and very hot in the south. The weather of the district of Garmsar is very hot and dry in the Summer, and very cold and rainy in the Winter. However, Garmsar is located on the edge of the arid desert zone.
The province of Semnan is well known for being one of the 16 division of the Ancient Avista. During the long period of the Achaemenian and the Maads, it was a part of the Part (or the Partos) state. It enjoyed a special importance also during the Sasanid period. During the Islamic period it was a part of the historical region of Qomis (or Komash). Finally, the province of Semnan, with more than two thousand years history, has been witness to many wars, losses and victories.
The Silk Road crosses through the middle area of the province, and it left many remainings such as palaces, huge buildings, castles, Carvansaras (caravan stops), water storages, towers, and great walls. From the many remained historical buildings, one can mention the palaces of Aga Mohammed Khan and Fath-Ali-Shah in Damghan, as well as the palaces of Shah-Abbas, Ainol-Rasheed, and the private house (Haramsara) in Garmsar, as well as the huge building of Nasser-ul-Deen Shah’s daughter in Damghan. There are also many castles like Saro Castle, Koshmaghan Castle and Pachenar Castle in Semnan, as well as Lasgerd Castle and Benkooh Castle in Garmsar which are well known as historical and tourist places. There are also many religious and pilgrimage places and buildings in the province of Semnan such as the Sultani Mosque, the Jami’ Mosque in Semnan, as well as the Tarikhaneh Mosque in Damghan, and the Jami’ Mosque in Bastam.
The province of Semnan is also well known for its many natural attractive places, and it has been known as one of the most attractive provinces in Iran. The many pleasant river-sides, mine and natural water (Cheshmeh), leisure places, forests and green spaces, as well as many protected environmental areas, nice highlands and peaks, caves and many attractive desert spaces, create the very beautiful nature of the province.
Regarding to the culture and the local traditions, one can call it the province of varieties. Observing the local people’s behavior and action practicing their own national and religious ceremonies, wedding parties, memorial ceremonies for holy people or the death of their relatives, although is varying in different places of the province, it would be very attractive for any tourist.
In this province, many scholars such as Manuchehri Damghani, Ebno-Yameen Foroumandi, Foroughi Bastami, Yaghmaei Jandaqi, Zoqi Bastami, as well as other scholars and (Arefs) such as Bayazeed Bastami, Shaykh Abol-Hassan Kharaqani, Shaykh Ala’ol-Dawleh Semnani, Shaykh Sakkak and Bibi Monadjemeh Semnani had lived, worked and died there. From the later scholars we can name many such as Haj Ali Semnani, Faiz Semnani, Zabeehollah Safa, and Ali Mo’allem.
A significant tradition in Semnan which can be mentioned is avoiding wearing black clothes in any memorandum ceremony. The reason may be because the local people hate the black flags of the Abbasid invaders.
This city is located on the main road between Tehran and Mashhad, with 221 kilometers distance from Tehran. During its long history, this city was occupied by many tribes, and its name has been mentioned in many historical books. In the beginning of the fourth century, the city of Semnan was counted as a part of the territory of Al-Ziar dynasty, and after the decline of this dynasty, it was occupied by Al-Bowayh. In this period, the city of Qomis was a part of the region of Daylam. In the year 427 After the Hegira (AH), the Ghaz Turks destroyed this city severely, and it was once again destroyed by the Mongols in the year 618 AH. From the many significant historical remainings of the city, one can mention the followings:
hThe Minaret of the Saljuk Period which contain an inscription written by the Kufi calligraphy on its brick walls.
Khanqah and Tomb of Shaykh Ala’ol-Dawleh Semnani which is located in Sorkheh village.
The building is being regarded to Mongols’ period.
The Friday Mosque which its building history belongs to the year 828 AH (the Shahrokh period).
Shah Abbas Karvansera which is located in Lasjerd village, and it has to somewhat remained undistroyed.
The Sultani Mosque which was built by Fath-Ali shah Qajar.
The Gate of the Semnan Citadel which is of the Qajar period remainings.
The Natural and Historical Remaining of Darband which is located 21 kilometers far from the city of Semnan and it is very interesting for visitors.
The province of Semnan is very interesting regarding its many variable wild-life and its protected natural areas. The protected natural areas of “Khosh Yeilaq” (beautiful country side), on the north-eastern area of the district of Shahrood, “Parvar” on the northern area of the district of Semnan, “Khoar Tooran” on the south-eastern area of the district of Shahrood, are famous areas in this province. The rarely found Iranian Zebra groups live in Khoar Tooran area. The other wild animals of the province are named as: partridge, bustard, grouse, rabbit, leopard, zebra, gazelle, wild goat, wild sheep, sable, and many other kinds of wild animals.
All districts and towns of the province are well connected by roads, and travailing to these areas is very easy. All towns of the province are well facilitated by networks of services such as telecommunication and health services. All towns of this province are provided with many kinds of hotels and guest houses, and all service staff are familiar with tourism regulations as well as the local culture.