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News number: 9107111448

21:29 | 2012-10-08


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Iran & Tourism:

Tourist Resorts in Northern Iran

TEHRAN (FNA)- Iran's northern province of Gilan on the footsteps of the Alborz mountains, adjacent to the Caspian Sea, covered with the lush greenness of its forests and jungles and with hundreds of historical sites and other natural charms is a heaven on earth, hosting hundreds of thousands of Iranian and foreign tourists each year.

Gilan 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 side of the province is part of the South (Iranian) Talysh territory. 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, Masouleh, Manjil, Rudbar, Roudsar, Shaft, Talesh, and Soumahe Sara.

A majority of the people of Gilan speak Gilaki. Gilaki is a Persian dialect and is the divided into three sub-dialects: Western Gilaki, Eastern Gilaki, and Galeshi.

Gilan has a humid climate with plenty of annual rainfall. The Alborz range provides further diversity to the land in addition to the Caspian coasts. 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.

The movement of Mirza Kouchak Khan Jangali ( who was born in 1880) started in this province in 1914. There he established the Islamic Union Population with the help of his comrades. In a bid to escape arrest, he resided in the forests near Rasht; hence, he was nicknamed as Jangali (used to attribute one to forest). He gathered some of his friends and began his movement. After a while, large crowds of people joined in. He waged a decisive war against foreign powers, specially Britain and Russia, and continued on this path up until he embrace martyrdom.

Handicrafts and Souvenirs of Gilan

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.

Local and Regional Foods of Gilan

Gilan has a strong culinary tradition, from which several dishes have come to be taken across Iran, like Miza Ghasemi. This richness derives in part from the climate, which allows for a wide variety of fruit, vegetables and nuts grown in the province. Seafood is particularly a strong component of Gilani (and Mazandarani) cuisine. The Iranian Caviar of this region is a delicacy that has been widely prized and served on millions of tables all over the world.

The regional cuisine of Gilan Province offers a wide array of colorful dishes. Breakfast brings forth a variety of jams accompanied with the traditional types of bread, etc. Lunch and dinner display umpteen kinds of meat, vegetable, leafy vegetable dishes accompanied by pickles of all sorts.
A variety of kababs (grilled meat or poultry) such as Kabab-e-torsh, Seeka kabab, Qaz or Duck kabab, Jujeh or Chicken kabab, Tazeh kabab, Heli kabab, Kabab-e-mahi or Fish kabab etc.
Various types of kookoo (or a type of dish having a combination of eggs with vegetables, meat or fish), such as Kookoo badkubehyi, Kookoo sabzi, Baqla kookoo, Kookoo Gilani, Fish kookoo, etc.
A wide variety of fish dishes are also on the menu, including many kinds of curry with rice and condiments.

Local Music and Dances of Gilan

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 by 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.

Tourist attractions

This province has hundreds of tourist attractions and historical monuments. The followings are just a few of these tourist charms which attract hundreds of thousands of people from Iran and across the world each year.

Caspian Sea

Covering an area of approximately 438,000 square kilometers, it is the world's largest land-locked body of water or lake. It spreads among Iran, Russia, Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan and Azarbaijan. Its southern shores belonging to Iran are from the Makhtoom Ali Bay to Astara. 'Heerkany' is Khazar's ancient name and foreign maps and books also call it the 'Caspian'. Its shores are shallow and sandy. The average depth in the northern section is 6 m and a maximum of 1,000 m in the south and south west.
One of the most important clefts in the southern parts of the Caspian Sea is the Anzali Wetland, located to the south west of the Caspian, and the Mian Kaleh Peninsula which is separated from the Caspian Sea by the Qazian and Gorgan Bays. These are amongst the famous attractions of Gilan and Mazandaran provinces.
The Caspian Sea consists of three main sectors named as, the northern, central and southern. Its shores cover a distance of more than 6,380 m. of which about 657 m. beginning from Astara to the delta of the Attrak River is in the realm of Iran. The calm blue sea forms the northern view, and the dense forests covering the foot of the northern Alborz Mountains forms the southern landscape. The surrounding shores are covered by paddy fields, plantations and citrus orchards which create a wonderful scenery. As far as tourism is concerned, it consists of active and semi-active areas.
Parts of the eastern and the central shores are the main areas of tourist attractions. Other parts such as Talesh and the Astara coast are the semi-active areas. Being far from the cities and industrial establishments, the sandy shores and natural landscapes form a healthier environment in comparison to other coastal areas.

Apeer Jangali Tomb

The tomb of this gnostic lies in Bazkia Goorab, between Astaneh Ashrafieh and Lahijan. The mausoleum is an archaic brick structure. Its flooring is of green ancient tiles and its court-yard covered with rounded arches, with an indiscreet dome under the ceiling. Among other spectacular features of this structure is its intricate work of vaulted gypsum and earthenware.

Dr. Mohammad Moein Tomb

Dr. Mohammad Moein, a great personality in the field of Persian literature was the compiler of the Persian Encyclopedia. His tomb attracts those devout to the literature of the land.

Peer Qotbeddin Tomb

The same is located at a distance of 3 km. north west of the city of Astara. This personality is a great and honored gnostic. The structure is an archaic one and has been constructed of brick. There is a slab of marble in its anteroom, which is beautifully engraved with floral design and displays the date 942 AH.

Qazian Bridge and Mian Poshteh Bridge

The Mian Poshteh Bridge is the bridge connecting the provinces of Azarbaijan and Gilan. It was constructed in Mian Poshteh and Qazian during the reign of Pahlavi I. Its length is 210 m with a width of 10 m and is of concrete. The same is one of the spectacular works of engineering in the current century. The bridge was completed in 1938. Another bridge 127 m in length connects the port of Anzali to Mian Poshteh and crosses the Anzali Wetland. It has three arches one of which measures 25 m.

Anzali Wetland

Anzali Wetland extends to the south western coasts of the Caspian Sea, west of the Sefid Rood delta and south of the port of Anzali. Rivers, streams and water from irrigation drain into this wetland, which covers an area of more than 100 square kilometers. Most of the rivers terminating in this wetland take their source in the mountains of Talesh, and after a steep incline end up in the plains. Apart from economic and environmental aspects, it plays an important role in Gilan's social, geographical, political and cultural atmosphere. It is also of importance with regard to several branches of science such as zoology, biology and environmental studies.
The wetland displays a spectacular view. Its aqua atmosphere is a suitable bed for the spawning of various types of fish, which play an important role in the economy of the region. This wetland is one of the best and appropriate surroundings for various waterfowls. Hundreds of species of migrant birds choose to settle in this area for breeding. The Anzali wetland and its islands have a beautiful view which attract nature lovers.

Masooleh Village

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 stories. These comprise of an entrance corridor, cellars and other unique architectural features, and are linked to each other by a staircase. The terrace of each house is the court-yard of the house above. The ancient shrines of Own Ebne Ali and Own Ebne Mohammad in Masooleh are pilgrimage sites and hold cultural importance.

Gorgan Rood River

This is the largest river in the west or the Talesh region. Its northern branch flows at an altitude of 2,000 m and its mid-branch at an altitude of 3,000 m. These branches adjoin at an elevation of approximately 350 m. Its water shed has a gentle slope. This river passes through the city of 'Hashtpar' where a bridge is constructed over it. The river bed spreads within the limits of the city, and its southern fringes offer recreational opportunities.

Western Mountains

Extending from the Astara river valley to the Manjil gorge, the western mountain ranges of Gilan encompass the heights of Talesh, Masooleh and Poshtkooh. The steep eastern slopes, covered with forests, overlook the Gilan plains and the Caspian Sea. The mountains form a barrier between the Caspian Sea and Azarbaijan, withholding water vapors and not allowing their entrance into the Azarbaijan region.
Important peaks are "Baqrood" with an altitude of 3,197 m and "Masooleh Daq" with an altitude of 3,050 m. In winter rain and snowfall are so severe, that even the summer heat is unable to melt the snow. Natural glaciers are formed due to the abundance of snow, of which the largest is on the "Baqroo Daq" in "Gorgan Rood" basin and the "Neor" lake. Another colossal glacier is the eastern Talesh glacier which has a spectacular view.

Sheikh Zahed Gilani Tomb

This historical structure is situated in the Sheikhanvar village of Lahijan. The same is relevant to Tajeddin Ebrahim or Sheikh Zahed Gilani. The structure covered with earthenware tiles is of a pyramid shape, with a pointed dome and ceiling of plaster work. The only inscription on the wooden chest on the tomb reveals the date of 832 AH. The architectural style of the structure displays the effects of the 8th or 9th century AH. The same has been on record in Iran.

Langerood Rood Khan River

The same takes its source in the southern heights of Lahijan. Its two branches adjoin about 7 km away from its source, and from this point the river flows towards the west. After passing a large bend named 'Zaki Bar Roodkhan', it flows along the Astaneh - Lahijan Road in the west. On dissecting the northern route of Lahijan, and taking the name of Langerood Khan, it flows in a southwest-northeast direction and finally flows into the sea.

Kheshti Bridge

The same was built by Haj Aqa Bozorg Monajem Bashi during the reign of Fath Ali Shah Qajar, and was the old route from Lahijan to Langerood. This bridge spans over the Langerood River. It is 37 m in length, with two arches supported by thick pillars.

Mirza Kuchak Khan Jangali Tomb

The tomb of Mirza Kuchak Khan Jangali, reputedly known as Sardar-e-Jangal is located in the south of Rasht. This simple and at the same time beautiful monument is held in high respect of all who visit the vicinity.

Khahar-e-Imam (Imam's Sister) Mausoleum

The same is located in a locality by the same name in Rasht. The portal is of glazed bricks and indicates the date 1290 AH. There is also another inscription relevant to the reign of Naseredin Shah, dating 1272 AH. This inscription indicated a decree regarding the tax exemption of bakeries.

Lakan Salty Spring

Between the Rasht - Lakan Road, to the east of the Aqa Danapeer Village, extends a dense and beautiful forest. The Shoor Lakan Springs lie in the heart of this forest in the south of Rasht. These flow into a swampy, small pond. The walls of these springs are covered by lime sediments. Due to a high salt content, its water is salty and therefore is called 'Ab Shoor' or salty water. The inhabitants hold this place as sacred, and in summer bath in the water in order to cure skin diseases.

Sefid Rood River

The water shed of the same is to an extent of approximately 59,400 square kilometers, and originates from the provinces of Kurdistan and Azarbaijan. It passes through the Zanjan province and flows into the Caspian Sea in Gilan province. The Sefid Rood Valley acts like a corridor connecting some of the southern parts of the Caspian Sea, which are humid and high pressure areas to the low pressure regions of the Iran Plateau.

Loshan Historical bridge, Loshan

Prior to the construction of the present Qazvin - Rasht Highway, and the new concrete bridge, the old Loshan bridge was the only means of connection across the Shah Rood River. Some researchers claim that it was built in the times of Khosrow Khan Gorji, the governor of Gilan during the reign of Fath Ali Shah Qajar. But it seems to be a construction of the 9th century AH. It is 102 m in length, and has two small and two large arches. A large chamber at the base of the bridge provides shelter for caravans. The said bridge is a part of the history of the province.

Kheshti Bridge

The same was built by Haj Aqa Bozorg Monajem Bashi during the reign of Fath Ali Shah Qajar, and was the old route from Lahijan to Langerood. This bridge spans over the Langerood River. It is 37 m in length, with two arches supported by thick pillars.

Rood Khan Castle

This important and historical castle is situated 16 km. to the south east of Fooman. The same is an immense and fortified structure, covering an area of 5 hectares. It is built of stone, brick and mortar. The only entrance is to the south east, adjacent to which are two defense towers. There is a flow of water within the premises throughout the year. Although growing shrubs have caused damage to the castle throughout ages, it can be stated that the same is one of the most intact castles in Iran. According to some valid historical documents, this structure was one of the fortified bases of the Esmailians. A group of experts believe that this castle dates back to the Samanid period centuries ago and was renovated several times in the past.

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