Gilan Province is one of the Northern provinces of Iran. The center of this province is Rasht city, which is the largest and most populous city in Iran on the Caspian Sea coast. The Caspian Sea and Azerbaijan, which has an international border with Astara bound this provine on the North. Gilan has also borders with Ardabil province from the West, Zanjan and Qazvin provinces from the South, and Mazandaran province from the West.
Gilan is located between the Alborz Mountains, the Talesh Mountains and the Caspian Sea. This has created a land, where a river flows from the mountain on each side and the greenery of the forests dazzles the eye. There are 15 counties in Gilan province but the most famous ones are Rahst, Masal, Amlash, Talesh, Bandr-e Anzali, Roudbar, Astara, Fouman, Lahijan, Langeroud and Siahkal. Each county is full of beautiful cities full of wonderful tourism attractions. Gilan is also, full of alluring jungles; so if you are a backpacker, this place would be perfect for you. You can go camping in the woods, the mountain or even on the coast of Caspian Sea.
Gilan has a humid subtropical climate with, by a large margin, the heaviest rainfall in Iran: reaching as high as 1,900 millimetres in the Southwestern coast and generally around 1,400 millimetres. Rasht, the capital of the province, internationally known as the “City of Silver Rains” and also, as the “City of Rain” in Iran.
Between September and December, because the onshore winds from the Siberian High are the strongest, the rainfall is very heavy, But it occurs throughout the year though least abundantly from April to August. Humidity can reach 90 percent in summer in Gilan. The humidity is generally very high because of the marshy character of the coastal plains.
In late Spring and all the Summer, the humidity and the warmth can be annoying. So, if you are looking for a cooler place in Gilan province in this seasons, you can go to the coastline which large numbers of domestic and international tourists.
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Gilan province has a rich history and has a very rich culture. So, in addition to the natural tourism attractions, there are plenty of historical sights to visit for you too. In this article, we are going to introduce you the most famous tourism attractions of well-known cities of Gilan province. So, keep up!
Astara is the sixth largest city of Gilan province and the center of Astara city. The city is located on the border of Iran with the Republic of Azerbaijan; and is surrounded by the Caspian Sea from East, Talesh county from South and Ardabil province from West. Astara ranks first in terms of passenger accommodation in Gilan province; and you can see it between 20 to 30 tourist cities of Iran with an annual attraction of six million domestic and 800,000 foreign travelers. In addition, Astara port is the first private port in the country and the fifth active transit port in the north of the country.
Astara is full of natural tourism attractions and every year many tourists, specially from Caucasus, travel to visit this beautiful city. The most visited sights in Astara are: The Estil Lagoon, Fadoghlou jungle, Heyran cable car and Laton waterfall.
This Lagoo is located 7 KM from Astara city on the side of Astara-Talesh road. The eco-tourist importance of this lagoon is doubled due to it’s proximity to the road, diversity of natural landscapes such as mountains, forests and surrounding plains and fields. Forests and green vegetation cover the Western side of Estil lagoon. And on it’s Eastern side, floating alder trees have created a very interesting view, which is a resting place for travelers in spring and summer; and is considered one of the most important tourist attractions.
Laton waterfall is located 15 KM from Astara city and is 105 meters tall. In addition to the main waterfall, there is another waterfall at 10 meters, which is 65 meters high, and it’s water overflow is larger and wider than the main waterfall. Upstream of the Great Lawton Falls, there are three large natural ponds with three 10-meter waterfalls. Latoon waterfall registered in Iran’s national heritage sights in 2020.
At the edge of the waterfall, there is one of the most beautiful dense pristine and untouched forests of Gilan with a lot of plum, bee, pear, walnut, hazelnut and wild apple trees that maintain their greenness and beauty in 9 months of the year.
Bandar-e Anzali is an important city in Gilan province, and also the tenth important port in Iran. Like all the other cities in Gilan, it has a humid weather and it’s rainy most of the year in this city. There are some old buildings in Anzali, where are a perfect destination for tourists. Shams-ol Emare palace, Khoshtaria Palace, Music building of Anzali and Church of the Blessed Virgin Mary are some famous buildings you can visit in this city. In addition to the buildings there are three old public baths to visit and also, the famous Anzali pier.
In the 12th century AC. Nasser al-Din Shah -one of the kings of Qajar dynsty- ordered to build this palace. Shams-ol Emare Palace was the tallest and most famous building of Anzali. The tower has 5 floors and it’s materials of stone and brick. The building has a beautiful view of the sea and the forests around the city, as Nasser al-Din Shah writes in his travelogue Returning from Europe:
I have never seen such a beautiful view anywhere in Europe.
Anzali pier or Anzali Port Complex is a port in the south of the Caspian Sea located in Anzali city. It is one of the most important ports in Iran, that was built in 19th century. The port has a very nice view and it is worth to visit while you are in Anzali.
Anzali Minaret or Clock Tower, used to be the lighthouse of Anzali port; and today shows the clock to the people of Anzali. According to the writing the ruler of Gilan ordered to built this minaret in 1815 to help the sailors identify the shore by observing the light above the minaret at night and float into the canal. On this principle, a light above it is lit and a guard stands guard there. In 1928, after renovating the minaret, they set a big clock on this tower; and that is the reason people know it as the clock tower nowadays.
Fouman is located in the plain area of Gilan province. This city is famous for Masouleh village, Roudkhan castle and the delicious Fouman cookie. Due to the multiplicity of sculptures, people also call Fouman city “The city of sculptures“.
20 km Southwest out of Fooman city, there is one of the most beautiful tourism attractions of Iran, called Rudkhan castle. This military complex was initially built on two mounts during the Sassanid era and rebuilt a few centuries later. The castle is also as the “castle of a thousand steps”; in order to get to the top you have to climb 935 stairs. It is located in the woods so climbing up about 1000 stairs can be a lot of fun for you! Rudkhan castle consists of two parts: 1. Ghourkhane (place for the soldiers) and 2. Arg (residence of the ruler and his wives). With 65 watchtowers, 2.6 hectares area and a wall with 1500 m length; Rudkhan castle is known as the strongest fort in Gilan province.
One of the most famous tourist attractions in Rasht is Masouleh village. The village is located about 65 km West of Rasht city; and is also one of the most famous examples of stepped architecture in the world. According to historical sources, the village is about 800 to 1000 years old, and is also a place where you can see the best natural landscapes of Iran in it.
One of the interesting features in Masouleh is the difference in height from the lowest point to the highest point. There is a height difference of about 120 meters between its lowest and highest point; due to the stepped nature of this village.
The rooftop of every house is also the yard of the neighbor’s house because of the unique architecture of it. Because of the stepped architecture of the spectacular Masouleh, no vehicles can enter to it. You cannot find any streets in this village too, maybe some narrow alleys with short stairs.
The special cookies of Rasht are from Lahijan and Fouman cities. These cookies are one of the oldest cookies baked in Iran, named after the city of it’s origin. Most people know Lahijan with these delicious cookies; but you have to know that Lahijan is much more than the famous cookies of Gilan province. There are 26 registered historical monuments and around 12 natural tourism attractions in Lahijan .
This mosque is the burial place of four kings from Karkiya dynasty. The mosque is on Iran’s national heritage since 1938. Specific symbols from Gilan are used in designs; and also, the porch and tile designs are inspired by plant and animal motifs. There are some inscriptions that show the place belongs to 14-16th century.
Zahed Gilani tomb is a historical monument located in Sheikhanvar village, Lahijan. The tomb belongs to the 16th century AC; it has an eight crack azure dome and jungles, rice and tea fields surround it.
The tomb has two square and rectangular rooms next to it. To the North there is a long porch. The plinth of the porch walls up to a height of 115 cm, and decorated with seven colors tiles from Qajar era. You can see tiles and niches with gabled arches in different parts of the porch. The building has a pyramidal dome. Yellow and blue, white and black tiles with traditional and floral patterns cover the surface of the dome. Bricks and clay cover the area around the dome and other parts of the building.
The capital of Gilan province and the largest and most populous city in Iran on the Caspian Sea coast is Rasht city. In 2015, Rasht was selected as a creative city in the field of nutrition.
The city is located in a province that it’s surrounded by the Caspian sea on one side and Alborz mountains and forests on the other side; and due to the location, it has a nice perfect weather. But keep in mind that the weather can be a little annoying during Summer if you don’t like humid weather.
The most famous place in Rasht city is the municipality Square. The square belongs to Pahlavi dynasty and is on Iran national heritage list since 1977. The building of municipality is inspired by neoclassical European architecture, especially the architecture of St. Petersburg, Russia. This building and it’s clock tower is the symbol of Rasht city. If you visited the place while you’re in Rasht, don’t forget to buy some tasty cookies!
This lagoon is the largest urban lagoon in Iran and the second largest lagoon in Gilan. The reason of naming this place after glasses (eynak in persian) is that if you see the aerial photos of this place, you’ll see it is similar to glasses!
The beautiful Anzali Wetland with an area of about 20,000 hectares, is one of the most interesting and largest natural habitats for animals in Iran. The lagoon annually receives a large number of birds that come to Iran from neighboring countries. Due to it’s geographical location in terms of high humidity and water, It is not comparable to any of Iran’s wetlands. There are also several islands in this wetland and you can enjoy the view they’ve made in the lagoon while you’re boating.
The wetland, due to it’s remarkable beauty, attracts many tourists as a blue-natural ecosystem and is one of the most amazing attractions of Iran.
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The most famous tourism attraction of all North coastal cities of Iran is the Caspian Sea. It isn’t actually a sea and is a lake. Caspian Sea is the biggest lake in the world and because of this, people call it a sea. The sea has borders with Iran from South, Russia from North, Azerbaijan republic and also Russia from West and Türkmenistan and Kazakhstan from East.
The Northern part of the sea is very shallow. About 130 rivers flow into the sea, most of which join the sea from the northwest. The largest of these is the Volga River.
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