In this article we continue our journey to Gilan Province; the land of forests, paddy fields and silk, turbulent rivers, flowers such as violets, primroses, and blue lotus; and the habitat of swans and ducks. In this program, we discuss the urban tourist attraction sites in Gilan Province.
The cities of this province are considered as the tourist attraction sites of this region of Iran due to their special architecture, economic prosperity, historical importance, and scenic landscape. There are nearly thirty cities in Gilan Province; each of which maintain special features, given their position, covered area, population, and regional status. The cities of Gilan are in reach because they are mainly close to each other and all of them maintain appropriate welfare facilities. Even the smallest cities of this province maintain the dynamism of large cities. Let’s pay them a visit.
Initially, we go to the city of Rasht in Gilan Province. This city maintains a good economic status due to its fertile lands and appropriate climate. It is the center of production of rice, tobacco, tea, and silk. This city in the past was the only link between Iran and Europe.
The city of Rasht is situated in a wide plain, 30 kilometers from the Caspian Sea coastal belt, and on the northern foothills of Alborz Mountain Range. This city is located south of Anzali Port, and is at the same level of high seas. The city is engulfed by “Siaah-Roudbaar” River from the east, and “Gohar Roud” River from the west. These rivers connect in northern Rasht and pour into Anzali marshland.
The city of Rasht maintains a high rainfall, given its proximity to the sea and the winds that blow from northeast to southwest in the Caspian Sea region. The main residents of the city of Rasht are the members of an ethnicity called “Gil”. They have lived in the present day Rasht since the BC years. According to the historical sources, this city has most likely existed in the pre-Islam era and its history dates back to Sassanid era.
In the Islamic era, until the reign of Safavid Dynasty, this city was rather small. But as of the era of the rule of Safavid King, Shah Abbas the Second, until the waning days of the Qajarid Dynasty, Rasht was a major commercial hub and the convoys which stopped in this city sent their goods via Rasht to the Mediterranean ports.
Rasht maintains several tourist attractions. It maintains a special architecture, which has been mainly manifested in the main square of this city, namely Shohadaa Square. The buildings surrounding this square portray the architecture of their eras. A number of old houses of Rasht are highly valuable in regard to their style of architecture, paintings, and plasterwork. Hence, they are registered and enlisted among the national cultural heritage.
The tourists, who have visited Gilan, have written articles about the city of Rasht. The German tourist, Terzel, who has traveled to Gilan in early 19th Century, has described the houses of this city as follows: “These houses are made of bricks. And the design of their rooftops is based on the climate and special architecture of homes of Gilan Province.”
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.
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.
The traditional market of the city of Rasht consists of a large square, a small square, and a number of guest houses. The architecture of these guest houses is one of the attractions of this city. Terms of arrangement of different agricultural products in this market, is one of the major tourist attractions of this city. The manifestations of folklore cultural beauties of this province are in every corner of Rasht market; each of which are highly attractive.
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.
Mohtashem guest house was constructed in 1921 AD. Also Chinichian guest house is situated northwest of Rasht market and was built by Chinichian brothers in 1929.
The Malek guest house was developed in Qajarid era and was used for the export of rice to Russia and silk to Kashan and Yazd.
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.
Rasht Museum is one of the famous museums in Iran which is under the supervision of the Cultural Heritage Organization. This museum was previously the house of the Iranian poet and journalist, Mirza Hussein Khan Kasmaai, who was also one of the pioneers of Jangal Movement. Rasht Museum was founded in 1970 AD. The building of this museum dates back to seventy years ago, and its foundation stands at 560 square meters. It was fundamentally renovated in 1988. Rasht Museum is made of two anthropology and archeology sections. The anthropology section presents the everyday life of the people of Gilan Province, while in the archeology section ancient items discovered in different regions of Gilan are at display.