As a reminder, in the previous article we paid a visit to the green landscapes of Gilan Province in northern Iran, and we became familiar with the geographical position, the scenic nature, and the historical background of this province. We will become more familiar with this province in this article.
A number of researchers believe that because this province has been the place of residence of a tribe named: “Gel”, it has been named as Gilan.
Meanwhile, the Russian Iranologist, Alexander Chodzko, in his book: “The Land of Gilan” has noted that the province of Gilan is full of marshlands and swamps. And in fact this region of the Caspian Sea coastlines maintains a lower altitude compared to other regions of this coastal belt. A large number of rivers that originate from the Caspian Sea region’s mountains feed this province, leading to establishment of a humid climate in the region.
The green province of Gilan has been the land of courageous people throughout the course of history. Brave and valiant people lived on the foothills and mountainous forests of this region, which were highly skilled in combat. These brave people took shelter in the provincial forests and mountainous regions, living independently and freely. All those who have carried out research on Gilan Province, including historians and researchers of ancient times, era of advent of Islam, and post-Islamic era up to the current period of time have confirmed that people of this province have been courageous and independent and have never bowed down to foreign powers. In the coming programs, we will make you further familiar with these people’s braveries.
The province of Gilan consists of several cities and villages. Based on a regional classification, Gilan Province is comprised of four regions; each of which maintains a different language, dialect, ethnicity, and history.
Gilan Province’s economy is based on farming, animal husbandry, fishing, and apiculture.
The most important agricultural products of this province are tea and rice, which are cultivated in different cities of this province, including Laahijaan and Roudsar. Olive is another farming product which is cultivated in the city of Roudsar. Astara, Kianshahr, and Anzali ports are considered as the most important fishing centers of this province. Regions such as Ashkevar, Amarlou, Daylamaan, and Talesh are the most important apiculture centers of this province. Animal husbandry is common across the foothills. Wheat, barley, peanuts, and tobacco are the other agricultural products of this province which are cultivated in different regions of Gilan Province.
Meanwhile, Caviar is one of the valuable exports of this region, which is produced through netting Sturgeons.
Throughout the rural and nomadic communities of Gilan Province, handicrafts have also played a decisive role in meeting the economic needs of people alongside farming, fishing, and animal husbandry. The climate and agricultural activities of people of Gilan has made the growth of handicrafts in this province in line with the daily needs of farmers who cultivate rice in paddy fields.
The Gilani farmers only spend five months a year for cultivation and harvest of rice in paddy fields. The rest of the year raises a golden opportunity for the farmers to engage in production of handicrafts. The wooden and straw-made decorations are part of these local handicrafts, which are considered as a complementary economic mainstay for the people of Gilan. It is noteworthy that Gilan’s handicrafts are very diverse. Meanwhile, a number of Gilan’s handicrafts which were attended to by Gilani artists in the past, are not burgeoning today. These handicrafts include metalwork, glasswork, and stonecutting industries.
The historical works unearthed in archeological excavations reveal that Gilan’s metalworkers and glassworkers have created valuable works in these domains and have been highly skilled in these arenas.
The famous Iranologist, Professor Grishman, introduces valuable examples of the works of Gilani metalworkers throughout the era of Medes, Sassanid and Parthian dynasties, including highly delicate and priceless dishes, statues, weapons, and decorative pieces, which date back to 8th and 9th Centuries BC.
Glasswork industry has a long history in Gilan Province. Based on evidence resulting from archeological discoveries, Gilani artists have been familiar with glass for the past 3400 years and had honed their skills in glasswork industry.
In fact, throughout the excavations in the region of Daylaman, beautiful glass-made plates have been unearthed.
In regard to stonecutting, a number of stone-made items discovered in excavations show that Gilan maintains a long history of stonecutting industry and has reached perfection in this industry.
Basket weaving and straw-weaving, in the view of many researchers, is one of the most ancient industries, which mankind has become familiar with. This industry originated many other handicrafts including rug-weaving and pottery.
Basket and straw weaving is highly common in the majority of regions of Gilan Province, including Khomaam, Golshan, Anzali Port, and its surrounding villages. Meanwhile, the colorful baskets maintain artistic and decorative aspects.