By Saeedeh Khodaverdian & Atefeh Rezvan-Nia

Situated in the northeast of Iran, Golestan province is one of the best tourist destinations of the country in view of its enchanting natural attractions, wide ethnic diversity and numerous historical sites.

The province is home to international wetlands, dense forests, bubbling springs, and tens of waterfalls.

Golestan is undoubtedly one of the greenest regions of Iran. Peaceful coexistence among ethnic groups including Baluchis, Kazakh, and Sistanis yet is another source of attraction in the province.

A number of dialects are spoken in Golestan and people wear an array of attires in different designs and colors.

Persian Daily ‘Iran’ has listed the names of some of the tourist attractions of Golestan as:

Gomishan and Gorgan 

Gorgan and Gomishan are two important cities of Golestan province, which boast the highest numbers of the historical sites in the province.

Aqa Mohammad Khan Palace, Amir Latifis Mansion, Taqavis Mansion and School, Baqeries Mansion and Emadiyeh School are among the historical sites of Gorgan.

The Grand Mosque of Gorgan, is also among historical wonders of Golestan province. The mosque has a unique design and dates back to Seljuk era.

Imamzadeh Noor, which is famous for its unique tile-works, also attracts the attention of tourists to Gorgan. It was built during the reign of Teymourid kings.

Gomishan, with its two-storey wooden houses scattered across the rural areas and built according to Russian architectural style is another attraction in the province. The houses were built during the Qajar era and is worth visiting.


Naharkhoran Forest Park is located eight kilometers to the south of Gorgan and is among the natural attractions of the province.

The tourism site of Naharkhoran is part of the extensive and ancient forest of Hyrcani, which dates back to over one million years.

Naharkhoran has served as a campsite since ancient times so that pilgrims to the holy shrine of Imam Reza (PBUH), the eighth Shia Imam, rest in Naharkhoran and eat launch on their way to Mashhad. ‘Nahar’ means ‘launch’ in English.

Ziarat Village

Ziarat ranks among top 20 exemplary rural destinations of the country. It is situated seven kilometers from Naharkhoran and hosts the mausoleum of Imamzadeh Abdollah.

Ziarat is also home to the province’s only spa, which is said to have therapeutic properties.

Golestan National Park

Golestan National Park is the country’s first natural zone registered on the UNESCO World Heritage List. It is also the largest park of its kind in Iran and home to about one-eighth of the plant species, one-third of birds and 50 percent of mammals.

World’s tallest tower

Gonbad-e Kavous in Golestan province is home to the world’s tallest brick tower named ‘Gonbad-e Qabus’, which was built more than 1,000 years ago.

Situated atop a 15-meter hill, the tower itself stands 55 meters in height.

Persian island of Caspian Sea

Visitors, interested in visiting the Caspian Sea’s only Persian Island, have to travel to Bandar-e Torkaman in Golestan province and pedal boat to reach Ashouradeh Island. Ashouradeh Island is a site for bird-watching, which attracts lots of ecotourists, particularly during the autumn.

Visitors to Bandar-e Torkaman also get the opportunity to purchase the best quality and most attractive handicrafts at the cheapest prices in Doshanbeh Bazaar (a temporary bazaar which is set up every Monday).

Golestan’s Roof

The protested area of Jahan-Nama, a pristine natural area with plenty of plant and animal species, has been recognized as the highest place in the province. Its altitude is 1,700 meters above sea-level, where visitors can rest in wooden cottages and enjoy the tranquility of nature.



Qazvin is the largest city and capital of the Qazvin (province) in Iran.

Qazvin was an ancient capital in the Persian Empire and nowadays is known as calligraphy capital of Iran. The most famous calligrapher was Mir Emad Qazvini. Dehkhoda who wrote the Persian dictionary (you can find his statue in Azadi Square. The most famous poet was Ubayd Zakani. Qazvin can perhaps be said to be a moderate city, in relation to its adherence to Islamic religious and cultural values. Many people, women in particular, dress modestly but are not limited to the a black hejab, and many women can be seen wearing thin, brightly coloured scarves to cover their hair. However, many women wear an enveloping headress, designed to completely cover all hair. It is advised to dress respectfully in this context, by all means express yourself through a nature of hejab materials and colours, but be mindful of social and religious values at play.

Get in

By plane

The nearest international airport is the Imam Khomeini International Airport (IKIA) located in southern Tehran. The Mehrabad International Airport (MIA) is servicing the domestic flights. Arriving at either airports you can easily hire a taxi, get bus or train to take you to Qazvin. Make sure to hire a registered taxi and agree on payment before you actually set off. Your taxi fare to Qazvin from IKIA is around $ 20-25 and from MIA is around $ 15-20. You travel all the way through an straight highway taking your time at most 2 hours and in the meantime you may enjoy watching beautifull sightseeings and two giant plants of the country, Abeyek Cement and Shahid Rajaee Gass Power plants.

By car

Qazvin is linked to Tehran and other major cities via a series of motorways, These are not usually too busy, though attempt to avoid times where workers are communting to and from work. Cars can be hired at Tehran International Airport. Taxi’s are usually the most easiest means of travelling to Qazvin by car. You have a choice of private taxi’s, or travelling via official taxi ranks. The main difference between the two is the state of the actual cars, however do not be put off by the sight of an elderly, slightly unconventioanl car, these are usually perfectly safe to travel in.

By bus

Buses depart very frequently from near Azadi square in Tehran. The fare is $1 for the old Mercedes buses and $2 for modern Volvo or similar buses (January 2010). Bus from Rasht (near Caspian Sea) to Tehran, passing Qazvin, run frequently. They drop you off outside the city on the ring road, but taxis already wait to bring you to town. Rasht – Qazvin is 180,000 Rials and takes about 3 hours. Impressive mountain view included.

By train

Within approximately 2 hours from Tehran Railway Station. It’s difficult to get a ticket in Iran (09/2015), but riding on a train is comfortable and quite an experience. Other travellers are usually helpful. Price for the train ticket is 102,000 Rials (09/2015) one-way. Might be convenient to get to the airport by changing from train to taxi in Tehran.

Get around


  • The Qajar era Caravanserai of Sa’d al-Saltaneh.

& Qajar Hamam

  • The Grand Hotel – The first modern hotel built in Iran
  • The first modern School built in Iran
  • The first street built in Iran (Sepah)
  • The first Municipality built in Iran

Qazvin contains three buildings built by Russians in the late 19th/early 20th century. Among these is the current Mayor’s office (former Ballet Hall), a water reservoir, and the Cantor church, where a Russian pilot is buried.

  • The Russian Church of Qazvin.

Qazvin contains several archeological excavations dating back 9000 years. There are also 23 castles from the Ismaili Assassins nearby as well. And in the middle of the city lie the ruins of Meimoon Ghal’eh, one of several Sassanid edifices in the area.

Qazvin contains few buildings from the Safavid era, when it was capital of Persia. Perhaps the most famous of the surviving edifices is the Ali Qapu mansion, today a museum in central Qazvin.

There many mosques and religious schools

  • The Ancient Jāmeh Mosque of Qazvīn’ (-Masjid-e-Jāmeh Atīq Qazvīn) is one of the oldest mosques in Iran, and is the grand, congregational mosque (Jāmeh) of Qazvīn city. The foundation of the mosque is laid on a Zoroastrian fire temple.
  • Masjed Al-nabi (Soltani Mosque) with an area of 14000 metres, this mosque is one of the most glorious mosques of antiquity, built in the Safavieh’s monarchy era.
  • Sanjideh Mosque– Another mosque of Qazvin dating back to pre-Islamic Iran; a former fire temple. Its present day form is attributed to the Seljukian era.
  • Peighambarieh Shrine– Where four Jewish saints who foretold the coming of Christ, are buried.
  • Sardar School– A mosque Made by two brothers Hossein Khan and Hassan Khan Sardar in 1815, as a fulfillment of their promise if they came back victorious from a battle against the Russians.

Other attractions near Qazvin are the tombs of two Saljuki era princes, Aboo Saeed Bijar, son of Sad, and Aboo Mansoor Iltai, son of Takin — located in two separate towers known as the Kharaghan twin towers. Constructed in 1067 CE, these were the first monuments in Islamic architecture to include a non-conic two-layered dome.


Wander in the bazaars.

Visiting Famous Parks

  • Mashahir in Shahrdai Street
  • Barajin (Fadak)
  • Melat
  • Afarinesh
  • Varchor Waterfall in Razjerd

Visit Qazvin Museum

Paragliding in blue sky flight site in Shafi Abad & Barajin Road, near to Fadak Park

Watching Iranian movies in Bahman Cinema in front of Melat Park

Swimming in Ovan Lake


Try to learn Persian, and use it while in Iran. Iranians are noted for their hospitality, and would greatly appreciate a tourist’s attempts to communicate via Persian. Qazvin is an historical city, try and broaden your historical knowldege by sampling the historical sites.

  • Imam Khomeini International University,
  • Qazvin Islamic Azad International University,


Take a visit to the bazaar of Qazvin. It is huge and you will be able to find all sorts on display. Jewellery in Iran is of high quality, and cheap by Western standards. The same can be said for electronical goods, which arrive in Iran via Japan, sometimes before the products can be bought in Europe and America.

Qazvin Shopping Complexes

City Star in Khayam street

Ferdosi in Ferdosi street

Iranian in Adl street


Food in Iran is a delicacy, and is made up of a whole range of Middle Eastern influences. Do eat chelo kebab in one of the many restaurants in Qazvin. This meal is pretty much a standard dish in Iran, however Qazvin does have its own regional variations on the dish. The famous Qazvinian food is called “Gheime Nesar” Try to sample as many different foods as possible while in Qazvin, the diversity of flavors and influences makes for delicious food. Restaurants are usually very hospitable, so asking for a variation in the dish, or asking for vegetarian options or about food allergies will not be a problem.


Have breakfast in the most famous Halim(Wheat pastry) cafe. Ask anyone Obeyd-e-Zakan near Bazar for dircetion. You may need to walk a bit to find it. But it worth having a very traditional Iranian Breakfast


Negarossaltaneh Cafe:

Decent coffee shop with high-quality coffee and tea.The special tea served in this cafe is a must-try.Just ask the staff about the special tea.It’s not hard to find,just walk into the new bazaar and you’ll see it.


There are hotels scattered all over the city,it might not be very difficult for you to find a hotel in the Qazvin Area.

Famous Hotels:

  • Alborz – ~53 Euro = 2,000,000 Rials for a single room (Sept. 2015). Recommendable, clean and nice staff. Not so easy to spot from the street, located in 1st floor and above.
  • Iran Hotel – 750,000 rials for a double room (October 2014). Is dated and in a noisy area but the staff are helpful. Ph. 0281-2228877
  • Merkezi – 450,000 for double room (October 2014). Dirty rooms and awfully overpriced. Showers are okay. Near the bazaar.
  • Marmar
  • Inn Fard – 170,000 Rials for a person staying in a triple-bed dorm. No shower(You may ask the receptionist to open it.) and rooms are OK.Near New and Old bazaar,just 1 minute walking distance.
  • Golshan Guest house – 250,000 Rials per person,no matter what type of room.Near New and Old bazaar,just 1 minute walking distance.


In need of help or advice, contact your national embassy, located in the capital city (Tehran) or you can find tourist information centers in Qazvin, and for Police you can call 110.

Stay safe

Iran is generally a safe country. It is advised however, that being an obvious tourist may attract some unwanted attention from interested Iranians, but do not be alrmed or react negatively. Standard advice to keep your bag secured and safe, and to leave personal and valuable belongings in your hotel room or hotel safe should be regarded. Iranians are generally a peaceful, hospitable people, but it is advised to act with caution when walk in the streets alone late at night or when approached by strangers to the same degree that you would in your native country.


Qazvin is located in a modest and mountainous region and the weather in summer is slightly cooler than Tehran. The temprature in summer does not go higher than 35 degrees. Hoever the best time is in the Spring and Fall, when the climate is warm and breezy.

Get Out

Alamut can be easily reached from Qazvin, 1-2 hours each way through spectacular mountains. Alamut was the final stronghold of Hassan-i-Sabbah, leader of the assassin cult. It was built on top of a steep mountain with its own water supply and was thought impregnable until it was conquered by a coalition of the assassins’ enemies. Now you can climb the stairs to the interesting ruins and enjoy the amazing views.

zanjan travel guide


Situated in northwest Iran, Zanjan is a mountainous and hilly city which is divided into three regions with different climates. Takht-e-soleyman, Taleghan, and Kooh-e-Rostam are the most important mountains in the province. The vegetation of the province varies from one area to another, but it is generally made up of forests and pastures. The forests are mainly located in the mountainous regions adjacent to Gilan province. Kurds and Shahsavans are the main peoples living in this province, but also Azerbaijanis and Persians live here.

Zanjan city

Zanjan probably dates back to the Sassanian period. Conquered by the Muslims in the 7th century, obliterated by the Mongols and by Tamer Lane in the 13th and 14th centuries, and having a vivid record in civilization, culture, arts and sciences, Zanjan has experienced both glory and hardship. After the Islamic revolution Zanjan has made great progress in different fields.

The Complex of Soltanieh

Built in the 15th century, this complex is famous monument and the greatest attraction of Zanjan province. The Soltanieh district in which the complex is situated is 43 Km from the Tehran-Zanjan highway. Dating back to 3000 years ago, the Soltanieh district had been the home of various peoples before the invasion of Iran by the Mongols. The mausoleums of Hasan Kashi and the Dome of Soltanieh are among the prominent buildings. The most significant part of the stated complex is the Soltanieh dome. It is the biggest dome in Iran and one of the most splendid buildings throughout the Islamic worlds. The construction of such a magnificently impressive building, undoubtedly, needed elaborate planning and accurate calculations.

Rakht Shooy Khaneh (Washhouse)

This historical monument is located in the centre of the old part of the city on Sadi Street. In the past, it served the people by washing their clothes, sheets, etc, free of charge and around the clock. The building has two main sections: the management room and the wash house. Each section is comprised of different components. This complex, with its admirable architecture, indicates the historical significance of hygiene to the Iranian people. At present, this building is used as an anthropological museum.

The Bazaar

Because of its cultural, economic and religious significance, Zanjan’s bazaar is one of the most important historical complexes in Iran, and is a great attraction for tourists. Dating back to the Qajar period (l779-1925), the bazaar is located in the heart of the old fabric of the city. It consists of two sections: the upper bazaar and the lower bazaar. Having an area of 150000 square meters, the bazaar comprises 940 shops and two baths called Boloori and Moini. There are 56 entrances to the bazaar. In the past it could, and even now it can, meet all the needs of the people.

Sangi Caravanserai

Built in the Safavid period (16th century), it is the oldest monument in the city. Much of this building has been ruined and at the present time the building of Oqaf, the Organization of Bequests for Pious or Charitable Purposes, has replaced it.

Ali Qapu Palace

Ali Qapu Palace is located in Isfahan facing Sheikh Lotfollah Mosque. It was constructed at the end of the 16th century as a residence for Shah Abbas I.

This six-storey palace once served as a monumental gateway to the royal palaces. It also functioned as a reception pavilion for foreign dignitaries and embassies to the royal court.

According to urasia.travel, Ali Qapu Palace has six floors reached via a series of small spiraled staircase and low doors. The hallway on the first floor which overlooks the square served in summer as a throne room from where the ruler could watch the polo matches or review the changing of the guards (there is a magnificent view over the square overlooking the town and the surrounding mountains). The rooms lie vacant today but the walls and ceilings still bear some original but beautifully restored frescoes and glazed tile decoration.

The highlight of the palace is its elevated terrace, which features 18 slender columns. The terrace affords a wonderful perspective over the square and one of the best views of the Masjed-e Shah. The attractive wooden ceiling with intricate inlay work and exposed beams is currently undergoing heavy restoration.

Many of the valuable paintings and mosaics that once decorated the 52 small rooms, corridors and stairways were destroyed during the Qajar era. Fortunately, a few remain in the throne room off the terrace.

The upper floor, which is definitely worth a climb, leads to the music room. The stucco ceiling is riddled with shapes of vases and other household utensils cut to enhance the acoustics. This distinctive craftsmanship, considered by some to be one of the finest examples of secular Persian art, extends to the walls

source:English-language paper Iran Daily