Gilan Province lies along the Caspian Sea, bordering the Republic of Azerbaijan in the north, as well as Russia across the Caspian Sea. The climate is humid subtropical with the heaviest rainfall in Iran. Rasht, the capital of the province, is known within Iran as the “City of Rain”.
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.
In May 1990 large parts of the province were destroyed by a huge earthquake, in which about 45,000 people died. Abbas Kiarostami made his films Life, and Nothing More… and Through the Olive Trees based upon this event.
Enjoy Gilan’s beauty in autumn:
Khalkhal is the capital of Khalkhal County, in Ardabil Province, Iran. Its population is 38.521 (2006). Asalem is a city in Talesh County, Gilan Province, Iran. Its population is 3.347 (2006).
The road from Asalem to Khalkhal is known for its beautiful landscapes.
Masal, a county in the western part of Gilan Province, encompases the upper valley of the Shanderman River and the whole catchment basin of the Masal River (also called Ḵālekāi) until its arrival into the plain. The local population, 48,000 inhabitants in 2006, speaks Talysh, Gilaki and Persian. Masal and Bazar Jomeh are the only cities in the county.
The main agricultural production is rice, cultivated in the lower valleys and the edge of the plain, in small holdings. Of the three usual complementary resources of the plain (namely sericulture, tobacco, and tea), sericulture is the only one to have had a significant but highly variable role. The impact on this area of the crisis of silk production in the late 2000’s is uncertain. The other main activity and source of income is stock-breeding.
Unlike the valleys adjacent to the north or to the south, this area has no temporary bazaars on summer pastures because of the strong attraction and relative proximity of the Friday bazaar in Shanderman and Saturday bazaar in Masal. In both cases, this commercial activity has launched an urbanization process by gradually gathering services and resident population around the commercial core.
Talesh is a 200,000 inhabitants county in Gilan Province, Iran. Its capital, Hashtpar (also called Talesh), is situated 140 km north-west of Rasht, on the south-west coast of the Caspian Sea. The region, a mountainous area, outstands with its virgin ant intact nature.
Photos of the first snowfall in Talesh:
The Talysh are one of the oldest inhabitants of the western littoral Caspian Sea and are amongst the native inhabitants of today Iran and neighboring Azerbaijan.
Generally speaking, the land of Talesh has been divided in three regions: Gaskarat, Foumanat and Azerbaijan Taloshian. In Gaskarat, the majority of people speak Taleshi and/or Azeri, Farsi. In Foumanat, most speak Taleshi. Lastly, Talysh from neighboring Azerbaijan are often bilingual and trillingual, consisting of Taleshi, Azeri and Russian speakers. Taleshian people at present are mostly Sunni and Shia Muslims.
Pounel (Poonel or Punel) is a village of 2,300 inhabitants in Rezvanshahr County, Gilan Province, Iran. Khalkhal lies in the eastern part of the historical Azerbaijan plateau and with a population of 38,521 (2006), is the capital of Khalkhal County, in Ardabil Province.
The main ethnic groups living in Khalkhal are Azeris (95%), followed by Talishs and Tats (3%), Kurds (1%) and Persians (1%).
The road from Pounel to Khalkhal has wonderful sights that can be enjoyed by car. If you like hiking, you can visit Ardeh, a village thirty kilometers from Pounel, with beautiful hiking trails.
Iran is a vast country, covering 1,648,000 km2 (164.8 million ha). Its topography is dominated by two mountain ranges – Alborz and Zagros – while two great deserts extend over much of the central region, leaving about 20 million ha for crop production. On account of the highly diverse climatic and soil conditions, only 12.5 million ha are cultivated annually with a wide range of food crops. Wheat, rice and barley are the most important cereals cultivated.
Rice is the staple food in Iran, with the quality of cooked rice outweighing all other considerations for Iranian consumers. The total area under rice is more than 600 thousand ha and rice is now grown in varying degrees in nearly all provinces of Iran. However, more than 80 percent of rice area is distributed in the two northern provinces of Mazandaran and Gilan.
Iran’s rice production in 2011 was 2.4 million tons, which increased from a total of 2.3 million tons in the previous year. Iran has 3,800 rice milling units (2009). Iran has imported about 1.4 million tons of rice from UAE, Pakistan and Uruguay worth $800 million in 2009. Iran’s rice imports drop by 40% in 2010. The average per capita consumption of rice in Iran is 45.5 kg, which makes Iranians the 13th biggest rice consumers.
The photos were taken in different Iranian provinces: Qazvin, Gilan, Kurdistan, North Khorasan, Fars and Kohgiluyeh and Boyer-Ahmad.
Sources: Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) | The rice situation in Iran by N. Shobha Rani, Wikipedia | Agriculture in Iran, Encyclopaedia Iranica | Berenj “rice”, Mehr News Agency | Photos, MNA | Photos, Tasnim News Agency | Photos 1, Tasnim | Photos 2, Tasnim | Photos 3, Tasnim | Photos 4, IRNA | Photos, ISNA | Photos 1, ISNA | Photos 2