Lar National Park (in Persian: Park-e Melli-e Lar) is a protected area in Iran on the foot of Mount Damavand, straddling the provinces of Mazandaran and Tehran. The Lar Dam is located in the park, and is a major tourist attraction because it is just 70 kilometers northeast of Tehran. The park covers around 30,000 hectares. It has been a national park since 1976 and a protected area since 1982 by the Iran Department of Environment. Since 1991 hunting has been prohibited.
Beautiful spring nature of East Azerbaijan Province, in northwest region of Iran.
Source: Mehr | Photos
Eskevarat is a region on the Alborz that extends through Gilan and Mazandaran Provinces.
The rural district (dehestan) Eshkevar-e Sofla lies in Rudsar County, Gilan Province. It has 46 villages and a population of 4,842 inhabitants (2006). Eshkevar is the name of a rural district with 11 villages in Ramsar County, Mazandaran Province. At the 2006 census, its population was 1,600.
Helen Protected Area is located in the central Zagros Mountains, in Chahar Mahal and Bakhtiari Province. With approximately 30,000 hectares of oak trees, the area is home to a wide variety of species, including brown bears, leopards, wildcats and eagles.
This region derives its name from Helen’s Mountain, a 3,136m mountain peak named in honor of Helen Jeffreys Bakhtiar of Boise, Idaho, in commemoration of her work as a public health nurse in Iran in the 1950’s. She was a lieutenant commander in the U.S. Navy and traveled to Iran to serve as a public health nurse as part of President Truman’s Point Four Program. The rural improvement project sent American experts in agriculture, health and education to work in villages in less-developed countries.
Lake Neor, at an altitude of 2,700 meters above sea level, is located 48 km southeast of the city of Ardabil, Ardabil Province. The village of Soobatan, at 1,950 mamsl, is located 32km northwest of the city of Talesh, Gilan Province. The region is known for its breathtaking landscape.
The park, located in the city of Karaj, is around 8 hectares and features one of the most beautiful tulips. Although tulips last only 10 to 15 days you can see flowerbeds all over the place, since it has perennial and also seasonal flowers. There is also a 2500 square meter artificial pond and a lawn maze. The pictures below are from this year’s Tulip Festival at Chamran Park:
Karaj is the capital of Karaj County, Alborz Province, is situated 20 kilometers west of Tehran, at the foothills of the Alborz mountains. Its population is 1.61 million (2011), making it the fourth-largest city in Iran.
Among its cultural heritage are the stony fire-temple of Takht-e-Rostam (Parthians and Sassanian eras), as well as the Soleimanieh Palace (currently part of the Agriculture Faculty of University of Tehran), Shah Abbasi Caravanserai, a pre-Islamic bridge and the Mausoleum of Shahzadeh Soleiman.
Karaj has traditionally been considered a tourism area particularly for the people from Tehran since the Alborz Mountains provide beautiful landscapes to this region. The city is also the starting point for a drive along the Chalous road that connects through the Alborz mountains to the city of Chalous at the Caspian Sea. It is one of the most beautiful roads of Iran, though slippery during winter.
A video by Press TV during this year’s Tulip Festival:
Kaleybar is a city of 9.030 inhabitants (2006) in East Azerbaijan Province, Iran. This county produces beautiful pomegranates, excellent figs and grapes that are dried on fires (because the sun is always obscured by thick clouds). In recent year the city has become a tourist destination thanks to its proximity to Babak Castle.
Kaleybar was the stronghold of Babak Khorramdin who in 816 AD revolted against the Arabs. Babak’s resistance was ended in 836 when he was defeated by the Iranian General Afshin. This events got the town into the reports of early Islamic historians.
The spoken language in Kaleybar is the Azeri dialect of Turkish. The name Kaleybar could have Tati origins, meaning a town built on rocks. The Kaleybar region with mountainous terrain, shepherding and cultivation of hillside possess the isolating features for the development of a sophisticated whistled language. The majority of males are able, and perhaps addicted, to masterfully mimic the melodic sounds of musical instruments using fingerless whistle. Melodic whistling, indeed, appears to be a private version of the Ashug music for personal satisfaction.
The mountainous region of Qaradagh, due to its remoteness and inaccessibility, was a guardian of Ashugh music. This frequent allusions of this music to mountains, with the intention of arousing an emotional state with a tone of mild melancholy, is consistent with the geography of Kaleybar.
Aşıq Hoseyn Javan, born in Oti Kandi near Kaleybar, is a legendary Ashik. Hoseyn Javan’s music emphasizes on realism and beauties of real life in line with the mainstream world view of Arasbaran culture.
The locals cherish the landscape of their town mingled with the vivid yellow blossoming zoghal (cornelian cherry) trees in early spring. The berries will be sun-dried on flat roof tops and sold to the market as an ingredient of ash reshteh. Unfortunately, the local version of this thick soup is not offered in restaurants. In recent years, the regional government has organized zoghal festivals as a means of promoting tourism.
The relatively well preserved Babak Castle at an altitude of 2300m is located some 3km away from Kaleybar. This Sassanid era fortress is named after the ninth century Iranian resistance leader, Babak Khorramdin, who resisted Arab armies until year 839.
The mountain ranges south-west of Kaleybar are still used as summer camp of pastoralists belonging to Arasbaran Tribes. This provides an opportunity for observing the relaxed idyllic life style of bygone times. They generally welcome visitors as long as their cultures and mode of life is not ridiculed. The visit should be on sunny days when the shepherd dogs feel lethargic.
- The other Iran | Castles in Iran since pre-Islamic times
- The other Iran | Photo Series: Spring in Iran – Arasbaran, East Azerbaijan Province
Arasbaran, formerly known as Qaradagh or Qaraja dagh, is a large mountainous area stretching from the Qusha Dagh massif, south of Ahar, to the Aras River in East Azerbaijan Province of Iran. The region is confined to Aras River in the north, Meshgin Shahr County and Moghan in the east, Sarab County in the south, and Tabriz and Marand counties in the west.
Since 1976, UNESCO has registered 72,460 hectares of this region as biosphere reserve. Arasbaran is home to 215 species of birds, 29 species of reptiles, 48 species of mammals and 17 species of fish. The local flora include hornbeam, sumac and berberis. The large walnut and cornelian cherry (zoghal) trees, wildly grown alongside water-streams, provide an important income source for inhabitants but there are also more exotic plant species, such as redcurrant, truffle and herbs with application in traditional medicine.
There were several Turkic tribes in this area and characteristic aspects of their culture, developed around Nomadic pastoralism, have persisted to our times. Nomadic population at present has been estimated to be about 36000.
The spoken languages are Azerbaijani or Oghuz, a branch of the Turkic language family but most inhabitants are familiar with Persian language.
Arasbaran carpets are in between Persian carpets and Azerbaijani rugs. Still, there is also an indigenous style known as Balan Rug. The peak of carpet weaving art in Arasbaran is manifested in Verni (Azerbaijani rug), a carpet-like kilim with a delicate and fine warp and woof, which is woven without a previous sketch.
Verni weavers employ the image of birds and animals in simple geometrical shapes, imitating the earthenware patterns that were popular in prehistoric times. A key décor feature is the S-element that means “dragon” among the nomads. At present, Verni is woven by the girls of Arasbaran Tribes, often in the same room where the nomadic tribes reside and is a significant income source for about 20000 families.
Many elements of the indigenous culture, particularly local music, have survived to the present day. More recently a slow but persistent cultural revival has been in progress. The Ashughi music is central to this shared identity.
A recent study has indicated that Mikandi valley, Aynali forests and Babak Castle have the highest potential for ecotourism. Another potential touristic attraction could be the summer camps of semi-settled tribes of Arasbaran, known as Ilat, who spend 5 months of year in uplands for grazing their livestock. There are also cornelian cherry (zoghal) festivals in Kaleybar and a yearly pomegranate festival in Mardanaqom village with Ashugh music performances.
See also: List of biosphere reserves in Iran
Bojnord (Bojnourd) is the capital of the northeastern Iranian province of North Khorasan on the border with Turkmenistan. Located 1070m above sea level, north of the Alborz mountain range and south of the Koppeh Dagh (Kopetdag) mountains, it is about 750km away from Tehran.
The city is quite famous for its multicultural background. Many people speak at least 2 different languages including Persian, Tati, Khorasani Turkic, Kurmanci Kurdish, and Turkmen. Intermarriage between said ethnic groups is common.
The city contains many historical and natural attractions, such as mineral water springs, small lakes, recreational areas, caves and protected regions, and various hiking areas. Most of the historical relics are from the Qajar era, as earthquakes continue to ravage older relics.
Some of the popular attractions of Bojnurd are:
– Besh Qardash (five brothers) mineral spring
– Baba Aman Spring and Jungle Park
– Mufakham mirror house, built during the Qajar era
– Mufakham Historical Hospital, built during the Qajar era
– Mausoleum of Sultan Seyed Abbas (brother of Imam Reza)
– Bazkhaneh valley
– Ayyub mineral spring
– Ruwin village
Each year, the city of Mashhad celebrates spring with a Flower Festival. More than eight million bulbous flowers (e.g. tulips) are being planted in parks and streets and can be enjoyed until mid-May.
Mashhad (Persian: مشهد) with 3.150.000 inhabitants is the second most populous city in Iran and capital of Razavi Khorasan Province. It is located in the northeast of the country, close to the borders of Turkmenistan and Afghanistan. It was a major oasis along the ancient Silk Road connecting with Merv in the East.
Every year, millions of pilgrims visit the Imam Reza shrine. Mashhad is also known as the city of Ferdowsi, the Iranian poet of Shahnameh, which is considered to be the national epic of Iran.
The city is located in the valley of the Kashaf River near Turkmenistan, between the two mountain ranges of Binalood and Hezar-masjed. The city benefits from the proximity of the mountains, having cool winters, pleasant springs, mild summers, and beautiful autumns. It is only about 250km (160 mi) away from Ashgabat, Turkmenistan.
Long a center of secular and religious learning, Mashhad has been a center for the arts and for the sciences. The Ferdowsi University of Mashhad, the Madrassa of Ayatollah Al-Khoei, originally built in the seventeenth century, and the Razavi University of Islamic Sciences, founded in 1984, are located here.
Mashhad is also home to one of the oldest libraries of the Middle-East with a history of over six centuries. The Astan-e Quds Razavi Museum, which is part of the Astan-e Quds Razavi Complex, is home to over 70,000 rare manuscripts from various historical eras. There are some six million historical documents in the foundation’s central library.
Apart from Imam Reza shrine, there are a number of large parks, the tombs of historical celebrities in nearby Tus and Nishapur, the tomb of Nadir Shah, Kooh Sangi park and the Koohestan Park-e-Shadi Complex.
Some points of interest lie outside the city: the tomb of Khajeh Morad, the tomb of Khajeh Rabi’ where there are some inscriptions by the renowned Safavid calligrapher Reza Abbasi and the tomb of Khajeh Abasalt. In Tus, 24km away from Mashhad, is the tomb of Ferdowsi. The summer resorts at Torghabeh, Torogh, Akhlamad, Zoshk and Shandiz are also nearby.
The Shah Public Bath, built during the Safavid era in 1648, is an outstanding example of the architecture of that period. It was recently restored, and is to be turned into a museum.
Other articles about Razavi Khorasan Province: The other Iran | Razavi Khorasan Province
Besh Qardash (or Besh Ghardash) (Persian: بش قارداش) is a monument and mineral spring in Bojnord, northeastern Iran. The place is an entertainment and historical tourism attraction and labeled as a national heritage by Iran Cultural Heritage, Handcrafts and Tourism Organization.
The Besh Qardash is 7km away from the city of Bojnord. The place is close to the villages of Qeri Janlu, Mehnan and Asadli.
The term “Besh Qardash” means “Five Brothers” in the regional Khorasani Turkic language. It refers to the mythic history of the place. According to the myth, there had been five brothers fighting against then-brutal-government and when they harbored to a hillside, they disappeared and five water springs started welling.
During the Qajar era, Naser al-Din Shah passed the place in his state visit and ordered Yar Mohammad Khan Shadlou (also known as Sardar Mufakham) to construct a monument right next to the springs. A crown shaped swimming pool was built afterwards.
Other articles about North Khorasan Province: The other Iran | North Khorasan
The Mofakham Mirror House (Persian: Ayeneh Khaneh Mofakham) in Bojnourd, the capital of North Khorasan Province on the border with Turkmenistan, served as official residence. In 1975 the Mirror House was included in the list of National Monuments of Iran.
The building, completed mid-1870s, is an oblong-shaped two-story construction consisting of nine chambers. Famous for its mirrorwork used for interior decoration as well as its rich tile design, belonged to Sardar Mofakham, a senior official of the late Qajar period.
“The House of Mirrors Mofakham” is one of the architectural jewels of the Nasser-e-Din Shah Qajar era. In the past it was located in the middle of a large orchard at a close distance to other buildings as the Hozkhaneh, “The Garden of fountains”, and the Kolah Farangi Building. Together they constituted the “Dar-ol-Hokumeh” (House of power).
The Kolah Farangi Building collapsed following the earthquake that shook the city of Bojnourd but Mafkham Mirror House and Building remained to this day.
The Mafkham Building was constructed as Sardar’s Mofakham residence. It maintains thirty-four chambers and two large halls. The façade is covered with tile works, depicting humans, animals, and geometrical shapes. The building is fully covered with tiles in different shapes and forms in blue, yellow, pink, purple, white, red, and black colors, while each pillar has been decorated with particular patterns and designs.
The building now houses the Museum of Ethnography Bojnord (Mofakham Museum). The video below is a visit of Press.TV to the Mofakham Museum:
Paveh is located in the west of Iran, 112km from Kermanshah. It lies in a sub-region along the Iran-Iraq border commonly referred to as Hewraman situated within the larger geographical region of Kurdistan. The city is considered by inhabitants of the region as the capital of the Hewraman. The inhabitants of Paveh are mostly Kurds that speak Auramani.
As a mountainous town, Paveh has cold winters and cool springs. The surrounding mountains are normally filled with fresh spring water from March to June. The town is also encircled with large fruit gardens which create beautiful sceneries during summers.
An old myth regarding the name of the city is that the Emperor Yazdgerd III sent his son named Pav to this area to renew his religious Zoroastrian faith. Both Persians and the local Kurdish inhabitants practiced Zoroastrianism during the Persian Empire’s Sasanian era from which this myth is derived.
Sizdah Be-Dar (frequently stylized as “13 Bedar”) means in Persian literally 13th in outdoors. It is a festival in the Iranian culture and part of the Nowruz new year celebration rituals, held on the 13th of Farvardin (the 1st month of the Iranian calendar), during which people spend time picnicking outdoors.
Sizdah Bedar is the day Tir (The Blessed day) of the month Farvardin from ancient Persian (Iranian) calendar, which was the first day of agricultural activity in ancient Persia. Be-dar in Persian means going out. Nowadays, Iranians go out to have fun with their families all the day long.
Sizdeh Bedar is celebrated in Iraq, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Central Asia, and elsewhere. An increasing number of participants are taking part in the holiday. In cities like Los Angeles with large populations of Iranians, a growing number of parks are set up by the city to accommodate the large number of people.
Kerman is the capital city of Kerman Province, Iran. At the 2011 census, its population was 821,374, making it the 10th most populous city of Iran.
It is one of the largest cities of Iran in terms of area. Kerman is famous for its long history and strong cultural heritage. The city is home to many historic mosques and Zoroastrian fire temples. Kerman is also on the list of the recent world’s 1000 cleanest cities. Kerman is also a former capital of Iran, a position that it held during several periods. It is located on a large, flat plain, 1,036 km (643 mi) south of Tehran, the capital of Iran.
The city’s many districts are surrounded by mountains which bring variety to Kerman’s year round weather pattern, thus the northern part of the city is located in an arid desert area, while the highland of the southern part of the city enjoys a more moderate climate. The mean elevation of the city is about 1755 m above sea level.
Kerman city has a moderate climate and the average annual rainfall is 135 mm. Because it is located close to the Kavir-e lut (Lut desert), Kerman has hot summers and in the spring it often has violent sand storms. Otherwise, its climate is relatively cool.
Kerman has an abundance of architectural relics of antiquity. It is among several cites in Iran with a strong cultural heritage, which is expressed in the local accent, poetry, local music, handicrafts and customs that Kerman has introduced to the world of culture.
The Iran museum of Zoroastrians, which showcases the ancient history of Zoroastrians, is in Kerman’s Fire Temple. The idea of launching the museum along with the library of Kerman’s Zoroastrian Society came to light in 1983, when the head of the society, Parviz Vakhashouri, and the former head of library, Mehran Gheibi, collected cultural heritage artifacts of Kerman’s Zoroastrian community. These two officials added many other objects to this collection.The museum was officially inaugurated during Jashn-e Tirgan in 2005 by Iran’s Cultural Heritage, Handicrafts and Tourism Organization (ICHHTO).
Jashn-e Tirgan or Tiregan is an ancient Iranian rain festival observed on July 1. The festivity refers to archangel Tir (literally meaning arrow) or Tishtar (lightning) who appear in the sky to generate thunder and lightning for providing the much needed rain.
Sadeh ceremony is celebrated every year in Kerman. Also The archeological ancient area of Jiroft and Tappe Yahya Baft are located south of Kerman. Rayen Castle is also located on Rayen town,south east of Kerman.
Sanandaj is the capital of Kurdish culture and Kurdistan Province at Iran. At the 2011 census, its population was 373,987. Until the 17th century it was only a small village, when the governor of the region, Suleyman Khan Ardalan, renovated a fortress there, known as “Sena Dezh”, which gave the town its Persian name.
The economy of Sanandaj is based upon the production of carpets, processed hides and skins, milled rice, refined sugar, woodworking, cotton weaving, metalware and cutlery.
Enjoy the photo gallery with images taken from Sanandaj to Marivan:
Post related to this region with information about Marivan:
Photo Series: Winter in Iran – Marivan, Kurdistan Province
Beautiful pictures of Masuleh covered in snow:
For more detailed information about Masuleh and its unique architecture:
The other Iran | Iran’s Gilan Province: Masuleh Village
Source: Mehr News Agency | Photos
Ghar Saholan is located in West Azerbaijan Province, Iran, near to the village of Saholan that lies some 43 Kilometres east of the city of Mahabad. Situated in a small hill of limestone the cave has two entrances at an altitude of 1,780m. The cave has a total surveyed (mapped) passage length of 771.1m and a vertical range of 45.8m.
Geomorphological evidence within the cave would strongly suggest that it has been formed under phreatic conditions by still water and not by flowing water. Originally the cave would have been completely flooded. In the latter stages in its development the water levels have dropped to create airspace within the chambers and passages and further passage enlargement would have been stimulated by the gentle rising and falling of the water table and subsequent water level. Throughout the cave there are horizontal ledges of calcite deposits along the walls that are indicative of former (higher) water levels.
Khalkhal, with a population of 38,521 (2006), is the capital of Khalkhal County, in Ardabil Province, Iran. 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. This region, not far from the Caspian Sea, attracts many visitors every year.
Tasnim News Agency on December 26 dedicated its Iran’s Beauties in Photos section to pictures from winter in the northern part of Iran. Take a look:
Minab is a city in Hormozgan Province, Iran. At the 2006 census, its population was 76,776. In ancient times Minab had the name of Harmosia (or Harmozeia).
Minab is not far from Bandar Abbas. It is famous for fishing (especially shrimps) and for agriculture (especially date palms and mangoes). It lies on the main official road connecting Bandar Abbas, the Makran and the Baluchistan Province. The population are mainly Shi’a Muslims but there is also a Sunni minority, and the language they speak is Minabi (locally Minow), a dialect which is something between Bandari and Balochi and Persian. Once a week, a well known bazaar called “Panjshambe bazar” or in Minabi language “Peyshambe Bazar” (English: Thursday’s Bazaar) attracts people from all over Hormozgan, and beyond.
Photos of autumn snow in Zanjan, Iran. Click on the pictures to start the gallery:
Source: Mehr News Agency
Some beautiful pictures of Hamedan in autumn:
You can find another photo gallery of this beatiful region and some information about Hamedan in: The other Iran | Photo Series: Autumn in Iran – Hamedan Province (Part 1)
The pink wetland of Lipar in southeastern Iran is a great place for those fond of marine environment.
The pink wetland of Lipar is located just 200 meters from the northern edge of the Sea of Oman and south of a namesake village in Chabahar, in Sistan and Baluchistan province.
The wetland is one of the alluring natural attractions of the area where those who are fond of the marine environment can catch a glimpse of beautiful scenery. What stands out about the wetland, which sits on the edge of Lipar’s seasonal lagoon 20 kilometers to the east of Chabahar, is its water which looks pink.
This body of water which is 10 hectares in area accounts for 90 percent of herbal planktons in the region and is home to a large number of species, flora and fauna.
The following is a collection of the pictures of the wetland Irandesert.com posted online:
Source: Iran Front Page
Beautiful pictures from a sunflower farm in Gorgan County
Four corners of Iran, home to saffron
Northeastern provinces of Iran are known for being saffron producers in Iran while the most expensive spice of the world is planted in four corners of the country, wherever the climate agrees with its requirements. Saffron requires little water and saffron plant blossoms several times a year.
The product is used for both treatment and nutrition. Derived from the dried stigmas of the purple saffron crocus, it takes anything from 70.000 to 250.000 flowers to make one pound of saffron. Moreover, the flowers have to be individually hand-picked in the autumn when fully open. Fortunately, only a little needs to be added to a dish to lend it color and aroma.
Iran now accounts for approximately 90% of the world production of saffron followed by Spain, Egypt, Kashmir, Morocco and Turkey.
Margoon (Margun) Waterfall (in Farsi: Abshare Margoon) is located in the Fars Province of Iran near the city of Sepidan, in the village Margoon, 48 kilometers far from the city Ardakan.
Its name means in Persian “snake like”. This waterfall is the main attractive of the Abshare Margoon protected area. It falls from the heart of a rocky mountain and has about 70m height and 100m width. It is one of the largest and most beautiful waterfalls in Iran. The area is mountainous and has an elevation of over 2.200m above sea level.
The weather is cold between November and April and in winter parts of the waterfall often freezes. Most tourists visit this area in the hot months of the year, when the temperature is 40°C in most of the country but hardly reaches 25°C at Abshare Margoon. Besides visiting the waterfall there are several activities to enjoy in this area: mountain climbing, rock climbing, camping, landscape photography etc.
As Abshare Margoon lies within the Zagros Mountain range, it has diverse flora and fauna. Oak is the main plant of the forests of the area and brown bear, Persian leopard, wolf, fox, wild boar, wild goat and porcupine are some of its fauna.
Gorgan is the capital of Golestan Province, Iran. It lies approximately 400km to the north east of Tehran and some 30km away from the Caspian Sea. It has a population of ca. 270.000 inhabitants. Some 150 km (93 mi) east of Gorgan is the Golestan National Park.
The city was named Hyrcania in ancient Greek records, the equivalent of the local name Varkâna “Land of the Wolves” in Old Persian. Although modern Gorgan is only a city and county sharing the same name, ancient Hyrcania was the name of a greater region on the southern shores of the Caspian Sea (encompassing all of the present day Golestan province, as well as some eastern parts of the Mazandaran province, and some southern parts of the present day Republic of Turkmenistan). Until 1937 the city used to be known as Astarabad.
Only 5km southwest from Gorgan, covering an area of approximately 185 hectares is Alangdareh Park. These beautiful autumn pictures were taken there.
In general, Golestan has a moderate and humid climate known as “the moderate Caspian climate.” There exist three different climates in the region: plain moderate, mountainous, and semi-arid. Gorgan valley has a semi-arid climate.
Gorgan (as well as the whole Golestan province) has a world-famous carpet and rug industry, made by Turkmen. The patterns of these carpets are derived from the ancient Persian city of Bukhara, which is now in Uzbekistan. Jajim carpets are also crafted in this province.
Hamedan Province is one of the 31 provinces of Iran. It covers an area of 19,546 km² and has a population of over 1,82 million (2008). Its capital is Hamedan city. Hamedan province is one of the most ancient parts of Iran and its civilization. The city of Hamedan laid on the Silk Road.
The province lies in an elevated region with the ‘Alvand’ mountains running from the north west to the south west. These are part of the Zagros mountain range. Hamedan enjoys temperate warm summers and relatively cold winters.
According to local Jewish traditions, the City of Hamedan is mentioned in the Book of Esther as the capital of Ancient Persia in the days of King Ahasuerus. It was then known as Shushan. The Tombs of Mordecai and Esther are located in modern-day Hamedan.