Thursday, June 26, 2008

Rasht, Astara Attractions

Rasht, Astara Attractions
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Rasht is the capital of the northern Gilan province, located eight meters above sea-level in the vast expanse of Sefidroud River Delta. It is located 330 kilometers from northwest Tehran , at the end of the main road to the Caspian Sea and on the way to Bandar Anzali from Qazvin province.
Rasht consists of six districts of Central, Khomam, Khoshkebijar, Sangar, Koochesfahan and Lashte Nesha, Guilan.ir reported.
It is the gateway to the province and its geographical position is advantageous for facilitating trade and export.
The city enjoys a climate known as ’moderate-Caspian’ that ranges from hot and humid summers to mild winters.
Armenian and Jewish minorities also live in this city.
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Past & Present
According to historical sources, Rasht most likely gained importance in the pre-Islamic Sassanid Era, during which the provincial center was transferred from Bieh Pas to Fooman and then Rasht.
Rasht was called Dar-al-Emareh or Dar-al-Marz in the past. The city was the only route for conducting commercial transactions through Anzali Port to Europe and it was a major trading center from the time of King Abbas’s reign up to the end of the Qajar Dynasty.
Caravans stopped for purchasing silk and dispatching their cargoes to Mediterranean ports.
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Most of its native people speak Gilaki with the Bieh Pas dialect. They engage in agricultural, fishing, commercial, and industrial activities. However, rice cultivation is the main activity of the villagers.

Tourist Attractions
Buildings in Rasht have a special style of architecture among which buildings near the main square of the city, Shohada Square (former City Hall Sq.), are of cultural and artistic significance.
Rasht Fishmongers’ Bazaar and the Main Market nearby are among the most important shopping centers of Gilan.
Some of the well-known historical and tourist attractions include Kolah Farangi Edifice, City Hall, Rasht Museum, Qadiri House, Rasht National Library, Abrishami’s House, Armenian Church, Lat Caravansary, Gilan Rural Heritage Museum, Tourist House, Qods Park, Mellat Park and Daneshjoo Park.

Religious Sites
Iranians from across the country and the native people of the province make pilgrimage to Khahar Imam Mausoleum, Imamzadeh Hashem (30 km from Rasht), Safi and Haj Samadkhan Mosques, Shrines of Aqa Seyyed Ibrahim & Aqa Seyyed Abbas (Saqarisazan), Dana-ye Ali Shrine (Chomar Sara), Bibi Roqayyeh Shrine (Aliabad) and Mirza Koochak Khan Jangali (Soleyman Darab).

Astara
Astara is the northernmost port city of Gilan bordering the Republic of Azerbaijan . The city is the historical village of Gilan known as ’Astarab’ in the past. Because of using a lot of earthen roofs for residential and commercial buildings, it is also known as “the City of Ceramic Roofs “.
Astara Chay River , as the marine border between Iran ’s Astara and that of the Republic of Azerbaijan , flows in the north of the port city and creates spectacular views.
People speak the Azari dialect and are highly cultured and hospitable. Astara Township consists of two districts, namely Central and Lavandvil.
The city thrived in the past. After the collapse of the Soviet Union and the independence of Russian ex-Soviet states, Astara’s economy and tourism have flourished due to cordial tourism and commercial relations with these states, especially the Republic of Azerbaijan.
Due to its geographical position adjoining the Heiran Pass in a mountainous region, Astara’s mild and humid climate is slightly cooler than other low-lying areas of Gilan province.

Sightseeing Spots
The itinerary of tourists to Astara includes visits to Abbasabad Garden, Heiran Green Area, Kooteh Koomeh and Alidashi spas, Esteel Wetland, Sadaf Seashore Recreational Area, Behesht-e-Kaktoosan (Cactuses Paradise), Lavandvil Waterfall, Tea Garden, Heiran Laq Village, Bibi Yanloo Jungle Park, Javandan Wetland, schools of Shahid Marhaba & Shahid Madani, Lamir Mahalleh Castle and Vaneh Bin Ancient Cemetery.

Religious Sites
People also visit the shrines of Imamzadeh Seyyed Qasem, Imamzadeh Seyyed Ebrahim, Sheikh Tajeddin Mahmoud Khivy and Pir Qotbeddin to offer prayers and seek their hearts’ desire.
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