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Alborz province is one of the 31 provinces of Iran, centered in Karaj. The majority of the population of Alborz identify as ethnic Persians.
Situated northwest of Tehran, the province of Alborz has counties: Karaj County, Savojbolagh County, Taleqan County, Eshtehard County, Fardis County, Nazarabad County, and Chaharbagh County. Karaj is the seat of the province. Alborz province is situated 35 km west of Tehran, at the foothills of the Alborz mountains, and is Iran’s smallest province in area.


the province of Ardabil is 18,050 km2 (6,969 sq mi) which represent 1.1 percent of total area of Iran. It is located in the north-west of Iran, bordering the Republic of Azerbaijan and the provinces of East Azarbaijan, Zanjan and the Talesh mountain range on the east separates Ardabil from Gilan province. Its center is Ardabil. It used to be part of East Azarbaijan province, and was made a separate province in 1993. Its capital is the city of Ardabil 639 kilometers from Tehran.

The name of Ardabil came from a Zoroastrian name of “Artavil” (mentioned in Avesta) which means a holy place.

Ardabil has a very significant historical background. After disastrous 13th century invasion of Mongols and later Tamerlane (Timur) in 13th century, Iran was torn to pieces and was ruled by almost independent, small and weak Khanates. Till the Safavid dynasty, in early years of 16th century rose from this region. Shah Esmail I, the first king and founder of Safavid dynasty, within few years consolidated his power all over Iran and established a united country with a strong central government.

Ardabil’s famous natural region is the Sabalan mountains. The majority of Ardebil province’s population is composed of Azerbaijanis. The weather in Ardabil province varies drastically. The city of Ardabil has very cold winters (-23C degrees) and very pleasant summers. Bilasuar and Parsabad have hot summers and warm winters. But generally this province is considered the coldest province in Iran though large parts of the province are green and forested. The average annual rainfall is about 400 mm.

3/ East Azarbaijan

The province of East Azarbaijan is 45,481 km2 (17,560 sq mi) in the north-west of Iran, bordering Armenia and the Republic of Azerbaijan, and the provinces of Ardabil, West Azarbaijan, and Zanjan. Its capital is Tabriz.

The historical city of Tabriz is capital and the most important city of this province, culturally, politically, economically and commercially. A fine network of roads and railways connect East Azarbaijan to other parts of Iran and also to neighboring countries.

The highest peak of East Azarbaijan is Sahand Mountain at 3,722 m of elevation, lying south of Tabriz, whereas the lower lying areas are around Garmadooz (Ahar). The heights of the province may be classified into three sectors, namely: the Qara Daq Mountains, the Sahand and Bozqoosh Mountains, and the Qaflan Kooh Mountains.

In general, East Azarbaijan enjoys a cool and dry climate, but the gentle breezes off the Caspian Sea have some influence on the climate of the low-lying areas. Temperatures run between -10°C in the winter and up to 30°C in the summer. The ideal time to visit this province is during the spring and summer months. 

The most outstanding features from a cultural point of view are the language, which is Azari, and folklore of this region. Apart from this the province also boasts numerous learned scholars and several national poets such as Mowlana Baba Mazeed, Khajeh Abdol Raheem Aj Abadi, Sheikh Hassan Bolqari, and Abdolqader Nakhjavani, to name a few, and the contemporary poet Ostad Mohammad Hossein Shahriyar. The current leader of Iran, Ali Khamenei, also originally comes from this region.

Iran’s Cultural Heritage Organization has registered 936 sites of historical significance in the province.

East Azarbaijan province is an industrial centre of Iran and has over 5000 manufacturing units, of which at least 800 are industrial (6% percent of national total) in year 2004.

Some of the major industries like steel, machinery, oil refinery and food are located in this province. Tabriz has an excellent position in the handicraft industry of Iran, having a large share in the exports of the province. Tabriz carpets are widely known and appreciated in international markets for their vibrant designs and colors. With no doubt, Persian Carpets owe their fame to the creative minds of the designers and the deft hands of the carpet weavers of this region.

East Azarbaijan province is also one of the richest regions of Iran in natural minerals.

4/ West Azarbaijan

The province of West Azarbaijan is 37,614 km2 (14,523 sq mi) in the north-west of Iran. Urumieh is the capital city of the province. The townships of Piranshahr, Oshnavieh, Bukan, Urmia, Takab, Chaldran, Khoy, Sardasht, Salmas, Shahindej, Maku, Mahabad, Miandoab and Naqadeh are in this province.

This province has a mountainous terrain in which the high Zagros Mountains span over an area from the northwest to the southeast. The water obtained from the melting snow flows through the various valleys in the vicinity, ultimately flowing into Lake Urumieh, the Kloy (Zaab) River.

Pleasant climatic conditions have created suitable living conditions in the Azarbaijan provinces. It is here where humanity’s first traces of wine were discovered.

Climatically, the province is influenced by the humid air currents of the Atlantic Ocean, and in the winter months the Mediterranean air currents have an effect here, bringing down the temperature. Generally the climate is variable, rising to 34ºC in hot summer months and dropping to -16ºC in the winter season, such that the cities of Urumieh and Maku have dry summers and cold winters, Mahabad has long, dry summers and extremely cold winters, whereas Naqadeh and Miandoab experience a semi-humid climate with mild summers and cold winters.

5/ Bushehr

Bushehr, city in southwestern Iran, located on the Persian Gulf in a vast plain running along the coastal region, the capital of Bushehr Province. Bushehr is a major fishing and commercial port (so called Bandar-e Bushehr). It is one of the chief ports of Iran and is at a distance of 1,218 km. from Tehran, and has a hot, humid climate.

The strategic location of city of Bushehr has been the main reason for the establishment of the port of Bushehr. During the 1st and 2nd Millennium BCE, the Peninsula of Bushehr was a thriving and flourishing seat of civilization called “Rey Shahr”. Many relics have been found in this regard related to the Elamite era and the civilization of Shoush (Susa). These structures of “Rey Shahr” are said to be related to Ardeshir of Sassanid dynasty and “Rey Shahr” was formerly known by the name of Ram Ardeshir. Thereby through the passage of time came to be called Rey Shahr and thence Bushehr.

It is obvious that the Persian Gulf and consequently the province of Bushehr enjoys a remarkable situation with trade in addition to its remarkable situation regarding military affairs. For these reasons the Europeans were interested to take control of the region and the city of Bushehr. The Portugese, invaded the city of Bushehr in 1506 CE and attempted to take the place of the Egyptian and the Vinecian traders who were dominant in the region.

6/ Chahar Mahaal and Bakhtiari

The province of Chahar Mahaal and Bakhtiari is 16,201 km2 (6,255 sq mi) in the south-west of the central plateau of Iran.

7/ Isfahan/Esfahan

The province of Esfahan is 107,027 km2 (41,323 sq mi) in the center of Iran.

Historians have recorded Espahan, Sepahan or Isfahan initially as a defense and military base. The security and protection of the gradually increasing castles and fortifications, thereby, would provide the protection of residents nearby, therefore leading to the growth of large settlements nearby. These historical castles were Atashgah, Sarooyieh, Tabarok, Kohan Dej, and Gard Dej. The oldest of these is Ghal’eh Sefeed and the grounds at Tamijan from prehistoric times. The historic village of Abyaneh, a nationwide attraction, also has Sassanid ruins and fire temples among other historical relics.

During the 17th and 18th centuries, Isfahan province enjoyed high standards of prosperity as it became the capital of Safavid Persia. The city of Sepahan (Esfahan) was their seat of monarchical.

Isfahan province encompasses various sects today. The majority of the people in the province are Persian speakers, but Bakhtiari Lurs, Georgians, Armenians, Qashqais and Persian Jews also reside in the province. The official language of the province is Persian, though different ethnic groups and tribes speak languages of their own, including Judeo-Persian, Armenian, Georgian, Qashqai Turkic and Bakhtiari Lurish. Isfahan province is noted for the large number of cultural luminaries which it has produced, including poets, scholars, philosophers, theologians and scientists of national renown.


8/ Fars

The province of Fars is 121,825 km2 (47,037 sq mi) in the south of the central plateau of Iran. Fars territory or Ancient Persia, in Old Persian: in the southern part of Iran leading to the Persian Gulf, which has historical, continental, cultural and especially dialectal commonalities and includes the provinces of Khuzestan, Fars, Esfahan, Bushehr, Kohgiluyeh and Boyer-Ahmad, Hormozgan and Chaharmahal and Bakhtiari and the western part of Kerman Province, which is known as the origin of Persian language and inherited from Middle Persian.Which is still culturally and linguistically distinct to this day. In 558 BC, Cyrus the Great (Cyrus II) was born in Anshan (Persia), somewhere between the cities Izeh in the northeast of Khuzestan and the southwest of Chaharmahal and Bakhtiari. The Cyrus the Great founded Satrap of Persia (in place of present-day Marvdasht, north of Fars Province), then he moved Achaemenid Empire capital to Susa.


9/ Gilan

The province of Gilan is 13,952 km2 (5,387 sq mi) in the north of Iran. lies just west of the province of Mazandaran, along the Caspian Sea. The center of the province is the city of Rasht. Other towns in the province include Astara, Astaneh-e Ashrafiyyeh, Rudsar, LangRud, Souma’eh Sara, Talesh, Fuman, Masouleh, and Lahijan. The main harbor port of the province is Bandar-e Anzali (previously Bandar-e Pahlavi).

Archaeological excavations reveal the antiquity of the province to date back to prior to the last Ice Age. In the 6th century BCE, the inhabitants of Gilan allied with Cyrus the Great and overthrew the Medes. The province then passed from the control of one dynasty to the next.

10/ Golestan

The province of Golestan is 20,893 km2 (8,067 sq mi) in the north east of Iran. Its capital is Gorgan, which was called called Esterabad or Astarabad until 1937, with a population of 1.7 million in 2004. Province of Golestan was separated from the province of Mazandaran in 1997.

Golestan province is located on the south eastern shore of Caspian Sea. In general, Golestan has a moderate and humid climate known as “the moderate Caspian climate”. The effective factors behind such a climate are: Alborz mountain range, direction of the mountains, height of the area, neighborhood to the sea, vegetation surface, local winds, altitude and weather fronts. As a result of the above factors, three different climates exist in the region: plain moderate, mountainous, and semi-arid. Gorgan valley has a semi-arid climate. The average annual temperature is 18.2 Celsius and the annual rainfall is 556 mm.
Its capital, Gorgan, is approximately 400 km from Tehran and has an airport and several universities. The Golestan National Park is some 150 km to east of this city.
Gorgan has contributed to the rich literature, poetry and science of Iran and even the world by celebrities such as Abdolqaher Gorgani, Sayed Esmail Gorgani, Mirdamad , Mirfenderski, Asad Gorgani and Esmail Hosseini Gorgâni.

Gorgan and in general Golestan province has a world famous carpet and rug industry. Made by Turkmans, is inherited from the ancient Persian city of Bukhara. Jajim carpets are the exclusives of this province.

11/ Hamadan

Hamadan (Hamedan) is situated 336 km south west of Tehran on the slopes of Mount Alvand, 190 km east of Kermanshah and 530 km north west of Esfahan at the elevation of 1800 meters. The city is stretched around a star-shaped square named after Imam (Ayatollah) Khomeini. Out of this square which has preserved its beautiful style of architecture, six avenues diverge from the angles of the star. Hamadan has been developed and renovated to a great extent in recent years and gradually this has changed the city’s old fabric. There are still old neighbourhoods with nostalgic names in Hamadan besides its large modern streets and beautiful parks.

Hamadan is one of the oldest cities of not only Iran but of the world. Its historical origins date back to several centuries before Christ. Hamadan was the Median Empire’s capital before they formed a union with the Persians and also served as the summer capital of the Achaemenid Empire was then called Ecbatana or Hâgmatâna; meaning a place of assembly. The poet Ferdowsi says that Ecbatana was build by King Jamshid.
Hamadan is one of the cradles of Oriental civilization with legendary background. According to historical records, there was once a castle in this city by the name of Haft Hessar (Seven Walls) which had a thousand rooms and its grandeur equalled that of the Babylon Tower.
All the nations living around Iran coveted the prominent natural position of Hamadan from the times immemorial until recent centuries; and have invaded the city several times. First, the Assyrians destroyed Hamadan. It was ruined again and again during the invasion of Mongols and Tamerlane. Finally, in the recent centuries the Ottomans attacked the city several times; but Hamadan heroically stood against the enemies and courageously withstood all the losses it had sustained.

Hamadan is the homeland of great scholars and men ot letters like Elnaighozat, Khajeh Rashidoddin Fazlollah, Adham Hamadani, Baba Taher Orian and Mirzadeh Eshghi; and the tombs of Avicenna and Baba Taher are located in this city. Hamadan has preserved its importance in the post-Islamic period.
Hamadan is a city of mild climate summer. Its natural beauty including Mount Alvand and its beautiful peak as well as the scenery of Morad Baig and Abbasabad Valleys will always be remembered by visitors. In this ancient city remains have been unearthed in archaeological excavations of Median and Achaemenid castles, forts and cities on the hills of Hegmataneh and Mossalla. The objects unearthed in those sites, like tablets, gold and silver plates, and tools are now is great museums. Yet, there are plenty of other historical monuments and places to be visited by everybody. These include:

The Stone Lion:
The Stony Lion or the stone lion is a big Parthian monument that was originally made like a lion. It is believed that once there was a counterpart for this monument.

Avicenna Memorial Tomb:
The tomb of the great Iranian scientist, Avicenna, is in Hamadan with a building and a dome built in 1954. The design of the dome is inspired by the shape of Qabous Voshmgir Tower. There is a library with a number of manuscripts in this building. In the courtyard of the building, there is a tomb belonging to the late Qajar period poet and song writer Abolqassem Aref.

Baba Taher Memorial Tomb:
The tomb of the writer of many romantic couplets, Baba Taher, is in Hamadan. The building of the great mystic’s tomb has been built in a beautiful park northwest of Hamadan in recent years.

The Holy Shrines:
The devotedly faithful people of Hamadan have always paid respectful attention to holy shrines. There are several mosques; mausoleums and shrines in Hamadan including Imamzadeh Esmaeil, Imamzadeh Abdullah, the Jami’ Mosque and Khaneqah.

The Ganjnameh Epigraphes:
Most tourists express their interests usually to see the Ganjnameh Epigraphs while visiting Hamadan . These are two inscriptions which were written on a rocky wall on Alvand Mountain by kind Darius’s command during the Achaemenian period. They are located in a beautiful valley which is called Abbasabad.

The Alavid Dome:
This is the most important Islamic monument in Hamadan. It is a square building of late Saljuk period with a masterly stucco interior. This building has a crypt containing the tombs members of the Alavid family.

The Qorban Tower:
It is a 12 sided plain brick building with a pyramid shaped dome. It is located in the eastern part of the city; and there is a tomb in its crypt.

The Tomb of Esther and Mordecai:
These are the tombs of two Jewish people whose names appear in the Old Testament. The building is made with bricks and stone on the graveyard of Khashayarshah’s wife (Esther) and her uncle (Mordecai). There are antique wooden boxes and manuscripts of the Old Testament inside the building.

Ali-Sadr Cave:
The mountainous position of Hamadan has led to the formation of many wonderful and beautiful caves of which according to specialists the Alisadr is one of the most astonishing. There are few caves like this any where else across the world. Local people sometimes call it Alisadr or Alisad. Located 60 kilometers north of Hamadan, Alisadr is a vast cave that contains a lake and a labyrinth of chambers along which one can sail for tens of kilometres. The clear water of the lake is several meters deep and the cave’s walls, floor and ceiling are covered with an abundance of marvellous stalactites and stalagmites and various natural stones that have taken the shape of various animals, objects and islands. No living creature lives in this cave and in its water because there is no natural light.

However, there is power supply in the cave for lighting. In some of the chambers the distance between the floor and ceiling of the cave reaches 40 meters, but the average height of the cave is about 8 meters. There are boating services with guides and catering facilities for those who wish to visit the cave.

12/ Hormozgan

The province of Homozgan is 71,193 km2 (27,488 sq mi) in the south of Iran. Hormozgan Province is one of the 31 provinces of Iran. Its area is 70,697 km2 (27,296 sq mi), and its provincial capital is Bandar Abbas. The province has fourteen islands in the Persian Gulf and 1,000 km (620 mi) of coastline.
The province has 13 major cities: Bandar Abbas, Bandar Lengeh, Hajiabbad, Minab, Qeshm, Sardasht, Sirik, Jask, Bastak, Bandar Khamir, Parsian, Rudan, and Abumusa. The province has 13 counties (or districts), 69 municipalities, and 2,046 villages. In 2011 a little more than 1.5 million people resided in Hormozgan Province. The counties of Hormozgan Province are Parsian County, Bastak County, Bandar Lengeh County, Abumusa County, Qeshm County, Khamir County, Bandar Abbas County, Hajjiabad County, Rudan County, Minab County, Sirik County, Bashagard County and Jask County.

13/ Ilam

The province of Ilam is 20,150 km2 (7,780 sq mi) in the west of Iran. Ilam Province is one of the 31 provinces of Iran. It is bordering on the provinces of Kermanshah, Lorestan, and Khuzestan. The largest city and also the provincial capital is the city of Ilam with a population 194,030. 

14/ Kerman

Kerman city with a height of 1755 m. is located on a high margin of Kavir-e lut (Lut Desert) in the central south of Iran, is the Capital of Kerman Providence. Kerman is counted as one of the oldest cities and its name is derived from the Germaniol race listed by Herodotus, and its construction is attributed to Ardashir I of Sassanid Dynasty (Ardashir-e Babakan) in 3rd century CE.

Kerman was ruled by Turkmans, Arabs and Mongols after the 7th Century CE and was expanded rapidly during the Safavid Dynasty. Carpets and rugs were exported to England and Germany during this period. As it also is a major hand woven carpet production center of the country, and hundreds of small workshops scattered through the city.
Kerman has had a long turbulent history. It was only during the rule of the Qajar Dynasty that security was restored in this city under the Central Government. Kerman has a small Zoroastrian minority. Most of the ancient Kerman was destroyed in a 1794 earthquake.

The distance between this city and Tehran is 1064 kms. and is on Tehran, Bandar Abbas and Zahedan route. Kerman airport is counted as one of the main airports which has daily & weekly flights to Tehran, Ahwaz, Yazd, Esfahan, Bandar Abbas, Mashhad and Shiraz. Also the Trans Iranian Railway passes through this city.
Kerman city has a moderate and the average annual rainfall is 135 mm. Because it is located close to the Kavir-e lut, Kerman has hot summers and in the spring it often has violent sand storms. Otherwise, its climate is relatively cool.

Masjed-e Jame (Jame Mosque)
Masjed-e Jame or Muzaffari is one of the historical monuments of the 14th century CE, famous for its magnificent portal, its mihrab and mosaic-tile decorations, and its historic inscription, which bears the date 1349 CE.

Ganjali Khan
Ganjali Khan was one of the famous rulers during the reign of Shah Abbas of Safavid. As the ruler of Kerman province he constructed many monuments and buildings. Ganjali Khan complex is composed of a school, a square, a caravanserai, a public bath, a water reservoir, a mint house, a mosque and a bazaar. A number of inscriptions laid inside the complex indicate the exact date when these places have been built.
Out of Ganjali Khan complex, the Khan public bath located in the grand bazaar of Kerman serves as an anthropology museum today and attracts an increasing number of Iranian and foreign tourists. This is a unique work of architecture with beautiful tile works, paintings, stuccos, and arches.
The bath rendered service no later than 60 years ago. In the closet section and main yard of the bath there are many life-like statues. These statues were designed at Tehran University’s faculty of fine arts in 1973 and then transferred to this museum.

This complex has been built during the Safavid era (1501 – 1722 CE) enjoying a modern architectural style of the time. This bath is an association of architecture and application of an array of constructional materials in an appropriate space with totally popular approaches. The architect of the bath and the complex is a master from Yazd city named Mohammad Sultani.

15/ Kermanshah

Kermanshah is one of the ancient cities of Iran and it is said that, “Tahmores Divband”, a mythical ruler of the Pishdadian had constructed it. Some attribute its constructions to Bahram of Sassanid dynasty, 4th century CE. During the reign of Qobad I and Anoushirvan Sassanid, Kermanshah was at the peak of its glory. And then became the secondary royal residence.
Evidence indicated that this province has been the home of man since the Paleolithic and Neolithic age. Considering the historical monuments found in Kermanshah, it was very glorious in the Achaemenid and Sassanid eras and was highly regarded by the kings of those times. But in the Arab invasion suffered great damage. In the Safavid period, it made great progress. Concurrent with the Afghan attack and the fall of Esfahan, Kermanshah was destroyed due to the Ottoman invasion. Kurds, Lors, Arabs, and Turks are peoples living in this province. In addition to the inhabitants of the town and villages, there are nomadic societies through out the province. The predominant language is Farsi, but Kurdi and other languages are also spoken. From the Paleolithic time to the present, this district has been the home of many peoples.
The monuments belong to the Sassanian era as well as caravansary and bridge from Safavid period, indicate the high importance of this district in different ages.

Darius I the Great’s inscription at Bisotoun (6th century BCE): At a site some 1300 meter high in the mountains, one of the most famous sites in Near Eastern archeology has been attracting passersby since time Immemorial. It was, here that Sir Henry Rawlison copied the trilingual inscription of Darius I of Achaemenids, caved in 522 BCE. In old Persian, Elamite and Akkadian, an important step in the eventual decipherment of cuneiform in the mid 19th century. The Bisotoun relief above the inscription depicts Darius facing the nine rebel kings, whom the Achaemenid rulers uppercased when he came to power.
Tagh-e Bostan, Sassanid Reliefs (224-651 BCE): The Sassanid kings chose a sensational setting for their rock reliefs Taghe-e-Bostan, four miles north-East of Kermanshah. A sacred spring gushes forth from a mountain cliff and empties into a large reflecting pool. In writer the entire scene is shrouded in mist and clouds.

One of the most impressive reliefs, inside the largest grotto or “ivan” is the gigantic equestrian of Sassanid king, Khosrow II (591-628 CE) mounted on his favorite charger, Shabdiz. Both horse and rider are arrayed in full battle armor. There are two hunting scenes on opposite side of the ivan, one depicts the imperial boar hunt and the other in a similar spirit shows the king stalking deer. Elephants flush out the feeling boar from a marshy lake for the king who stands poised with bow and arrow in hand serenaded by female musicians following in other boats. These royal hunting scenes are among the most vivid of all rock reliefs, true narrative murals in stone, Jumping 1300 years in time the upper relief shows the 19th century Qajar king Fath-Ali shah holding court.

The temple of Anahita (200 BCE) in Kangavar: Kangavar is a small town of great antiquity lying halfway between Hamadan and Kermanshah (90 km. East of Kermanshah). In about 200 BC during the seleucid Greek occupation of Kangavar, a major sanctuary was erected to the mother Goddess Anahita who was worshipped in ancient Persia along with Ahura-Mazda and Mithras.

This vast temple was built of enormous blocks of dressed stone with an imposing entrance of opposed staircases which may have been inspired by the Apadana in Persepolis.

16/ Khorasan e Jonobi / South Khorasan

South Khorasan Province is a province located in eastern Iran. Birjand is the centre of the province. The other major cities are Ferdows, Tabas and Qaen.

This new province, is but the old Quhistan which was included into greater Khorasan in the Iranian administrative planning. However, historically Qohistan forms a separate entity, with a distinct culture, history, environment and ecology.

South Khorasan is one of the three provinces that were created after the division of Khorasan in 2004. While at the beginning, the newly created “South Khorasan” included only Birjand County and some new counties detached from that county (i.e. Nehbandan, Darmian and Sarbisheh), in subsequent years, all northern and western cities and territories of the old Quhistan (such as Qaen, Ferdows and Tabas) have been annexed into the South Khorasan.

South Khorasan Province consists of 11 counties: Birjand County, Ferdows County, Tabas County, Qaen County, Nehbandan County, Darmian County, Sarbisheh County, Boshruyeh County, Sarayan County, Zirkuh County and Khusf County.

17/ Khorasan e Razavi/Razavi Khorasan

The province of Razavi Khorasan is in the north-east of Iran. It border with Afghanistan on the east and Turkmenistan by the north. It was a part of former province of Khorasan which in 2004 was divided in to three provinces of “North Korasan”, “Razavi Khorasan” and “South Khorasan”.

Mashhad is the capital of province; Ghouchan, Dargaz, Chenaran, Sarakhs, Fariman, Torbat-e Jam, Taybad, Ferdows, Ghayen, Khaf, Rashtkhar, Kashmar, Bardaskan, Neyshabour, Sabzevar, Gonabad, Kalat and Khalil Abad are other cities of South Khorasan.

18/ Khorasan e Shomali / North Khorasan

The province of North Khorasan is in the north of Iran. It was a part of former province of Khorasan which in 2004 was divided in to three provinces of “North Khorasan”, “Razavi Khorasan” and “South Khorasan”.

Bojnord is the capital of province; Shirvan, Jajarm, Maneh and Samlaghan and Esfarayen are other cities of province.

19/ Khuzestan

The province of Khuzestan is 63,213 km2 (24,407 sq mi) in the south-west of Iran, bordering Iraq and the Persian Gulf. Ahvaz is the capital of this province and its cities are Abadan, Behbahan, Dezful, Khorramshahr, Bander Imam, Shoush (Susa), Masjed Soleiman, Andimeshk, Mah Shahr, Ramhormoz, Omidiyeh, Shushtar, Izeh, Hoveizeh, Aqa Djari, Shadegan and Soosangerd.

Basically, the province of Khuzestan can be divided into two regions, the plains and mountainous regions. The agricultural lands are fertile and mainly in the west of the province, which are irrigated by the Karun, Karkheh and Jarahi rivers. These three large and permanent rivers flow over the entire territory contributing to the fertility of the land. Karun, Iran’s largest river, 850 kilometers long, flows into the Persian Gulf through this province.

The name Khuzestan, which means “The Land of the Khuzi,” refers to the original inhabitants of this province, the Khuzi people. Khuzestan is situated on the southern part of the Zagros mountain ranges, which covers the north and east of the province. The climate of Khuzestan is generally hot and humid, particularly in the south, while winters are much more pleasant and dry.

The province of Khuzestan is 63,213 km2 (24,407 sq mi) in the south-west of Iran, bordering Iraq and the Persian Gulf. Ahvaz is the capital of this province and its cities are Abadan, Behbahan, Dezful, Khorramshahr, Bander Imam, Shoush (Susa), Masjed Soleiman, Andimeshk, Mah Shahr, Ramhormoz, Omidiyeh, Shushtar, Izeh, Hoveizeh, Aqa Djari, Shadegan and Soosangerd.

Basically, the province of Khuzestan can be divided into two regions, the plains and mountainous regions. The agricultural lands are fertile and mainly in the west of the province, which are irrigated by the Karun, Karkheh and Jarahi rivers. These three large and permanent rivers flow over the entire territory contributing to the fertility of the land. Karun, Iran’s largest river, 850 kilometers long, flows into the Persian Gulf through this province.

The name Khuzestan, which means “The Land of the Khuzi,” refers to the original inhabitants of this province, the Khuzi people. Khuzestan is situated on the southern part of the Zagros mountain ranges, which covers the north and east of the province. The climate of Khuzestan is generally hot and humid, particularly in the south, while winters are much more pleasant and dry.

The ziggurat of Choqa Zanbil in Khuzestan was a magnificent structure of the Iranian Elamite Empire.

Khuzestan is inhabited by a number of ethnic groups and peoples. Indigenous Persians in major cities, Iranian Arab tribes, the Bakhtiari, Behbahani and Luri of the north, the Qashqai and Afshari tribes, Armenians, the peoples of Dezful, Shushtar and the inhabitants of the coastal regions of the Persian Gulf all make up the population of the province of Khuzestan.

The Persian groups of western Khuzestan all speak distinct dialects unique to their areas. Many Khuzestanis are bilingual, speaking both Persian and Arabic. It is also not uncommon to find people able to speak a variety of indigenous dialects in addition to their own.

Khuzestani folk music is colorful and festive, and each native group has their own rich traditions and legacy in this area.

The people of Khuzestan are predominantly Shi’a, with small Sunni, Jewish and Christian minorities. Khuzestanis are also very well regarded for their hospitality and generosity.

Seafood is the most important part of Khuzestani cuisine, some few to mention are “qaliye-mahi” (fish stew), “qaliye-meygu” (shrimp stew), “ashe-mohshala” (a Khorramshahri breakfast soup) and “soboor” which is prepared with heavy spices, onions and cilantro.

The province of Khuzestan is one of the centers of ancient civilization, based around Susa. French archeologists such as Jaques De Morgan date the civilization here as far back as 8000 BCE when excavating areas such as Tal-e Ali Kosh. The first large scale empire based here was that of the powerful 4th millennium BCE Elamites, a non-Semitic kingdom independent of Mesopotamia. Archeological ruins verify the entire province of Khuzestan to be home to the Elamite civilization.

In previous ages, Iranians referred to Khuzestan as Elam; and historically historians refer to this province as ancient Elam, whose capital was in Susa. Khuzestan is the most ancient Iranian province and is often referred to in Iran as the “birthplace of the nation”, as this is the area where Aryan tribes first settled, assimilating the native Elamite population, and thus laying the foundation for the future Persian Empires of Median, Achaemenid, Parthian and Sassanid.

The province of Khuzestan is one of the centers of ancient civilization, based around Susa. French archeologists such as Jaques De Morgan date the civilization here as far back as 8000 BCE when excavating areas such as Tal-e Ali Kosh. The first large scale empire based here was that of the powerful 4th millennium BCE Elamites, a non-Semitic kingdom independent of Mesopotamia. Archeological ruins verify the entire province of Khuzestan to be home to the Elamite civilization.

In previous ages, Iranians referred to Khuzestan as Elam; and historically historians refer to this province as ancient Elam, whose capital was in Susa. Khuzestan is the most ancient Iranian province and is often referred to in Iran as the “birthplace of the nation”, as this is the area where Aryan tribes first settled, assimilating the native Elamite population, and thus laying the foundation for the future Persian Empires of Median, Achaemenid, Parthian and Sassanid.

In 640 BCE, the Elamites were defeated by Ashurbanipal coming under the rule of the Assyrians who wrought destruction upon Susa and Chogha Zanbil. But in 538 BCE Cyrus the Great was able to re-conquer the Elamite lands. The city of Susa was then proclaimed as one of the Achaemenian capitals. Darius the Great then erected a grand palace known as Hadish there in 521 BCE. But this astonishing period of glory and splendor of the Achaemenian dynasty came to an end by the invasion of Alexander of Macedon. And after Alexander, the Seleucid dynasty ruled the area.

As the Seleucid dynasty weakened, Mehrdad I the Parthian (171-137 BCE), gained victory over the region. During the Sassanid dynasty this area thrived tremendously and flourished, and this dynasty was responsible for the many constructions that were erected in Ahvaz, Shushtar and Andimeshk.

The intellectual center or city of Sassanid Empire was Jondishapour (or Gundishapur), founded in 271 CE, by Shapur I, one the most powerful rulers of the Sassanid dynasty, in Khuzestan near Ahvaz and not far from the Karun River. Gundishapur was home to the world’s oldest known teaching hospital, and also comprised a library and a university. According to “The Cambridge History of Iran (vol 4, p396.)”, it was the most important medical center of the ancient world (defined as Europe, the Mediterranean, and the Near East) during the 6th and 7th centuries. Jondishapour medical center was the Mecca of its time, and used to attract the distinguished medical scientists from Greece, Egypt, India, and Rome, shows the importance and prosperity of this region during ancient times.

Jondishapour (or Gundishapur) Academy offered training not only in medicine but also in philosophy, theology and science. The faculties were versed not only in the Zoroastrian and Persian traditions, but in Greek and Indian learning as well

In 639 CE, Arabs Muslims, under the command of Abu Musa Al-Ash’ari from Basra, invaded Khuzestan and drove the Persian Hormozan out of Ahvaz. Susa fell in two days, so Hormozan fled to Shushtar where his forces were besieged by Arab invaders for 18 months. Shushtar finally fell in 642 CE, they, Arab invaders purged the entire Nestorian population of the city along with the Bishop of Hormizd. There after followed the conquests of Jondishapour and of many other districts of Kuzestan. The battle of Nehavand finally secured Khuzestan for the Muslim invaders.



20/ Kohkiluyeh and Buyer Ahmad

The province of Kohkiluyeh and Buyer Ahmad is 15,563 km2 (6,009 sq mi) in the south of Iran. Kohgiluyeh and Boyer-Ahmad Province is one of the thirty-one provinces of Iran.The people mainly speak the Luri language. The counties of Kohgiluyeh and Boyer-Ahmad Province are Bahmai County, Landeh County, Boyer-Ahmad County, Charam County, Dana County, Basht County and Gachsaran County.

21/ Kurdistan / Kordestan

The province of Kurdistan is 28,817 km2 in the west of Iran. It is bound by Iraq on its west, Le province of west Azerbaijan to its north, Zanjan to s northwest, and Kermanshah to its south. The capital F this province is Sanandaj, and its other major cities are: Baneh, Bijar, Divandarreh, Ghorveh, Kamyaran, Marivan and Saqqez.

The other major activities of the inhabitants are agriculture and modern livestock farming. Wheat, barley, grains and fruits are the major agricultural products. The chemical, metal, textile, leather and food industries are the main industrial activities in this province. Kurdistan is a predominantly mountainous region with mild spring and summers, offering ideal conditions for recreation.

Sanandaj City
The city of Sanandaj is the capital of Kurdistan, and lies at a distance of 512 km from Tehran, 1,480 m above sea level.

Although the province of Kurdistan has archeological traces which go back to thousands of years BC when the Aryan Kurds first settled in these parts, Sanandaj itself is a rather new city and was built less than 200 years ago.

Kurdistan province succumbed to the Moslem Army circa 642 A.D. and most of the inhabitants accepted Islam which is the predominant religion of the area, today.

Sanandaj was very prosperous in the Safavid era but was completely destroyed at the time of Karim Khan of Zand dynasty. It was later chosen to be the capital of this province and is presently one of the most prominent cities of western Iran.

22/ Lorestan

The province of Lorestan is 28,392 km2 (10,962 sq mi) in the west of Iran. Lorestan Province is a province of western Iran in the Zagros Mountains.
Lorestan covers an area of 28,392 km2. The major cities in this province are Khorramabad, Borujerd, Dorud, Aligudarz, Kuhdasht, Azna, Aleshtar, Nurabad, and Pol-e Dokhtar.

23/ Markazi

Markazi Province is one of the 31 provinces of Iran. The word Markazi means central in Persian.

Markazi lies in central Iran. Its capital is Arak.

The major cities of the province are: Saveh, Arak, Mahallat, Zarandiyeh, Khomein, Delijan, Tafresh, Ashtian, Shazand (previously known as Sarband) and Farahan.

24/ Mazandaran

The province of Mazandaran is 23,833 km2 (9,202 sq mi) in the north of Iran, bordering the Caspian Sea is to the north, the provinces of Tehran and Semnan lie to the south. To the west it has common borders with Gilan province, and to the east stands the province of Golestan. Mazandaran was a part of the ancient Persian province of Hyrcania.

Sari is the provincial capital. The province covers an area of 23,833 sq. km. Townships of the province are: Amol, Babol, Babolsar, Behshahr, Tonekabon, Chaloos, Ramsar, Savad Kooh, Qaem Shahr, Mahmood Abad, Neka, Noor and Noshahr.

Mazanderani or Tabari is an ancient northwestern branch of the Iranian languages. Notably, the language did not come under the influence of other incoming languages such as Mongolian, Arabic, or Tatar, and is still spoken in various dialects in the region.

25/ Qazvin

The province of Qazvin is 15,491 km2 (5,981 sq mi) in the north-west of the central plateau of Iran; and is bounded on the north by Mazandaran and Gilan, on the west by Hamedan and Zanjan, on the south by Markazi and on the east by Tehran Provinces. Its provincial capital today is Qazvin, that has been a cultural center of mass throughout history.

The climate of the province in the northern parts is cold and snowy in winters and temperate in summers. In the southern parts the climate is mild with comparatively cold winters and warm summers.
The famous mountains of the province are Siälän 4175m and Shäh Alborz 4056m, which are part of the central chain of Alborz.

Archeological findings in the Qazvin plain reveal the existence of urban agricultural settlements as far back as 7000BCE. The name “Qazvin” or “Kasbin” is derived from Cas, an ancient tribe that lived south of the Caspian Sea millennia ago. Qazvin is historically also rendered as “Kazvin”, “Kasvin” and “Casbin” in western texts. The Caspian Sea itself in fact derives its name from the same origin. Qazvin geographically connects Tehran, Esfahan, and the Persian Gulf to the Caspian seacoast and Asia Minor, hence its strategic location throughout the ages.

Qazvin has been a hotbed of historical developments in Iranian history. In the early years of the Islamic era Qazvin served as a base for the Arab invaders. Destroyed by Genghis Khan (13th century), the Safavids monarchs made Qazvin the capital of the Safavid Empire in 1548 only to have it moved to Esfahan in 1598. During the Qajar Dynasty and contemporary period, Qazvin has always been one of the most important governmental centers due to its proximity to Tehran.

Jame Atigh Mosque is one of the oldest mosques in Iran constructed by the orders of Harun al-Rashid in 807 CE. In spite of the devastating Mongol invasion, this mosque still stands today in its full glory.

Another grand attraction in Qazvin Province, is the tombs of two Saljuki era princes, Aboo Saeed Bijar son of Sad and Aboo Mansoor Iltai son of Takin, that are located in two separate towers known as the Kharaghan twin towers. Constructed in 1067, these are the first monuments in Islamic Architecture which include a non-conic two-layered dome. Unfortunately, both towers were severely damaged by a devastating earthquake on March 2003.

26/ Qom

The province of Qom is 11,237 km2 (4,339 sq mi) in the north of the central plateau of Iran. This province was formed from part of Tehran province in 1995 and its provincial capital is the city of Qom.

The climate of Qom province varies between a desert and semi-desert climate, and comprises of mountainous areas, foothills and plains. Due to being located near an arid region and located at a distance from the sea, it has a dry climate, with low humidity and scanty rainfall. Agricultural activities are not possible in most of this province, especially near the salt lake regions.
Qom province has two large salt lakes, namely: “Howz-e Soltan Lake”, which can be seen from the Qom-Tehran freeway, and the larger “Namak Lake” further to the east.

Qom is said to have existed in the pre-Islamic ages. Architectural discoveries indicate that Qom was a residential area from the 5th millennium BC. According to the pre-Islamic remaining relics and historical texts, Qom was a large city. ‘Kom’ was the name of the ancient rampart of the city of Qom, thus, the Arabs called it Qom during the Arab conquests of Iran.

It was during the reign of the second caliph Omar, that Qom’s center was captured by the Muslims. During the persecution of the Alavids by Umayyads and Abbasids, many Alavids fled to Qom, making it their permanent home. When Buyid Dynasty in 10th century (“Al-e Booyeh” in Persian) came to power, being of the Alavid community. It was during this reign that the city of Qom expanded and thrived. In the Seljuq era, 11th century, the city rapidly flourished too. During the Mongol invasion the city witnessed destruction, but after Mongol rulers, particularly after “Sultan Öljeitü Khoda Bandeh” of the Ilkhanid Dynasty converted to Islam, the city received special attention, thus witnessing a revival once more.
In the late 14th century, the city came under the plunder of Tamerlane when the inhabitants were massacred again. During the periods of the rule of the “Qarah Qoyoonlou”, “Aq Qoyoonlou”, and specially during the reign of the Safavids, Qom gained special attention and gradually developed. During Safavid era Qom became one of the important centers of theology in relation to the Shiite Islam, and became a vital pilgrimage site and religious pivot.

During the Afghan invasion, the city of Qom suffered heavy damages, and its inhabitants witnessed severe economic hardships. Qom further sustained damages during the reigns of Nadir Shah, and the conflicts between the two households of Zandieh and Qajar in order to gain power in Iran. In late 18th century Qom came under the control of Agha Mohammad Khan Qajar. The city of Qom thrived in the Qajar era and always received special religious attention by the Qajar monarchs and their families.

Today, the city of Qom is considered as one of the focal centers of the Shiism both in Iran and round the globe. Its seminary (theological school) and the holy shrine of “Hazrat Ma’soomeh” are prominent features of Qom and its proximity to Tehran has given it an advantage as well.

27/ Semnan

The province of Semnan is 96,816 km2 (37,381 sq mi) in the north-east of the central plateau of Iran, and its capital is Semnan. Townships of the province include, Semnan, Damqan, Shahrood and Garmsar.

It stretches along the Alborz mountain range and borders to Dasht-e Kavir desert in its southern parts. The province is divided into two parts: a mountainous region, and the plains at the foot of the mountains. The former offers a scope for recreational activities as well as being a source for minerals, whereas the latter encompasses some ancient cities of Iran as one of the capitals of the Parthian Empire was located here.

Semnan can be divided into sixteen sectors from the old days of Avesta. During the Median (Medes) and Achaemenid periods, it accounted for being one of the largest satrapies (provinces) of the empire.

28/ Sistan and Baluchistan

The province of Sistan and Baluchistan is 178,431 km2 (68,893 sq mi) in the south-east of Iran bordering Pakistan and Afghanistan and its capital is Zahedan. Its major cities are Khash, Iranshahr, Saravan and commercial fre port of Chabahar on the coast of Gulf of Oman.

The province comprises of two sections, Sistan in the north and Baluchistan in the south. In the south of Sistan and Baluchistan, the people are mostly Baluchi and speak the Baluchi language. The name Baluchistan means “Land of the Baluchi” in Farsi. Similarly, the Farsi name Sistan comes from the Old Persian Sakastana, meaning “Land of the Saka”.

Many scholars, orators, and literary personalities have sprung up from this part of Iran, amongst which are the reputed Farrokhi Sistani, Yaqoub ibn Layth Saffar and Rostam (Great mythical hero and champion from the book of Shahnameh or “The Epic of Kings”).

In the epigraphs of Bistoon and Persepolis, Sistan is mentioned as one of the eastern territories of Darius the Great (Darius I of Achaemenid). The name Sistan, as mentioned above, is derived from Saka, one of the Aryan tribes that had taken control over this area in the year 128 BCE. From the Sassanid period till the early Islamic period, Sistan flourished considerably.

During the reign of Ardashir I of Sassanids, Sistan came under the jurisdiction of the Sassanids, and in 644CE, the Arab invaders gained control as the Persian Empire was in its final moments of collapsing.

29/ Tehran

The province of Tehran is 18,909 km2 (7,301 sq mi) in the north of the central plateau of Iran. This province has common borders with the Mazandaran province from north, Qom province from south, Semnan province from east and Qazvin province from west. The metropolis of Tehran is not only the capital city of the province, but is also the capital of Iran. As of 2005, this province includes thirteen townships, forty-three municipalities, and 1358 villages.

The province gained importance when Tehran was claimed the capital by Agha Mohammad Khan of the Qajar Dynasty in 1778. Today Tehran ranks in the top 20 metropolitan cities of the world in size.

The province of Tehran has 12,147,543 inhabitants and is Iran’s most densely populated region. Approximately 86.5% reside in urban areas and 13.5% in rural areas of the province.

Tehran is the commercial heart of Iran and has more than 17,000 industrial units which is about 26% of all units in Iran. The province contains almost 30% of Iran’s economy, and comprises 40% of Iran’s consumer market. The province has three hydro dams namely Latiyan, Lar, and Amir Kabir as well as two natural lakes, providing the water supply of Tehran and the province.
The province contains 170 mines, over 330 square kilometers of forests, and over 12800 square kilometers of pasture. The largest rivers of this province are Karaj River and Jajrud River.

The highest point of the province is Mount Damavand at an elevation of 5,678 m, and the lowest point of the province being the plains of Varamin, 790 m above sea level.

Mountain ranges such as The Alborz span the north; Savad Kooh and Firooz Kooh are located in the north east; Lavasanat, Qarah Daq, Shemiranat, Hassan Abad and Namak Mountains are in the southern areas; Bibi Shahr Banoo and Alqadr are situated in the south east and the heights of Qasr-e-Firoozeh being located to the east of the province.

The climate of Tehran province in the southern areas is warm and dry, but in the mountain vicinity is cold and semi-humid, and in the higher regions is cold with long winters. The hottest months of the year are from mid-July to mid-September when temperatures range from 28°-35° C and the coldest months experience 7° to -5 C around December-January. Tehran city has moderate winters and hot summers. Average annual rainfall is approximately 400 mm, the maximum being during the winter season.

30/ Yazd

The city of Yazd’s first mention in historic records predate it back to around 3000 years B.C. when it was related to by the name of Ysatis, and was then part of the domain of Medes, an ancient settler of Iran.

In the course of history due to its distance from important capitals and its harsh natural surrounding, Yazd remained immune to major troops’ movements and destruction from wars, therefore it kept many of its traditions, city forms and architecture until recent times.

During the invasion of Genghis Khan in the early 1200’s A.D. Yazd became a safe haven and home for many artists, intellectuals and scientists fleeing their war ravaged cities around Persia.
For a brief period, Yazd was the capital of Atabakan and Mozaffarid dynasties (14th Century A.D.). During Qajar Dynasty (18th Century A.D.) it was ruled by the Bakhtiari Khans.

The city of Yazd is located in the eastern part of central Iran situated on the high, desert plateau that forms much of the country. Amidst the immense desert, Yazd retains its sterling of old in religion, traditions and architecture. Recognized by UNESCO as holding one of the oldest architecture all over the world.
The word Yazd means, feast and worship, The city of Yazd has resisted the modern urbasisation changes and maintained its traditional structure. The geographical features of this region have made people developed special architectural styles. For this reason, in the older part of the city most houses are built of mud-bricks and have domed roofs. These materials served as insulation preventing heat from passing through.

The existence of special ventilation structures, called Badgirs, on the roofs is a distinctive feature of the architecture of this city (A Badgir is a high structure on the roof under which, in the interior of the building, there is a small pool). Therefore, Yazd has presented its stable identity at the foothills of the 4000 meter Shir Kooh.

The Jame Mosque (Friday Mosque) crowned by a pair of minarets, the highest in Persia, the portal’s facade is decorated from top to bottom in dazzling tile work, predominantly blue in colour. Within there is a long arcaded court where, behind a deep-set south-east Ivan, is a sanctuary chamber. This chamber, under a squat tiled dome, is exquisitely decorated with faience mosaic: its tall faience Mihrab, dated 1365, is one of the finest of its kind in existence.

The Mosque was largely rebuilt between 1324 and 1365, and is one of the outstanding 14th century buildings in Persia. The tile work has recently been skilfully restored and a modern library built to house the mosque’s valuable collection of books and manuscripts.

31/ Zanjan

The province of Zanjan is 21,841 km2 (8,433 sq mi) in the north-west of Iran and its capital is the city of Zanjan. It is bounded on the northeast by Gilan province, on the north by Ardabil and East Azarbaijan provinces, on the northwest by West Azarbaijan and on the west by Kurdistan provinces, on the south by Hamedan province and the east by Qazvin province.

This province is one of the industrial centers of Iran due to its geographically strategic position. It lies 330 km northwest of Tehran, connected to it via a freeway; and the city of Zanjan is the most important city next to Tabriz, which is one of Iran’s most industrialized cities.
Zanjan is famous for its seedless grapes. Zanjan is known for its beautiful handcrafts such as knives, traditional sandals called “Charoogh”, and “Malileh”. Malileh is a handcraft made with silver wires. Handicrafts like decorative dishes and silver jewelry are characteristics of Zanjan.
In ancient times, Zanjan was known for its stainless and sharp Knives. Many villagers today are traditional carpet weavers. This is perhaps Zanjan’s most popular handcraft. Zanjan also has a incredible cave called “Katala Khor”, which is near the Sultanieh.

In Ptolemy’s Geography, the city is referred to as Aganzana. It is said that the first Sassanid king Ardashir I, reconstructed the city and called it Shahin but later it was renamed to Zangan, of which the present name is the arabicized form of it.

Sultanieh is very important historical site in Zanjan province, which is the mausoleum of Oljeitu Khudabandeh and was built in Sultanieh in 1304-13 CE.

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