Mazandaran Province: An Earthly Paradise In North Of Iran
Mazandaran Province at the southern shores of the Caspian Sea, the biggest lake on earth, thanks ample jungles, green pastures and meadows and over a hundred species of rare plants enjoys diverse climates. The Alborz Mountain Range stands like a lofty wall between the south of the country and the Caspian Sea and Mazandaran. Mazandaran is divided into mountainous regions at south and jungle-covered flatlands at the north.

The climate in Mazandaran Province varies at the high altitudes compared to the sandy shoes of the Caspian Sea. The weather is cold in the mountainouMazandaran Province: An Earthly Paradise In North Of Iran's regions in winter and moderate in the summer whereas at the Caspian coasts it is warm and humid in summer and moderate in winter.

Caspian Sea

Having fallen between elevated mountains at the south and the humid coasts of Caspian Sea in the north Mazandaran is the habitation of various animals like boars, leopards, wildcats, gazelles, goats, bears, wolves, deer, snakes and turtles and a variety of birds including falcons, eagles, partridges, and pheasants. The aquatic species in the Caspian Sea include sturgeon, trout, orange fish, and other species.
History Latest historical excavations near Hootoo and Kamarband caves in Behshahr and Rustamkala Cave have revealed remains of human settlement in Mazandaran 400,000 years BC. Objects discovered in these sites have shown that they were occupied by cavemen during prehistoric times. Historians believe that Mazandaran has had the oldest human settlement. 10 thousand years ago the inhabitants of the shores of the Caspian Sea progressed from Paleothilic to Neolithic ages. Then they gradually began farming and taming animals and living in towns.
The present Mazandaran Province is a small portion of a greater Mazandaran which was known as Poshtkhargar or Farshuadgar cities in Achaemenid Parthian and Sassanid books. But later on, Gilan and Gorgan were separated from Mazandaran (formerly known as Tabarestan). Some historians believe that 'Amards' were Asian tribesmen who lived west of Mazandaran and the present Amol was formerly called Amard.
After the arrival of the Aryans into the Iranian plateau, they battled with the Amards and other small tribes and pushed them to Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Fars. During the Sassanid Period 'Qaren' was appointed as governor of Mazandaran and set up a dynasty in that region. During the Arab invasion, thanks to the lofty Alborz Mountain Range Arab armies were unable to conquer Mazandaran and 200 after their arrival the inhabitants of Mazandaran continued to preserve their Zoroastrian faith, but they were gradually converted to Shiite Muslims because the descendants of Imam Ali (A.S.) who had been defeated by the Abbasid caliphs moved to Mazandaran and preached the Shia faith. Until 500 years ago Mazandaran enjoyed autonomous governments. In order to combat with the Russians at north, Nader Shah built a shipbuilding factory in Mazandaran and from the beginning of Qajar Period in the 18th century the province was the summer recreational resort of Fathali Shah. During his trips to Mazandaran Nasseroldin Shah repaired the roads and built several inns and during the Pahlavi Period new roads were built which connected Tehran and others towns to Mazandaran. Since then Mazandaran has become a popular summer and recreational resort in the north.

Rice Fields

Administrative Divisions
Mazandaran is divided into 19 counties and towns Abbas Abad, Amol, Babol, Babolsar, Behshahr, Chalus, Fereydunkenar, Galoogah, Jooybar, Mahmudabad, Miandorood, Neka, Noor, Noshahr, Ramsar, Qaemshahr, Sari, Savadkuh and Tonekabon.

-Tourist Attractions

The Iranian Cultural Heritage Organization has listed approximately 630 sites of historical and cultural significance in Mazandaran Province including the following:

-Amol
Historical sites consist of Amol's old bazaar, Dezhmal Plain, Kaferkali Dungeon, pubic bath and historical caves, several castles and fire temples, Malek Bahman Castle, the shrine of Mir Heydar Amoli, Nasser-ol-Hagh and Shams Tabassi tombs and Amol's Museum of History, Natural attractions consist of Shahandasht
Waterfall, the tallest in Mazandaran, near Malek Bahman Castle, that Larijan, Abask, Reineh, Abahan, and Esterabankooh hot water springs are interesting places to visit in Amol. Polur, a village in Bala Larijan Rural District, is well known for being the climbing start point of Mount Damavand.

-Babol
 Babol Watchtower, Shapur's Palace, Mohammad Hassan Khan Bridge and Babol's Museum of History and Demography and jungles and summer resorts are interesting sites in Mazandaran.

-Behshahr
 Safibad Palace, north of Behshahr is a lovely building which was built by Shah Abbas the Great in a vast garden neighboring the jungles. Beside that Cheshme-Emarat Palace, historical Hootoo and Kamarband caves, Abbas Abad Palace, Gohar Tappeh and Koisan Fire Temple are interesting sites for inspection.
- Miankaleh Swamp covers an area of 100 thousand hectares and houses 40 species of birds and wildlife which makes it a great destination for birdwatchers and safari. The swamp extends to Gorgan Gulf, Ashoorzadeh Island, and Miankaleh Peninsula.
The peninsula,one of the richest ecological heavens in West Asia and perhaps in the whole world, with Gorgan Bay, has been designated an International Wetland (Ramsar site) in 1975 and an international UNESCO Biosphere Reserve in 1976. Raspberry, common medlar, Mediterranean hackberry, Jerusalem thorn, Populus, Salsola, Cyperaceae, and Polygonum, wolf, jackal, fox, hedgehog, wild boar, Caspian seal, flamingo, black francolin, falcon, peregrine falcon, and little bustard, common carp, Caspian white fish, zander, crucian carp, mullet and endangered birds like Coot, purple swamphen, smew, flamingo, white-headed duck, red-breasted goose, and whooper swan are not all the species who live in this peninsula. Gaz Swamp, covering 50 hectares of area south of Miankaleh Gulf, is covered by tamarisk trees and swampy herbs and is the habitat of native and migrating birds.

-Chalus
Shah Cheshmeh Building, Kandovan Inn, Ejabat, and Chaykhoran palaces and Tappeh Kelar are interesting sites in Chalus. Valasht Lake, waterfalls, hot water springs, Kelardasht, Alamkuh and Takht-e Soleyman Mountain peaks, Namak Abrood tele cabin, and Jungle Park are interesting sites inside and outside Chalus. The road from Tehran to Chalus known as Jaddeh Chalus /djAdeh Ca:lu:s/ (EN. Chalus Road) is the most touristic mountainous road in Iran.

-Neka
Narenj Baq Historical hill, Kamishan Cave, waterfalls, Palasht Lake, and several mineral springs are worth to see at Neka.

-Noor
In this town, the traveler can see the wonderful traditional architectured house of the founder of modern poetry Nima Yushij in the beautiful mountainous village Yush, as well as Qaleh Poolad and other castles, Tamishan Palace, Parirooyan Waterfall, and several jungle parks and lakes.

-Noshahr
This town is embellished by Malek Kiyumars Castle, Kandaloos Museum of Earthenware, jewelry and manuscripts, Sisangan and Khanikan jungle parks, Khezr-e Nabi Lake, Khajak Cave and Gardook Spring.

-Qaemshahr
Ancient hills, Hezaroon Mineral Springs, Tolpa Lake and Telar Jungle Parks are lovely sites to see in Qaemshahr.

-Ramsar
 Several historical caves, the Marble Palace (now a museum) the vacation palace of the last Shah, old Ramsar Hotel, hot water springs, waterfalls, and lovely mountainsides are interesting places to see in Ramsar. Hundreds of years old Markooh Castle on top of a hill, reached by a stone-made stairway, has a fascinating view to the Caspian Sea shoreline. Hite Hotel now known as Khazar Parsian Azadi is the five-star international hotel near the Khazar blue lagoon and prosperous forests of northern Iran, in which the sunrise & sunset and the inspiring views will attract any spectator tourist. Twenty-seven kilometres south of Ramsar and 2700 meters above sea level in the Alborz mountains IS Javaher Deh village, which is an important tourist attraction in Ramsar County.

Veresk Railroad bridge ( 100 years ago)

-Savadkooh
The most important natural attractions of Savâdkuh are: Ŝur Mâst lake, near a village by the same name Gâzu waterfall in Lafur hamlet, waterfalls of Ŝirga and Gaduk, the mountains of Arfa Kuh, Sangar and Oadamgâ, in Rassto Pei hamlet and Shervin mountain in Valu Pei hamlet and Alaŝt city.
The Veresk Bridge (Varisk) is a bridge constructed mostly by Austrians before World War II by the leadership of an engineer named Walter Aigner, constructed during the reign of Reza Shah. It is located in the Veresk district of Savadkuh County, in Mazandaran province.
During World War II, it was known as the Pol-e Piroozi (“The Bridge of Victory'). The bridge stands at 110 m (360 ft) tall and its arch measures 66 m (217 ft) long. The bridge serves the Trans-Iranian Railway network in Northern Iran.

-Tonekabon
 Neka Castle, municipality and gendarmerie buildings, Boloor and Hezarkuh lakes, and many hot water springs and swampy hunting grounds are lovely places to see. Khoshkedaran National Jungle Park is the only untapped jungle north of Iran preserving
rare herbal species. Road 2000 is one of the most beautiful jungle paths in Iran, which curves on the Alborz mountain, passing through the green jungles and top of there you will have a fascinating view of the Caspian sea.
Ghar Danial or Danial cave, a great collection of almost all kinds of stalactites and stalagmites is located in 2km distance from Danial village, on the south of Motel Ghoo, Tonekabon. It has lots of ponds and small waterfalls. It is suggested to visit in summer due to wet clothes and warm weather outside the cave. It takes more than 6 hours to go to the end and come back. At first it is almost easy but the farther you go the harder it becomes. Deep inside Danial there are great places for turning the headlights off and listening to the music of water, Places for listening to
yourself.

-Sari City
Sari, the capital city of Mazandaran Province, is influenced by humid tropical/Mediterranean climates. The winters are cool and rainy whilst summers are hot and humid. Sari is sitting over the foothills of Alborz Mountain Range 35 km away from the Caspian Sea. Tajan /tædjan/River flows east of Sari.
Famous historian Hamdollah Mostowfi attributes the foundation of Sari to king Tahmoures of the legendary Pishdadian Dynasty. Ferdowsi mentions the name of the city in Shahnameh. Based upon this evidence and similar evidence in Shahnameh Sari existed when Kaveh, the Blacksmith, revolted against the tyranny of Zahak. After defeating Zahak Fereydoon chose Sari as his capital until his death. When Touraj and Salm murdered Iraj (son of Fereydoun), they buried him in Sari. The Greek historians in the 6th century BC (during Achaemenid Dynasty) have recorded the town's name as Zadrakarta from Persian Sadrakarta. According to Arrian (a Roman historian), Sari was the largest city in Hyrcania. Hyrcania means "yellow city, and it was given to Sari because of its great number of orange, lemon, and other fruit trees.
Actually the foundation of the town was laid by Farrukh ibne Dabouye during the seventh century AD. But prehistoric objects and vessels have discovered near the town including 34 clay pots belonging to prehistoric times. Taheryan and Ale Bavand tribes governed Mazandaran until 1238. During the time of Sultan Mohammad Kharazmshah Sari was damaged by the Mongols. Shah Abbas the Great built several
important buildings in this town, but Sari owes its growth to the Qajars because Aqa Mohammad Khan, the founder of the Qajar Dynasty, crowned himself in Sari on 21 March, 1782 before moving his capital to Tehran.

Alborz dam - Lafoor, Savadkooh Area

-Tourist Attractions
 Shah Abbas the Great constructed the Farahabad Palace in an area of 30 to 40 hectares 28 km north of Sari because his mother was a native of Behshahr (Ashraf). Very small parts of the palace have survived west of the Tajan River. Farahabad Palace was repeatedly attacked by Torkaman hordes. Great damage was inflicted to the palace and the city in 1668 by Russian 6000 Cossacks who attacked the city with 40 gunboats, massacred 1200 persons, looted and destroyed the town and completely destroyed Farahabad Palace.
Reskat Tower, 40 km southwest of Sari, was built during the eleventh century AD and is considered as an important monument because of its Kufi and Sassanid tablets. Sultan Zeinolabedin Tower, a conical one, is the tomb of Sultan Zeinolabedin whose octagonal roof has been decorated by lovely tiles. The tower is equipped with a fine gate and a subtle miniature box around the tomb. The tower was constructed during the 15th century AD.
Imamzadeh Yahya is a circular shrine with a conical brick dome of 20 m height containing several precious wooden boxes and doors. This shrine was also built in the 15th century. Imamzadeh Abbas shrine with its brick dome at a height of 20 m is the burial ground of three descendants of imams and is richly decorated.
Baq-e Shah Palace, Sari Congregation Mosque, Kalbadi Building, Vaziri Bath, several castles and two water reservoirs are some other historical monuments in Sari.
Darabkola Waterfall, Tajan River Park, Shaheed Zare Jungle Park, Mirza Koochek Khan Jungle Park, Dastht-e Naz and Samsankan wildlife resorts are some of the natural attractions of Sari.

Chalous Road

- Iranian language
 Various Mazandarani dialects exist which are spoken in Mazandaran province and the neighboring province Golestan such as Mazanderani and Gorgani and possibly Qadikolahi (Ghadikolahi) and Palani. The cuisine of the province is very rich in seafood due to its location by the Caspian Sea, and rice is present in virtually every meal.

-Souvenirs
Paste, marmalade, pickles, glim, mats and earthenware and are popular souvenirs to be bought in Mazandaran.

Restek 1000 years old Tower

- Museums
Babol Museum Babol, Kandeloos Museum in Kojoor and Khoshkehdaran Natural History Exhibition are the most visiting Museums in Mazandaran. Kandelous is a beautiful and blessed village at the heart of Mazandaran Province's thick forests and on the foothill of the Alborz Mountain Range. The old houses are mainly two-story buildings and are tin-roofed covered with flat pieces or ceramics. Walls made of mud,
small balconies, wooden windows, and simple architecture adds to the beauty of this village. In addition to its scenic landscape, the existence of two museums of anthropology and herbs has played a major role in the fame and popularity of this village. The herb museum has cultivated 250 different types of valuable genetic plants in Iran, producing and supplying different herbs that are exported to different countries across the world. Overall, Kandelous village that has accommodated anthropology and herbs museums has scenic mountainous landscapes, is a summer quarter, and has residential and tourist centers is highly well-known. For this reason, every year thousands of people from different parts of Iran, in addition to foreign tourists visit this pretty village.

-Transportation
The distance from Sari to Tehran is 244 km through Firoozkuh Highway and 354 km by railway. The coastline road and Chalus, Haraz, and Firoozkuh highways connect Mazandaran Province to Tehran and other towns in the country. Beside these surface roads, the National Railway Network connects Sari and Bandar Torkman to Tehran.

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