chances are that when you start your tour of northern Iran. first
of all you land in Rasht, capital of Guilan province. Seven meters
below sea level and 15 km inland from the Anzali Lagoon, to which
it is connected by the Seyah Rud. Rasht is the largest settlement
of the southern Caspian, an industrial center of the region, and
one of the wettest places in Iran, which can also be very humid.
The city has sprawled enormously over recent years, sacrificing
some of its charm for the sake of development. Its present
population amounts to more than 750.000, occupying an area of
1,489 square kilometers. It is one of the most densely-populated
towns in Iran.
Only 324 km
north of Tehran along a good motorway, Rasht is a very popular
weekend or holiday destination for Tehran is, for whom the change
in climate and scenery is enough in itself, and the city has few
sites to offer the sightseer. For most foreigners Rasht is no more
than a convenient staging post for a tour of the region. Good
asphalt roads radiate from Rasht to all parts of the province.
The town itself has nothing of major architectural value.
There are many points of interest, however, besides natural
beauty. Visit a silk factory at Rasht, look at the rice paddies at
the sea-level, and the tea plantations on the stony, volcanic soil
of the foothills. Most tea factories can be visited on request:
between spring and autumn you can seethe processing of the leaves.
The houses and the farm buildings of the region are peculiar to
the Caspian: nowhere else in Iran will you see the red tiled roofs
and broad verandahs of Rasht and Mazandaran, which may even
have been the prototype of the Persian architectural columns seen
at Pasargadae and Persepolis.
Rasht, a flat and fairly featureless city, grew into a town around
the 14th century, soon becoming the major settlement in Guilan.
The city has been occupied by the Russians several times in its
history, most ruinously in 1668 when almost the whole population
was massacred by the rebel forces of the Cossack brigand Stenka
Razin, who had already destroyed the Persian Navy in the Caspian
Sea, and whose sole aims in life appear to have been rape and
pillage. During WWI the city was again occupied by Russians, and
in 1920 Bolsheviks destroyed much of the bazaar, driving many of
the inhabitants into temporary exile. Nowadays Rasht is the center
of distribution for the local rice and silk cocoon industries,
although the cocoon industry had declined in recent years.
The town's three main streets, Dr Shari'ati, Sa'di, and Imam
Khomeini, converge at the main square, which is called Shohada.
Most of the major points of interest are within walking distance
of this square, to the north, south or east, although the hotels
are spread out at some distance.
Here, if you go into a chaikhaneh (tea house) and call for
a chai (tea), you will have the opportunity to watch the
faces of those drinking tea with the abstracted air of a
philosopher occupied with higher problems, or see others arguing,
in front of a bowl of .soup and a flat loaf.
Other Places of
.Ghodss Park (Bagh-e Mohtasham).
2. Imamzadeh Hashem, 30 km on Rasht- Tehran road.
3. Mausoleum of Mirza Kuchak Khan Jangali, on Rast-Soleimandarab
4. Municipality Complex.
5. Safi Mosque, belonging to] 5th century, and attributed to Safi
Mirza, son of the Safavid Shah Abbas.
ACCESS AND DISTANCES:
By air from Tehran and
other provincial capitals, and by road from the following towns.
Ardabil 266 km. Astaneh Ashrafieh 20 km. Astara 182 km. Bandar-e
Anzali 40 km. Fuman 25 km. Lahijan 41 km Langrud 56 km Manjil 72
km. Mllsuleh 56 km Rud Bar 66 km. Rud Sar 72 km. Tabriz 482 km.
Talesh 110 km. Tehran 324 km. Zanjan 348 km.
See under EMERGENCIES.
1 Dorfak 669985
2. Guil Gasht Turang 73773
3. Homay-e Sabz 554927
4. Jam-e Jam 40950 5. Monjazi 724&0 6. Safar-eSabz 41401 7. Shad
BANKS AND EXCHANGE OFFICES:
Rasht: Bank Melli Iran, on the south of Enghelab Square.
1 Astara Exchange Office, Imam Ave, Bazaar-e Ruz 4147, 4395.
2. Sa'id Exchange Office, Imam Ave, Shahrdari Square 5724.
Buses leave from the relevant bus company. Tickets can be
bought the same day, but it's better to ask the day before as
demand is very high. Some of the cooperative bus companies are
1. Company No 7, about 50 meters north of Shohada Square on the
west of Sa'di Street 22599
2. Company No 8, on the east side of Imam Khomeini Ave 300 meters
southeast of Shohada Square.
3. Company No 11 is immediately east of Shohada Square.
CITY DIALING CODE NUMBER:
The dialing code for Rasht is 0231.
DRUG STORE (24-HOUR):
1. Sa'di, Sa'di Street 23963.
2. Razi, Taghi Street 31253.
For emergencies either call118 or go to the casualty clinic
just southwest of Imam Khomeini Square.
Ostandari is in tnorthwest comer of tile City Park 32233,
1 Arya Hospital, Shahid Ansari Blvd 44881.
2 Poor-e Sina Hospital, Poor-e SStreet 32441,23971.
3. Razi Hospital, Sardar-e Jangal Street 23963,20028.
On the west side of shohaba square 2.
On the northeast side of
Shohada Square 2210 I and 22105. Visa matters can also be inquired
POST AND TELECOMMUNICATIONS:
The main post office is on the north of Shohada Square and the
telegraph office is on the west side of Imam Khomeini Square.
1. Baba Taheri Restaurant, AI'lam ol-Hoda Street 28392.
2. Oerakhshan Restaurant, Shik Street 25460.
3. Kurosh Restaurant, Sa'di Street 28229.
4. Mo'menzadeh Restaurant, at the beginning ofManzarieh 60737,
5. No (New) Restaurant, Imanl Khomeini Ave 26531
6. Salar Restaurant, Sa'di Street 27551.
A taxi from the airport will cost something around 2000 Rials,
There is no airport service bus,
Available in English and Persian. The tourist office has a
combined map of Guilan which incorporates R~ht, Lahijan, and
Bandar-e Anzali. (English details on these maps are not of much
use to the tourist),
Rasht' Sa'di Street, as usual not marked in English, 22006,
22284, and 28119.lt is about five minutes walk north from Shohada
Square, in a block next to Bank Tejarat Lahijan' 3535 Bandar-e