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Alborz

Alborz, also written as Alburz, Elburz or Elborz, is a mountain range in northern Iran stretching from the borders of Azerbaijan and Armenia in the northwest to the southern end of the Caspian Sea, and ending in the east at the borders of Turkmenistan and Afghanistan. The highest mountain in West Asia, Mount Damavand, Amol, Mazandaran is located in the range.
The Alborz mountain range forms a barrier between the south Caspian and the Qazvin-Tehran plateau. It is only 60–130 km wide and consists of sedimentary series dating from Upper Devonian to Oligocene, prevalently Jurassic limestone over a granite core. Its higher elevations, in the Elburz Range forest steppe ecoregion, are arid with few trees, but its northern slopes, in the Caspian Hyrcanian mixed forests ecoregion, are lush and forested.
Zoroastrians may identify the range with the dwelling place of the Peshyotan, and the Zoroastrian Ilm-e-Kshnoom sect identify Mount Davamand as the home of the Saheb-e-Dilan ('Masters of the Heart'). In his epic Shahnameh, the poet Ferdowsi speaks of the mountains "as though they lay in India." This could reflect older usage, for numerous high peaks were given the name and some even reflect it to this day, for example, Mount Elbrus in the Caucasus Mountains, and Mount Elbariz (Albariz, Jebal Barez) in the Kirman area above the Straits of Hormuz. As recently as the 19th century, a peak in the northernmost range in the Hindu Kush system, just south of Balkh, was recorded as Mount Elburz in British army maps. All these names reflect the same Iranian language compound, and share an identification as the legendary mountain Hara B?r?zaiti of the Avesta.
Also due to its great snowy winters there are several ski resorts, some consider that a few of these are among the best in the world. Some of most important ones are Dizin, Shemshak, Tochal, and Darband.

 

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Ardabil

Ardabil Province is one of the 31 provinces of Iran. It is in the north west of the country, bordering the Republic of Azerbaijan and the provinces of East Azerbaijan, Zanjan, and Gilan. Its centre is the city of Ardabil. The province was established in 1993 from the eastern part of East Azerbaijan and the northern part of Gilan.

Climate and geography
Many tourists come to the region for its cool climate (max 35 °C) during the hot summer months. The winters are bitter cold, with temperatures plummeting to -25°C.
Its famous natural region is the Sabalan mountains. The population of Ardabil province is mainly composed of Azeris, Talish and Tats. The province is considered the coldest province in Iran by many. Large parts of the province are green and forested.
Famous athletes such as Ali Daei and Hossein Rezazade are originally from Ardabil.
Ardabil's capital stands about 70 km from the Caspian Sea and has an area of 18011 km². Neighbouring the Caspian Sea and the Republic of Azerbaijan, the city is of great political and economic significance. The province has been blessed with splendid natural beauty and numerous sights.
History
The natural features of the province of Ardabil are mentioned in the Avesta, according to which Zoroaster was born by the river Aras and wrote his book in the Sabalan Mountains. During the Islamic conquest of Iran, Ardabil was the largest city in Azarbaijan, and remained so until the Mongol invasion period.
Shah Ismail I started his campaign to nationalize Iran's government and land from here, but consequently announced Tabriz as his capital in 1500CE. Yet Ardabil remained an important city both politically and economically until modern times.
Culture
Ardabil is the seat of the sanctuary and tomb of Shaikh Safî ad-Dîn, eponym of the Safavid Dynasty Kulliye. It has many hot springs and beautiful natural landscapes and these attract tourists. The mineral springs of Ardabil are Beele-Darreh, Sareyn, Sardabeh and Booshloo, which are famed throughout Iran for their medicinal qualities. It also has many beauty lakes: the largest of which are Ne'or, Shoorabil, ShoorGel, NouShahr and Alooche, which are the habitats of some species of water birds.
The beautiful Lake Ne'or is located in a mountainous area 48 km south-east of the city of Ardabil. It covers an area of 2.1 km² and has an average depth of 3 metres. It is fed by springs in the lake bed. Lake Shoorabil is located in a hilly area south of the city of Ardabil and covers an area of 640,000 m². The surface of the lake is covered with a thin white layer of minerals, which is useful for healing skin diseases and rheumatism. Near the lake there is the leisure complex of Shoorabil. Ardabil is a city of great antiquity. Its origins go back 4000 to 6000 years (according to historical research in this city). This city was the capital of Azerbaijan province in different times, but its golden age was in the Safavid period.
One of the most ancient cities in Iran is Meshkin Shahr. It is located in the north-west of Iran in Azerbaijan, 839 kilometers from Tehran. It is the closest city to the Sabalan mountains. In the past, it was called "Khiav", "Orami", and "Varavi".
The most important places to visit in the district of Meshkin Shahr are the following : - The hot water springs of Moiel, Eelando and Qaynarja, located in the suburb of the city. - Qara Soo River Sides. - The spring of Qotur Suie, located 42 kilometers from Meshkin shahr. - The old Castle of Meshkin Shahr. - Qahqaheh castle, located 80 kilometers from Meshkin Shahr. - Deev castle, located in Kavij. - The petrograph of Shapour Sasani in Meshkin Shahr. - The old cemetery in Oonar. - The tomb of Sheykh Haydar in Meshkin Shahr. - Imamzadeh Seyyed Soleyman.
The other significant historical monuments are as follows: the mausoleum of Sheikh Jebra'il, located 2 km north of Ardabil, the old but always lively bazaar, the babadavood anbaran, the Friday mosque, and a few ancient bridges. In addition to these, in many villages of Ardabil, relics of ancient monuments, including tombs, have been found.
Language
The primary language of Ardebil province is Azeri, a branch of Turkic Languages. It is predominantly spoken among people of Ardebil and adjasent provinces like East Azerbaijan, Zanjan, and large portions of West Azerbaijan, as well as the Republic of Azerbaijan. Minority languages in Ardabil include Tati, Talishi and Persian
Azeri [8] or Torki[9][10] is a language belonging to the Turkic language family, spoken in southwestern Asia, primarily in Republic of Azerbaijan and northwestern Iran. Azerbaijani is member of the Oghuz branch of the Turkic languages and is closely related to Turkish, Qashqai and Turkmen. Today′s Azeri languages evolved from the Eastern Oghuz branch of Western (Oghuz) Turkic[11] which spread to Southwestern Asia during medieval Turkic migrations, and has been heavily influenced by Persian.[12] Arabic also influenced the language, but Arabic words were mainly transmitted through the intermediary of literary Persian.[13]
Turkic Azeri gradually supplanted the old Iranic Azeri language, as well other local Iranic languages, most notably the Tati, Azari, Harzandi, Talishi and Tabrizi. To the north, it replaced a variety of Caucasian languages in the Caucasus, particularly Udi. By the end of the 17th century, it had become the dominant language of the region, and was a spoken language in the court of the Safavid Empire. However, minorities in both Rep. Azerbaijan and Iran continue to speak the earlier Iranian languages to this day, and Middle- and Modern Persian loanwords are numerous in the Azerbaijani language.
Rashidi categorizes The historical development of Azeri Language into two major periods: early (ca. 16th to 18th century) and modern (18th century to present). Azerbaijani differs from its descendant in that it contained a much greater amount of Persian, and Arabic loanwords, phrases and syntactic elements. Early writings in Azerbaijani also demonstrate linguistic interchangeability between Oghuz and Kypchak elements in many aspects (such as pronouns, case endings, participles, etc.). As Azerbaijani gradually moved from being merely a language of epic and lyric poetry to being also a language of journalism and scientific research, its literary version has become more or less unified and simplified with the loss of many archaic Turkic elements, stilted Iranisms and Ottomanisms, and other words, expressions, and rules that failed to gain popularity among Azerbaijani-speaking masses.
Between ca. 1900 and 1930, there were several competing approaches to the unification of the national language in Azerbaijan popularized by the literati. Despite major differences, they all aimed primarily at making it easy for semi-literate masses to read and understand literature. They all criticized the overuse of Persian, Arabic, Ottoman Turkish, and European (mainly Russian) elements in both colloquial and literary language and called for a more simple and popular style.

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Bushehr

Bushehr Province (Persian: استان بوشهر‎, Ostān-e Būshehr ) is one of the 31 provinces of Iran. It is in the south of the country, with a long coastline onto the Persian Gulf. Its center is Bandar-e-Bushehr, the provincial capital. The province has nine counties: Bushehr, Dashtestan, Dashti, Dayyer, Deylam, Jam, Kangan, Ganaveh and Tangestan. In 2005, the province had a population of approximately 816,115 people.
History
The Greeks knew of Bushehr by Mezambria during the battles of Nearchus. A French excavating team however in 1913 determined the origin of Bushehr to date back to the Elamite Empire. A city there, known as Lyan, contained a temple that was designed to protect the compound from naval attacks. Its remains can still be seen today 10 kilometers south of the present city of Bushehr.
Marco Polo describes this region as part of the Persian province of Shabankareh
A key turning point in the history of Bor event of significance is known to have taken place in this region until the arrival of the European colonialists in the 16th century.
The Portuguese, invaded the city of Bushehr in 1506 and remained there until Shah Abbas Safavi defeated and liberated the Persian Gulf region of their presence. By 1734, Bushehr had once again risen to prominence due to Nadir Shah of the Afsharid dynasty, and his military policies in The Persian Gulf.
Bushehr was selected by Nadir to be the central base of Nadir's Naval fleet in the Persian Gulf. He thus changed the name of the city to Bandar e Nadiriyeh (Nadir's Port). He hired an Englishman by the name of John Elton to help build his fleet. Dutch accounts report his naval fleet to have amounted to 8000-10000 personnel as well as several ship construction installations.
After Nadir's death, the Dutch continued to have good commercial relations in Bushehr, until the British made their debut in Bushehr in 1763 by a contract they signed with Karim Khan of the Zand dynasty. By then, the city of Bushehr had become Iran's major port city in the Persian Gulf. By the Qajar era, Britain, Norway, Russia, Italy, France, Germany, and the Ottomans had diplomatic and commercial offices there, with Britain steadily gaining a foothold in the area. Close to 100 British ships are reported to have docked at the port city every year during the Qajar era.
Some attractions of Bushehr
Despite its unique potentials, Bushehr remains to be developed for absorbing tourists and seriously lacks the necessary investment for tourism. The city of Bushehr has 3-star hotels, an airport, and modern amenities. The Cultural heritage Organization of Iran lists up to 45 sites of historical and cultural significance in the province. Some are listed below:
• Persian Gulf Beach(Bushehr)
• Deje Borazjan
• kakhe tauke (borazjan)
• Shahzade Ebrahim (Shazabreim)
• Qal'eh Holandiha (The Dutch Castle)
• Mabad Poseidon, (Poseidon's temple)
• Gurestan Bastani (the ancient cemetery)
• Imamzadeh Mir Mohammed Hanifeh
• Aramgah (tomb of) Haj Mohammed Ibrahim Esfahani
• The Old Church of Kharg Island
• Qavam water reservoir
• Qazi House
• Maqbareh (tomb of) the English General
• Shaykh Sadoon Mosque
• The Holy Christ Church
• House of Raies Ali Delvari
• House of Malik
• The ancient site of Ray-Shahr which is located 8 km south of Bushehr.
• Tomb of Abdul mohaymrn
• House Darya Baygui
• House of Dehdashti
• Castle of Khormuj
Literature
Bushehr has been home to some famous poets. Among them are Faiez Dashti (Dashtestani) (1830-1919) and Manouchehr Atashi. Faiez poems, and dashti(or dashtestani) literature in general, resemble Baba Taher's works. Sadeq Chubak and Najaf Daryabandari are among the most prominent writers in literature of Bushehr.

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Chaharmahal Va Bakhtiari

Chaharmahal and Bakhtiari Province (Persian: استان چهارمحال و بختیاری‎, Ostān-e Chahār-Mahāl-o Bakhtiyārī ) is one of the 31 provinces of Iran. It lies in the southwestern part of the country. Its capital is Shahrekord.
People and culture
The history of the province is tied to that of the Bakhtiari tribe. The Bakhtiari tribe can be divided into two sub-tribes, Haft Lang and Chahar Lang with various territorial affiliations and they are the main speakers of Lurish language. As the name of the province dictates with the combining grammatical feature of "-o-" which is Persian for "and"; the other group of peoples in this ancient province are the Chahar Mahali's. These peoples and the Lur's live side by side and share almost similar customs. Very slight differences exist between them but most are almost unnoticeable. However there is often quite a bit of intermixing of the peoples through marriage. The cities of Shahrekord, Broujen, Ben, Naafch and Saman fall in the Chahar Mahali area of the province and are generally not inhabited by Lurs. The Bakhtiari territories at times have also come under Isfahan and Khuzestan province.
The people of this province have a history of having a simple living and being a capable people who are determined and effective warriors and fighters whenever circumstances made it necessary. They have gained such a reputation as being excellent, if not the best, horsemen in Iran. The people of this province, while having the more common Pahlevani wrestling/combat style of the deep rooted traditional Zurkhane, which exists everywhere in all provinces, also have their own style of wrestling/unarmed combat as well (as do other provinces). The style is called Jangi (Jang means War and hence Jangi "war'ish" or "war like").
The province has various unique traditions and rituals relative to the 'tribal' lifestyles. Special forms of music, dance, and clothing are noteworthy.

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East Azarbayjan

East Azerbaijan Province or East Azarbaijan Province (Persian: استان آذربایجان شرقی‎, Āzarbāijān-e Sharqi ) is one of the 31 provinces of Iran. It is in the northwest of the country, bordering Armenia and the Republic of Azerbaijan, and the provinces of Ardabil, West Azerbaijan, and Zanjan. Its capital is Tabriz.

Geography
The province covers an area of approximately 47,830 km², it has a population of around four million people. According to the latest divisions of the country in 1996, the counties of this province are Ahar, Ajabshir, Bostan Abad, Bonab, Tabriz, Jolfa, Sarab, Shabestar, Kalebar, Maragha, Marand, Malekan, Miyana, Heris, and Hashtrood. The historical city of Tabriz is the most important city of this province, culturally, politically, and commercially. The province has common borders with the current Republics of Azerbaijan, Armenia and Nakhchivan. A fine network of roads and railways connect East Azerbaijan to other parts of Iran and also to neighboring countries.
The highest peak of East Azerbaijan 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.
Generally speaking, East Azerbaijan enjoys a cool, dry climate, being in the main a mountainous region. But the gentle breezes off the Caspian Sea have some influence on the climate of the low-lying areas. Temperatures run up to 8.9 °C in Tabriz, and 20 °C in Maraqeh, in the winter dropping to -10-15 °C at least (depending on how cold the overall year is). The ideal seasons to visit this province are in the spring and summer months.
History
East Azerbaijan is one of the most archaic territories in Iran. During the reign of Alexander of Macedon in Iran (331 BCE), a warrior known as Attorpat led a revolt in this area, then a territory of the Medes, and thereafter it was called Attorpatkan. Since then this vicinity has been known as Azarabadegan, Azarbadgan and Azarbayjan.
Islamic researchers proclaim that the birth of the prophet Zoroaster was in this area, in the vicinity of Lake Orumieh (Chichesht), Konzak City. Needless to say, this province was subject to numerous political and economical upheavals, attracting the interest of foreigners. The Russians in particular have tried to exert a lasting influence in the region over the past 300 years, occupying the area on numerous occasions. The constitutionalist movement of Iran began here in the late 19th century.
Ethnic tensions in Azerbaijan can visibly trace their origins back to the colonialist policies of the Soviet Union and Imperial Russia. In a cable sent on July 6, 1945 by the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, the local Soviet commander in Russian (northern) held Azerbaijan was instructed as such:
Begin preparatory work to form a national autonomous Azerbaijan district with broad powers within the Iranian state and simultaneously develop separatist movements in the provinces of Gilan, Mazandaran, Gorgan, and Khorasan".
Culture
The most outstanding features from a cultural point of view are the language, Azari/Azerice, and folklore of this region. According to Dehkhoda Dictionary, the language of Azerbaijan is originally "a branch of the Iranian languages known as Azari" (see Ancient Azari language).However the modern Azeri language is a Turkic language very closely related to the language of West Azerbaijan and Turkey. Apart from this, the province also boasts numerous learned scholars, gnostics, 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. Some are contemporary, and some are from the antiquity of ancient Persia. "Zahak Citadel", for example, is the name of an ancient ruin in East Azerbaijan, which according to various experts, was inhabited from the second millennium BC until the Timurid era. First excavated in the 1800s by British archeologists, Iran's Cultural Heritage Organization has been studying the structure in 6 phases.
East Azerbaijan hails from a rich compendium of Azeri traditions. Many local dances and folk songs continue to survive among the various peoples of the province. As a longstanding province of Iran, Azerbaijan is mentioned favorably on many occasions in Persian literature by Iran's greatest authors and poets.
Notable people
• Qatran Tabrizi, poet
• Ahmad Kasravi, historian
• Samad Behrangi
• Sattar Khan, revolutionary leader
• Bagher Khan, revolutionary leader
• Gayk Bzhishkyan
• Kazem Sadegh-Zadeh
• Parvin E'tesami, poetess
• Ali Daei, Iranian soccer player
• Karim Bagheri, soccer star
• Iraj Mirza, poet and politician
• Maqsud Ali Tabrizi
• Ivan Galamian
• Hassan Roshdieh
• Shams Tabrizi, mystic
• Vartan Gregorian, President of Carnegie Corporation
• Ali Salimi
• Ali Soheili, Prime Minister of Iran
• Ebrahim Hakimi, Prime Minister of Iran
• Mahmud Jam, Prime Minister of Iran
• Mohammad Hossein Shahriar
• Asadi Tusi is buried here

 

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Fars

Fars Province (Persian: استان پارس‎ Ostān-e Fārs pronounced [fɑː(r)s]), originally spelled Pars (پارس), is one of the 31 provinces and known as Cultural Capital of Iran. It is in the south of the country and its center is Shiraz. It has an area of 122,400 km². In 2006, this province had a population of 4.57 million people, of which 61.2% were registered as urban dwellers, 38.1% villagers, and 0.7% nomad tribes. The etymology of the word "Persian" (Pārs-ian : پارسیان) is derived from the cultural capital of Iran and found in many ancient names associated with Iran.
Fars or Pars is the original homeland of the Persian people. The native name of the Persian language is Fârsi or Pârsi. Persia and Persian both derive from the Hellenized form Πέρσις Persis of the root word Pârs. The Old Persian word was Pârsâ.
Persis
The ancient Persians were present in the region from about the 9th century BC, and became the rulers of a large empire under the Achaemenid dynasty in the 6th century BC. The ruins of Persepolis and Pasargadae, two of the four capitals of the Achaemenid Empire, are located in Fars.
The Achaemenid Empire was defeated by Alexander III of Macedon in the fourth century BC. Shortly after this the Seleucid Empire was established. However it never extended its power beyond the main trade routes in Fars, and by reign of Antiochus I or possibly later Persis emerged as an independent state that minted its own coins.[2]
The Seleucid Empire was defeated by the Parthians in 238 BC. By 205 BC, Antiochus III had extended his authority into Persis and it ceased to be an independent state.[3]
Babak was the ruler of a small town called Kheir. Babak's efforts in gaining local power at the time escaped the attention of Artabanus IV, the Arsacid Emperor of the time. Babak and his eldest son Shapur managed to expand their power over all of Persis.
The subsequent events are unclear, due to the sketchy nature of the sources. It is however certain that following the death of Babak around 220, Ardashir who at the time was the governor of Darabgird, got involved in a power struggle of his own with his elder brother Shapur. The sources tell us that in 222, Shapur was killed when the roof of a building collapsed on him.
At this point, Ardashir moved his capital further to the south of Persis and founded a capital at Ardashir-Khwarrah (formerly Gur, modern day Firouzabad).
After establishing his rule over Persis, Ardashir I rapidly extended his territory, demanding fealty from the local princes of Fars, and gaining control over the neighboring provinces of Kerman, Isfahan, Susiana, and Mesene.
Artabanus marched a second time against Ardashir I in 224. Their armies clashed at Hormizdeghan, where Artabanus IV was killed. Ardashir was crowned in 226 at Ctesiphon as the sole ruler of Persia; bringing the 400-year-old Parthian Empire to an end.
The Sassanids ruled for 425 years, until the Muslim armies conquered the empire. Afterward the Persians started to convert to Islam, this made it a lot easier for the new Muslim empire to continue the expansion of Islam.

 

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Gilan

Gilan Province (Persian: استان گیلان‎, Ostān-e Gīlān ) is one of the 31 provinces of Iran. It lies along the Caspian Sea, just west of the province of Mazandaran, east of the province of Ardabil, north of the provinces of Zanjan and Qazvin. The northern part of the province is part of territory of South (Iranian) Talysh. At the center of the province is the main city of Rasht. Other towns in the province include Astara, Astaneh-e Ashrafiyyeh, Fuman, Lahijan, Langrud, Masouleh, Manjil, Rudbar, Roudsar, Shaft, Talesh, and Soumahe Sara.
The main harbor port of the province is Bandar-e Anzali (previously Bandar-e Pahlavi).
History
During the Persian era, this area was a province known as Daylam (sometimes Daylaman, Dailam or Delam). The Daylam region corresponds to the modern region of Gīlān. It was the place of origin of the Buyid dynasty. The people of the province had a prominent position during the Sassanid dynasty, their presence extended to Mesopotamia.
The first recorded encounter between Gilak and Deylamite warlords and invading Muslim Arab armies was at the Battle of Jalula in 637 AD. Deylamite commander Muta led an army of Gils, Deylamites, Azerbaijanis and people of the Rey region. Muta was killed in the battle and his defeated army managed to retreat in an orderly manner.
However, this victory appears to have been a Pyrrhic victory for the Arabs, since they did not pursue their opponents. Muslim Arabs never managed to conquer Gilan. Gilaks and Deylamites successfully repulsed all Arab attempts to occupy their land or to convert them to Islam. In fact, it was the Deylamites under the Buyid king Mu'izz al-Dawlah who finally shifted the power by conquering Baghdad in 945. Mu'izz al-Dawlah however allowed the Abbasid caliphs to remain in comfortable but secluded captivity in their palaces.
In the 9th and 10th centuries AD, Deylamites and later Gilaks gradually converted to Zaidite Shi'ism. It is worth noting that several Deylamite commanders and soldiers of fortune who were active in the military theatres of Iran and Mesopotamia were openly Zoroastrian (for example, Asfar Shiruyeh a warlord in central Iran, and Makan, son of Kaki, the warlord of Rey) or were suspected of harboring pro-Zoroastrian (for example Mardavij) sentiments. Muslim chronicles of Varangian (Rus, pre-Russian Norsemen) invasions of the littoral Caspian region in the 9th century record Deylamites as non-Muslim. These chronicles also show that the Deylamites were the only warriors in the Caspian region who could fight the fearsome Varangian vikings as equals. Deylamite infantrymen actually had a role very similar to the Swiss Reisläufer of the Late Middle Ages in Europe. Deylamite mercenaries served as far as Egypt, Islamic Spain, and in the Khazar Kingdom.
Buyids established the most successful of the Deylamite dynasties of Iran.
The Turkish invasions of the 10th and 11th centuries CE, which saw the rise of Ghaznavid and Seljuq dynasties, put an end to Deylamite states in Iran. From the 11th century CE to the rise of Safavids, Gilan was ruled by local rulers who paid tribute to the dominant power south of the Alborz range, but ruled independently.
In 1307 the Ilkhan Öljeitü conquered the region after witnessing a pyrrhic victory. This was the first time the region came under the rule of the Mongols after the Ilkhanid Mongols and their Georgian allies failed to do it in the late 1270s. After 1336, the region seems to be independent again.
Before the introduction of silk production to this region (date unknown, but definitely a pillar of the economy by the 15th century AD), Gilan was a poor province. There were no permanent trade routes linking Gilan to Persia. There was a small trade in smoked fish and wood products. It seems that the city of Qazvin was initially a fortress-town against marauding bands of Deylamites, another sign that the economy of the province did not produce enough on its own to support its population. This changed, however, with the introduction of the silk worm in the late Middle Ages.

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Gilan Gilan

Golestan

Golestan Province (Persian: استان گلستان‎, Ostān-e Golestān ) is one of the 31 provinces of Iran, located in the north-east of the country, south of the Caspian Sea. Its capital is Gorgan.
Golestān was split off from the province of Mazandaran in 1997. It has a population of 1.6 million (2006) and an area of 20,380 km². The major townships of the province are: Gorgan, Gonbad Kavoos, Bandar Torkaman, Bandar Gaz, Aliabad-e katul, Kord Kooy, Fenderesk and Minoo Dasht. Present-day Gorgan was called Esterabad or Astarabad until 1937.
History
Human settlements in this area date back to 10 000 BCE. Evidence of the ancient city of Jorjan can still be seen near the current city of Gonbad-e Kavus. This was an important city of Persia, located on the Silk Road.
Under the Achaemenid Iran, it seems to have been administered as a sub-province of Parthia and is not named separately in the provincial lists of Darius and Xerxes. The Hyrcanians, however, under the leadership of Megapanus, are mentioned by Herodotus in his list of Xerxes’ army during the invasion of Greece.

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Golestan Golestan

Hamedan

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Hormozgan

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Ilam

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Isfahan

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Kerman

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Kermanshah

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Khozestan

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Kohgiluyeh Va Boyerahmad

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Kurdistan

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Lorestan

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Markazi

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Mazandaran

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North Khorasan

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Qazvin

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Qom

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Razavi Khorasan

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Semnan

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Sistan Va Baluchestan

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South Khorasan

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West Azarbayjan

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Yazd

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Zanjan

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