It’s like when God was creating the earth, he asked who wants to own the most beautiful sceneries? One of the enthusiastic but rather shy, parts of all the land there was, raised its hand among others. And that’s how Golestan Province comes to have it all and sort of cast other Provinces in Iran aside.
With limitless nature that immerses you in indescribable tranquility, Golestan Province has unique natural landscapes in northern Iran. According to those who have traveled up there, this province is mostly resembled paradise, so free of any sin, it tempts and tempts till you lose all your control and give yourself willingly to its perfect and peaceful embrace.
Golestan Province with an area of 22022 square kilometers is adjacent to the Republic of Turkmenistan from the north, Semnan province from the south, Mazandaran province, and the Caspian Sea from the west, and also North Khorasan province from the east.
There are many inscriptions from the Achaemenid dynasty referring to this specified land as Hyrcania, and later Gorgan and was one of Darius the Great’s Satraps. Gorganish and Katoli dialect have Parthian Pahlavi roots (one of the branches of the Middle Persian Language.
Golestan Province has all kinds of weather, rainy falls, snowy winter, magnificent cool fresh spring alongside hot and humid summers. In every corner of Golestan province, when you look, you will see green rice paddies, wheat, and barley caressed by the wind.
Turkmen and Kurdish nomads who come from Khorasan in winter and live in the green plains of the south of Golestan Province find this land perfect for their style of living and have managed to create a memorable image and also bestow a very wonderful experience to those who seek such rare things.
This colorful province is home to different ethnicities such as Turks, Shahroudians, Sabzevaris, Sistani’s, Baluchis, Turkmens, and Cossacks, echoing unity in plurality. There exists an undeniable harmony.
Gorgan, Turkmen port, and Gonbad Kavous are the most important cities of Golestan province.
Numerous handicrafts originate from Golestan province because many different people and tribes live there and have their single way of creating things. Silk weaving, for instance, is very ancient in Golestan Province. Silk fabrics are one of the best and most delicate fabrics in the world. This art has grown significantly due to the cultivation of silkworms in this province. Yarns and braids of soft silk. Some even weaved with gold or silver yarns make the silk fabric and used for clothing, scarves, handkerchiefs, and tablecloths. You can buy the most beautiful silk fabrics and clothes from handicraft markets to always remember Golestan.
The other masterpiece of Golestan Province is the Turkmen carpet. It is different from other carpets because of its texture. Carpet weavers come up with designs without any pre-drawings or definite patterns. Turkmen carpets are woven with coarse wool or fine silk. This specialty, passed on from one generation to the other differs from tribe to tribe, reflects the indigenous culture of each region thereby they have unique designs.
Golestan province is the source of the most expensive food in the world, caviar. Golestan province’s proximity to the Caspian Sea has made caviar fishing easy for them and doing it since like forever, made this province famous. One could buy the best caviar in reputable stores. It’s worth mentioning the Caspian Sea supplies more than 90% of the world’s caviar and exports it to other countries.
Now, let’s take a peek into the most important cities of this glamourous province:
There comes an exciting experience with traveling to Gorgan because you get to have to take both historical and natural landscapes with yourself. Based on what Zoroastrian sources hand us, Gorgan was the ninth holy land that Ahuramazdah created.
Gorgan is known as the most important archaeological site in terms of research and excavation due to the existence of 300 historical hills such as Khargush and Shah. The historical context of Gorgan is registered in the list of the national heritage of Iran.
Due to the abundant rainfall and favorable soil, most of the jobs of the people of Gorgan include agriculture and husbandry, some of which are directly related to industries such as lubrication, cotton, and silk weaving factories.
Gorgan ensures a memorable trip. Leisure facilities, luxury hotels, and country houses in the forest with perfect views over green plains, high peak mountain, and jungle make your journey special. Restaurants with local cuisine such as Kai Torshak, Mash Peti Kharsh, Morgane Tehchin awaits you. The most important attractions that should not be missed are Alang Darreh Forest Park, Gharq Forest Park, Toshan Dam, Gorgan Grand Wall, Seyed Kalateh Spring, hot water springs, and Gorgan Handicrafts Museum.
Bandar-e Turkmen a region with magnificent views and spectacular attractions that are located on the eastern shores of the Caspian Sea and the west of Golestan province. As soon as you enter this port town, you will encounter many attractions that will make it hard to believe that such diversity lies only in one small town.
This port is home to hardworking and zealous men and women of the Azerbaijani Turks, Cossacks, Sistani, Tabari, Katoli, Astarabadi, and Mazandaran and the majority of it is Sunni.
There is a spectacular island named Ashuradeh, about one kilometer away from the coastline and you could get there by boat. It is the largest Iranian Caspian See’s island and one of the most important habitats for wildlife and migratory birds. The island is currently under the control of fisheries and about 40% of the caviar is obtained from this island.
If you are interested in horses, there you will found yourself in plains of tamed and untamed fine-breed of Turkmen horses in Qara Qashli village.
With its 6000-year history, this city carries yet another World Heritage. But before that, Gonbad-e Qabus is so full of natural attractions. If for any reason you feel weary of all the crowded big cities, noises, and just so sick of well, certain “people”, just grab your backpack and leave wherever you are, and come to kiss peace on the cheek.
Gonbad Kavousi artificial lake, Alma Gol lagoon, unfinished water waves, Aghband village, Al-Ghadir tourist park, Russian Grand Bazaar Aji Gol Lagoon, Equestrian Complex, and Aq Tappeh are some places you could write down to visit.
What are Golestan Province’s touristic sites? Well, not sites to be true, but rather some parts of nature where their beauty has proceeded them.
Nahar-Khoran Forest Park
One of the most famous natural attractions of Gorgan is the Nahar-Khoran forest, which delights every tourist with its amazing beauty and mild weather. This Hyrcanian forest park dates back to the Jurassic period.
The presence of towering green trees near the Ziarat River and many springs, such as Sefid Cheshmeh in an area of 300 hectares invites you to a dreamy nature tour that will always be in your memory. In this pristine forest with unique vegetation, various trees such as wild cherry, hornbeam, linden, oak, raspberry shrubs, azalea, and walnut from natural and native plants, pine, cypress, New leaves, insane willow, magnolia, and boxwood exist.
If you love mountaineering, this forest with its impressive heights generates endless hiking trails. Within this lovely forest, animals and birds such as mink, squirrels, bears, jackals, forest lizards, bats, eagles, lizards, hawks, owls, and finches live, and only when they feel safe from the horrible monster call human, come out of their shelters. Nahar-Khoran forest park is located 8 km to the south of Gorgan.
Among the dense forests of Aliabad Katoul, lies an enchanting waterfall, which falls at a height of 1780 from the slopes of Mount Haroon on the green carpet of nature. To reach Kaboudal waterfall, you have to go through stepped cobblestones with all the indescribable natural landscapes.
Golestan National Park
Golestan National Park with its area of more than 91000 hectares starts from Tangarah village and continues to Robat Qarabil of South Khorasan. Golestan National Protected Park is considered a unique refuge for wildlife due to the diversity of 1350 species of plants and 302 species of animals and has become the most valuable region of Iran. The park houses 679 mammals such as leopards, brown bears, wolves, washes, gazelles, wild sheep and goats, Persian deer and boars, rams, and ewes.
The Great Wall of Gorgan
This large wall is known as the Red Snake because of the use of red bricks in the construction of the wall. Medes, Achaemenids, Parthians and Sassanids, all, could’ve built this wall as archaeologists say with some doubts that it was built between 429 and 615 A.D.
Although most of this historic wall has been submerged or buried underground, it is the second-largest defensive wall in the world after the Great Wall of China.
Arthur Upham Pope, an American expert on Iranian art, a university professor, and archaeologist believes that “under the eastern side of the Alborz Mountains and in front of the vast deserts of Asia, stands one of the greatest architectural masterpieces of Iran has with all its glory and grandeur. This construction goes by the name “Dome of Qabus, the tomb of Qabus bin Voshmgir”. The tower is far from any arrangement. A warrior with the power of faith embracing a poet who was also a King in his battle with eternity. Was there ever such a mighty powerful tower?”
This monument, being the world’s highest brick tower is also one of UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Simple, strong, and proud, resting on top of a hill, in the north of Iran, this dome is representing a splendor style in architecture. For more information, why don’t you check out our entry on Iran’s UNESCO World Heritage Sites section?