Qazvin, like other places in Iran, can meet many of your needs and goals, when it comes to packing and traveling: Unique nature, mountains that are good for all kind of activities, ancient and contemporary history, people and tradition and, many others.
Nevertheless, the forest trees of Qazvin province are winter trees, which means that autumn can surprisingly beautify them, of course, if you do not have a problem with the cold weather in these areas.
However, due to Qazvin’s forest/rangeland nature, spring is the best season for hiking, camping, and mountaineering.
Especially if you have planes to sightsee Alamut. In my mind, the whole magnificence of Qazvin is Alamut and its Castel. Because when you reach the top of the castle, you could stand exactly where Hassan-i Sabbah stood and watch the same landscape he did. Not that he was this amazing hero or an example of honor or anything of the sort. Only that, he made something impossible possible by believing in it truly and also that he was a charismatic figure. To stand there is to understand how much power he obtained.
When Hassan-i Sabah, or as Marco Polo named him the Old Man of the Mountain, decided to conquer Alamut Castle he gave Alamut such prestige that the whole region became famous for it.
Maybe you have heard the Lord of Alamut over and over again. From the glory and perhaps the terrible fear that Hassan-i Sabbah threw upon his opponents, now only remains two famous castles that are located in the Alamut region of Qazvin.
It takes only two hours and 36 minutes to drive to the foot of Alamut, and then climb a route that was previously very difficult to cross to get there. The castles belong to the fifth and sixth centuries AH. But what made Hassan-i Sabbah choose this fort was their impenetrability and inaccessibility.
From 132 AH to 656 A.D., the Abbasid Caliphate nominally controlled the affairs of the Islamic world, and coins and sermons were issued in the name of the Abbasid Caliphs (living in Baghdad).
Several different Shiite groups had repeatedly revolted against them, and some achieved some good results. Among those sects was the Nizari Ismaili Fatimid Shiite group, led by Hassan-i Sabbah during the reign of Seljuks (fifth century) and their eloquent and knowledgeable minister Nizam al-Mulk.
Hassan-i Sabbah came to Iran to propagate their sect and succeeded through coherent planning. He Took Alamut and started to operate. Sabbah’s main task was to train “fidai”, men who were willing to remove all obstacles in the name of their religious goal. In another word they were Assassins. Through them, Hassan-i Sabbah succeeded in removing his greatest enemy, Nizam al-Mulk, the founder of the Nezamiyeh institutions.
The main reason for establishing Nezamiyeh was to prepare students who could debate with Nizaris and win them over. So, he had to be put down as Sabbah wished. One of Hassan Sabah’s strong arms was Alamut Castle. This fort could not be conquered and overlooked all the slopes and valleys around the Alamut region, and at the same time it was beautiful, amazing, and colorful, it was huge and scary.
Most of the population of Qazvin speaks Persian, but there is also a high percentage of Turkish speakers. Tati dialect, -the Persian language but the Sassanid version of it- also has many speakers in Qazvin.
Qazvin has always been considered a highway from north to south and east to west throughout history. According to documents discovered in the ancient hills around Qazvin, human life in Qazvin dates back to 1000 years ago. Before the migration of the main Aryan tribes, smaller groups lived in Iran’s plateau.
Some of them, who lived in Qazvin advanced upon Mesopotamia and marked their track on the known world at that time.
One of the reasons for the importance of some of these tribes is that the culture they presented was both richer and more pioneering in their time and richer than the culture of the Aryans who later turned Iran into a world empire.
Several centuries later, Tahmasb I, the eldest son of Shah Ismail Safavid, became king. He was worried about the possibility of the destruction of Tabriz by the Ottomans. Tabriz was Iran’s capital at the time.
He believed that conquering the capital of Iran was tempting for many Ottoman kings. There, he decided to move the Iranian throne to a more secure location and away from Ottoman’s borders.
In 925 AH, Qazvin was chosen as the capital of Iran by the direct order of Shah Tahmasp I Safavid and was the capital of Iran for 52 years, after which it transferred its heritage to Shah Abbas and Isfahan.
Shah Tahmasp I was an artist and an art lover so he gathered the best artist around him. The foundation of Qazvin School dates back to Shah Tahmasp I.
Famous figures such as Ubayd Zakani, one of the best satirists in Persian literature, and Ali-Akbar Dehkhoda, the founder of Dehkhoda Dictionary come from Qazvin. Most importantly, rather than being polar for a new style in painting, Qazvin as be anointed as the capital of Iran’s calligraphy because of presenting Iran’s best calligraphers to the world: Mir Emad Hassani and Mohammad Hossein Emad-al-Kottab.
Music, in the contemporary ages, changed its role from just being an amusement art and started to get a little political. Aref Qazvini, a talented well-known musician tried his best to be the voice of people in the uprisings.
Miniature School of Qazvin: The style it performed and worked on in the context of Miniature and painting was so different that what Iran’s art had experienced before. It obtained its fame not only because of its style but by the perseverance it took to creak delicate beautiful portraits, in detail.
Some of the traditions are informative but also yanks our curiosity. Two of Qazvin’s most impressive traditions are mentioned below:
Kuse Gelin: The drought Demon (Aposh) is one of the oldest enemies of Ahuramazdah and the lands created by him. Iranians have always been trying to fight this demon.
One of the ways to fight is rituals that are performed in different styles, such as puppetry, In Kuse Gelin, an old woman makes a small doll out of old cloth and clothes, takes it by the hand, and walks in the alleys, and the children move behind her.
Whenever they arrive upon a house, the owner prepares something for them, such as chickpeas and nuts. People believe that it will rain after a while.
Side-by-side wrestling (near-side Cradle): The ancient sport of Iran is wrestling and in the epic and heroic era of Shahnameh, it was one of the criteria for recognizing a hero. Another custom of the people of Qazvin is a kind of wrestling which is known as side by side wrestling (something similar to near-side Cradle) and is done in ceremonies and most weddings. Two men stand back to back and their legs tied to one other, who has the most muscle to lift his opponent’s leg, wins.
The urban planning of Islamic periods, Which has a longer history than the arrival of Islam in Iran, can also be seen in Qazvin. A government center, Grand Bazaar, Grand Mosque, and Bath. This is an arrangement that you can see in most cities in Iran.
Qazvin Bazaar is a large bazaar with numerous spaces and very magnificent architecture; In such a way that the beauty of its rows and houses astonishes the general tourist. The current building of this bazaar belongs to the Safavid.
The most interesting part of the bazaar is Saad Al-Saltanah Caravanserai, which has been proudly named the largest complex of inner-city caravanserais in Iran.
Qajar Bath (Hammam) is one of the largest and oldest baths in Qazvin and the site of the Anthropological Museum of this city. Contrary to its name, this bath was built in the Safavid period by the order of one of the commanders of Shah Abbas and is more than 400 years old.
Qazvin’s Jameh Mosque is one of the largest and oldest comprehensive mosques in Iran. The main building was built in the style of early Islamic architecture and on fire temples from the Sassanid era.
Chehel Sotoun Palace and Museum is the most important historical monument of Qazvin and one of the symbols of this city. This palace was built during the reign of Shah Tahmasp I Safavid who chose Qazvin as his capital and is older than its counterpart in the city of Isfahan. Its walls, decorated with paintings and murals are unique in their kind and the existence of three layers indicates the passage of different historical periods.
Sepah Street leads exactly to Chehel Sotoun. It is the first street to ever be built in Iran and is about 500 years old. This street was an inspiration for Naqsh-e Jahan sq. in Isfahan.