Mazandaran Province is a Caspian province in the north of Iran. Located on the southern coast of the Caspian Sea, it is bordered clockwise by the Golestan, Semnan, Tehran, Alborz, Qazvin, and Gilan provinces. Sari is the largest and the capital city of Mazandaran province.
Mazandaran is one of the most densely populated provinces in Iran and has diverse natural resources, especially large reservoirs of oil and natural gas. The province's four largest counties are Sari, Babol, Amol and Qaemshahr. Founded as province in 1937, Mazandaran was declared the second modern province after neighboring Gilan.
The diverse nature of the province features plains, prairies, forests and rainforest stretching from the sandy beaches of the Caspian Sea to the rugged and snowcapped Alborz sierra, including Mount Damavand, one of the highest peaks and volcanoes in Asia, which at the narrowest point (Noshahr County) narrows to 5 miles.
Mazandaran is a major producer of farmed fish, and aquaculture provides an important economic addition to traditional dominance of agriculture. Another important contributor to the economy is the tourism industry, as people from all of Iran enjoy visiting the area. Mazandaran is also a fast-growing Centre for biotechnology and civil engineering.
Human habitation in the area dates back at least 75,000 years. Recent excavations in Gohar Tappe provide proof that the area has been urbanized for more than 5,000 years, and the area is considered one of the most important historical sites of Iran. It has played an important role in cultural and urban development of the region.
Indigenous peoples of the region include the ethnic Mazanderanis speaking an Iranian language which most resembles Gilaki and Sangiseri.
The region is known to have been populated from early antiquity, and Mazandaran has changed hands among various dynasties from early in its history. There are several fortresses remaining from Parthian and Sassanid times, and many older cemeteries scattered throughout the province. During this era, Mazandaran was part of Hyrcania Province which was one of important provinces.
With the advent of the Sassanid dynasty, the King of Mazandaran (Tabaristan and Padashkhwargar) was Gushnasp, whose ancestors had reigned in the area (under the Parthian empire) since the time of Alexander. In 529-536, Mazandarn was ruled by the Sassanid prince Kawus, son of Kawadh. Anushirawan, the Sassanid king, defeated Zarmihr, who claimed his ancestry from the legendary blacksmith Kaveh. This dynasty ruled till 645 A.D., when Gil Gilanshah (a descendant of the Sassanid king Jamasp and a son of Piruz) joined Mazandaran to Gilan. These families had descendants who ruled during the Islamic period.
Hyrcania, now called Mazanderan, comprehends the largest and widest portion of the low plain along the shores of the Caspian Sea. It is one of the most fertile provinces of the Persian Empire, whether the mountains or the plains are considered. Travellers passing through the forests of Mazanderan, pass through thickets of sweetbriar and honeysuckle; and are surrounded with acacias, oaks, lindens, and chestnut trees. The summits of the mountains are crowned with cedars, cypresses, and various species of pines. So beautiful is this district, that in the hyperbolical language of the orientals it is styled, Belad-al-Irem, or, the Land of the Terrestrial Paradise. Sir W. Ouseley relates, that Kaikus, the Persian king, was fired with ambition to conquer so fine a country, through the influence of a minstrel, who exhausted all his powers of music and poetry in the praise of its beauties: his strains read thus:
" Let the king consider the delights of Mazanderan, and may that country flourish during all eternity ; for in its gardens roses ever blow, and even its mountains are covered with hyacinths and tulips. Its land abounds in all the beauties of nature; its climate is salubrious and temperate, neither too warm nor too cold; it is a region of perpetual spring: there, in shady bowers, the nightingale ever sings; there the fawn and antelope incessantly wander among the valleys; every spot, throughout the whole year, is embellished and perfumed with flowers; the very brooks of that country seem to be rivulets of rose water, so much does this exquisite fragrance delight the soul. During the winter months, as at all other seasons, the ground is enameled, and the banks of murmuring streams smile with variegated flowers; everywhere the pleasures of the chase may be enjoyed; all places abound with money, fine stuffs for garments, and every other article necessary for comfort or luxury. There all the attendants are lovely damsels, wearing golden coronets; and all the men illustrious warriors, whose girdles are studded with gold; and nothing but a wilful perversity of mind, or corporeal infirmity, can hinder a person from being cheerful and happy in Mazanderan."
Such were the delights the oriental poet held out to his rulers in Mazanderan, in all the force of oriental exaggeration. The province of Hyrcania or Mazanderan was doubtless a delightful province; but there appear to have been some .drawbacks upon its loveliness. Strictly speaking, Hyrcania comprehended the small tract denominated Gurgan in ancient Persia, which signifies, the land of wolves, from the superabundance of these animals. From this word D'Anville supposes the Greeks to have formed the name of Hyrcania. Sir W. Ouseley states that on entering Mazanderan, he was informed that he would find a babr, tiger ; a guraz, boar ; rubah, foxes ; shegkal, jackals ; and a gurg, or wolf. Accordingly, the very first thing that he saw, on entering a village of Hyrcania, was the carcase of a, large wolf, which had been shofjust half an hour before his arrival, and which looked terrible in death, " grinning horribly a ghastly grin;" thus proving the truth of the poet, that, " everywhere the pleasures of the chase may be enjoyed," if such may be termed pleasures. In ancient times, Hyrcania was infested with panthers and tigers, so fierce and cruel, as to give rise to a proverb concerning fierce and unrelenting men, that they had sucked Hyrcanian tigers. The poet Virgil refers to this in his Aeneid.
Strabo, who extends Hyrcania as far north as the river Ochus, says from Aristobulus that Hyrcania was a woody region, producing oaks and pines, but not the pitch pine, which abounded in India. It has been mentioned as a curious circumstance that in Mazanderan an axe used for cutting is called tabr. Now the Tapyri, or Tabari, inhabited a district in Hyrcania, and if this name be derived from tabr, an axe, it will signify hatchet-men, or wood-cutters, a name very appropriate to the inhabitants of a country covered with forests like Hyrcania, and, though restricted by the Greeks to the western inhabitants of that province, is equally applicable to those of the eastern part. According to Sir W. Ouseley, the name of the part in which the Tabari. Lived, namely, Tabristan, or Tabaristan, signifies the country of wood.
According to Morier, Mazanderan is a modern Persian phrase, signifying, "Within the boundary or limit of the mountain." This is confirmed by Sir W. Ouseley, who says, from Hamdallah, an eminent Persian geographer, that Mazanderan was originally named Mawz-anderan, or within the mountain Mawz. He says, "The Coh-Alburz is an immense mountain adjacent to Bab-al-abwab, (Derbend), and many mountains are connected with Alburz; so that from Turkestan to Hejas, it forms a range extending in length 1000 farsangs, about 130 miles, more or less; and on this account some regard it as the mountain of Kaf, (Caucasus.) Its western side, connected with the mountains of Gurjestan, (Georgia,) is called the Coh Lagzi, (Daghestan,) and the Sur a lakaeim relates, that in the Coh Lagzi there are various races of people; so that about seventy different languages or dialects are used among them; and in that mountain are many wonderful objects; and when it reaches Shemshat and Malatiah, (Samosata Melitene,) it is called Kali Kala. At Antakia and Sakeliah, (Antioch and Seleucia,) it is called Lekam; there it divides Sham (Syria) from Room, (Asia Minor.) When it reaches between Hems (Emesa) and Demishk, (Damascus,) it is called Lebnan, (Lebanon,) and near Mecca and Medina it is called Arish. Its eastern side, connected with the mountains of Arran (Eastern Armenia) and Aderbijan, it is called Keik, and when it reaches to Ghilan, (the Gelae and Cadusians,) and Iraq, (Media,) it takes the name of Terkel-diz-cuh; it is called Mauz when it reaches Kurnish and Mazanderan; and originally Mazanderan was named Mawz-enderan ; and when Alburz reaches Khorassan, it is called Lurry." From this it appears that Mazanderan signifies all the region within the mountain Mawz and the Caspian Sea, which lies east of Ghilan and the Kizil Ozan.
Unlike the rest of Persia, Mazanderan is watered by numerous rivers, or mountain torrents, all running from the mountains to the sea. The German traveller Gmelin, who visited this country a. d. 1771, says that in the space of eight miles, on the road from Resht to Amot, 250 of such streams are to be seen, many of them being so exceedingly broad and deep, that the passage across is sometimes impracticable for weeks together. In this respect Mazanderan furnishes a striking contrast to the waste and barren shores of southern Persia, where for many hundred miles there is not a stream to be met with deep enough to take a horse above the knee. Hence arises the fertility of Mazanderan. So mild and humid, indeed, is the climate of Mazanderan, that it permits the growth of the sugar cane, and the production of good sugar, and that in perfection four months earlier than in the West Indies. From the lack of art and care, however, this gift of nature is not turned to account by the inhabitants of that province.
During the post-Islamic period the local dynasties fall into three classes: 1. local families of pre-Islamic origin, 2. the ʿAlid sayyid s, and 3. local families of secondary importance.
The Bawandids who claimed descent from Kawus provided three dynasties. The first dynasty (665-1007) was overthrown on the conquest of Tabaristan by the Ziyarid Kabus b. Wushmgir. The second dynasty reigned from 466/1073 to 606/1210 when Mazandaran was conquered by 'Ala al-Din Muhammad Khwarzamshah. The third ruled from 635/1237 to 750/1349 as vassals of the Mongols. The last representative of the Bawandids was killed by Afrasiyab Chulawi.
The Karinids claimed descent from Karin, brother of Zarmihr who was the pre-Islamic ruler under the Sassanids. Their last representative Mazyar was put to death in 224/839.
The Paduspanids claimed descent from the Dabyuids of Gilan. They came to the front about 40/660 and during the rule of the ʿAlids were their vassals. Later, they were vassals of the Buyids and Bawandids, who deposed them in 586/1190. The dynasty, restored in 606/1209-10, survived till the time of Timur; the branch descended from Kawus the son of Kayumarth reigned till 975/1567 and the other, that of Iskandar the son of Kayumarth, till 984/1574.
In 662 CE, ten years after the death of Yazdegerd III the last Sassanian Emperor, a large Muslim army under the command of Hassan ibn Ali (Imam Hassan, the second Sunni's/Shi'a Imam) invaded Tabarestan (Mazandaran as it was then called) only to be severely beaten, suffering heavy losses to the forces of the Zoroastrian princes of the Dabboyid house. For the next two hundred years, Tabaristan maintained an existence independent of the Umayyad Caliphate which supplanted the Persian Empire in the early seventh century, with independent Zoroastrian houses like the Bavand and Karen fighting an effective guerilla warfare against Islam. A short-lived Alid Shiite state collapsed before the subsequent take-over by the Ziyarid princes. Mazandaran, unlike much of the rest of the Iranian Plateau maintained a Zoroastrian majority until the 12th century, thanks to its isolation and hardy population which fought against the Caliph's armies for centuries.
During the Abbasid caliphate of Abou Jafar Al-Mansur, Tabaristan witnessed a wave of popular revolt. Ultimately, Vandad Hormoz established an independent dynasty in Tabaristan in 783. In 1034, Sultan Mahmud Ghaznavi entered Tabaristan via Gorgan followed by the invasion of Sultan Mohammad Kharazmshah in 1209. Thereafter, the Mongols governed the region until they were overthrown by the Timurid Dynasty. After the dissolution of the feudal government of Tabaristan, Mazandaran was incorporated into modern Persian Empire by Shah Abbas I in 1596. In the Safavid era Mazandaran was settled by Georgian migrants, whose descendants still live across Mazandaran. Towns, villages and neighbourhoods in Mazandaran still bear the name "Gorji" (i.e. Georgian) in them, although most of the Georgians are already assimilated into the mainstream Mazandaranis. The history of Georgian settlement is described by Eskandar Beyg Monshi, the author of the 17th century Tarikh-e Alam-Ara-ye Abbasi, among other authors.
Before the reign of Nadir Shah, the province was briefly occupied by the Russian army in the aftermath of the Russo-Persian War, 1722-1723 and returned to Persia in 1735.
Mazandaran is located on the southern coast of the Caspian Sea. It is bordered clockwise by Golestan, Semnan and Tehran provinces. This province also borders Qazvin and Gilan to the west. Mazandaran province is geographically divided into two parts: the coastal plains, and the mountainous areas. The Alborz Mountain Range surrounds the coastal strip and plains of the Caspian Sea.
There is often snowfall in the Alborz regions, which run parallel to the Caspian Sea's southern coast, dividing the province into many isolated valleys. The province enjoys a moderate, subtropical climate with an average temperature of 25 °C in summer and about 8 °C in winter. Although snow may fall heavily in the mountains in winter, it rarely falls at sea level.
The province covers an area of 23,842 km². According to the census of 2006, the population of the province was 2,922,432 of which 53.18% were registered as urban dwellers, 46.82% villagers, and remaining were non-residents. Sari is the capital city of the province.
Mazandaran is divided into 15 counties (shahrestan in Persian). All the shahrestans are named after their administrative center, except Savadkooh. The following map shows the respective positions of the counties.
The culture of Mazandaran is closely related to that of neighboring Gilan (or Guilan). The peoples of the two provinces are largely secular, and consequently women have had greater social freedom and independence than their Persian cousins. (Reference: "The Soviet Socialist Republic of Iran, 1920-1921: Birth of the Trauma" by Cosroe Chaqueri.)
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. Indeed, the rest of Iran was introduced to rice through Gilan and Mazandaran. Before the 1800s, Persians, Kurds, and other Iranian ethnic groups used bread rather than rice as an accompaniment to their meals, though bread remains a prominent staple among them. While bread remains very popular among those groups, in Gilan and Mazandaran, rice remains the choice staple of the indigenous inhabitants.
Mazanderani or Tabarian is a Northwestern Iranian language. Various Mazandarani dialects exist which are spoken in Mazandaran province and the neighbor province Golestan such as Mazanderani, and Gorgani and possibly Qadikolahi (Ghadikolahi) and Palani. Today, Mazandaranis also use Persian (Western Persian). The educated can communicate and read Persian well. A dialect of Azeri is spoken in the town of Galoogah.
Attractions Tourism and Historical and Natural
- Mount Damavand
- Abbas Abad Garden Behshahr
- Tomb Mashhad Mir Bozorg Marashi
- Tomb tower Sayed Haydar Amoli
- Malek Bahman Castle
Tomb Mashhad Mir Bozorg Marashi
- Home Nima Youshij
- Mohammad Hassan Khan Bridge Babol
- Relief Shekl Shah
- Davazdah Cheshmeh Bridge
- Moalagh Bridge Amol
- Tomb tower Nasser Kabir - Utrush
- Waterfall Shahandasht
- Waterfall Gozo
- Bazaar of Amol
- Cave Espahbod Khorshid
- Historical collection Farahabad Sari
- Cheshmeh Kelieh Bridge Tonekabon
- Lajim Tower
- Veresk Bridge
- Castle Poolad Nour
- Shapur Bridge Juybar
- Bathroom Vaziri Sari
- Imam Hassan Askari Mosque
- Tomb Darvish Fakhruddin Babol
- Emamzadeh Hashem Haraz
- Daniel Cave Salman Shahr
- Marmar Palace of Ramsar
- Ramsar Hotel
- Resket Tower Savadkuh
- Cellar Kafer Keli
- History Museum Amol
- Hot water Rineh - Larijan
Malek Bahman Castle
- Lake Valasht
- Lake Valasht Chalus
- Lar Dam
- Lar National Park
- Badab-e Surt
- Heshtel Towers
- Tomb of Imamzadeh Abbas
- Kandolus Museum
- Atashkadeh of Amol
- Imamzadeh Ebrahim
- See Sangan
- Cave Zangian Qaem Shahr
Old Hotel of Ramsar
- Alimastan Village
- Shahrak-e Namak Abrud
- Hutu Cave
- Cemetery Sefid Chah
- Didebani Tower
- Waterfall Tircan
- Jameh Mosque of Amol
- Jameh Mosque of Sari
- Bridge Felezi Babolsar
- Lake Miyansheh
Sunset in Nowshahr
- Forest Park Nur and Amol
- Clock tower
- Waterfall Sangeno