About Qazvin Province:
The Qazvin Province (Persian: استان قزوین, Ostān-e Qazvīn ) is one of the 31 provinces of Iran. It is in the north-west of the country, and its center is the city of Qazvin. The province was created in 1993 out of part of Tehran Province and includes 20 cities: Qazvin, Takestan, Abyek, Buin-Zahra, Eqhbalieh, Mohammadieh, Alvand, Esfarvarin, Mahmood Abad Nemooneh, Khoram Dasht, Ziä Abad, Avaj, Shäl, Danesfahan, Abgarm, Ardägh, Moallem Keläyeh, Razmian Kouhin and Bidestan in the form of four townships (chief cities) contains 18 sections, 44 rural districts, and 1543 villages. The province had a population of 1.14 million people by the 2006 census, of which 68.05% lived in cities and 31.95% in villages. The ratio of men to women is 50.7 to 49.3%. 99.61% of the province population are Muslims and 0.39% of the rest came from other religions. The literacy rate is over 82%, ranking 7th in Iran.
Qazvin was the location of a former capital of the Persian Empire and contains over 2000 architectural and archeological sites. It is a provincial capital today that has been a cultural center of mass throughout history.
Archeological findings in the Qazvin plain reveal the existence of urban agricultural settlements as far back as 7000 BC. The name “Qazvin” or “Kasbin” is derived from Cas, an ancient tribe that lived south of the Caspian Sea millennia ago. The Caspian Sea itself in fact derives its name from the same origin. Qazvin geographically connects Tehran, Isfahan, and the Persian Gulf to the Caspian seacoast and Asia Minor, hence its strategic location throughout the ages.
Qazvin has been a hotbed of historical developments in Iranian history. In the early years of the Islamic era Qazvin served as a base for the Arab forces. Destroyed by Genghis Khan (13th century), the Safavid monarchs made Qazvin the capital of the Safavid empire in 1548 only to have it moved to Isfahan in 1598. During the Qajar Dynasty and contemporary period, Qazvin has always been one of the most important governmental centers due to its proximity to Tehran. Abbas Mirza, a Crown Prince and Minister of Commerce, was also the governor of Qazvin.
Qazvin is situated close to Alamut, where the famous Hasan-i Sabbah, founder of the secret Ismaili order of the Assassins, operated from.
Qazvin is where the coup d’etat of General Reza Khan, with his Russian-trained Cossack brigade, was launched from - which led to the founding of the Pahlavi dynasty in 1921.
Churches and Russian architecture
Qazvin actually contains three buildings built by the Russians in the late 19th/early 20th century. Among these is the current Mayor's office (former Ballet Hall), a water reservoir, and the Cantor church where a Russian pilot is buried.
According to explorers Pietro Della Valle, Jean Baptist Tavenier, Johannes Chardin, and others, there have been many Christians of various sects living in Qazvin for centuries. Qazvin is the location of the Saint Hripsime church, and it is also where four Jewish prophets gave tidings of the arrival of Jesus Christ. Their tomb is now a popular shrine called Peighambariyeh.
Castles and forts
These are castles and fortifications left over mostly from the Isma'ili movement of the Middle Ages:
- Alamout Castle
- Lambesar Castle
- Shirkouh Castle
- Qez Qaleh Castle
- Shemiran Castle
- Meimoon Ghal'eh
Tombs, shrines and mausoleums
Another grand attraction in Qazvin Province, is the tombs of two Saljuki era princes, Aboo Saeed Bijar son of Sad and Aboo Mansoor Iltai son of Takin, that are located in two separate towers known as the Kharaghan twin towers. Constructed in 1067, these are the first monuments in Islamic Architecture which include a non-conic two-layered dome.Both towers were severely damaged by a devastating earthquake on March 2003.
Some popular shrines and Mausoleums in Qazvin province are:
Peighambarieh (where 4 Jewish prophets are buried)
Zobeideh Khatoon (that has also a unique traditional water reservoir)
Imamzadeh Abdollah and Imamzadeh Fazlollah in Farsajin
Imamzadeh Vali in Ziaabad
Imamzadeh Kamal in Ziaabad
Imamzadeh Ali in Shekarnab
Haft Sandoogh Pilgrimage Place
Tombs of Hassan Abad and Shahkouh
Mausoleum of Pir e Takestan
Hamdollah Mostowfi's Tomb
Imam Ahmad Ghazali's Tomb
Molla Khalila's Tomb
Shahid Sales' Tomb
Raeesol Mojahedin's Tomb
Aside from Shahzadeh Hossein, a shiite saint, where a handsome shrine has been built, there are an abundance of scientists and mystics who lived in Qazvin, or came from Qazvin, or whose tombs are scattered throughout the cities and villages of the province. Some of these are:
- Ali Akbar Dehkhoda: Prominent linguist and author of Iran's first modern Persian dictionary, was originally from Qazvin.
- Obeid Zakani
- Oveis Qarani: A celebrity of early Islam, thought to have been killed here while fighting against an army of Deilamian origin. His tomb is known as Sultan Veis.
- Hamdollah Mostowfi: The great Il-Khanid historian and writer (1281–1349) and author of The Selected History (Tarikh Gozideh), Nezhatol Qoloub and Zafar Nameh. The turquoise conic dome and its inscription in Sols calligraphy in which Mostowfi’s family tree and his works are introduced are the features that distinguish the tomb from other historical monuments of Qazvin.
- Imam Ahmad Ghazali: Famous Iranian Gnostic who died in 1126 CE and was buried beside Shahzadeh Hossein. His tomb up to the end of the 16th century A.D. became the pilgrimage place for mystical sects. Following Shah Tahmasb’ s stubborn policies against philosophers and mystics and destroying Ghazali’s tomb, a group of his disciples took the remains of his body to the present place in Imamzadeh Ismail alley and constructed a new mausoleum for him. The monument was destroyed again in Mohammad Shah Qajar’s period only to be re-constructed by Majdol Islam Qazvini in 1910. Beside Ghazali’s tomb there is another tomb belonging to Soltan Seyed Mohammad Vali which dates back to 1625 CE
- Molla Khalil Ibn Ghazi Qazvini: Famous faghih (religious jurist) and famous commentator of the Qur'an in Safavid period (d 1678).
- Shahidsaless: Killed in 1846. The third religious leader to be killed during prayer (first one being Imam Ali).
- Ra'ees ol-Mojahedin: The late Mirza Hassan Sheikhol Islam son of Mirza Masood Sheikhol Islam, leader of the liberals and constitutionalists of Qazvin whose endeavors and devotion to abolish the Qajar dynasty and conquer Tehran brought the title of Raeesol Mojahedin (chief of fighters) for him.