Tehranis’ gateway for a fun weekend close to the Caspian Sea, this province is famous for its exquisite cuisine, relaxing bungalows and pluvial actions.
From long ago, Rasht, the most significant city in “Shomal” and capital of Gilan province, has turned into an easy weekend holiday for Tehrani residents who looking to enjoy the delicious and various range of local food and the rain. Rasht, a sophisticated town with a large number of bookstores and libraries, is the biggest and rainiest city in the green region of the north of the country, called “Shomal” by locals and more recently as well as by foreign visitors. Visitors use Rasht as the starting point to climb up to the significant fortress called Qaleh Rudkhan and the attractive Masuleh. Although what, tourists and visitors are rewarded if they stay a bit longer in the city: most will find out about the liveliness and spirted lifestyles prevalent among its energetic younger demographics, which is highly contagious.
This ever-growing city has tried out an audacious urban design planning, the first of its kind the country, named ‘My Rasht’: car cannot enter the stone-paved streets surrounding the iconic Shahrdari Sq. which, in turn, has led to an ideal people-filled open space where people can meet and socialize, and consequently exciting the city center. Shuttle buses run between these streets, offering rides to those who prefer it.
Rasht has also had some periods of autonomy, making this interesting city rich in historical figures.
This magnificent and historical castle hidden high among the scenic forests of Alborz range and built during the Seljuk era, called Qaleh Rudkhan, is a great gateway day trip taken from Rasht, and is ideal if taken simultaneously with another close-by drive to the photogenic Masuleh. During the high season (spring and early autumn), it is advisable to do the hike, which takes about an hour over steep steps and through superabundant trees, early in the morning since this fortress is popular among Iranians as well as visitors from other countries. However, during winter, the gorgeous surroundings of the snow-capped mountains as well as the color-changing trees can be considered even more impressive than the views of spring and autumn; although during these times the steps can turn icy and dangerous so you might want to spend more than one hour climbing the hill.
Since Qaleh Rudkhan fortress is close to the city Fuman, it is advisable to taste out the city’s iconic cookie baked all over the town. This cookie, available hot, is a great option for a souvenir to take back home.
The city’s most iconic site and considered as the city’s most bustling area, Shahrdari building is a fine example of colonial architecture. Kebabi and falafel carts abound in the area, as well as people, mostly the younger generation of Rasht who are known to be experts in having fun. What is not allowed is cars and motorcycles; Rasht has been trying out a brave new urban area planning called “my Rasht”: one part of the program is to make this sq. and the surrounding streets car-free and be only accessible to pedestrians. It has worked tremendously well.
Though compact, this well-equipped museum is showcased in a house built in 1930s. It has mannequins presenting the Gilaki lifestyle in their particular costumes as well as ancient artefacts such as drinking horns with the looks of deer, bulls and rams, which were found in the surrounding areas of Rasht and believed that drinking from these “cups” will grant the drinker the powers as well the agilities of the animals.
Gilan Rural Heritage Museum
Dissimilar to other museums throughout other Iranian towns, this museums has gathered a couple of traditional cottages in open air. It tries to showcase the various costumes, traditions and cultures as well architecture of Gilan. Located 18 kilometers south of Rasht, in Saravan forest park, for the museum to function, 7 villages has been remodeled. Throughout the year, you can partake in the traditions as a visitor.
Kolah Farangi Mansion
Aka as citadel of Hesam al Dowleh, Kolah Farangi is a mansion built during the late Zand era and finished in early Qajar. With a cone-like roof, with a hexagonal composition. Even though it has only two current stories, Kolah Farangi is constructed to look like a six-storied ziggurat.
All chambers are connected by a series of corridors and all of the rooms in the first floor face a pool house in the main court. The intricate water fountain is contributing to cool air ventilation and the windows places on the ceiling issues lighting for the chambers. There are several architectural wonders used in this mansion including Muqarnas and ornamental arches.
Second floor is more compact in size than the ground floor and has fewer chambers. Inscribed on the National Heritage Site list, Kolah Farangi mansion is also the provincial seat of the current South Khorasan governor.
Photogenic Masuleh, it is undoubtedly one the country’s most celebrated villages. A thousand year old, Masuleh is visited by local as well as foreign tourists who crowd the narrow alleyways and rooftops of houses, especially in summer. Houses are built into the heart of a mountain; what’s fascinating about the village is that rooftop of a house is the yard of another since they are all stacked up, beautifully, on top of each other. It does look like a tiny Lego blocks from afar. Aside from the village itself, there are a couple of other things to do: hiking, trying out local cookies and buying handmade artefact as souvenirs to take back home.