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PostPosted: Mon Apr 13, 2015 9:39 am
by Parvaneh

The city of Astara lies on the western coastlines of Caspian Sea and northern region of Gilan Province, close to Iran-Azerbaijan Republic borderline. Astara leads to Caspian Sea from the east; Azerbaijan Republic's Astara from the north; Ardabil Province from the west; and the city of Talesh in Gilan Province from the south.

"Astara-Chai" river separates Iran's Astara from Azerbaijan Republic's Astara. The city of Astara enjoys a mild and humid climate and its average rainfall stands at 1,500 millimeters per annum.

The people of Astara speak in Azeri and Taleshi languages. Geographically, this city is en route three paths. The southern path stretches from Caspian Sea coastline to Anzali Port; the northern path stretches from Caspian Sea coastal belt to Azerbaijan Republic and the western path goes through "Hayraan" gorge and leads to the city of Ardabil.

Study of the historical texts related to the city of Ardabil shows that this city was a small village in the past century and was situated in a mountainous region.

The city of Astara is situated 530 kilometers from Tehran and 190 kilometers from the center of Gilan Province. Due to its proximity to northwestern regions of Iran and the frontier region, Astara enjoys unique features. This city which lies on the Caspian Sea's coastal belt was in economic recession for several years. Following the victory of Iran's Islamic Revolution, upon the construction of Astara-Ardabil transit route, Astara developed more than ever. Also due to the fall of former Soviet Union, frontier commutations and commercial exchanges, this city's economy was promoted. The development and expansion of this city in recent years and the relative economic welfare of people has led to a change in the architecture of this city. Given its numerous inner-city and coastline markets, Astara is host to countless tourists and buyers, who make the best of this city's scenic landscape and enjoy the hospitality of the locals and the ever-green nature of this region.

The economic mainstay of the people of Astara is agriculture. Cultivation of rice and wheat also boosts the economy of this region. One of the other products of Astara is honey. The apiculturists produce large amounts of honey on the ever-green foothills of "Heyraan" gorge and the bee hives of this city in Gilan Province is ranked 2nd in regard to quantity across the country after the city of Talesh. In addition to fishing in this port city; the coastline sea shells provide the cheap and appropriate raw material for factories which produce feed for poultry and fish. Tourism industry is another source of income for this city.

The region of Astara is host to a large number of tourists every year, especially in spring and summer seasons, due to its tourist attraction sites and green landscape. In this part of today's program, we become familiar with a number of these attractions.

The "Laaton" water fall with an approximate height of 105 meters is considered as one of the attractions of this region. This fall is situated 15 kilometers south of the city of Astara and 6 kilometers from the village of "Koteh Komeh". It is surrounded with forested hills, which lead to dangerous canyons. Besides this fall, there exists one of the most beautiful, intact, and thick forests full of plum, pear, walnut, hazelnut, and apple trees, which maintain their beauty for nine months per year.

The volume of water of Laaton Fall varies in different periods of the year.

In every corner of the beautiful Gilan province, one can witness the astounding beauties of nature, alongside pretty historical monuments. In this part of today's program, we introduce the castle, named: "Qal'eh Roudkhan".

Experts believe that this fortification has been constructed in the Sassanid era, from 3rd to 7th Century AD, and has been renovated during the rule of Saljuqid Dynasty in 11th and 12th Century AD.

This huge and astonishing castle is located 20 kilometers southwest of the city of Fouman over the pinnacle of a mountain in a forested region. To reach this castle, we should go through the city of Fouman, several villages, forests, turbulent rivers, and climb several stairs.

This castle is an important heritage of the military fortifications in Gilan region. For a long while, this castle was the ruling center of Gilan rulers. It is considered as one of the largest and most magnificent military fortifications of Gilan and Iran.

The castle covers an area of 50,000 square meters and is situated at over 600-meter altitude, while its wall stretches 1500 meters. For the first time in the year 1830 AD, the Russian researcher of Polish origin, Alexander Shodzeko, performed archeological studies on this fortification. He pointed out: "This castle is situated over a mountain. Its roof is made of stones and bricks. On the two sides of its gateway, there are two defense towers. Over the gateway, an inscription has been installed. Based on the writings of this inscription, this castle was renovated from 918 AH to 921 AH. This inscription is currently kept at Rasht Museum."

This castle has an astounding architecture. The selection of an appropriate site, usage of resistant construction materials, usage of different types of architecture, and formation of a variety of geometrical shapes has granted grandeur to this fortification. The shape of this castle is irregular and consisted of two western and eastern sections.

Forty watchtowers surround this castle. The octagonal chambers of these watchtowers are covered with domes. Across the walls and towers, apertures are seen that have been installed for the purpose of shooting at the enemy forces. Based on historical evidence, the foes have never managed to infiltrate this castle and/or conquer it. This in turn shows the skill and technique of the architects of this castle.

This military fortification is made of a citadel and a garrison. The two-storey citadel is located in the western corner of this castle and is made of bricks. The two-storey garrison is situated in the eastern corner of this castle and maintains several apertures, while looming over its surrounding environment. The eastern section of the castle consists of twelve gateways, a prison, an emergency exit and a bathroom. The western section of the castle also consists of twelve castles, a pond, a water store, a cooler, a bathroom, and several residential units which are surrounded with towers.

This castle is one of the most important historical monuments, and is an attractive site for a large number of tourists, who travel to Gilan Province in northern Iran.


Location: Astara County, Gilan Province

Walking path length: Depend on your plan

Days of trip: 2-3 Days from Tehran to Tehran (Without heavy traffic you need 8-9 hr driving from Tehran to the Astara. Depends on your speed ,6-8 hr in going and getting back. and 8-9 hr driving to Tehran)
Attention: In holidays there is heavy traffic in all roads around Tehran.

Best time to visit: April to October

Daily time visit: Depend on your plan

Difficulty level: Depend on your plan

Requirements: Guide or GPS track...Depend on your plan

Legal permission need:Depend on your plan


Overall risk: -

Animal risk: No

Lost risk: No

Rescue: You can call 115

GSM Mobile Antenna: Depend on your plan


Hotel: in Astara Yes


Shop: in Astara Yes

Gasoline: in Astara Yes


How to get there:
1- Go to the west terminal of buses in Tehran (more info)
2- Take a bus ticket to Astara(Distance from Tehran to Astara is 574 KM)

Nearest airport: No airport less than 100 km

Nearest train station: No station less than 100 km


Location on map:


Roudkhan Castle