Gorgan

This appealing, rapidly expanding city has a lively vibe and a colorful character, thanks to an ethnically mixed population and an attractive location where the green Alborz Mountains stoop to meet the northeastern steppe.

Gorgan was the birthplace of ‘eunuch- king’ Aga Mohammad, who founded the expansionist Qajar dynasty (1779–1925). Its architectural heritage is relatively limited but Gorgan makes a fine base for visiting the Turkmen steppes and Golestan’s forested mountains.

 Sights

  • Gorgan Tower

The three-legged giant folly of a tower that sits on Basij Sq like a child’s fantasy space-craft is actually a jerkily revolving restaurant-coffeeshop that spins once in 45 minutes (if you persuade the barista to set it moving). Upstairs there’s also a ring of open-air seating. Grab a coffee to take advantage of the free customer wi-fi.

It’s a fun novelty if you’re driving by but getting here is a pain without a car: you’ll need to find the pedestrian access tunnel (Basij Sq) from the road that runs parallel to the Sari Hwy, a block north of Basij Sq.

  • Taqavi House

This magnificent complex of historic buildings houses the Golestan Miras cultural-tourist office. Ask to peep inside the ‘eight-wife’ harem building – it’s not your average bureaucrat’s photocopier cupboard.

Points Of Interest

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Darakeh

This village, at 1700m elevation and just north of the no-torious Evin Prison, is one of Tehran’s most pleasant urban escapes

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Caspian Sea

At 370,000 sq km the Caspian (Darya-ye Khazar) is five times the size of Lake Superior.That  makes it by far the world’s largest lake.

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Jamshidieh Park

This  popular in town escape stretches ever more steeply up the mountainside at Tehran’s northern edge

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