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.


  • 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



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


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.


Jamshidieh Park

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

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