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.