Gachsaran City Center, between the Hafez and Sa'adi Malls
Mahale Chiniha (Persian: محله ی چینی ها) is a Chinatown in the center of Gachsaran City, Iran and its most populous area. Running for about 300 metres (980 ft), although there are no Chinese people in the town, it is one of the most crowded in the city, especially at sunset. The buildings are a unique mixture of traditional, modern, Chinese and Islamic architecture. There are also many luxury shopping malls, stores, restaurants, nightclubs and bars frequented by both local people and tourists.
Although information about the former use of Mahale Chiniha is scarce, until the early 2000s it was not a densely populated area. However, in 2001, following diplomatic engagement between Iran and China, Mahale Chiniha was considered a location where Chinese culture and architecture could be showcased. The area differs from other Chinatowns around the world as the designers were a mixed group of Iranian and Chinese architects. Designs for the project was completed in May 2003 with a scheduled construction time of three years, however, a lack of sponsors slowed progress. When nearly a quarter of the buildings were complete, many new private sponsors became involved who wanted Mahale Chiniha to become a trade center. As a result the development strategy changed and Chinese-themed sky scrapers were built instead of shop buildings in a purely traditional Chinese style.