Mazandaran Province

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This article is about the Māzandarān Province of Iran. For the Historic Tabarestan region, see Tabaristan. For region mentioned in Shahnameh, see Mazandaran (Shahnameh).
Māzandarān Province
استان مازندران
Selected Mazandaran.JPG
Map of Iran with Mâzandarân highlighted
Location of Mâzandarân within Iran
Coordinates: 36°33′56″N 53°03′32″E / 36.5656°N 53.0588°E / 36.5656; 53.0588Coordinates: 36°33′56″N 53°03′32″E / 36.5656°N 53.0588°E / 36.5656; 53.0588
Country  Iran
Region ONE 1 [1]
Capital Sari
Counties 22
 • Total 23,833 km2 (9,202 sq mi)
Population (2011)[3]
 • Total 3,073,943
 • Density 130/km2 (330/sq mi)
Time zone IRST (UTC+03:30)
 • Summer (DST) IRST (UTC+04:30)
Main language(s)

Mazandarani (Tabari)[4]


Mazandaran Province About this sound pronunciation , (Persian: استان مازندران‎‎ Ostān-e Māzandarān/Ostâne Mâzandarân), is an Iranian province located along the southern coast of the Caspian Sea and in the adjacent Central Alborz mountain range, in central-northern Iran.[5]

Daryasar Weald & Siyalan Alps in Tonekabon City.
Sayed Haydar Amoli (Seyyed Se Tan) shrine in Amol, 15th century.


Mazandaran Province is one of the most densely populated provinces in Iran[6] and has diverse natural resources, notably large reservoirs of oil and natural gas.[7] The province's four largest counties are Sari, Amol, Nur, and Tonekabon.[8] It was founded in 1937.[citation needed]

The diverse nature of the province features plains, prairies, forests and rainforest[9] stretching from the sandy beaches of the Caspian Sea to the rugged and snowcapped Alborz sierra,[10] including Mount Damavand, one of the highest peaks and volcanos in Asia.[11]

Mazandaran is a major producer of farmed fish,[12] and aquaculture provides an important economic addition to traditional dominance of agriculture.[13] Another important contributor to the economy is the tourism industry, as people from all of Iran enjoy visiting the area.[14] Mazandaran is also a fast-growing centre for biotechnology.[7]

Administrative divisions[edit]

The province covers an area of 23,842 km².[15] Sari is the capital city of the province.

Mazandaran is divided into 15 counties (shahrestan in Persian). All the shahrestans are named after their administrative center, except Savadkooh.[citation needed]


Central Alborz mountain range in Mazandaran Province.

Human habitation in the area dates back at least 75,000 years.[16] Recent excavations in Goher Tippe provide proof that the area has been urbanized for more than 5,000 years, and the area is considered one of the most important historical sites of Iran.[17] It has played an important role in cultural and urban development of the region.[18]

Indigenous peoples of the region include the ethnic Mazanderanis,[19] who speak an Iranian language which most closely resembles Gilaki and Sangiseri language, but also has phono-typical similarities to several Caucasian languages, reflecting the history of the region and its peoples.[citation needed]

In the early 20th century, Reza Shah connected northern Elbourz to the southern slopes by constructing seven new roads and railways, the provinces of Mazandaran and Gilan became known as Shomal by all Iranians (meaning "the North" in Persian). Mazandaran is a Caspian province in the north of Iran.[20] Located on the southern coast of the Caspian Sea, it is bordered clockwise by Russia (across the sea), Golestan, Semnan, Tehran, Alborz, Qazvin, and Gilan provinces. Sari is the largest city and the capital of Mazandaran province.[citation needed]

Mazandaran Province was made part of the First Region upon the division of the provinces into five regions solely for coordination and development purposes on June 22, 2014.[1]

Map of the Median Empire (600 BCE) showing the relative locations of the Amardian tribe.
See also: Tabaristan

Pre-Islamic history[edit]

Before the arrival of the Iranian-speakers to Iran, native people of this area were subsistence hunters and cattle herders. Archaeological studies in caves belt and Hutu man in Behshahr in the Mazandaran date to approximately 9500 BC. Aryan migration from the north-eastern borders of modern Iran began around the third millennium BC, mixed with the natives. The Amardids were a tribe living along the mountainous region bordering the Caspian Sea, including current day Amol.[citation needed]

The Hyrcanian Golden Cup, dating from the early 1st millennium AD. It was excavated at Kalardasht in Mazandaran.

With the advent of the Sassanid dynasty, the King of Mazandaran (Tabaristan and Padashkhwargar) was Gushnasp,[21] whose ancestors had reigned in the area (under the Parthian empire) since the time of Alexander the Great. In 529–536, Mazandaran was ruled by the Sassanid prince Kawus, son of Kawadh.[21] Anushirawan, the Sassanid king, defeated Zarmihr, who claimed his ancestry from the legendary blacksmith Kaveh.[21] This dynasty ruled the area till 645 AD, when Gil Gilanshah (a descendant of the Sassanid king Jamasp and a son of Piruz) joined Mazandaran to Gilan.[21]

Post-Islamic history[edit]

During the post-Islamic period the local dynasties fell into three classes: local families of pre-Islamic origin; the ʿAlid sayyid; and local families of secondary importance.[21]

Map of the Mazandaran Alavid emirate (864-929 AD).

The Bawandids, who claimed descent from Kawus, provided three dynasties.[21] The first dynasty (665–1007) was overthrown on the conquest of Tabaristan by the Ziyarid Kabus b. Wushmgir.[21] The second dynasty reigned from 1073 to 1210, when Mazandaran was conquered by 'Ala al-Din Muhammad Khwarzamshah.[21] The third ruled from 1237 to 1349 as vassals of the Mongols.[21] The last representative of the Bawandids was killed by Afrasiyab Chulawi.[21]

The Karinids claimed descent from Karin, brother of Zarmihr who was the pre-Islamic ruler under the Sassanids.[21] Their last representative Mazyar was put to death in 839.[21]

The Paduspanids claimed descent from the Dabyuids of Gilan.[21] They came to the front about 660 and during the rule of the ʿAlids were their vassals. Later, they were vassals of the Buyids and Bawandids, who deposed them in 1190.[21] The dynasty, restored in 1209-10, survived till the time of Timur; the branch descended from Kawus the son of Kayumarth reigned till 1567 and the other, that of Iskandar the son of Kayumarth, till 1574.[21]

In the 9th-11th century AD, there were repetitively military raids undertaken by the Rus' between 864 and 1041 on the Caspian Sea shores of Iran, Azerbaijan, and Dagestan as part of the Caspian expeditions of the Rus'.[22] Initially, the Rus' appeared in Serkland in the 9th century traveling as merchants along the Volga trade route, selling furs, honey, and slaves. The first small-scale raids took place in the late 9th and early 10th century. The Rus' undertook the first large-scale expedition in 913; having arrived on 500 ships, they pillaged the westernmost parts of Gorgan as well as Mazandaran and Gilan, taking slaves and goods.[citation needed]

In the Safavid era Mazandaran was settled by very large amounts of Georgians, Circassians, Armenians, and other Peoples of the Caucasus, whose descendants still live or linger across Mazandaran. Towns, villages and neighbourhoods in Mazandaran still bear the name "Gorji" (i.e., Georgian) in them, although most of the large amounts of Georgians, and Circassians are already assimilated into the mainstream Mazandaranis. The history of Georgian settlement is described by Iskandar Beg Munshi, the author of the 17th century Tarikh-e Alam-Ara-ye Abbasi, and both the Circassian and Georgian settlements by Pietro Della Valle, among other authors.[23]

Geography and population[edit]


Mazandaran is located on the southern coast of the Caspian Sea. It is bordered clockwise by Golestan, Semnan and Tehran provinces.[24] This province also borders Qazvin and Gilan to the west. Mazandaran province is geographically divided into two parts: the coastal plains, and the mountainous areas. The Alborz Mountain Range surrounds the coastal strip and plains of the Caspian Sea.[citation needed]

There is often snowfall in the Alborz regions, which run parallel to the Caspian Sea's southern coast, dividing the province into many isolated valleys. The province enjoys a moderate, subtropical climate with an average temperature of 25 °C in summer and about 8 °C in winter. Although snow may fall heavily in the mountains in winter, it rarely falls at sea level.[citation needed]


Relief map of Mazandaran area.


It has a variety of climates, including the mild and humid climate of Caspian shoreline and the moderate and cold climate of mountainous regions.

Rivers Babol - Babolsar

The western and central plains of the province, up to the northern foothills of Alborz Mountain Range, experience the mild climate of the Caspian region. In the 1,500- to 3,000-meter altitudes, there is a moderate mountainous climate, with long, cold winters, and short, mild summers. In this region, snow covers parts of the province even up to the middle of the warm season. In fact, snow can be observed in this region even in the warmest months of the year.[citation needed]


Mazandaran Population history chart.gif

The population of the province has been steadily growing during the last 50 years. The following table shows the approximate province population, excluding the Golestan province, which has separated as an independent province in 1998.[citation needed]

The population is overwhelmingly Mazandarani, with a minority of Azerbaijanis, Georgians, Armenians, Circassians, Turkmen and others.

In recent years the region has seen an influx of Iranians from other regions of Iran, many of them attracted by its nature and seaside.

Year 1956 1966 1976 1986 1996 2006 2011[3]
Approximate population 835,000 1,250,000 1,596,000 2,275,000 2,602,000 2,922,000 3,073,943


Main transport routes in Mazandaran (Click to see a larger version)


Mazandaran is connected to Tehran by Haraz road (Amol-Rudehen), Kandovan road (Chalus-Karaj), and Firoozkooh road (Qaem Shahr-Rudehen).[citation needed]


Dasht-e Naz Airport, serving the capital Sari, Noshahr Airport, and Ramsar Airport are the domestic airports that connect the province to the other parts of the country.[citation needed]


Iran North Railway Dept.
Bandar Torkaman
Bandar Gaz
Amir Abad
Gooni Bafi
Pol Sefid
Sorkh Abad
Zarrin Dasht
Simin Dasht
Kabootar Darreh
To Tehran Dept.

Mazandaran is served by the North Railway Dept. of the Iranian Railways. The department connects the province to Tehran to the south and Gorgan to the east. The cities of Sari, Qaemshahr, and Pol Sefid are major stations of the department.


View of the Caspian coast from the Namak Abrood tourist resort.

The peoples of the two provinces are largely secular, and consequently women have had greater social freedom and independence than their Persian cousins.[25]


Main article: Mazandarani Language

Mazanderani or Tabarian is a Northwestern Iranian language. Various Mazandarani dialects exist which are spoken in Mazandaran province and the neighbor province Golestan such as Mazanderani, and Gorgani and possibly Qadikolahi (Ghadikolahi) and Palani. Today, Mazandaranis also use Persian (Western Persian). The educated can communicate and read Persian well.[26]

A dialect of Azeri is spoken in the town of Galoogah.[27]

In literature[edit]

The Battle History Of Mazandaran.
Caspian Sea coast in Mazandaran.
Hutu Cave.
Lake Miyansheh
Baladeh castle.
Sangeno Waterfall.
Gorji Mahaleh Beheshahr.
Danial Cave.

In the Persian epic Shahnameh, Mazandaran is mentioned in two different sections. The first mention is implicit, when Fereydun sets its capital in a city called Tamishe near Amol, and when Manuchehr is returning to Fereydun's capital, Tamisheh in Mazandaran (known as Tabarestan), after his victory over Salm and Tur[28]

In the second section, a region called Mazandaran is mentioned in the Kai Kavoos era; it is an area which is mostly inhabited by Div (demons). The legendary Iranian Shah Kaykavoos, as well as the Iranian hero Rostam, each take turn to go to Mazandaran in order to battle the demons.

In a verse from Shahnameh, Zal tells Kai Kavoos: "I heard troubling news that the king is planning to go to Mazandaran"

Forest in Mazandaran.

However, this Mazandaran is not considered identical to the modern province of Mazandaran, and is instead a land to the west of Iran. The current province was simply considered a part of Tabaristan; the name Mazandaran is a later development, perhaps based upon local terminology.[29]

In Gaston Leroux's The Phantom of the Opera, one of the characters was formerly the daroga (chief of police) of Mazanderan.


People from and/or active in Mazandaran Province or its historical region include:



Poets, writers and translators[edit]

in the Persian and/or Mazandarani languages

Cinema artists[edit]

Mazandaran University of Medical Sciences


  • Abu'l Tayyeb Tabari − professor of legal sciences, judge, and a leading Shafeʿite of 11th century Baghdad.[30]
  • Abd al Qader Hasan Ruyani − astronomer. 15th/16th century written works include: "Compendious astronomical tables for Mīrzā", (c.1486) for Sultan Mirza ʿAli (1478–1505); "The Nezam’s gift" for Sultan Yahya Kia; and "Epitome of knowledge of the calendar." [30]
  • Masha'alla Ajoodani − social scientist
  • Hassan Hasanzadeh Amoli − mathematician, Islamic philosopher

Historians, philosophers and theologians[edit]



Sports people[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b همشهری آنلاین-استان‌های کشور به ۵ منطقه تقسیم شدند
  2. ^ "Province of Mazandaran". Iran Chamber Society. Retrieved 11 September 2016. 
  3. ^ a b Statistical Centre of Iran
  4. ^ a b Maryam Borjian - Bilingualism in Mazandaran: Peaceful Coexistence With Persian. Archived September 21, 2006, at the Wayback Machine.
  5. ^ Based on Maz or Mazan Term: Mazanderani: مازرون Māzerūn, Persian: مازندران‎‎, Russian: Мазендеран.
    Based on Tapur Term: English: Tapuria, Arabic: طبرستان‎‎ Ṭabaristan, from Middle Persian Tapuristān
    Mazandarani: Tapurana. (not prevalent)
    Ancient Greek: Hyrcania came from local name Vergana (Persian Gorgan), Caspia from local name Kaspi, See Caspian Sea. Firdawsi called the Caspian region Gilan, so people refer to Caspian provinces as Gilan.
    Note: It was also known as Al-Jannat by the Arabs, meaning paradise, during the 7–8th centuries
  6. ^ Statistical Centre, Government of Iran. See: "General Characteristics of Ostans according to their administrative divisions at the end of 1383 (2005 CE)" Archived October 26, 2007, at the Wayback Machine., "Population estimation by urban and rural areas, 2005"[dead link]
  7. ^ a b University of Mazanderan Archived October 3, 2008, at the Wayback Machine.
  8. ^ Census Results, 2006: Sari: 490.830, Babel: 464.535, Amel: 343.747, Shahi: 293.721.
    Iranian 2006 Census Website, Information File Archived June 1, 2007, at the Wayback Machine. (in Persian)
  9. ^ Springer Netherlands; July 10, 2005; Contributions to the knowledge of the useful plants and plant raw materials of Iran; ISSN 0921-9668
  10. ^ Mazandaran, Geography & History Archived February 28, 2008, at the Wayback Machine.
  11. ^ Encyclopædia Britannica, Entry for Elburz
  12. ^ Freshwater Fishes of Iran; Revised: 12 July 2007
  13. ^ Encyclopædia Britannica, Entry for Mazandaran
  14. ^ [1] (Persian)
  15. ^
  16. ^ IRAN Daily Caspian Region Archived September 12, 2007, at the Wayback Machine.
  17. ^ Parthia News, November 6, 2005.
  18. ^ Payvand, 400 Historical Sites Discovered within 7 Days in Mazandaran
  19. ^ CHN Page for Mazandaran[dead link]
  20. ^ Keddie, N. R.; 1968; The Iranian villages before and after land reform. Journal of Contemporary History, 3(3), 69–78.
  21. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o Minorsky, V.; Vasmer, R. "Mazandaran" Encyclopaedia of Islam. Edited by: P. Bearman , Th. Bianquis , C.E. Bosworth , E. van Donzel and W.P. Heinrichs. Brill, 2007. Brill Online.
  22. ^ Logan (1992), p. 201
  23. ^ Pietro Della Valle, Viaggi, 3 vols. in 4 parts, Rome, 1658–63; tr. J. Pinkerton as Travels in Persia, London, 1811.
  24. ^ Gwillim Law, Statoids website. "Provinces of Iran". Retrieved on 2007-08-28
  25. ^ Reference: "The Soviet Socialist Republic of Iran, 1920-1921: Birth of the Trauma" by Cosroe Chaqueri.
  26. ^ Gordon, R.G., Jr. (2005). Ethnologue: Languages of the World, 15th edition. (Dallas, TX: SIL International). Online version
  27. ^ Lars Johanson, Éva Csató, Eva Agnes Csato. The Turkic Languages. Taylor & Francis, 1998. ISBN 0-415-08200-5; p. 274
  28. ^ Shahnameh/Book of Kings by Abu'L Ferdawsi, edited by Jalal Khaleghi-Motlagh [2]
  29. ^ Iran Chamber Society: Geography of Iran: Ancient Iran’s Geographical Position in Shah-Nameh
  30. ^ a b Encyclopedia Iranica: Abu'l Tayyeb Tabari

External links[edit]