Golestan province, located in the northeast of Iran and the eastern shores of the Caspian Sea, with an area of 20,367 square kilometers is the 21st biggest province of the country. Golestan borders the provinces of North Khorasan, Semnan, Mazandaran, and the country of Turkmenistan. Golestan has 14 counties including the city of Gorgan as its center, containing different ethnic groups while the majority of them are Turkmen. Turkish, Tabari and Persian languages are common in different parts of the province.
The Alborz Mountains cover a large part of the south and southwest of the province, while Turkmen Plains (Turkmen Sahra) surrounds its north with Kūh-e Gāv Koshān as the highest point. The climate of Golestan varies widely in different seasons such that the southern and western parts have mountainous, frigid, and semi-arid climates, while the northern areas are temperate and humid.
Before the advent of Islam, Golestan province was one of the oldest, largest and most developed lands in the northwest of Iran. In the middle of the second millennium B.C., this area was the main center of the Aryan civilization, known as Hirkani (Hyrcanian) during the Achaemenid Empire (550-330 B.C.).
There are many historical monuments in these areas including the remains of Alexander’s wall (dam) with an approximate length of 155 km referring to the Sassanid Empire (224-651 A.D.).This dam was built to prevent the invasion of the northern tribes. After the Muslim conquest of Persia in 651 A.D., the Samanid (819-999), Buyid (934-1062), and Ziyarid (930-1090) dynasties ruled over the area. The tomb of Qabus ibn Wushmagir, one of the Ziyarid Sultans still exists near the ruins of the ancient city of Jorjan. This area was widely known as Gorgan until the seventh century but it was later called Esterabad during the seventh to fourteenth centuries.
Golestan province contains various natural and historical attractions, tempting many foreign and domestic tourists to visit it. The main attractions of the province include Caspian Sea shores, Gulf of Gorgan, Miankaleh peninsula, Khalid Nabi shrine, historical cemetery, Ziart waterfall, Kaboud-Val waterfall, Nahkarkhoran forest, Emadieh school of Gorgan, historical bridge of Aqqala, Miran castle, Seyyed Gelich Ishan Mosque and school, Naftiljeh mud volcano, and the Gonbad-e Qabus Tower.
Gonbad-e-Qabus tower has been registered as the UNESCO World Heritage Site.
In terms of handicrafts, silk weaving, Plaas Bafi (kind of floor mat), Jajim, carpets and rugs of Turkmen, Khorjin, Kilim, and needlecraft could be found in Golestan. However, the province’s souvenirs mostly include caviar, fish, citrus, kiwi, honey, silk, carpet, rug, Turkmen backrest, and Jajim. Furthermore, native dishes include Chakdormeh (Traditional Turkmen rice), Manty, Tomato Aush, mung bean Aush, Aush-e-Heli, Aush-e-Kei, Aush-e- Siyah Sholeh, Kumeh Lakey Borek (Borek of mushroom), Pusigh, Chafati, Akmak, and Potato Borek. When it comes to prominent celebrities, we can mention to Fakhruddin As’ad Gurgani (Poet), Mir Damad (Philosopher), Mir Fendereski (Philosopher), and Magtymguly Pyragy (also known as Ferdowsi of Turkmen Sahra, a poet, and spiritual leader).