Gilan -08
Gilan Region | ♦ Capital: Rasht | ♦ Size: 13 952 km² | ♦ Population: 2 381 063 (2006)
History and CultureAttractionsSuovenir and craftsmanshipCustoms and CostumesWhere to eat and sleep

Geographic context

From a cultural point of view, the Gilan region is one of the characteristic areas of Iran that has given rise to a series of ancient traditions. This region is located in the north of the country, between the banks of the Caspian Sea and the mountain ranges of Elborz and Talesh. The capital of the Gilan region is the city of Rasht and the other main urban centers are: Astara, Astane-ye Ashrafiye, Bandar-e Anzali, Rudbar, Rudsar, Shaft, Soume Sara, Fouman, Lahijan, and Langrud.


The Gilan region is completely in a humid and temperate climate, and is the most humid area on the southern shores of the Caspian Sea. The most important factors that determine the climate of this region are the following: the proximity to the Caspian Sea, the presence of local winds such as Garmish and Bad-e Manjil, the altitude and extension of the Western Elborz Mountains and the Talesh Mountains, the movement of the northern and western air currents, and the density of the woods.

History and culture

With the help of some indications and paleographic excavations, the reconstruction of the past of the Gilan region dates back to the age before the last glaciation (between 50 up to 150 thousand years ago). With the arrival of nomadic Aryan peoples and other populations in this territory and, later, their admixture with the indigenous inhabitants, a new ethnic group appeared, of which the two groups of 'Gil' and 'Deylam' had their majorities. From the beginning, the leaders of these two groups benefited from total freedom and never surrendered to the foreign invaders or rulers of other peoples, just as they did not even bow before the Medes. In the VI century a. C., the group of 'Gil' made an alliance with the Achaemenid Cyrus and overthrew the government of the Medes. Instead, in the Sasanian period, the 'Gilani' lost their independence. After the victory of the Muslim Arabs over the Iranians, the region of Gilan became the refuge of the Alavites. During the times of Uljaytu, for a short period, the Mongols managed to seize this territory. Later, the 'Gilani' played a major role in the rise to power of the Safavids. The population of the Gilan region ('Gilakiyan') played an important part in the victory of the constitutional revolution. In the 1287 year of the lunar ego, the 'Gilakiyan' managed to enter Tehran. Even in Mirza Kochak Khan-e Jangali's rebirth movement, the population of the Gilan region played a role that is to be regarded as one of the most brilliant examples of the history of this land.

The images in this section are in the update phase and will be published as soon as possible.

Suovenir and craftsmanship

The handicraft artifacts and souvenirs of the Gilan region are: objects made with the traditional lathe, finely crafted wooden objects, inlaid and enamelled ornaments, baskets and objects of straw and bamboo, earthenware and pottery, traditional painting on pumpkins , hats and felt fabrics, shawls, silk fabrics, jajim, kilim, raw fabrics, hand-embroidered fabrics, traditional bed sheets and blankets, rugs, different types of jams and the regional Koluche dessert.

The "alam vâchini" rite (opening of the banner) in the Gilan region

The rite alam gare or alam vâchini known as one of the rituals of the harvest festival, is a very ancient and popular custom in Gilan and widespread in three aspects: traditional, semi-traditional and religious. The banner is made from sacred and evergreen trees such as boxwood and is one of the symbolic means used in the Shiite mourning ceremonies. Usually this medium is a long piece of wood five or six meters high on whose top there is a hand of brass and to cover it black and green fabrics are used to symbolize the humility and popularity of the twelve Imams (which the peace be upon them), red to remember the blood and their martyrdom and finally white to emphasize their spiritual aspect. On this day the black fabrics of mourning they call "dress" are detached from the banners. In this custom, another sign of the search for protection consists in rubbing the banner with some plants and then giving them to the cows and lambs, to avoid that the animals get sick or die. The designs of the banner, often images of peacocks, doves, four vases and parrots, are traced on two sides and the banners in the past were often made up of a point but with the passage of time the points became three, five, seven, up to to reach twenty-one.
The rite alam vâchini in Gilan was considered the first spiritual heritage in the list of national works of the country. This rite is one of Gilan's traditional customs in the cities of Rudbâr, Lahijân, Rudsar, Amlash, Siahakal. This mountain ritual took place in an atmosphere of joy on Friday after the harvest. The alam vâchini ritual of the inhabitants of the eastern Gilan region is a reminder of the Zoroastrian harvest festival or one of the feasts of ancient Persia that with the advent of Islam took on a religious aspect. Today it takes place in two forms, mourning and celebration: mourning or the commemoration of the Imam Hossein (that peace be upon him), feast a kind of ritual of thanksgiving. In the first form takes place in the days of the month of Moharram with the followers who fight their breasts and sing funeral lamentations, then they are made vows and in an atmosphere of joy boys and girls wear their most beautiful clothes and women dress with clothes traditional colored, embellished with valuables and mounted on the horse or mule faster saddled and decorated. Those who do not own a horse or a mule, in a group singing traditional songs and clapping, start to participate in the traditional fight show. The rite alam vâchini is one of the most important and exciting customs of the month of Moharram also in other parts of Iran such as: Birjand, Sabzevâr, Masuleh, Dehaghân, Zarand, Ahvâz etc.

The geshe-bari rite in the Gilan

The geshe-bari ritual (accompanying the bride to the groom's house) takes place in different areas in particular ways and is the most exciting moment of the marriage ritual and its peak. On this occasion the musical accompaniment, song and the good wishes warm the atmosphere. In the region of eastern Gilan, the tree that has been uprooted from the house of the bride's father is transported by future spouses who plant it together at the groom's house. In some villages of eastern and western Gilan, the mother of the bride binds the paws of a rooster taken from the house of the groom's mother with colored silk threads to the feet of a hen and the animals accompany the bride to the groom's house where they come loosened the threads from their legs and placed in a previously prepared henhouse. In many areas of the Gilan a tablecloth with bread and flour is tied to the back of the bride so that it is accompanied by the blessing of great prosperity and in this way she goes to the house of her destiny, but before leaving her home, in every area, according to tradition, the bride's brother or uncle stands in front of the door to take something away from her. If the groom's house is near, the bride is accompanied on foot, otherwise if she is far away she is taken on a saddled horse and decorated for the party, a horse that must be male and not castrated. In areas of eastern Gilan, the bride, from any waterway passes, donates part of her mehrieh (1) to Fatemeh Zahrâ (may Peace be upon her) and the sum of this donation is removed from her mehrieh. Halfway, the groom with two of his companions goes to meet the bride and throws towards her a mandarin orange, an apple or a lump of sugar and behind this gesture is hidden the meaning of the request for blessing and fortune.

1- Islamic law provides that the marriage contract must contain an indication of a dowry, a gift that the husband undertakes to make to his wife.

Local cuisine

Among the typical dishes of the region of Gilan can be mentioned the following: various types of soups, traditional vegetable omelettes (Kuku), sauces and sauces, Shami, Morgh-e Fesenjan (Morgh-e Laku), Mirza Qasemi, Baqala Qateq ( dish based on broad beans), Torsh Tare, Kuyi Khoresh (dish based on Halvayi pumpkins), Sir Qaliye, Alu Mosamma, Anar Bij, Shesh Andaz, Sirabij, Shirin Tare Khalu Abe, Longi, Vavishka, Fibij fish and Mutan Jenn .

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