Wednesday, May 20, 2009


Mt. Damavand...from my window seat on the flight to Gorgan


Golestan (13 – 15 November 2008)...

In mid November last year, a group of ambassadors, CDAs and their spouses were invited to a three-day tour of the northern Iranian province of Golestan. Landed at Gorgan airport in mid morning, we were graciously accorded a traditional welcome by representatives of the Governor General’s office, adorned with traditional colors and cultural display of the province.
Golestan is really an interesting province abundant with natural beauties, resources and historical and cultural attractions. Located southeast of the Caspian Sea, the province has a population of approximately 1.6 million. Generally there are three main tribes living in this province, namely the Persian, Turkmen and emigrants. While the native Persian live mainly in the central and southern regions, the other groups consisting mainly of Turkmens, including Yamut and Guklan sects, inhabit the northern edge of the Gorgan plain. The Turkmen are mainly Sunnite Muslims. Hence it was interesting to note that despite the various tribes, languages and dialects, the inhabitant of the province apparently live in peace and harmony, sharing the same religion, Iranian culture and Persian language in common.
Among the most important natural and historical attractions of the province included in our visit program were the public forest and park of Nahar-Khoran in Gorgan and Kaboodval waterfall of Ali-Abad-e Katool. The main historical and tourist sites visited were the tower of Gonbad-e Kavoos, and Gorgan’s Taghavi’s house. On the last day, we also visited the wetlands and fishing place near Bandar-e Turkmen, where the country’s caviar production and factory sites were located.
The Turkmen are also skilled horse riders. On the second day, we had the opportunity to watch the horseracing event, a popular pastime and sport activity of the Turkmen, at Gonbad-e Kavoos race course.
Our visit was also arranged to coincide with the Second Festival of the Persian Tribal Cultural show held in Gorgan’s city hall. Prior to our departure back to Tehran, we, the trailing ladies, once again, were granted some valuable moments to roam about the special night bazaar which was specially organized in conjunction with the province’s cultural festival.
Above all, it was a very fruitful and enjoyable trip indeed. In particular the visit also provides a very valuable insight and opportunity to observe and explore the more rural aspects, the natural beauties and the rich cultural and ethnic diversity of this great nation.
descending...Gorgan landscape

arrival at Gorgan airport on an Aseman airlines - Fokker 100

warm welcome from local children adorning traditional costumes

and traditional Turkmen dance troupe

another warm welcome at Azin hotel, Gorgan

lust forest and vegetation

father and son entertaining team at the forest park

a welcome banner in the forest... ?

festival of the persian tribal culture

Golestan's popular traditional Turkmen musical troupe

welcoming us to the forest and waterfalls at Ali-Abad-e Katool

one of the picturesque waterfalls

the astonishing mil-e gonbad tower, gonbad-e kavoos

inside of the tower, 55m tall on a 12m deep foundations,
can produce a remarkable echoes

young local Turkmen dancers at gonbad tower

elderly Turkmen...a retired english teacher

young girls wearing traditional Turkmen clothing

historical chart of the mil-e gonbad tower

our symbol of pride displayed on an carpet embroidery at one of the local restaurants

horce racing at gonbad-e kavoos

the winners...receiving cash prizes

a short walk to visit mazandarani old house

in front of Gorgan Taghavi's house

typical mazandarani old house

vibrant colors of Turkmen costumes, fishing place near bandar-e Turkmen

caviar egg-producing fish...the beluga

said to be one of the biggest ever caught near the wetlands of bandar-e Turkmen

wetlands of bandar-e Turkmen

entertained to a feast inside the Kazakh's traditional tent

young kazakhstans entertainers

with two elderly kazakh's couple and grand children...preparing local bread

Turkmen in traditional costumes..the replicas!!

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