Northern Iran

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The provinces of Northern Iran

Northern Iran (Persian: شمال, romanizedShomal, lit.'North'), is a geographical term that refers to a relatively large and fertile area, consisting of the southern border of the Caspian Sea and the Alborz mountains.

It includes the provinces of Gilan, Mazandaran, and Golestan (ancient kingdom of Hyrcania, medieval region of Tabaristan).[1] The major provinces, Gilan and Mazandaran, are covered with dense forests, snow-covered mountains and impressive sea shores.

The major cities are Rasht, Gorgan, Sâri, Bâbol, Amol, Qaem Shahr, Gonbad-e Kavus, Anzali, Lahijan and Behshahr. Northern Iran has numerous villages, particularly Massulé, appreciated by travellers.

Northern Iran was a trendy spot during the Pahlavi era, especially among foreign tourists. It was a luxurious place that provided all types of modern recreational facilities as well as tourism infrastructure. Today, it's mostly visited by domestic tourists.


Mazandaran is the most populous of the 3 provinces of northern Iran, with 3,283,582 people at the time of 2016 census.[2] Gilan's population in 2016 was 2,530,696 people[3] and Golestan had the lowest population with 1,868,819 people.[4]

The total population of the 3 provinces according to 2016 census was 7,683,097 people, with 2,486,429 households.

Population figures for cities in northern Iran[3][2][4]
City Province Population(2016) No. of households (2016)
Rasht Gilan 679,995 228,142
Gorgan Golestan 350,676 111,099
Sari Mazandaran 309,820 101,932
Babol Mazandaran 250,217 81,572
Amol Mazandaran 237,528 78,597
Qaem Shahr Mazandaran 204,953 68,407
Gonbad-e Kavus Golestan 151,910 44,731
Bandar-e Anzali Gilan 118,564 41,053
Lahijan Gilan 101,073 34,497
Behshahr Mazandaran 94,702 31,022
Langarud Gilan 79,495 27,318
Chalus Mazandaran 65,196 22,166
Neka Mazandaran 60,991 19,357
Babolsar Mazandaran 59,966 19,576
Tonekabon Mazandaran 55,434 18,878
Tālesh(Hashtpar) Gilan 54,178 16,832
Bandar Torkaman Golestan 53,970 14,512
Aliabad-e Katul Golestan 52,838 16,655
Astara Gilan 51,579 16,696
Nowshahr Mazandaran 49,403 16,287
Sowme'eh Sara Gilan 47,083 15,331
Astaneh-ye Ashrafiyeh Gilan 44,941 15,675
Azadshahr Golestan 43,760 13,206
Kordkuy Golestan 39,881 12,971
Fereydunkenar Mazandaran 38,154 12,606
Rudsar Gilan 37,998 13,191
Kalaleh Golestan 36,176 10,346
Ramsar Mazandaran 35,997 12,153
Fuman Gilan 35,841 11,849
Aqqala Golestan 35,116 9,498
Juybar Mazandaran 32,924 10,480
Mahmudabad Mazandaran 31,844 10,399
Minudasht Golestan 30,085 8,980
Nur Mazandaran 26,947 8,597
Galikesh Golestan 23,394 6,996
Galugah Mazandaran 21,352 6,898
Bandar-e Gaz Golestan 20,742 6,715
Siahkal Gilan 19,924 6,796
Rezvanshahr Gilan 19,519 6,212
Masal Gilan 17,901 5,759
Amlash Gilan 15,444 5,268
Abbasabad Mazandaran 13,482 4,500
Ramian Golestan 12,426 3,772
Rudbar Gilan 10,504 3,559
Maraveh Tappeh Golestan 8,671 2,072
Pol-e Sefid Mazandaran 8,294 2,680
Shaft Gilan 8,184 2,691
Kiakola Mazandaran 8,040 2,691
  Capital of both the province and the county


Iran is a very diverse country.[5] "Dialect wise" there are different sub-languages and dialects of native speakers in the north of Iran as well the rest of the country. From the east to the west there are five major languages and hundreds of local dialects. If you talk to a native Iranian "north of Iran" are only the provinces on the south side of Caspian Sea which are Gilān, Māzandarān and Golestān, the last one has been separated from Māzandarān province at 1997. Here is the map of Iran with its provinces. Despite Iranian opinion of the north of Iran, Khorāsan at the east and the two Āzerbāijāns at the west side of Iran are geographically at the north of Iran, therefore, their languages have been included in this article.

From the northeast, Khorāsan which is a large province laid out from the north to the middle south of Iran and is a neighbor to the Afghanistan border. The language from the north to the south of this province changes drastically, In the north of Khorāsan people speak “Ghaz Turkish” going from the north to the middle of the province, the dialect changes to some sort of Arabic which belonged to an old Iraqi Arabic language. This language has been mixed drastically with Persian language which makes it impossible for an Arab speaker to understand it. There are some Kurdish speakers in the north of khorāsan as well.[6] The current languages of Khorāsan.

From the north of Iran heading to the west, the next province is Golestān which has its own diversity in languages. until 1997 Golestān was a part of Māzandarān province. The main languages from the east to the west in this province are Turkmen, Turkish and then Māzandarāni which is among the oldest written languages of the country.[7] Māzandarāni

Māzandarān is the neighboring province which has the language of Māzandarāni all over the province which has over tens of different dialects in different regions.,[8] almost all of them are sub categories of Māzandarāni. Native people of Māzandarān call themselves Tabari and their language Tabari.[9] The name Tapuri / Tabari (which was the name of an ancient language spoken somewhere in former Tapuria) is now used in preference to the name Mazandarani by the young. The earliest references to the language of Mazandaran, called Tabari, are to be found in the works of the early Muslim geographers. Al-Muqaddasī (or Moqaisi, 10th century), for example, notes: "The languages of Komish and Gurgan are similar, they use , as in hā-dih and hāk-un, and they are sweet [to the ear], related to them is the language of Tabaristan, [similar] save for its speediness."[10]

The next province is Gilān, people of Gilān have three major languages: Gelaki, Rudbāri and Tāleshi with some other old languages which are spoken in small region on Gilān only. In the western side of Gilān people speak some sort of Gelaki which is heavily mixed with Āzari Turkish, the language of the neighboring province.[11]

After Gilān in the northwest of Iran, there are two Āzerbāijān provinces, the east and west ones, the main language is Āzari Turkish which is native language to the people of these provinces.[12]

Majority of young generations of Iranian, in all over the country, are able to speak, read, and write Persian, which is a national language of the country and they learn it in schools.[13]


  • Cold semi-arid climate: the high mountains and northern parts of the Alborz range. In the heights, the weather is cold mountainous and most of the precipitation is in the form of snow.
  • Humid subtropical climate: covering central and western plains of Mazandaran and the province of Gilān. The average annual rainfall amounts to 1200 or 1300 or even up to 1830 mm, and as we proceed to the east the amount decreases.[14]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Tahmasbpour, Ali (2016). The Mystery of Mazandaran's Daevas. Volume II: The Rostam's Seven Labours. Tehran.Ashjae. ISBN 978-600-97086-1-1.
  2. ^ a b "Census of the Islamic Republic of Iran, 1395 (2016)". AMAR (in Persian). The Statistical Center of Iran. p. 02. Archived from the original (Excel) on 7 October 2021. Retrieved 19 December 2022.
  3. ^ a b "Census of the Islamic Republic of Iran, 1395 (2016)". AMAR (in Persian). The Statistical Center of Iran. p. 01. Archived from the original (Excel) on 4 December 2020. Retrieved 19 December 2022.
  4. ^ a b "Census of the Islamic Republic of Iran, 1395 (2016)". AMAR (in Persian). The Statistical Center of Iran. p. 27. Archived from the original (Excel) on 29 March 2019. Retrieved 19 December 2022.
  5. ^ "Iran Population 2020 (Demographics, Maps, Graphs)". Retrieved 2020-07-29.
  6. ^ "Khorāsān | historical region, Asia". Encyclopedia Britannica. Retrieved 2020-07-29.
  7. ^ "Mazandarani | Iranian Languages". Retrieved 2020-07-29.
  8. ^ Borjian, Habib (2004). "Is there continuity between Gilaki and Mazandarani?" (PDF). Columbia University.
  9. ^ Borjian, Habib (2015). "MAZANDARAN: LANGUAGE AND PEOPLE(THE STATE OF RESEARCH)" (PDF). Retrieved 30 July 2020.
  10. ^ Borjian, Habib (2004). "Māzandarān: Language and People". Iran & the Caucasus. Brill. 8 (2): 291. doi:10.1163/1573384043076045. JSTOR 4030997.
  11. ^ "GILAN x. LANGUAGES – Encyclopaedia Iranica". Retrieved 2020-07-29.
  12. ^ "Azerbaijan | region, Iran". Encyclopedia Britannica. Retrieved 2020-07-29.
  13. ^ "Persian Language". Asia Society. Retrieved 2020-07-29.
  14. ^ Climate data of Iran.