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Palace of the shah in Gorgan.
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Palace of the shah in Gorgan, Iran. Photo: Martijn Munneke.

The main mosque of Gorgan.
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The main mosque of Gorgan, Iran.

Suburb with mountains of
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Suburb with mountains of Gorgan, Iran.

City in northern Iran with 210,000 inhabitants (2005 estimate), situated along a small tributary of the Qareh River, 23 km east of the Caspian Sea. It is the capital of Gorgan province with 1.6 million inhabitants (2005 estimate) and an area of 20,893 km². It was part of Mazandaran province until the early 1990s.
Gorgan's economy deals with both production and trade of products like processed food, cotton fabrics, soap and carpets. The surrounding area of Gorgan has a rich agriculture, producing mainly grains, cotton and fruits.
Gorgan is connected by major highways to Teheran and Mashhad. It also has rail connections in the western direction of Sari, the provincial capital.
Gorgan has many traditional buildings, with tiled sloping roofs and wooden balconies. The main landmark is the Friday Mosque, with a minaret from Seljuq times exhibiting a design unique for the typical purpose of calling Muslims to prayer. Another attraction is a tomb-tower from the 14th or 15 century.
Gorgan has a university.

Gorgan has been settled since Achaemenian times (6th-4th centuries BCE).
1st millennium CE: Asterabad becomes an important stop on the Silk Road, facilitating trade between China and the Mediterranean Sea.
13th century: A 6 century-long period of raids and tribal conflicts between rival Turkmens begins, bringing some decline to Asterabad.
1930's: Asterabad is renamed Gorgan, following its rebuilding after a devastating earthquake.

By Tore Kjeilen