the history and culture of Qazvin are what needs the most attention and care in order to attract more tourist, according to Seyed Mohammad Beheshti the head of Cultural Heritage, Handcrafts and Tourism Organization who was also born in Qazvin. Although not a lot of Iranian tourists agree with his point of view. To them – especially the ones who are from Tehran- this town is just a pit stop, nothing more. Somewhere they need to go through in order to get where they want which is Azerbaijan or Gilan. this is a Travel Guide to Qazvin. we list must see places in Qazvin to help you.
Qazvin, Pros, and Cons
This town is one of the 20 cities in the state of Qazvin and it is also the capital of this state. It’s only 130 kilometers from this city to Tehran, and it is connected via rail and by road, to the capital as well as Azerbaijan. According to the census done in the year 2011, Qazvin has a population of 381 thousand, which is in turn 32% of the state’s overall population at 1 million and 200 thousand. Agriculture and commerce have long been the only source of income in this city, but in the past few years, the industry and services sector has grown indefinitely.
Prospects and Challenges of Tourism
Qazvin is known for cold winters and relatively cool summers with an average temperature of 14 degrees Celsius. It is obvious that the city has the most suitable climate during summer. Qazvin’s gardens have grown around 2500 hectares in the past few years, and it has somehow formed a green belt around the city, therefore improving the overall climate.
From a historical point of view, Qazvin is one of the oldest cities that has ever existed in Iran or (Persia), and it is considered to be the first place that a civilization formed in this particular plateau. The Silk Road played a major role in this city’s economy and it is possible to say that the city relied heavily on this road at the time, not to mention that in the early days of the Safavid dynasty, it was the capital of Iran. Therefore from a tourism point of view, there is lots of potential in this place. Besides the basic transportation options available, there is not much to go on, lack of infrastructure is in a sense one of the main reasons this city has not prospered. However, according to data provided by the country’s statistics center, Qazvin has been included in the top 10 tourist destinations in Iran since the beginning of 2015, but areas such as Alamut and Lake Evan have been more successful in attracting tourists than Qazvin.
Currently, Qazvin has only one 4-star hotel and 2 2-star hotels. The proximity of Qazvin to Tehran is one of the factors that negatively impacted the construction of residential infrastructure in this city, due to the fact that visitors from Tehran tend to come back overnight and spend the night in the city.
Moreover, intense traffic jams and lack of enough parking lots in the city is one factor that keeps the tourists away from the city, not to mention the fact most of the people from nearby cities come to the town with their very own vehicle.
The Qazvin municipality has managed to do some good on their parts, such as street planning, street extensions, and parking, in order to solve the traffic problem, but some of these actions are controversial, due to the fact that they require the demolition of the city’s most important historical monuments, and therefore the Cultural Heritage Organization has strongly opposed some aspects of this plan. The interference of the administrative and commercial center of Qazvin with its historical and tourist attractions has created a host of problems that would not be solved just as easily.
Qazvin’s Tourist Attractions
There are a number of different historical sites and cultural attractions in this city, on cannot visit them all in one visit, but for those that cannot experience this city more than once, the top ten places to go are introduced here.
Chehel Sotun palace
The Chehel Sotun Palace and museum is considered to be one of the most important monuments of Qazvin and one of the symbols of the city. This palace was built during the reign of Shah Tahmasb Safavid in which Qazvin was the capital of Iran, and it is a decade older than its equivalent in Isfahan. Currently, the palace has been converted to the Calligraphy Museum because Qazvin is considered to be the center of calligraphy in Iran. Visiting hours are from 9:00 in the morning to 18:00 in the afternoon. You can find the Palace in Azadi Square.
The city’s museum is located in Azadi Square, on the east side of the Chehel Sotun palace. In this museum, works of prehistoric, historical and Islamic periods have been featured. This museum is dedicated to representing the history of the city, many of these works have been excavated in Qazvin itself. The city’s museum is open from 9:00 to 18:00, except for formal mourning days.
Qazvin’s Market and Caravanserai of Sa’d al-Saltaneh
Qazvin’s bazaar is one of the biggest and most historical monuments of the city, the extent of this bazaar is just staggering. This market was originally built during the Safavid dynasty, but what you see right now was actually built during the Qajar period and added to the bazaar later on. Namely, the added sections are as follows:
Caravanserai of Sa’d al-Saltaneh, Minister’s Caravanserai, Haj-Reza’s Caravanserai, Shah’s Caravanserai, open-air and overhead malls and Qeysariyah Market.
The most interesting part of the market is the Caravanserai of Sa’d al-Saltaneh, dubbed the largest inland caravanserai complex in Iran, it was built by Nasser-al-Din Shah during the Qajar period. This place and its adjacent bazaar, have been refined in recent years and are expected to become Qazvin’s heart of tourism in the near future. You can find Qazvin’s bazaar on Imam Khomeini Street.
This congregation was built on the grounds of a pre-Islamic fire temple, and it is said that its early construction goes back to the Harun al-Rashid Abbasid’s era. It displays a collection of architectures from various periods of history, for example, the works related to the Seljuk period, the Safavid period, and to some extent, the Qajar period can be found here.
Nowadays in a shabestan (underground space) in the western part of the congregation, there is a pottery museum, which includes a variety of rock paintings, curtains, tiles and various types of historical stucco. Qazvin’s Atiq congregation is located in Sepah (Martyrs) Street and is open every day from 9:00 to 18:00.
Al-Nabi Mosque is one of the largest Qazvin historical mosques and a memorial to the Fath Ali Shah Qajar era, it is 14,000 square meters long. This place is sometimes called the Soltani mosque and it is located in Imam Khomeini Street, next to Qazvin’s market. Mass prayers are held in this particular mosque every Friday.
Qajar Bath is considered to be one of the largest and oldest baths in Qazvin and also the site of the Anthropology Museum. Unlike its name, this bath was built in Safavid period by one of the commanders of Shah Abbas and it is more than 400 years old. In this place, some of the Qazvin’s social history is displayed through three parts: ethnicities, customs, and occupations. The bathroom is located on Obeid Zakani Street, and it is open from 9 to 19:30 every day.
The great Qapu’s entrance gate and Sepah Street
During the Safavid period, in Shah Tahmasb’s era, Qazvin had a palace called the great Qapu, but nowadays only the entrance gate stands. The gate is about 500 years old, it opens to Sepah (Martyrs) Street, which is the first Iranian street ever. This street has been the source of inspiration for the construction of Charbagh Abbasi Street in Isfahan.
Amini’s Congregation Hall
A great historical house used to perform religious ceremonies, especially the mourning of Muharram. Known locally as Hosseiniyeh. This house was built in the Qajar period and belonged to one of the great merchants of Qazvin, namely Haj Mohammad Reza Amini. The most beautiful part of the house is considered to be the three large, elegant and spacious suites that are separated from each other by a number of intricately worked glass doors. The place is normally closed, but it’s always open to tourists and it is located in Molavi Street.
Tomb of Hamdollah Mostofi
This seven-hundred-year-old tomb with its brick facade is one of the most beautiful historical works of Qazvin. It belongs to Hamdollah Mostofi, A great historian which lived during the Ilkhanate era, in the Mongol Empire. The tomb is located in Taleghani Street, despite interest from tourists, its doors are closed on most days of the week.
Prince Hussein was the two-year-old son of Imam Reza, who was said to have died during the historic journey from Merv to Khorasan in Qazvin and was buried in the city. His shrine was built in the Safavid era and in terms of architecture, it is very exquisite and eloquent. Also, the entrance gate of this shrine is one of the symbols of the city. To visit this shrine, one must go to the Islamic Republic Street, in the Khandoghbar neighborhood.
Kushk and Tehran’s gate
Qazvin has had towers and entrance gates in different historical periods, like most ancient cities in Iran, nowadays only two gates remain among them. One of the gates is in the south of the city and next to the old Tehran square, which is one of the symbols of the city, and the other is in Kushk, which faces Alamut Mountain and the hunting grounds of northern Qazvin, and is located at the end of Azadi (Naderi) street.
Qazvin is known for large water cisterns, the cistern named the Great Commander, on Rah-Ahan Street is one of the largest water cisterns in Iran. There is another cistern at the end of Tabriz Street, known for its state of the art stone inscription, arc, and two windmills. The name of this cistern is Haj Kazem. Qazvin’s congregation has its very own cistern, which is one of a kind. Qazvin water cisterns are available to tourists on Thursdays and Fridays, as well as official holidays from 9 in the morning to 18 in the afternoon.