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Gilan Province
The green province of Gilan, in the north of Iran, covers an area of 13,952 km2 and lies on the
 southern coast of the Caspian Sea. It is surrounded by the Republic of Azerbaijan and the Caspian Sea on the north, and the provinces of Ardebil on the west, Mazandaran on the east and Zanjan on the south. The capital of this province is Rasht, and its other major towns are Astaneh Ashrafiyeh, Astara, Bandar Anzali, Fouman, Lahijan, Langeroud, Roodbar, Roodsar, Shaft, Some'e Sara and Tavalesh.
In 1996, the population of this province was 2,241,896, most of whom were farmers. A moderate climate, abundance of water and fertile land have turned this province into an ideal place for agriculture. Rice is the major produce of this province. Other produce of Gilan are tea, tobacco, olives, grains, peanuts, citrus fruits and hazelnuts. This province possesses a large number of deposits of coal, construction stones, lime, oil and gas. Some of its population are engaged in chemicals, textiles, electronics, and industries related to agriculture. Other major activities of this region are animal husbandry and fishing. The caviar of the Caspian Sea is considered to be the most desirable caviar in the world, and enjoys particular fame in the international markets.
Gilan province consists of two parts: the littoral adjacent to the Caspian Sea, and a mountainous area close to the provinces of Ardebil and Zanjan. In general, this province has moderate and rainy weather. The average temperature in Rasht, the province's capital, is 17.4°C in spring, 24.3°C in summer, 14.3°C in autumn and 7.1°C in winter. In a study carried out over a 30-year period, the maximum absolute temperature was established to be 37.6°C, minimum absolute temperature, -18°C and the average, 15.8°C. The average relative humidity at 06:30 hours was found to be 94% and at 12:00 hours, 72%; average annual rainfall, 1,400 mm; maximum amount of rainfall on a single day, 170 mm; average number of days with the temperature below 0°C, 27.1; number of hours of sunshine over the entire year, 1,554; maximum wind speed, 30 meters per second, blowing in the direction of 350°.
Rasht City
This city, the capital of Gilan, is 5 m above sea level and at a distance of 325 km from Tehran. Rasht has a long history, and has been inhabited since the Sassanid era. The Alborz range of mountains offers natural protection to this province against outside adverse events. For example, The Moslem army overcame this region much later than the other part of Iran, and Gilan's people became the followers of Imam Ali (peace be upon him) and fought against the Caliphs of Baghdad. Today, its people feel great respect for the shrines of Imam Ali's relatives and grandchildren.
After one century of rule over all other parts of Iran, the Mongol hordes finally managed to capture this region, but their dominance did not last long. Gilan was subject to invasion by the Russian army several times. In 1722, the army of Peter the Great occupied Rasht and remained there for 12 years. During the First World War, Rasht was occupied by the Russian and British armies. In 1920, the Bolsheviks captured Rasht and Bandar Anzali. The revolutionaries of Gilan, under the leadership of Mirza Kouchak Khan, fought against alien forces in 1920. Because of commercial relations with Europe, Rasht and Bandar Anzali became familiar with European civilization sooner than the other cities of Iran. Presently these two cities offer great facilities for receiving tourists.


Major handicrafts of this province are basket work, wood work, pottery, kilim and carpet weaving, and silk production.