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With more than 363,208 inhabitants, it lies in altitude of 1,800 meters above sea level in the northwest corner of the great central plateau of Iran, in the angle formed by the converging Alborz and Zagros mountain systems.

Not unduly hot in summer, its cold in winter is often severe. Under such climatic conditions, peasants are growing and producing pistachio, almond, hazelnut, grapes, apple, and walnut.

Existence of numerous historic sites in such a town on the tourist`s way to Sultanieh and Tabriz, the Caspian or Hamadan would justify a halt. The town can even be the goal of a special excursion from Tehran.

Qazvin has been devastated by earthquakes more than once, and what remains is only a shadow of its former splendor, although there are still some fine Safavid and Seljuk Structures intact. It has been flourishing rapidly after the victory of the Islamic Revolution, and become the center of many modern agro-industrial complexes and universities.

Sights to See

  • Jam e Kabir Mosque
    The most interesting buildings of Qazvin with four Ivans round a large central courtyard and an area of more than 4,000 square meters.

  • The prophet's Mosque
    Apart from being in the heart of bazaar, it is a 19th-century Qajar creation (during the reign of Fath Ali Shah) which will forcibly remind you of the mosques of Shiraz. Particularly Masjid-e Vakil, because of its ceramic floral decorations and tile mosaics.

  • Madreseh Heidariyeh
    A seminary school was a beautiful little madraseh built in early twelfth century (thus a Seljuk work) with a square hall on the plan of a Sassanian fire temple.

  • Imamzadeh Hossein
    Also known as Shahzadeh Hossein, the direct son of the Eighth Imam, has a magnificent blue cupola preceded by a portal with six small minarets, in the best baroque style.

  • Mustawfi`s Mausoleum
    It is the mausoleum of the Qazvini historian Hamdollah Mustawfi (c 1281-1350), a follower of the first world historian Rashid-ad- Din.

  • Ali Qapu Portal
    The only remaining parts of the lofty structure of Ali Qapu in Qazvin, once as highly reputed as the present Ali Qapu of Esfahan, are the portal and its azure mosaic-tile Thulth inscription by the famous calligrapher Ali Reza Abbasi.

  • Chehel sutun
    Located in a park in the center of the town, this is a small palace of the Safavid period. Then known as the kolah farangui, actually it was the royal palace of Shah Tahmasb built on plans provided by a Turk architect. It is a two-storied building, characteristic of the arcaded pavilions of the period, such as those of Hasht Behesht palace in Esfahan.

  • Gateways of Qazvin
    There are two more Qajar constructions in Qazvin, both monumental gateways. The first, the Darb-e Kushk or Darvazeh Kushk, in the north of town on Hafez Avenue, was built in 1917.
    The second gateway, known as the Gateway to Tehran or Darvazeh Tehran, can be seen at the eastern exit of town, on the road to Tehran.

  • Hosseiniyeh Aminiha
    The building consists of large, small, and underground halls and the whole is decorated with mirror works and other ornamentation in the Qajar style.

Excursions around Qazvin

  • The Castles of the Assassin
    The source of the Alamut river on the southern foothills of the Alborz Mountains, fortified eagles` nests recall unbelievable but authentic adventures of the "Old Man of the Mountains" - Hassan Sabah, The Grand Master (1040-1124) - and of his sect of "Assassins" or "Hashashins".
    The historic fortresses are known as the Castles of the Assassins, which were first introduced into European literature by the returning Crusaders, and made famous this century in Dane Freya Stark`s classical Valleys of the Assassins. These were the heavily fortified lairs of the adherents of a bizarre religious cult, based loosely on the precepts of the Ismaili Sect.

  • Sefid Rud Dam
    Eighty kilometers from Qazvin, you cross the river near a picturesque old bridge called pol-e Lowshan. Ten kilometers further on, you amidst mountains which are snow-covered until the beginning of April. It is the reservoir for the great dam at the confluent of the Qizil Uzan and Shah Rud rivers. You can see the dam in the prospective of the valley looking toward the village of Manjil.