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Capital of a sizable province of the same name to the east of Tehran (220 kilometers), north of Kevir Desert, and the southern slopes of Alborz mountains, favored with an abundant water supply, surrounded by gardens, laid out according to modern principles of town planning with straight, wide avenues lined with trees, and the largest provincial town, Semnan is the most attractive town with an undistinguished though troubled past.

Alborz Mountains are the main source of rivers and qanats flowing in the province of Semnan.

Located in an elevation of 1100 meters above sea level and already accommodating a population of more than 140,000 (1991 census) inhabitants, once it was in the second place after Shahrud with greater population roughly ten years ago.

Semnan province is one of the rich provinces of the country in areas such as industry, agriculture, mining, animal husbandry, handicrafts, traditions, tribes, languages, and historic sites. Like every Iranian town of any importance and antiquity, the city of Semnan contains a number of Imamzadehs in addition to other historic relics.

Sights to See in Semnan

  • Jom`eh Mosque
    The most remarkable building in Semnan in terms of its beauty and architectural technique.

  • Imam Khomeini Mosque
    Built at the beginning of the 19th century, under Fath Ali Shah Qajar, it is a charming example of the fragile grace so characteristic of the Qajar style.

  • Mausoleum of Sheikh Ala od-Dowleh
    This Mausoleum where the 8th century AD mystic, Sheikh Rokn od-Din Abolmakarem is buried dates from the Mongol period.

Excursions around Semnan

  • Shahrud
    Some 410 kilometers to the east of Tehran, half-way between the capital and Mashhad, and at the junction with the Gorgan road, this halting-place (with more than 202,000 inhabitants) has, in modern times, replaced the historic town of Bastam situated in the hills a few kilometers to the north.

Sights to See in Shahrud

  • Mosque and Minaret of Bastam
    The original structure of the mosque dates from the 11th century AD, and there remains nothing but an ancient wall of this early monument today. The brick Seljuk Minaret of the mosque is, however, extant and its Kuffic inscription gives us the date 1120 AD. In the reign of Sultan Mohammad Khodabandeh Uljaitu, the Muslim Moghol Ilkan.

  • Masjid-e Farumad
    Located in a village by the same name 165 km to the north east of Shahrud, the original construction of this magnificent historic monument belongs to the 13th century AD. Today nothing but the ruins and demolished columns and prayer hall of that impressive structure may catch the visitor's eyes.

  • Shahrud Museum
    Dating from the later Qajar and early Pahlavi periods, originally belonging to the Shahrud Municipality and already located in the center of the town, this two- storied structure with brick facing was transformed into the present museum in 1988 after a series of major repair and renovation works. It is a remarkable structure in terms of architectural style and exterior tile works. It houses both archaeological and ethnological sections.

  • Monastery of Bayazid-e Bastami
    The Soma`eh (monastery) consists of a conical domed brick structure, a lofty ivan, a stone minaret, Bayazid`s Mausoleum, and the resting-place of Amir Afghani, which date from the 14th and 19th centuries AD. Most of structures belong to the reign of Uljaitu, the Muslim Ilkan of Moghol period.

  • Damghan
    Damghan, in the west of Semnan and some 330 kilometers to the east of Tehran, is a town with a great history. It was the country's capital in 400 BC. Hecatompylos, the site of which is few kilometers to the south of the town, was one of the principal Greek settlements founded by Alexander.
    Damghan flourished in Seleucid times and was one of the Parthian capitals. It was still an important place at the time of the Arab conquest and became the site of one of the first mosques in Iran. In addition to being sacked by Chengiz Khan and Timur, Damghan was also laid low by the Afghans in 1732 AD, but Nader Shah made some effort to reconstruct it. With an elevation of 1170 meters from the sea level, it accommodates a population of 75,000 inhabitants in an area of 13,080 square kilometers.

Sights to See in Damghan

  • Tarikhaneh and its Minaret
    The God's House or mosque of forty columns, together with its minaret, is the oldest surviving Islamic building.

  • Pir-e-Alamdar
    It is a circular, lovely domed tomb-tower built in 1026 AD.

  • The Minaret of Masjid-e Jam`e
    The 31-meter high minaret dates from the Seljuk period.

  • Chehel Dokhtaran Tower
    A circular tower with an onion-shaped cupola has taken place in 1073 AD.

  • Imamzadeh Ja`far
    A mausoleum date back to 13th & 15th century AD.