History and Culture

A brief History of Rasht

1.       City development (From beginning to Safavid era)

It is probable that the history of Rasht goes back to pre-Islamic period, Sassanid era. In the book, Hudud-al A’lam “Boundaries of the World”, written in 10th century, it is said, “Rasht is one of the old villages of Iran” and adjective “widespread” is used to describe it (Sartip Pour, 1370, 219). The present time Rasht, which is the capital of Gilan Province, used to be a village between two regions in Gilan (BiehPish, which centre was Fouman and Bieh Pas which centre was Lahijan) and since it connected the two regions, it was used as one of stops of Caravans (Housing & Urban Development, Vol.2, 1386: 2). During Safavid era, Gilan was divided in two parts while later, by the order of King Tahmasb in 1528, “Ahmad Khan Lahijani” was chosen as the King of both regions. It was during his reign that Rasht developed economically and politically (Baba Pour, 1398:45).

During this period, Rasht was expanded thanks to its centrality and population. The development of the city was in line with its growing political, bureaucratic and economic importance. In other words, Rasht enjoyed features of a city during Shah Abbas period. To put an end to oligarchy and curbing two regions of Gilan, Lahijan and Fouman, Shah Abbas made Rasht the centre and by expanding it was no longer a village but a place for silk trade. The trade role of the city with its political and bureaucratic importance was one of its major reasons of development in 17th century. Some of these important features are:

·         A proper between-road location.

·         Access to water and being surrounded by Seighalan and Goharrud rivers.

·         Accesses to Caspian Sea and its proper location for being in touch with foreigners.

·         Its natural ability to produce agricultural products.

·         Lack of topographic problems.

 Translator: Canaan Ramezan Nia

Address: Central Building, Imam Khomeini Boulevard, Next to Housing Foundation, Rasht Municipality
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