Rasht, The Land of Creativity

Rasht is the capital city of Gilan Province, Iran. As of the 24 October 2011 census, its population was 639,951.
Rasht is the largest city on Iran’s Caspian Sea coast. It is a major trade center between Caucasia, Russia and Iran using the port of Bandar-e Anzali. Rasht is also a major tourist center with the resort of Masouleh in the adjacent mountains and the beaches of Caspian as some of the major attractions.
The first national library of Iran was established in Rasht under the Qajar dynasty. Furthermore, Nasim e Shomal as the first modern newspaper of Iran after the constitutional revolution has been published in Rasht.
Rasht is growingly turning into an industrialized town like most of the Iranian large cities and province capitals. Enjoying the Kadus International Hotel and hundreds of tourist attractions, Rasht receives thousands of foreign tourists annually, mostly from Austria, Germany, Netherlands, France, Australia, Japan and African countries like Senegal andCameroon as well as countries from Oceania like Micronesia. Rasht is known for its famous building of municipality located in a square called the Square of Municipality which was constructed circa 1900 but being renovated each year.

The people of Rasht speak Gileki as their mother tongue and Persian language as of the official language of Iran.
Rashti people are said to spend much on books, clothes and food. They spend the leisure times going to cinemas, art exhibitions, music concerts and international book fairs that are being held in the city most of times in a year.

Rasht has signed the treaty of city twinning with the following cities:
•       Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina
•       Moscow, Russia
•       Astrakhan, Russia
•       Trabzon, Turkey
•       Kutaisi, Georgia
•       Schwaebisch Hall, Germany

The Creative City of Rasht
In 2004, UNESCO started a new program titled The Creative Cities Network. Focusing on cities that use “identified creativity as a strategic factor for sustainable urban development” (retrieved from UNESCO official website) 116 cities were registered in this section attempt to promote their cities with cultural activities and services, support and encourage local creative productions and turn them into sustainable development plan. The network has seven section: Crafts and Folk Arts, Media Arts, Film, Design, Gastronomy, Literature and Music.

From Iran, two cities were registered, Isfahan in Crafts and Folk Arts section, and Rasht in Gastronomy section. Rasht is a city full of edible plants and vegetable, adding it to sea foods and birds, a vast range of food is produced. Rasht’s cuisine includes more than 170 local dishes, 60 of which are winter dishes. Unlike many places around the world that face scarcity of variety in cold seasons, Rasht has 60 dishes that are made with products only accessible in winter.

Rudkhan fortress
This Seljuk fortress is located in a village with the same name, covering an area of about 2.6 hectares. Some believe the fortress was made by Sassanid and as a protection against Arab’s attack. There was an inscription on the gate, from Safavid era that shows the fortress was reconstructed by the order of Sultan Hessam. Later Muzzafar sultan used it as a center of opposition against Safavid King. The fortress has two sections:

•    Arg (citadel) – the residence of Ruler and his family (his Harem)
•    Armory – barracks, and military areas

The citadel was made from bricks at the western part of the fortress and in two stories. This part of the fortress has 12 entrances, springs, water reservoirs, bath, restroom, alcove and residential units.  The Armory was built at the eastern side, guard houses were built in 2 stories and towers with holes all around to give better control of surrounding. Bath, prison, restroom, and emergency exits were all located in the eastern part of the fortress. The place is famous for its strong fortification, and the fact the it has never been concurred.

Masouleh
A beautiful village at the heart of jungle, in the south west of Gilan, with interconnected houses. The village is known for its unique architecture, built on the steep side of the mountain, the houses are made in a way that the roof of one house is the passageway and the yard of another house. There is a site near the current location of the village that is known to be the old village that was abandoned for some reasons, the findings of this area consisted of earthenware that dated back to 12th century, made in a kiln that was used for metals as well. The village has four main neighborhoods: Khana-Var, Maza-Var, Kei-Sar, and Asa-Mal. There used to be 600 houses (only 350 remains), 120 shops, 4 caravanserais, 2 baths, 33 springs, and 10 mosques that proves its boom. The houses are usually built in two stories. barn, storage, entrance, and corridor are placed in the first floor, and toilet, reception area, resting area, and winter area are located in the second floor. The village is now one of the most popular tourist attraction of Iran, the cool weather of the village in the hot summer, attracts many tourists.