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Rasht ( , ) is the capital of Gilanmarker province in northwestern Iranmarker and the largest city along the Caspian sea coast. It is a major trade center between Caucasia, Russiamarker and Iran using the port of Bandar-e Anzalimarker. Rasht is also a major tourist center with the resort of Masoulehmarker in adjacent mountains and the beaches of Caspian the major attractions. Rasht had an estimated population of 560,123 in 2005.[78835]

Historically, Rasht was a major transportation field that connected Iran to the abroad and that was why the city was entitiled as the "Gate of Europe" meaning that Rasht is a path for travel and business toward the European countries.

Rasht is well-known globally because of its famous martyr of freedom, Mīrzā Kūchak Khān who dedicated all of his age to fight against the occupation of Guilanmarker by the Russianmarker and Britishmarker troops during the chaotic periods of World War I.

The people of Rasht played a very important role in the Constitutional Revolution. Russian and British army as well as local rebels attacked Rasht City during the World War I (1914-1918). In 1920, Rasht became the arena of revolutionary movements again. When the Red Army conquered Bakumarker in 1918, the navy of White Army took asylum in the Anzali Port, which was under control of British army. The commander of the Red Navy chased them and conquered the Anzali Port and as the result the British Army retreated.

This event encouraged revolutionaries of Gilan to establish an anti-British government under the leadership of Mīrzā Kūchak Khān. British forces evacuated the city and went to Baghdadmarker. Finally, Iranian army defeated the movement and a treaty was signed with Russia after which they evacuated the city.

Geography and climate

Language

Gileki is spoken by more than 3 million people. The vast majority of the speakers live in the Gilan Provincemarker of Iranmarker. Gileki belongs to the northwestern branch of the Iranian languages. The Iranian languages form a top-level constituent of the Indo-European language family. It is closely related to Mazanderani and is subdivided into two main dialects: Bie-pas and Bie-pish. Bie-pas dialect is mainly spoken in west of Sefidrud including Rasht and Fuman while Bie-pish dialect belongs to eastern part of Gilan including Lahijan and Langrud.

Gileki is an oral dialect and has no official status in Iran.

Mirza Kuchak Khan

Mīrzā Kūchak Khān was an early twentieth century revolutionary and is considered a national legend in modern Iranian history. He was the founder of a revolutionary movement based in the forests of Gilanmarker in northern Iranmarker that became known as the Nehzat-e Jangal . This uprising started in 1914 and remained active against internal and foreign enemies until 1921 when the movement was defeated.

Unfortunately, given the shortcomings of the advanced social thinkers and activists of the time on one hand and the stronger establishment of the old autocracy on the other hand, again the same privileged class and their political representatives took control of the new regime. The freedom fighters were not satisfied and in fact were disarmed, in some cases using force. Meanwhile the direct and indirect manipulation of the country's internal politics by Tsaristmarker Russiansmarker and the Britishmarker added to the sufferings of the people and resulted in social unrest.

It was during such tumultuous period that Mirza Kuchak Khan, in collaboration with the Society of Islamic Union, started his uprising in the northern forests (Southern Caspianmarker). Mirza Kuchak Khan's return to Rasht was not easy since he had been expelled from Gilan by the Russian consulate for five years. His cause seems to have been a mixture of that of the newly emerging national bourgeoisie and downtrodden peasants and therefore gained momentum soon after it started. The Jangal forces (locally referred to as 'Jangalis' i.e., 'forest people' in Persian) defeated the local governmental and Russian troops which added to their reputation as potential saviors of the ideas of the constitutional revolution.

On June 12, 1918 Manjilmarker was the site of a battle between the Jangali troops and the joint Britishmarker and White Russian forces. The latter force (led by General Dunsterville and Kernel Bicherakhov) although formally just trying to organize the return of Russian soldiers back home, in reality was planning to pass through Manjil as the only passage to the Caspian in order to reach Bakumarker and fight against the newly formed Bakumarker commune (led by Stepan Shahumian). General Dunsterville's private diaries and notes, including those kept during his command of the Dunsterforce Mission to North Persiamarker and Baku, are transcribed from the original by General Dunsterville's great granddaughter, and are co-located on the Great War Primary Documents Archive [78836]. Mirza Koochek Khan's troops were defeated in this war because of the use of artillery, armored car and airplanes by the joint forces. Mirza's field commander was a German officer (Major Von Pashen) who had joined the Jangal movement after being released by them from the British prison in Rasht.

The Jangal movement was further boosted and gained gravity after the victory of the Bolsheviks in Russia. In May 1920 the Soviet Navy led by Fyodor F. Raskolnikov and accompanied by Grigoriy Ordzhonikidze entered the Caspian port of Anzalimarker. This mission was declared to be only in pursue of the Russian vessels and ammunition taken to Anzali by the White Russian counter-revolutionary general Denikin, who had been given asylum by British forces in Anzali.

Modern day

Rasht is growingly turning into an industrialized town such as 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, most of them from Austriamarker, Germanymarker, Netherlandsmarker, Francemarker, Australia, Japanmarker and African countries like Senegalmarker and Cameroonmarker as well as countries from Oceania like Micronesia. Rasht is known for its famous building of municipality located in a square named "Meidaane Shahrdari" meaning "the square of municipality". This building was constructed almost 100 years ago but being renovated each year. Due to the high amount of humidity in Rasht which damages and destroys the aged buildings, the primitive and worn-out architectural texture of Rasht is gradually being removed and replaced with the modern skyscrapers and apartments.

The culture of consumerism is more prevalent among the people of Rasht as a cultural and civilized city which was historically engaged in close commercial and political ties with the United Kingdommarker, Russiamarker and Francemarker. However, due to this internationalized culture which makes the people of Rasht more familiar with the industrial, cultural and political developments, the finance and credit institutions are more willing to open representative offices and bureaus in Rasht and it made the city a center of different banks and financial organizations. There are lots of commercial centers, big malls and financial institutions in Rasht including one branch of the Exports Development Bank of Iran which is an international bank dealing with the Iranian exports to different countries. The organizers and directors of national Iranian or non-Iranian banks afford to spend considerable amounts of budgets to construct attractive and modern buildings for their offices in Rasht in order to impress new customers and find new investment opportunities.

Since the Islamic Revolution of 1979 in Iran, there were always requests and applications on behalf of Russian, Turkishmarker and Azeri banks to open branches in Rasht and that is why the city is endowed as the "gate of Europe" in Iran. The head consulate of the Russian Federationmarker government is located in Rasht and some of the other Caspian regionmarker countries are also keen to establish representative headquarters in Rasht alongside their embassies in Tehranmarker. Some evidences are the University of Guilan which was constructed jointly by the governments of Iranmarker and West Germanymarker for about 40 years ago, the building of IRIB representatives in Rasht which was constructed jointly by the Iranian and Belgianmarker engineers.

The people of Rasht were always regular fans of football which is the prominent beloved sport in the city. Most of them are the fans of Pegah Gilan which is a professional football club playing in the Iranian premier football league, Persian Gulf Cup. Pegah FC is the newer version of former Esteghlal Rasht football club that belonged to the municipality of Rasht, but purchased later by the Bulgariamarker-based factory of Pegah and changed its name and properties to Pegah Gilan. The home stadium of Pegah (meaning dawn in Persian language) is Sardar Jangal Stadium which was established in September 2007 and holds more than 15,000 audiences. This number is increasable to 20,000 and more. This stadium is the second largest stadium of Rasht after the Dr. Azodi Stadiummarker which is an old one dating back to almost 40 years ago and needs basic renovation.

Following football, wrestling, judo and weightlifting are the most popular sports of youth in Rasht and that is due to the enchanting appearance of Iranian wrestlers and weightlifters in the international competitions like Olympics. The outstanding figure of world weightlifting and the two-time olympics Gold medal winner Hossein Rezazadeh is a main inspirer of Rasht youth to try Weightlifting as their professional job. Asghar Ebrahimi who was the squad captain of Iranian weightlifting team at the 2008 Olympics is from Rasht and a successful example of those youth from Rasht who tried this national field of sport after Hossein Rezazadeh.

The dominant cuisine of Rasht people is the various types of fish and 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. Also the municipality kicks off sports, cultural or IT-related competitions to involve the youth in healthy and constructive activities. The most beloved competition is the annual blogging competition which awards the top young bloggers each year.

City of Firsts

  • First Public Library of Iran[78837]
  • First Branch of the First Iranian Bank (Sepah Bank) was located in Rasht
  • First Municipality of Iran [78838]


International airport

The Rasht International airport is the only airport in the small province of Guilan and was established in 1969 with an approximate area of 220 hectares. At first, the airport just handled domestic flights to Tehranmarker and Mashhadmarker but after renaming to the Sardar Jangal International airport in 2007 which was committed in honor of Mirza Kuchak Khan, some air routes to the following countries have been established:



The airport is a in close affiliation with hundreds of national and international airlines including Mahan Air, EaseOn Air, Iran Aseman Airlines and Kish Air and receives more than 2000 flights annually.

The Rasht International airport also has direct flights to PSEEZ which is the largest gas field of the world along the seashores of Persian Gulfmarker.

People and culture

The first national library of Iran was established in Rasht under the Qajar dynasty. Furthermore, Nasime Shomal as the first modern newspaper of Iran after the constitutional revolution has been published in Rasht, but later moved its headquarters to Qazvinmarker.

Due to the special climate and high measure of humidity in Rasht which is mostly being accompanied by heavy rains, the people are truly calm and tranquil with peaceful approach toward complexities and controversies.

They are well-known internationally for their exclusive manner of hospitiality and reception of guests with delicious local foods and cuisines.

The people of Rasht speak Gileki as the maternal language and Persian as the national language. In some rural areas near the Rasht, school teachers give their courses in Gileki rather than Persian.

Colleges and universities

  1. University of Gilan[78839] (دانشگاه گيلان)
  2. Islamic Azad University of Rasht
  3. Gilan University of Medical Sciences
  4. Institute of Higher Education for Academic Jihad of Rasht (موسسه آموزش عالي غيرانتفاعي جهاد دانشگاهي رشت)
  5. Guilan Technical & Vocational Training Organization [78840] اداره کل آموزش فنی و حرفه ای استان گیلان


History

For a more comprehensive treatment of the region, see the history section of Gilanmarker.

An old mosque in Rasht, 1886.


Rasht was first mentioned in historical documents in 682 CE, but it is certainly older than this. It has seen the Sassanid era, the armies of Peter the Great and later Russian rulers, and British colonialism. The people of Rasht also played a major role in the Constitutional Revolution of Iran.

Timeline

  • 682: Rasht is first mentioned in historical documents.
  • 1669: Stenka Razin, a Cossack warlord, plundered the city.
  • 1714: Rasht destroyed by earthquake.
  • 1722 - 1734: Occupied by Peter the Great during the Russo-Persian War, 1722-1723.
  • 1901: A major epidemic plague devastates the city.
  • 1907: First Municipality Council of Rasht.
  • 1917 - 1920: The Russian and British armed forces fight in the port city of Bandar-e Anzalimarker and Rasht. The British retreat and the Russians occupy the area.
  • 1920 - 1921 - short-living Persian Soviet Socialist Republic was established with its capital in Rasht
  • 1937: A revolt, sparked by the desire to collect a "road tax" from the Russians, was suppressed.
  • 1974: First university established in Rasht.


Sister cities

Rasht has signed the treaty of city twinning with the following cities:



But it has also major, close contacts with the following cities to carry out its financial, architectural, political, cultural and academic projects:



Notables of Rasht



Suburbs

  • Golsar
  • Manzariyeh
  • Masjad Safi
  • Chomarsara
  • Lakaan Shahr
  • ChalleKhaneh
  • Noghredasht
  • Ostadsara
  • Pirsara
  • Rashtian
  • Sagharisazan
  • Andisheh Complex
  • Park Shahr
  • Takhti
  • Tazeh Abad
  • Sabzemeydan
  • Lakani
  • Ziabari
  • Sam
  • Moalem
  • Estakhr
  • Hamidian
  • Bisotun
  • Motahari


External links and Sources




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