Zanjan province, which is also called "Zanjan plain", is located in central part of north-west of Iran.
The population of this province III November 2005 was 970,000 out of which 47.62% were urban dwellers and 52.37% resided in rural areas and remaining were non-resident. The sex ratio of the population is 101.3.
Zanjan province is composed of two regions, mountainous and plain. Having some high summits, the mountainous areas encompass the northern regions of Zanjan township and the remaining parts of the province are a plain region.
There is a vast and relatively level alluvium plain in southern pat} of Zanjan which bounds by Soltanieh heights at the north and Ghaydar heights at the south. Several rivers flow in the province of which the most important one is "Ghezel Ozan" river having a high quantity of water.
Influencing by mountainous areas and being under indirect impacts of humid west-northern air currents, Zanjan province enjoys two different climates. Mountainous climate with snowy cold winters and mild summers, and warm and semi-humid climate in upper Tarom region having warm summers and mild winters with considerable annual precipitation as well as suitable
humidity. Rainfall rate in spring and summer is more than other seasons. The duration of dry months in the province is relatively long. Two dominant and important wind currents of the province are Sormeh and Garm (warm). Summer and spring are the most suitable times for spending ofleisure time in this province.
The nature, rivers, mineral water springs and climate totally have their own freshness and beauty for each newcomer.
History and Culture
Zanjan province is one of the historical regions of Iran. The antiquity of the province can be divided into four historic periods:
Pre-historic age (from ih millennium BC. till early 3rd millennium BC.): The most ancient and recognized historical vestiges belonging to pre-historic age goes to "Bardostin" culture which are known by small tools having about 30,000 years of antiquity.
Historic age (early 3rd till late 2nd millennium Be.): Human settlements in Eajrood region of Zanjan in 3rd and 2nd millennium Be. indicates flourishing and sustainability of Iran's civilization in this region. Evaluation of black engravings on discovered earthenware of buff color shows the linkage and continuity of Damghan Hesar hill, Kashan Sialk hill, and Eajrood of Zanjan civilizations.
New historic age (late 2nd millennium BC. to early 7th century AD.): The most distinct vestiges of this period is a kind of simple gray earthenware which conforms to simultaneity of Aryan tribes migration to this region. Teapot shape earthenware with relatively long hose were found in all tombs of this age which could be attributed to funeral ceremonies. There have not been a determinate government system in the region till early first millennium Be. Even Othartoui government could not expand its dominance over this region due to remoteness of it. According to Assyrians' documents, this region was named Andya in 9th century BC. and its dwellers have probably communicated with Lulubi and Gouti tribes who resided in slopes of Zagross mountain range. There is ambiguity about the history of the region from 7th century BC. to late millennium Be. i.e. whole Achaemenian period.
The discovered coins "Derik" and "Riton" in Khodabendeh are the vestiges of Achaemenian period. The valleys of Zanjan Rood and Ghezel Ozan were more thriving in Parthians and Sassanians times. Amongst the most important remains of this period Tashvir fire-temples can be pointed out.
Islamic period (from 7th to 19th century Ae.): This period begins with conquest of Iran in the time of Osman caliphate. Existing texts and evidences show that this region was very thriving from economic, cultural and artistic points of view during the whole Islamic period. One of the reasons for selecting Sultanieh as capital by Mongol llkhanan was economic briskness of the region in 7'h and 8th centuries AH.
After the decline of llkhani government by Sarbedaran movement in 9th century AH., Zanjan was attacked by Taymour the lame and was damaged badly. The region was relatively thriving from economic and cultural points of view in Safavid and Ghajar time specially during the reign of Shah Tahmasb and Agha Mohammad Khan.
With natural attractions like Katalehkhor Cave, and historical monuments such as Soltanieh Dome, Zanjan Province provides tourists with an abundance of attractive sights.
Seven counties make up Zanjan, namely Zanjan, Abhar, Khoramdareh, Khodabandeh, Ijrud, Tarem, and Mahneshan.
Ghezelozan River originates in Kurdistan mountains, runs through Zanjan, makes a stop behind Manjil Dam in Rudbar County, Gilan Province, and finally enters the Caspian Sea. Other rivers of Zanjan are Zanjanrud near Nik Pey Town; Abharrud in Abhar County; Sojasrud, also called Sajasrud and Khararud in Khodabandeh County. Zanjan’s hot springs are Vanangh, Abdal, Garmab, and halab-Anguran, according to Persian daily Forsat-e Emruz.
Due to its proximity to the Silk Road, especially to the route between Indochina and Europe, Zanjan had a strategic position. Before the advent of Islam, Zanjan , the capital of Zanjan Province was called Zangan or otherwise Zandigan; meaning ‘of or related to Zand’ which is a book of exegetical glosses, paraphrases, commentaries and translations of Avesta’s texts.
Soltaniyeh Dome is the largest brick dome in the world, as well as the third largest globally, after Florence Cathedral and Aya Sofia of Istanbul. Predating Soltaniyeh Dome is Dashkasan Temple which dates back to the Sassanid era. It is a cave complex adorned with stone carvings by Chinese craftsmen.
Located 335 km west of Tehran Province, Zanjan is a 4-hour drive away. One can always get on an airplane, of course, but most would tell you it is not worth missing the scenic route.