Elburz Mountains

also spelled Alborz, Albourz, Alburz, or Elburs, Persian Reshteh-ye Kūhhā-ye Alborz,

major mountain range in northern Iran, 560 miles (900 km) long. The range, most broadly defined, extends in an arc eastward from the frontier with Azerbaijan southwest of the Caspian Sea to the Khorāsān region of northeastern Iran, southeast of the Caspian Sea, where the range merges into the Ālādāgh, the more southerly of the two principal ranges there. More commonly, however, the westernmost part of the range is called the Talish (Talysh, Talesh, or Tavālesh) Range, or the Bogrov Dāgh. The Elburz Range, in its strictest sense, forms part of the central stretch of the chain, which also includes Iran’s two highest peaks, Mount Damāvand and Mount Alām. The Elburz mountain system traverses virtually all of the northernmost portions of Iran from east to west.

Elburz Mountains

The Elburz chain is not as truly alpine (i.e., resembling the European Alps) in its structure as is often suggested. On the one hand, continental conditions regarding sedimentation are reflected by thick Devonian sandstones (about 360 to 415 million years old) and by Jurassic shales containing coal seams (about 145 to 200 million years old). On the other hand, marine conditions are reflected by strata dating to the boundary of the Carboniferous and Permian periods (about 300 million years old) that are composed mainly of limestones, as well as by very thick beds of green volcanic tuffs and lavas. Orogenic (mountain-building) phases of importance date from the Miocene and Pliocene epochs (between about 23 and 2.6 million years ago). Over large areas they produced only a loose folding; but in the Central Elburz a number of folds were formed into blocks thrust mainly southward but in places northward, with cores made of Paleozoic rocks (more than 250 million years old). Structurally and topographically, the Elburz system is less clearly defined on the southern than on the Caspian (northern) side of the chain, since various off-branching elements interconnect it on the southern side with the adjoining Iranian plateau.

The Western Elburz Range runs south-southeastward for 125 miles (200 km). Varying in width from 15 to 20 miles (24 to 32 km), it consists of a single asymmetric ridge, the long slope facing the Caspian. Few of its peaks approach or exceed 10,000 feet (3,000 metres) in height. There is a low pass west of Āstārā, near the Azerbaijan frontier, 5,000 feet (1,500 m) above sea level. The Safīd River, formed by the junction of the Qezel Owzan (Qisil Uzun) and Shāhrūd rivers, is the only river to cross the whole width of the chain: its gorge, giving access to the low pass of Qazvīn, offers the best passage through the mountain chain, although by no means an easy one, between the Gīlān region on the shores of the Caspian and the inland plateau to the south.

The Central Elburz is 250 miles (400 km) long. East of the longitude of Tehrān, which lies to the south of the range, it reaches a width of 75 miles (120 km). Located among the longitudinal valleys and ridges of the range are some important centres of settlement, with the towns of Deylamān, Razan, Kojūr, and Namar located on the Caspian side and Emāmshahr (formerly Shāhrūd), Lār, Damāvand, and Fīrūzkūh on the southern side. There are likewise many gorges, by which the rivers find their way down one or another of the slopes. Only two passes allow a relatively easy crossing in a single ascent—those are the Kandevān Pass, between the Karaj and the Chālūs rivers, and the Gadūk Pass, between the Hableh and the Tālā rivers. The main divide runs generally south of the highest crest, which—with the exception of the towering and isolated cone of the extinct volcano Mount Damāvand (18,386 feet [5,604 metres])—culminates in the glaciated massif of Takht-e Soleymān, which rises to more than 15,750 feet (4,800 metres).

The Eastern, or Shāhkūh, Elburz runs about 185 miles (300 km) in a northeasterly direction. Since two ranges branch off on its southern side and no compensatory elements appear on the northern side, its width dwindles to less than 30 miles (48 km). With the exception of the Shāhkūh Range proper (which reaches an elevation of 12,359 feet [3,767 metres]), the chain decreases in height toward the east. Longitudinal valleys are found less and less frequently east of the Shāhkūh. There are several passes at low elevations.

The Caspian and the inland, or southern, slopes of the Elburz differ markedly from each other in climatic and vegetational aspects. The Caspian slope has a distinctly humid climate, thanks to northerly air movements, enriched with moisture from the sea, which collide with the steep faces of the mountains to cause precipitation. The precipitation amounts to more than 40 inches (1,000 mm) annually in the lowlands of the Gīlān region and is even more plentiful at higher elevations. Although it decreases toward the east, it still suffices to nourish a humid forest for the whole length of the chain on the Caspian side, where the soils are mostly of the brown-forest type. The natural vegetation of that slope grows in distinct zones: the luxuriant Hyrcanian forest on the lowest levels; a beech forest in the middle zone; and a magnificent oak forest from the elevation of 5,500 feet (1,700 metres) up to the levels where gaps in the divide allow the moist air to overflow into the inland basins. In some sheltered valleys there are extensive stands of wild cypress. Sheltered valleys adjacent to the Safīd River constitute the only olive-growing areas of note in Iran.

The southern slope of the Elburz, by direct contrast, shares the arid character of the Iranian plateau. Annual precipitation varies between 11 and 20 inches (280 and 500 mm) and is very irregular. The soils are mostly of the type associated with steppe (treeless, grassy, or shrubby) vegetation. The slope has become even more steppelike ever since the almost complete destruction of its original dry forest of junipers.

The Hyrcanian tigers for which the Caspian forests were famous are now extinct, but other wild cats, such as the leopard and the lynx, are still numerous in the Elburz. The bear, the wild boar, red and roe deer, the mouflon (wild mountain sheep), and the ibex are also present. Eagles and pheasants are notable among birds.

Although large areas of the Elburz Mountains are almost uninhabited—some being occupied only by nomads and others having been depleted by Turkmen raids in the 19th century—there are still several well-settled districts, including Deylamān, Alāmut, Tālaqān, and Lārījān (at the foot of Mount Damāvand). The landscape of the Caspian slopes is characterized by forest clearings with shingle-roofed loghouse villages and by lush fields and pastures. The landscape of the inland slopes is of the oasis type. Extensive grain cultivation occurs on both slopes, and cattle raising occurs on the Caspian side. Alpine pastures, seasonally dotted with flocks of sheep, cover an extensive zone yet higher. The land-distribution pattern prevailing in the Elburz includes a high proportion of peasant ownership. The holdings often are much-fragmented.

Many of the traditional ways of livelihood of the mountaineers, including charcoal burning (now prohibited because of devastation of the forests), the transportation of goods (especially of rice and of charcoal for Tehrān) by pack animals, and the working of hundreds of small coal mines, have been displaced by the 20th-century modernization of Iran.

Apart from the main line of the trans-Iranian railroad, which links Tehrān with Bandar-e Torkeman via the Gadūk Pass, there are several asphalted roads across parts of the Elburz. From west to east, those run between Ardebīl and Āstārā, between Qazvīn and Rasht, between Tehrān and Chālūs, between Tehrān and Āmol (via Damāvand); between Tehrān and Bābol (via Fīrūzkūh), and between Shāhrūd and Gorgān (via Kotal-e Zardāneh Pass).

The wild (natural or original) forests of the Elburz Mountains cover more than 8,000,000 acres (3,000,000 hectares), of which some 3,000,000 acres can be exploited commercially for timber and other wood. There are also a few modern coal mines, as well as some deposits of iron and other ores. But most important is the water of the rivers, which is used for irrigation, for generating hydroelectric energy, and for supplying the fast-growing Tehrān. Spectacular dams have been built. Those include the Safīd Rūd Dam, used for the irrigation of the Safīd Rūd delta; the Karaj Dam and the Jājrūd Dam, used mainly for supplying water to Tehrān and partly for irrigation; and a series of dams on other rivers of the Māzandarān ostān (province) also used for irrigation.

 

The other side to ancient Iran, with an abundance of culture & history, is its breathtaking four season nature which has no shortage of scenic views. Among the very best sits the holistic Mount Damavand wrapped in snow on its cap all year round, a popular destination for trekking lovers.

The volcanic Damavand, inactive for more than 38500 years, rises above the clouds at 5671 meters (18606 feet) and has crater with a 400-meter diameter. The region harbors a great variety of wildlife, vegetation and natural features such as huge glaciers & sulfuric hill at the peak besides its hot springs situated in lower level skirts.

Cited in Ferdowsi’s Shahnameh, Damavand has deep roots in Persians beliefs and faith. There are 16 routes towards the peak with various degree of difficulty, making the Mount one of the most accessible peaks globally in class of 5000+ meters.

The southern face climb goes all the way up from Polur Village and your journey begins here. Your trekking adventure to Damavand summit starts from Polur. Read on to find out about the most exciting climb in Middle East happening to be the highest!

Itinerary of Damavand Trekking Tour is found here.

Damavand

Damavand

 

Polur

 

A heaven in the heart of hot summer days, the mountainous village of Polur (Pūlūr) becomes an ultimate destination for trekking camps base, most of which heading towards the splendid Mount Damavand – the highest peak in Mid-East.

Located at a height of 2300 meters, Polur sees dozens of wildflowers growing after snowmelt runoff occurs in mid-April followed by flourishing of yellow & Anemone flowers in late May & June.

This serene area, booming with tourists, backpackers and climbers specially in hot seasons, is believed to be home to some ancient hoards, artifacts and other treasure troves which besides the perfect weather has drawn attention to itself. Although some of these are based on legends, there’s been Glasswares & Ceramics dating back to Parthian, Sassanids and early Islam era of Iran found here.

Other belief of the villagers is that, long back in time there once lived maidens of a legendary King up here in a citadel worshiping Water.

This castle resembles the one in Firouzabad Shiraz, namely Qaleh Dokhtar (The Maiden Castle) – a castle made by Ardashir I 209 AD.

 

The highest waterfall of Mazandaran Province, Shahandasht Waterfall at a height of 180 meters is one of many tourist attractions of the area which is near Polur village, an approximate 40-minute drive away.

A rock climbing site in Polur Complex welcomes climbers in different types such as Bouldering, Top Rope & Competition in a 900 square meter area.

Damavand

Damavand

Rineh Hot Spring

 

On south face climbs you’ll come across one amazing natural gem, the Rineh Thermal Springs. Located 21km away from Mount Damavand this natural attraction has several bathtubs and pools.

Different options of residence are available here and people mainly come here for its therapeutic properties from Metropolis of Tehran and other nearby towns each and every day.

 

The pleasant weather combined health benefits of thermal waters has made Rineh a popular spot not only for mountaineering adventurers but also for others looking for some quality leisure time.

 

Goosfand Sara

Goosfand Sara

Goosfand Sara (Sheepfold) or Modque Base camp

 

Goosfandsara is a mountain camping site located at 3050m altitude and is one main point as a stop in trekking to Damavand Summit. In this area there is a small mountain shelter or refuge, a mosque called Saheb Zaman (or Saheb al Zaman) and a sheepfold!

The climbing season sees to itself a lot of SUVs transferring climbers and their equipment to this campsite. Mules and porters are other means of transport available here on your way to the last campsite called Bargah Sevom.

 

Damavand

Damavand

 

Third Camp – Bargah Sevom

Coming up to the next and the last camp before reaching the top, is located Bargah Sevom at a level of 4150 meter. Standing up there you already are getting breathtaking views under your feet.

 

There is an old shelter, considered the oldest camp of Mount Damavand, and a newer hut built in 2009.

The trek towards the summit would take roughly 5-7 hours depending on physical conditions.

Plan your trip to Damavand as the best time is just now. This trek to the very top of Damavand has been labeled as a MUST and will be a unique experience you’ll never forget.

By Omid Mirzaie

 

Damavand volcano is a majestic stratovolcano located 70 km NE of Tehran and 70 km south of the Caspian Sea. Mt Damavand is the highest peak in the Middle East and the second highest volcano in Asia (after Kunlun volcano in Tibet).
Damavand last erupted about 7,300 years ago. There are no historical eruptions, but fumaroles at the summit crater suggest that the volcano is still active.

Damavand is located on the tectonically active thrust and fold belt of the Alborz Mountains.
It is a massive stratovolcano with a volume of about 400 cubic kilometers and consists of a younger cone that was constructed during the past 600,000 years above an older, 1.78 million years old edifice, remnants of which were previously thought to be part of a caldera.
Damavand has only few flank vents. Most activity has been from the summit crater, which has erupted a series of radial lava flows, mostly of trachyandesite composition. Most eruptions of Damavand seen to have been effusive, and only one significant explosive deposit is known, a welded ignimbrite that was produced about 280,000 years ago.
The latest activity occurred about 7300 years ago and produced lava flows from the summit crater that cover the western flank.

Damavand

Damavand, the oldest mountain ever been climbed, is world’s mountaineering heritage.

 

Looming high above the wind-scoured steppes of the Alborz Mountains – the crescent range that divides the Great Salt Desert from the fertile Caspian coast – Damavand’s dimensions make a mockery of its limited renown outside its homeland. Based on its summit’s most widely cited height of 5,671m, this is the highest point in Eurasia west of the Hindu Kush. It’s also the highest volcano in Asia, and it’s this aspect of its physiology that lends Damavand its near-symmetrical lines, the graceful form of a stratovolcano that has lain dormant for 10,000 years.

But the thing that had struck me most that first day on the mountain, wending up the vague mule-trails on its north-eastern flank, was how much it transfixed the eye. Though surrounded by lesser peaks in every direction, Damavand still cut an aloof and imperious figure. We’d come here to bag a peak, and found ourselves on a pilgrimage to a country’s geographical heart.

As dusk fell, a cloud inversion filled up the northern valleys like a tidal surge, blanketing the lowlands to leave behind an archipelago of mountaintops nudging above a rolling purple ocean. Every ten minutes the clouds’ tendrils clawed up the slope and lapped at our feet.

The only direction left to look was up. After a fitful night, we broke camp with the dawn, each lamenting the thin air and lack of sleep. Damavand’s broad topography means that the journey to its summit starts high, and night one had been spent at the already heady altitude of 3,800m.

Mercifully, our second day’s trek was a short one, spent engulfed in a mist of condensation that filtered out the scorch of the sun. we climbed over ground covered in hardy, dew-soaked flowers, flourishing in soils made fecund by the ashy deposits of ancient eruptions. Three hours’ march took us to the ice-line at a translucent slick the shape of an inverted teardrop. We stopped to replenish empty water bottles from the glacial run-off, while the guides grumbled about wider issues down on the plains.

“On the north side, the Siyouleh Glacier used to stretch all the way down to 4,000m; now it finishes 600m higher up the mountain,”

As we shivered over this forlorn remnant of Damavand’s colder past the country below was feeling the burn.

 

damavand foothills

Damavand, this unique beauty is located south of Caspian Sea. It is 5610 meters high and quite visible from southern Caspian Sea shores.

 

A little past midday, above a cruddy slope of light brown pumice, the base camp hut came into view, looking like a miniature aircraft-hanger around 10m long by 4m wide, its semi-cylindrical roof striped orange and blue. Inside we found a shrine to past expeditions. The gloomy room reeked with the musty smell of anxious nights, while all over the bare-brick walls and sheet-steel ceiling, swirls of Persian graffiti – Islamic invocations and summit posts – reflected the human tendency to leave a mark where humans seldom tread.

We unfurled our sleeping bags on a dirty wooden platform, strewn with woven plastic sheets and discarded pistachio husks, and chugged down some sugar-laden tea. The plan for the afternoon was to ascend ‘Himalayan style’, ditching our gear in the hut and then trekking up to 4,900m or so to accustomise lungs to the lofty altitude, before heading back down for supper and sleep.

Lightning darkens the mood

The weather ignored the script of course. Bound by the Englishman’s congenital over-excitement at the sight of weather that’s not drizzle, we scampered outside when the snow started tumbling out of the firmament in heavy, thumb-sized dollops. But this was only a prelude to something more sinister, its coming heralded by a thunderclap of biblical fury and a fizz in the air that crackled in our ears: lightning hunting for a salient point to strike.

So much for Himalayan style. For the next four hours we were confined indoors while a scything wind consumed the shelter, jeering us as it rattled the opaque Perspex windows.

At 6.30pm, as the light began to fade, quiet finally returned to the mountainside. Their tantrum exhausted, the clouds fled downhill like a sheet being drawn back to reveal a whole new mountain: starkly placid and dressed in two inches of snow. On the craggy promontory that overshadowed the hut, we submitted offerings to a 2m-high, meticulously crafted rectangular cairn in thanks for the turn in providence, and gritted our teeth against the biting chill.

The scene below – a replay of last night’s surreal cloudscape – was suitably magical, for this was a mountain swathed in myth. In the Shahnameh, the poet Ferdowsi’s epic 11th-century distillation of Persian folklore, this region was the scene of a showdown between the hero Fereydun and Zahhak, a tyrant king said to have fed his pet serpents on his subjects’ brains.

Confronting his nemesis on the slopes of Damavand, Fereydun smote Zahhak with his ox-head mace, imprisoned him within the mountain and usurped the crown. His benevolent rule lasted for 500 years.

In the centuries since, the spectacular ridge on which we stood, and which delineates much of the north-east route from here on up, has come to be known as the Takht-e Fereydun – Fereydun’s throne. Zahhak, meanwhile, remains trapped in the earth that lay beneath our feet, his vengeful rages expressed in the sulphurous billows that belch daily from the summit crater.

with the sun rising at our backs, we set off up the spine of the ridge, eyes squinting in the direction of the summit – from here a blazing white dome, defiant and still impossibly remote, framed against an auspicious cobalt sky.

With boots crunching through snow hardened by the night winds, I reassured myself with the knowledge that we were embarking on the business end of what is a relatively uncomplicated climb. “Basically a walk-up,” one website had declared reassuringly as I researched the trip from the comfort of sea level. “Technically easy and physically moderate.”

As long ago as 1837 it had proved straightforward enough for the English explorer W Taylor Thomson to achieve the first recognized ascent, no doubt attired in tweed and probably taking pot-shots at the Asiatic wolves and black bears, now so rare in the region, with his musket.

damavand peak

It is 5610 meters high and quite visible from southern Caspian Sea shores. it was listed as the Iran’s first natural heritage and preserved as national natural monument.

 

Braving the elements

But I also knew that we had been unlucky with yesterday’s sudden squall. The previous evening, Mohammad, who likes to quantify things, had conceded that Damavand snow showers only occur about 15% of the time in the summer months, and that the snow cover was likely to make the climb around 25% more difficult than it would be otherwise. How much harder could things get, I pondered nervously, if the elements turned again?

The digital display on Nasir’s GPS flickered past 5,000m, and we stopped to take stock of rapidly deteriorating conditions. This morning’s plucky breeze had become a biting gale, while an angry carpet of slate-colored cumulus was working its way up the slope to the east, threatening to converge with the wispy penumbra coalescing about the summit. The icy wind had left my extremities numb, and I couldn’t help but recall images of frostbite victims from the Everest disaster book in my luggage, a regrettable choice of holiday reading.

Taking on this mountain means dueling with its fickle winds. Like other prominent peaks around the world, Damavand has a weather system all of its own: hot air blowing up from Iran’s parched interior bombards the mountain’s southern flank, yielding storms that are sudden, unpredictable and capable of quashing the ambitions of the most seasoned summiteer.

In the early 1970s, the man widely considered the greatest alpinist in history, Reinhold Messner, learned this lesson the hard way when a storm swept in and sabotaged his summit bid. Henceforth, Messner, whose normal playground is the death-zone of the Himalaya, would describe Damavand as “that little hill that defeated me”.

Determined to outdo the great Tyrolean but far from sharing the “little” sentiment, our single file trundled on, heads bowed in submission to the eye-watering headwind. (Later, recuperating in a Tehran café, we calculated our average speed on the way up: 1.2km/h.)

At 5,400m we were within touching distance of ‘the gate’, a gap between two rocky outcrops, like a half-finished barricade, through which lay our goal. Cheered by its apparent proximity we urged Nasir onwards. “Ten minutes from here,” said the indefatigable Azerbaijani, fibbing brazenly in a last-gasp attempt to raise our spirits – it turned out to be more like 40.

Smell to high heaven

Eventually, at a little before noon, we clambered onto the roof of the Middle East, a barren plateau festooned with ugly, Sulphur-yellowed stones. It seemed a slightly anti-climactic end; enveloped in cloud, we had no sweeping views of the land below and no fresh mountain air.

Instead, an acrid smoke contaminated each breath, as fumaroles within the snow-covered crater – the reason behind the rocks’ jaundiced coloration – pumped out a noxious brew of gases from the center of the earth. The stench served as a reminder of Damavand’s earthly purpose: a pressure-valve built by nature to relieve the earth-shuddering friction at the conjunction of the Arabian and Eurasian plates.

Even so, at 5,650m, we congratulated ourselves at being the highest earthbound people for thousands of miles around. To find humans suffering at higher altitudes you would have had to travel east to the Pamirs, west to the Rockies, and south to Kilimanjaro.

In a fit of clarity that belied my exhaustion, it struck me then that Damavand was indeed an appropriate symbol of the multifarious melting-pot that is modern Iran. Heightened over millennia by the eruption of successive layers of lava, this is a mountain borne of ferment and upheaval. Like the country in which it resides, a hostile reputation had disguised a place that was magnificent to behold and engrossing to explore.

For now, it merely slumbered, a sleeping giant waiting to be discovered.

damavand volcano

The steepest volcanic mountain, Mythical Damavand peak, deserves to be hiked more than 20 times from different faces.

 

The land of Q Inversed Tulips

The province of Chaharmahal and Bakhtiari covers 16, 533 square kilometers

of land is a mountainous region in the southwest of Iran. The provincial capital is called Shahr – e – Kord, with the height of 2.150 meters, being the highest city in Iran. The province has vast forest covering almost 30,700 hectares of land, which include oaks, wild pistachio, nuts, and almond. The mount Zagros is an attractive range of mountains stretching from northwest to southwest of the province.

As a whole, 76 percent of the province is covered by mountains and hills. The most famous and highest mountain is Zard Kooh.

land of Q Inversed Tulips

 (yellow mountain) and the highest peak is ” koloonchi “.

Mount Zagros has beautiful icebergs and a particular road formation, making it a particular interest to the mountain climbers from around the world. The most famous natural attraction is called the chaghkhor pond. This beautiful pond is about 2,300 hectares and is situated near the town of Boldajee. The fine weather and the natural beauty of its beautiful native birds, make this province one of the most pleasurable attractions in the world.

land of Q Inversed Tulips

The mineral spring

The famous mineral spring of the province is called Dimeh, which is the main source of Zayandeh Rood [ river ], one of the important rivers of Isfahan, and is 10 km away from a town called Chalgerd, near a village called Dimeh. The water of this spring is among the best and purest mineral waters and has medical remedies (prevents the decay of the teeth and remedies the kidney stone)

land of Q Inversed Tulips

Special Tulip Garden

12km away from Chelgerd which is a place near the village of Bano Esteki in the suburbs of Koohrao city.

This amazing and wonderful covering of tulips to a vast area approximately 3/400 hectares.

Koohrang Tunnel

This tunnel was built in 1953 to transfer the water of Koohrang and other springs to the Zayandeh Rood. the nearest tourist city is Chelgerd the central city of knohrang. During all seasons even winter, this place makes an ideal place for the skiing enthusiasts

 Tange sayaad sanctuary – Sabzeh kooh sanctuary –  Flying forest park – Saraab cave are some other beautiful landscapes of this province.

 

Iran is quite a different country in the region when it comes to the possibilities of skiing in The Middle East! There are lots of huge mountains with high peaks and appropriate slopes for different types of skiing. As a result, ski resorts have been built for the skiers who love this sport. This type of terrain makes Iran a unique location for the people interested in skiing in the Middle East.

Ski Resorts in Iran

The highest peak of Iran is Damavand with 5671 m above sea level. It’s located at the North East of Iran on the Alborz range and can be seen from inside Tehran in Sunny days. You will find snow on top of this burned-out volcano almost all year round. Along the same mountain range and close to Tehran, there are possibilities of skiing at different ski runs. Dizin, Tochal, Shemshak and Darbandsar are such places for Iranians as well as foreign enthusiasts.

Dizin Ski Resort

If you’re looking for a unique possibility of skiing in Middle East or you’re living in a neighboring country, why don’t you consider going to Dizin? It’s the largest skiing field in the region. This resort is in a fantastic geographic location, near Tehran. So, you can drive directly from the International airport to Dizin and get there in a couple of hours.

One of the advantages of Dizin skiing pist is that it has different ski runs, for beginners and professional skiers,  so that you can ski in different styles one after another.

The ski lift will take you to an altitude of 3600 m above sea level, making it one of the top 40 high ski resorts in the world. There are several villas, hotels, cottages, restaurants, etc at Dizin.

Tochal Ski Resort in Iran

Tochal-Cable-Car

Tochal-Cable-Car

Tochal peak is right on the north of Tehran. It’s at an altitude of 3964 m above sea level and at a perfect condition for those who love skiing in Middle East. Access to the location is possible by cable car that starts from the north of Velenjak district in Tehran. A modern hotel has recently been constructed up at the peak for the skiers so that they can stay in a well-equipped accommodation.

You can combine Tochal with Dizin during your stay in Tehran so that you can ski at both places. Also, you can keep it at your list as an alternative for the second time you go skiing in Iran.

Other Ski Resorts in Iran

Alvares is the second standard ski resort in Iran after Dizin. Its altitude is 3200 m above sea level and located 24 km away from Sarein, near Ardebil. At Dizin, you can ski from December to May, longer than the resorts in Europe.

You can also opt for skiing in other parts of Iran like Mt. Alvand in Hamedan, Mt.Zardkooh near Shahr-e-Kord, Mt.Dena, etc where local ski resorts are available too.

Ski Gears for Winter Sports

It’s up to you to bring your ski gears or rent them here in Iran. Usually close to the ski pists, you can find some stalls where you could rent all types of ski equipments and ski-wears like Alpine skis snowboards, monoboards, cross-country skis, etc.

Of course, this doesn’t mean that you can find them at any corner of Iran where people go skiing. On the other hand, you may feel better at your own gears. So, brings yours if you feel better. At major ski resorts like Dizin and Tochal, you would usually be able to  find what you want to rent.

More important fact is, if you’re living in the region, Iran has got the best resorts as far as skiing in Middle East is concerned.

Wild Skiing in the Middle East

Mountains in Iran have got huge potential for the fans of skiing in nature. There are several peaks higher than 3000 meters on Zagros Mountains, Alborz mountains as well as other local mountain ranges. You can contact some local tour operator to make sure required services like accommodation, transfer, equipments, etc are provided prior to your trip to Iran.

Many professional skiers come to Iran from all around the world to go wild skiing. If the season is right and you arrange for everything before your arrival via a local company, you will enjoy doing this sport here. Iran offers the best opportunity for skiing in Middle East. Nowhere else all these factors are available to plan and travel for the purpose of skiing.

To order a skiing tour in Iran, you can visit Iran Skiing Tour page and ask for an unforgettable experience to be arranged for you.

Alamout Castle, Headquarter of Assassins

Alamout Castle, Headquarter of Assassins

A trip to Alamout castle is full of wonders. It’s a hidden place among the high mountains of the Alborz, which assassins used as a stronghold for almost a couple of centuries to organize resistance against the foreign invaders occupying Iran. The incredibly hard terrain and location of the path to Alamout fortress had kept it from the eyes of the passer-bys.

You can only discover the genius choice of location and its marvelous architecture when you visit this Ishmaelite stronghold at the North East of Qazvin.

The Alamout Castle Itself

There are around 20 castles identified as Ismailis’ strongholds around Qazvin, where Alamout is located. Some local governors of the region, especially those known as the Alborz rulers, had used it as their own fortress. Hasan-e-Sabbah, the famous Iranian leader of Ismailis managed to make a plan to seize it without fighting or killing anyone. Therefore, it wasn’t built by him. First, he came to the area to work as a teacher and then found some allies inside the castle and via them, Hasan-e-Sabbah entered the stronghold and asked the previous owners to leave.

The constructional materials of this castle are bricks, gypsum, sarooj (traditional cement in Iran) and similar materials. It’s got four stories carved inside the rocks as well as several guard posts to have a good look over the valley. When you’re up there, you can see all around and beneath the hill. That’s why they call it Alamout – “Eagle’s Nest”.

Best Time to Visit Alamout Castle

If you plan to visit this site in Spring, April and May are the best times. If you go there in Fall, September and October are the best time. During these months, you can avoid the extreme heat or cold and there would less likely be any unpleasant weather conditions.

In Spring, when you drive toward this area, you will see the soft curves on the hills covered by natural grass creating a velvet-like scenery. The sunshine would also be pleasant and enjoyable. Coming from a polluted city like Tehran or other similar cities, you will certainly appreciate the huge amount of pure oxygen and astonishing landscape.

How to Reach Assassins’ Stronghold

Today, when you travel from Qazvin to Alamout, you have to cross high mountains and take hundreds of curves on a good road asphalted all the way for approximately 120 km. On the way, you will see the awesome mountains and difficult pathways the people had to take on the ancient times. You will wonder how they could make such a journey to find a fortress that isn’t easily noticeable.

On the other hand, because of the extremely cold winter time in this area, it’s unimaginable how people could survive in this remote place. You will find it amazing why they chose this location as a perfect hideout from which they planned and organized the hit-and-run missions.

You should bypass “Moalem Kelayeh” village on the way 20 km before getting to another village called “Gazorkhan”. From there, there’s few hundred meters to the foothill where the only pathway leads to the entrance of the castle. The interesting point is you get there and you cannot easily pinpoint where it is, because Alamout Castle is carved inside a huge rock that looks like every other rock on this mountain range.

About Ismailia

This sub-branch of Shiites Islam is known as Ismailia that is historically known as assassins in the Western world. It didn’t originate in Iran. The followers of this belief had entered the political realm of other countries like Syria before Iran. The founder of this movement in Iran is Hasan-e-Sabbah who traveled to west Asia and North Africa and learned about them before coming back home.

He used to be a fervent Sunni Muslim arguing with Shiites first.  Then, he traveled to Egypt and Syria as a result of which he converted to Ismailism. The political situation of Iran and people’s living conditions under foreign occupation led him to take this idea very seriously and use his leading capability in organizing volunteers fighting against the enemies, Seljuks.

Ishmaelite movement in Iran is an example of a nation resisting against the foreign invaders’ oppression at home and how to cast fear in their hearts to create the feeling of insecurity in them. Iranians couldn’t mobilize an army to fight against Seljuks then. Therefore, the only way to show them they were not welcomed and should not feel at home was to assassinate their people in charge. This is the core of this movement and unlike the claims of other sources, young people didn’t attack officials to kill them in hope for getting to the heaven and enjoy paradise. Shiite Islam emphasizes on Martyrdom very much, but this was more of a political movement that naturally any nation may have picked as an inevitable method.

 

Olasbelanga Countryside(Masal, Guilan) a piece of Paradise

Masal Guilan

Guilan and interesting nature for nature’s astonishingly always has a surprise.. Village summer Avlsblanga(Olasbelanga) Or Avlsblangah 25 km south of the city of Masal Masal higher in 1200 where one of the attractions of Gilan known that many travelers in spring and summer to bring their. The opportunity to spend the night in a wooden house Avlsblanga memorable experience.

Olasbelanga Countryside(Masal, Guilan)

Masal is 50 kilometers West City. To Avlsblanga which means a tree at high altitude, you should have took the road south out of Masal. This road is approximately 25 km by taxi or car easily accessible. Mirza Koochak Khan testimony loation is also slightly higher than Avlsablanga its enthusiasts.

Olasbelanga Countryside(Masal, Guilan)

Route easy access to the countryside, the main reasons for overcrowding and address of the area.

Olasbelanga Countryside(Masal, Guilan)

Except New hotel construction this summer that has not yet opened, the houses are made of wood and construction materials will not be permitted.. This beautiful village has no electricity grid and lighting and other needs are provided by the electric motor

Olasbelanga Countryside(Masal, Guilan)

If you’re lucky misty and cloudy landscape of the village will experience the beautiful nature that we did not

Masal countryside is an ideal place for the townspeople in the hot days of the year. Where only half an hour away from their homeWith a little walk around the house and away from the road through the village and almost reached the point that the Masal city can be seen.. Sunset in the mountains of Olasabelanga is fantastic.

Olasbelanga Countryside(Masal, Guilan)

Indeed, it is fitting to name this Countryside.
There are two residences in the countryside Olasbelanga during the holidays can be a busy place with limited facilities reserved.

Olasbelanga Countryside(Masal, Guilan)

At the end of Countryside asphalt road, dirt road and pass the end of the dirt road to the Gilvan and Masouleh-Khalkhal road. In the hope that this beautiful countryside evergreen and remain happy and to preserve nature for future generations the pleasure of seeing these areas.

Olasbelanga Countryside(Masal, Guilan)
Olasbelanga Countryside(Masal, Guilan)
Olasbelanga Countryside(Masal, Guilan)
Olasbelanga Countryside(Masal, Guilan)
Olasbelanga Countryside(Masal, Guilan)