Human settlements in Golestan date back to 10 000 BC. Evidence of the ancient city of Jorjan can still be seen near the current city of Gonbad-e Kavus. It was an important city of Persia located on the Silk Road.

Golestan Province is located in northeastern Iran and south-east of the Caspian Sea. It was separated from the province of Mazandaran in 1997, to become a separate administrative entity. It covers an area of ​​20,380 km2 and is divided into twelve prefectures, 27 rural districts and 868 villages. It is bordered by the provinces of Khorassan from north to north-east, Semnan to the south, and Mazandaran to the southwest. It also opens on the Caspian Sea to the northwest. Its principal cities are Azddshahr, Aq Qala, Gorgan, Gonbad, Gomishan, Rami, Kordkui, Bandar Gaz, Ali Abad, Galikech, Maraveh-tappeh and Minoudasht.

The population of the province

According to the 2006 census, the population of Golestan province is estimated at 1,627,238, of whom 732,699 live in urban areas and 894,539 in rural areas. In 2011, the total number of inhabitants was reassessed to 1,777,014 people. The number of inhabitants at Gorgan is 274,438, and 129,167 at Gonbad Kavous, the two towns of the province with a population exceeding one hundred thousand inhabitants.

The ethnic groups populating the province are Turkmen, Persians, Sistanis, Baluchis, Azeris, Turks Ghezelbash, Masandarani and Kazakhs. The Persians are divided into two categories: native and immigrant. In addition to Persian, which is the main language spoken in the province, some residents speak local Gorgan dialects. Persian is spoken mostly in central and southern parts of the province, while the strong presence of Mazandaranis in the western half has led to a high prevalence of their dialect. Most of the immigrants in the province are Baluchi, people from the city of Semnan and the cities of Khorassan, in the east of the province. Azerbaijanis and Kazakhs mostly live in the town of Gonbad, while Turkmen predominantly live in the east, center and north of the province. They are Sunni and speak Turkmen.


Historical overview

The history of civilization in this region dates back nearly seven thousand years, and according to research, a cave named Kiaram located in the district of Galikech would have housed men during the Paleolithic era. Other research has shown that the region of Gorgan sheltered, six thousand years ago, civilizations prior to the Indo-Europeans. The oldest remains of the period are around Hotu Cave, near the city of Behshahr. Rock paintings testify to the control by these peoples of crafts such as pottery, weaving, the manufacture of polished stone tools, as well as the practice of domestication of animals such as antelopes. The excavations carried out in Tourang Tappeh, a group of hills located 17 km north-east of Gorgan, have also revealed that with well-populated villages, a developed mastery of the art of pottery and an irrigation network, the history of this region is estimated to date back to a time as old as that of the Burnt City (shahr-e soukhteh) in the province of Sistan, that is to say in the 5th millennium BC. According to the Achaemenid epitaphs and especially those of Darius to Bisotoun, the name of this city is cited under the names of Varganah and Gourkan in Pahlavi writings. As for the Greek historians, they called it Hyrcanus. Darius also included a group of Gorgan horsemen in his army.

According to a historical source, the city of Gorgan, current capital of the province, would have been built by Xerxes who named Astarabaden because of the visibility of the stars, astar meaning "star" in ancient Persian. Under the reign of Artaban II of Parthe (128-124 BC), Hyrcan and Kerman were controlled by the Goudarz family, whose successors ruled independently until the second century AD.

Due to its mild and pleasant climate, this land was for a long time the resting place of the Parthian kings who built the Great Wall of Gorgan, later called the Dam of Alexander to protect Iran against the assaults of the Huns. The construction of the wall, which extended over 200 km, was continued during the Sassanid period, while Anoushirvan ordered its renovation.

During the same Sassanid period, fortifications were built to resist the attackers. After the conquest of Iran by the Muslim Arabs, the region retained its independence for a long time, and the city of Gorgan was very prosperous at the time of the Sassanid sovereigns’ refugees. Later, she belonged sometimes to the Bouyid dynasty, sometimes to that of the Samanids. Following the conquest of Iran by Gengis Khan, the city was totally destroyed.
The monarchs of the Ziyarid dynasty (927 to 1090) are among the most famous who ruled over this country from the beginning of the 10th century to the middle of the 11th, in the region of Gorgan as well as on a vast territory including the province from Guilan to cities such as Rey, Isfahan and Hamedan. Mardavij ben Ziyar, the founder of the dynasty, traces its roots back to the last Sassanid kings, and bases its intentions on extending its territory to Baghdad in order to "restore" the ancient Persian Empire. It fails, however, to achieve this goal, and the projects of this dynasty come to an end with the coming to power of the Seljuks. Ghabus bin Voshmgir is the most famous monarch of this era, whose love for science attracts big names such as Avicenne and Al-Birouni to his court. The latter carries out a large number of his researches in the city of Gorgan and writes one of his first works, Assar al-Baghia men al-Ghoroun al-Khalia (The Signs Remaining of Past Centuries), a comparative study of calendars. different civilizations. Ghabus himself writes a book of prose literature and orders the construction of a colossal mausoleum that will later house his grave.


The personalities from the region

The province has been and continues, albeit to a lesser extent, to be the cradle of a number of scientific and literary figures whose names we mention here most importantly:

Mohammad Borhadineddin Astarabadi, known as "Mir Dama", is an Iranian philosopher of the Safavid era born in Gorgan, and professor of the famous Molla Sadra. Mir Damad was also a poet and a mystic.

Abu Sahl Issa Bin Yahya al-Masihi, physician, astronomer and very famous philosopher of the tenth century, was born in Gorgan around 970 and died in 1010. He taught medicine at Avicenna, and is the author of two known works: Al- Tibiyya al-Sina'a al-Mi'a thread (One hundred chapters of medicine) and Kitab al-Tibb al-Kolli (General medicine book). Avicenna was also inspired by him when he wrote his Qanoun, which will form the basis of medical education in the Muslim East and then in medieval Europe for several centuries.

Zayn-al-Din Gorgani (Seyyed Isma'il ibn Hossayn 1040-1136) is also a famous doctor, born in the region and author of the famous Zakhireh-i Kharazmshahi (The Treasury of the King of Kharezm), first book written in Persian on the medical knowledge of the time. Aghrad al-Tibbiya (The Objectives of Medicine) and Al-Tazkarat al-Ashrafia fi al-Sana'at al-Tibbiya, a book on anatomy, are among his works. He has also written treatises on philosophy such as Al-Kazemieh and Kitabi Ra'd al-Falasifah (Book Against Philosophers), as well as on ethics (Kitab Tadbir al-Yam va Laylah, Kitab Nameh).

Mir Fendereski (Sayyed Mir Abol-Qasim Astarabaddi 1562-1640), is a scientist, philosopher and mystic of the Safavid era, born in the village of Fenderesk, located near Gorgan. He is contemporary with Mirdamad and Sheikh Bahai, who taught philosophy at Molla Sadra. He joined the court of Abbas I the Great after the coronation of the latter. Having studied a part of his life in India, Mir Fendereski had a good knowledge of human geography which he later taught in Isfahan. Apart from his works on philosophy, mathematics, physics and chemistry, he also wrote philosophical poems published under the title of Qasida Hekmiyya, as well as a book on aesthetics, Al-Resalah al-Sena. 'iyya.

Ibn Sharafshah Astarabadi (1247-1317) is a philosopher, semanticist and physician in Astarabad (Gorgan). He studied astronomy at Maragheh near Nasireddddin Toussi. He then teaches philosophy in Mosul at the Nouriyyah School. His main works are Mir'at al-Shafa (The mirror of healing) in medicine, and commentaries on such works as Tadjrid al-Kalam (De la concision) and Qavaed al-Aqa'ed (Laws of opinion) of Nassireddin Toussi in astronomy, and Al-Fasih (The eloquent) of Tha'lab on linguistics.

Fakhreddin As'ad Gorgani, poet of the ninth century, author of Manzoumeh Veys o Ramin (Book of Veys and Ramin) whose events date back to the time of the Arsacids. This work is considered to be the first collection of poems versified of love in Persian.

Bibi Khanoum Astarabadi (1858-1921) is a famous Iranian satirist and a pioneer of women's rights in Iran. Originally from Astarabad as her name suggests, she wrote in 1895 a book called Ma'ayyeb al-Rejal (The Tails of Men), which is intended to be a response to a misogynist booklet on women's education, Ta ' dib al-Nesvan, published by an unknown prince, containing regressive opinions such as the fact that "a woman is like a child who must be educated by man, she must submit unconditionally to her husband, she must not speak at table "etc. Bibi Khanoum publishes his work by directing it directly to the Iranian women: "My sisters, do not listen to the advice of these people, these educators of women who think they are unique, it is better that they begin to correct their abject faults ..."

In contemporary times, Manouchehr Farhang (1919-2009), another native figure in the province, is considered to be the father of modern economy in Iran. Among his works, we can mention Farhang-e oloum-e eghtesadi. (Encyclopaedia of Economics) and Taktik dar shatranj (Chess Strategy and Tactics).

The province of Golestan is also the birthplace of a number of athletes including Reza Soukhteh-Saraei, famous wrestler heavyweight category and champion of Asia in 1982, 1986 and 1990, Farhad Ghaemi, current member of the team national volleyball, and Sardar Azemoun, famous footballer in Iran.