Qazvin is one of the central cities of Iran and the capital of a province with the same name, situated at an altitude of 1,278 meters above sea level. The history of this city dates back to the Sassanian era, during which it flourished under the command of Shapur, a Sassanian king. This city was the capital of Iran for 57 years during the Safavid dynasty and has retained many cultural and historical artifacts from that period.
This city ranks first in the country and third in the world in terms of the number of historical sites. Among these sites are the Qajar Bathhouse, Maimun Fortress, Sa’d al-Saltaneh Caravanserai, Qazvin’s Grand Mosque, Sardar’s Water Reservoir, and the Chehel Sotoun Palace. The city is also dubbed the “Calligraphy Capital of Iran.”
The climate of Qazvin is cool in the summer and cold in the winter. The best times to visit this city are during the spring and summer seasons.
In terms of culinary culture, Qazvin boasts some of the most diverse dishes and sweets. The city’s famous dishes include “Ghimeh Nesar” and “Shirin Polo”, which can be found in many restaurants. Among the city’s distinctive sweets are almond baklava, chickpea bread, almond bread, and twisted baklava.
Best Time to Visit Qazvin
Given the city’s location at the foothills of the Alborz Mountains, its winters are relatively cold and snowy. Qazvin has a moderate and somewhat cool climate in the summer.
However, the best season to visit this region is in the spring, particularly during the months of Ordibehesht and Khordad (roughly corresponding to late April, May, and early June in the Gregorian calendar).
During this time, the plains and hills of this province are so green that they present an astonishing view before your eyes.
How to Go to Qazvin
While the city of Qazvin does have an airport, it is not currently accessible by air. To reach Qazvin, you can opt for train, bus, or personal car. Both the train station and the city’s main bus terminal are located in the southern part of Qazvin. From there, you can take a taxi to the heart of the city. If you’re driving from Tehran, you’ll need to take the Tehran-Karaj-Qazvin freeway. The distance between Tehran and Qazvin is about 153 kilometers, which takes roughly 2 hours to cover under normal traffic conditions.
Qazvin by Train: Your Guide to a Seamless Journey
You can purchase train tickets to Qazvin both online and in person. The recommended method for travelers, especially those coming from Tehran, is through the website OrientTrips. To book a ticket, simply navigate to the train tickets section, and fill in the required details. This includes your departure city (e.g., Tehran), destination (Qazvin), travel dates, and the number of passengers.
Typically, there are two main train services daily from Tehran to Qazvin around 7 a.m. The first is a direct service to Qazvin, while the second, a slightly faster service by the Raja company, heads to Zanjan but stops in Qazvin en route. Both these trains return to Tehran in the evening. The travel duration between Tehran and Qazvin (and vice versa) is approximately 1 hour and 30 minutes.
Planning Your Visit:
If you’re keen on exploring Qazvin’s significant attractions, it’s advisable to take the morning train from Tehran and return in the evening. This allows you ample time to soak in the city’s rich history and cultural landmarks.
Be aware that during certain seasons, there might be only one train service available, or sometimes none at all due to various reasons. It’s essential to always check the availability and schedules on OrientTrips before your journey and make sure to reserve your tickets in advance.
Buses to Qazvin run regularly from various cities, including Tehran, offering travelers a wide choice in terms of timings.
Best Hotels in Qazvin
Iran Hotels Online
Whether you’re seeking modern luxury or a touch of tradition, Qazvin’s hospitality scene has something for everyone. Here’s a list of some of the top hotels in the city:
Iranian 4-Star Hotel
Since 2013, the Iranian Hotel has been welcoming guests, offering an array of services, including event hosting and a semi-daily restaurant. Recognized as one of the best hotels in Qazvin, it operates across three floors with 34 accommodation units comprising both rooms and suites.
Tucked away in the Haft Sangan neighborhood, the Iranian Hotel offers a respite from the city’s hustle and bustle. Yet, its strategic location ensures that major tourist attractions like Sa’d al-Saltaneh and the local bazaar are only a 15 to 20-minute drive away.
- Address: Haft Sangan, Ostad Mohasses Boulevard
- View Iranian Hotel on Google Maps
- Top Amenities: Dry cleaning services, Swimming pool, Turkish bath, Tennis court, Gym, Café, Restaurant, Green spaces.
Baghdadi 4-Star Hotel
Opened in 2019 on Takistan Road, Baghdadi is a newly constructed hotel with 74 units, including rooms and suites. Its location provides convenient access to various tourist attractions.
- Address: Takistan Road
- View Baghdadi Hotel on Google Maps
- Top Amenities: Phone, TV, refrigerator, mini-bar, 24-hour taxi service, elevator, conference hall, 24-hour café, restaurant, and parking.
Marmar 3-Star Hotel
One of Qazvin’s oldest and finest establishments, Marmar Hotel began its operations in 1995 and underwent renovations in 2015. It boasts 48 units across seven floors.
- Address: Valiasr Square, next to the mosque
- View Marmar Hotel on Google Maps
- Top Amenities: Internet, phone, TV, Iranian and western toilets, safe deposit box, café, restaurant, parking.
Sina 3-Star Apartment Hotel
Opened in 2017, this hotel on Ansari Street offers easy access to the city center and its attractions. With 28 units, guests can choose from single to five-person apartments.
- Address: West Shahid Ansari Street, beginning of Tabriz Street
- View Sina Apartment Hotel on Google Maps
- Top Amenities: Café, taxi service, restaurant, parking, internet in the lobby, room service, Iranian and western toilets, usable balcony, elevator, safe deposit box, laundry.
Atlas 2-Star Apartment Hotel
Atlas operates in a three-story building offering 85 sq.m units with kitchens. Located in the northern part of the city, it offers easy access to attractions such as the Fadak Forest Park, zoo, amusement park, and historical sites.
- Address: Noroozian, Shahid Soleymani Boulevard, at the end of Hekmat 48, between Danesh 11 and 12 Streets
- View Atlas Hotel on Google Maps
- Top Amenities: Western and Iranian toilets, internet, indoor and outdoor café-restaurant.
Minoo 2-Star Hotel
Among Qazvin’s well-known hotels, Minoo offers a selection of rooms ranging from single to suites. Its proximity to the city entrance and bus terminal is a significant advantage.
- Address: Valiasr Intersection, next to the mosque
- View Minoo Hotel on Google Maps
- Top Amenities: Internet, phone, TV, Iranian and western toilets, safe deposit box, café, restaurant, parking.
Alborz 2-Star Hotel
Established in 1976, Alborz is one of Qazvin’s oldest and best hotels. It was renovated in 2018 and has 38 units across three floors.
- Address: Taleghani Street, Khayam Three-way
- View Alborz Hotel on Google Maps
- Top Amenities: TV, refrigerator, desk, lamp, clothes rack, wardrobe, phone, bathroom amenities, western toilet.
Kourosh 2-Star Hotel
Newly opened in 2021, this hotel boasts a prime location for exploring the city’s tourist sites. It offers rooms ranging from single to five-person accommodations.
- Address: Imam Street, after the bazaar intersection, next to Haji Mosque
- View Kourosh Hotel on Google Maps
- Top Amenities: Indoor restaurant, open-air café, children’s room, massage room, billiard room, laundry, high-speed internet, parking.
Argavan Traditional Hotel
For those looking for a traditional experience, the Argavan is a must-visit. Formerly known as Yazdi’s House, it dates back to the late Qajar period and was renovated in 2020.
- Address: Shahid Ansari Street, Salehieh Alley
- View Argavan Traditional Hotel on Google Maps
- Top Amenities: Room service, restaurant, café, in-room internet, parking, mini-bar, store.
Qazvin Must-Visit Attractions
Masjed al-Nabi (Prophet’s Mosque) in Qazvin
The Masjed al-Nabi, also known as Shah Mosque of Qazvin, stands as one of the must-see attractions in the city of Qazvin. According to an inscription placed above the mosque’s entrance, it was constructed during the reign of Fath-Ali Shah Qajar. However, some believe that this majestic mosque hails from the Safavid era.
Spanning an impressive area of around 14,000 square meters, the mosque boasts three ornate entrance gates. These portals, characterized by their traditional Iranian arches, are sure to captivate visitors. The mosque entrances are adorned with intricate tilework and calligraphy in the Nasta’liq script. Upon entering, you are greeted by a vast courtyard with a grand portico. Above this portico, there’s a designated space for the muezzin. The courtyard’s center showcases a turquoise pool with a petite fountain, adding to the serene ambiance.
Sa’d al-Saltaneh Caravanserai, Qazvin
Sa’d al-Saltaneh Caravanserai stands as a grand and ancient edifice dating back to the Qajar era, having weathered various events over time. Commissioned by Sa’d al-Saltaneh, the then-governor of Qazvin, its most prominent feature is a large, ornately tiled dome. Flanking this central dome are four smaller ones, further enhancing the structure’s grandeur.
You’ve arrived at a location that has patiently awaited the gaze of many for years, with each brick echoing the artistry of Iranian craftsmen. It ranks as one of Qazvin’s most significant attractions, and it’s an experience you shouldn’t miss.
The Cultural Heritage Organization of Qazvin has undertaken the restoration of the Sa’d al-Saltaneh Caravanserai, with work still ongoing. The renovated parts currently serve as a hub for displaying the works of local artists and producers of handicrafts. Traditional cafes, boutiques selling traditional attire, native restaurants, and outlets for local confectioneries have found their homes here.
Garmaglou Valley, Qazvin
Venture into a landscape you’ve perhaps only seen in movies or dreamt of in your sleep. This mysterious land is a slice of paradise, right in Qazvin. Once you experience the wonders of the Garmaglou Valley, you might find yourself wondering why you didn’t discover it sooner.
Located near the Alamut Castle is the village of Gazarkhan, where the sweet dialect of Tati is spoken. Close to this village lies the majestic Garmaglou Valley, characterized by its unique and magnificent topography. Spanning this valley is a metal bridge, facilitating the passage across.
Deep within the red-hued valley, a crystal-clear river flows. If you listen closely, you can hear its gentle murmur. Viewing the valley from a distance, you’ll observe the strong embrace of the red rocks surrounding the village.
Gazarkhan and the Garmaglou Valley boast lush landscapes. Scattered sheep herds are a common sight, their bells echoing in the silence of the rocks. If you’re fortunate enough to experience the valley on a cloudy day, the ambiance becomes truly enchanting. Imagine a cool breeze caressing your face, mist slowly drifting among the rocks, and the distant sounds of sheep bells in the air.
Traditional Orchard of Qazvin
Located south of Qazvin city, the ancient orchards, which span over 2,500 hectares and date back over a thousand years, are a must-visit attraction. Historically, the orchard was much larger than what remains today, with the renowned traveler Nasir Khusraw referencing its vastness and verdant beauty in his travelogues.
In the past, the orchard was traditionally irrigated using nearby rivers. It boasts a rich variety of fruit trees including grapevines, almonds, peaches, apples, mulberries, cherries, pistachios, and quinces.
A visit during spring will present you with a vast expanse covered in blossoms whose fragrance is intoxicating. Entwined trees and branches stretching out to the alley walls will seemingly reach out to you, while the luscious and colorful fruit clusters in summer resemble tempting pearls that are hard to resist.
Cantor Church In Qazvin
The construction of the road from Bandar Anzali to Qazvin was entrusted to a Russian company. To cater to their religious ceremonies, they decided to build this church.
The Cantor Church’s structure is entirely covered with glazed red bricks. Its exterior features beautifully ornate columns, giving it a distinct appearance among Qazvin’s historical buildings. The two corners of the bell tower’s first floor resemble a mosque with prominent pillar-like features. However, on the second floor, there are four pillars positioned slightly away from the walls.
Apart from the mosque-like windows, the bell tower also has its own set of windows, allowing natural light to filter through and illuminate the interiors.
Atiq Jameh Mosque of Qazvin
The Jameh Mosque of Qazvin, also known as the Atiq Mosque of Qazvin, stands as one of the oldest and most beautiful mosques in the Muslim world. An emblematic monument of Qazvin, this ancient mosque was initially constructed atop a Zoroastrian fire temple that remained from the Sassanid era.
Aminiha Hosseiniyeh is an emblematic landmark located in Qazvin, constructed during the Qajar era. Commissioned by a renowned merchant of Qazvin named Haj Mohammad Reza Amini, the Hosseiniyeh is celebrated for its exquisite Iranian architecture, its single-piece carpets, spellbinding mirror work, and chandeliers. It has become one of Qazvin’s main attractions, drawing numerous tourists and travelers.
The structure features three parallel halls separated by beautiful wooden dividers known as “Orsi”. Beneath these halls, there’s a Sherbatkhaneh (a traditional drink house) and a basement. Perhaps one of the most enchanting aspects of the Aminiha Hosseiniyeh is its Orsi windows. These intricately designed windows allow sunlight to filter through their delicate colored glasses, casting fragmented beams that dance upon the carpets and floor, creating a mesmerizing visual experience.