Zanjan, situated in the northwestern region of Iran, is often called the country’s “Gemstone Capital” and for good reason. The city and its surrounding province are replete with attractions that range from ancient archaeological sites to artisanal wonders. Whether you’re in search of history, adventure, or simply the pleasure of discovering an off-the-beaten-path locale, Zanjan has it all. This comprehensive guide serves as your trusted companion to help you explore the best of Zanjan.
Zanjan province with 22500 square kilometer is situated in North West of Iran between 3715′- 35 033′ N and 471 0′ – 49 026′ E. From geological point of view is a part of central Iran and in geomorphologic classification it is identified as North West geomorphological unit and since being located on the transit corridor is the linking point between the central, western and western north of the country.
How to Get to Zanjan
The closest international airport is Imam Khomeini International Airport in Tehran. From there, you can reach Zanjan by road or rail.
To book your flights, you can head to OrientTrips.
The distance from Tehran to Zanjan is around 330 km, making it a 4-hour drive on the Tehran-Zanjan highway.
Iran boasts an impressive railway network, making train travel a comfortable and scenic option.
You can catch a train from major cities like Tehran to Zanjan, enjoying the diverse Iranian landscapes along the way. For train tickets, explore the options at train ticket booking.
Zanjan Top Attractions
Tourist attractions are located all across the province and can be classified as natural, social, historic, and cultural. In this regard, a town such as Zanjan is hosts to the most number of these attractions.
Perhaps the most prominent site in the province is the magnificent edifice of The Soltaniyeh Dome which is one of the most exceptional and famous Islamic sites dating back to 700 years ago.
The Dome is listed in UNESCO world heritage and plays a great role in the tourism of the region.
According to the last state divisions this province has 3 provincial districts, 13 regions, and 8 towns. In November 1996, the population of this province was approximately 901,000; out of which about 47% resided in urban areas, around 52% were rural dwellers, and a number were non-residents.
Zanjan was located on Commercial Silk road and is one of the few cities with no clear historical identity and identity and written memory of history don’t much talk about the historical, social, scientific, artistic and cultural information of Zanjan.
In recent years, the city as well as the growth of in various fields because of the people’s attention to the handcraft, it has been specially placed in the production and supply of art products.
The Soltaniyeh Dome, nestled in Iran’s Zanjan Province, stands as a testament to the architectural prowess of the Ilkhanid era. Recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage site, this monumental structure is renowned for being the world’s third-largest dome, trailing only the domes of Santa Maria del Fiore in Florence and Hagia Sophia in Istanbul. What sets the Soltaniyeh Dome apart is its distinction as the largest dome constructed of bricks in the world, a remarkable feat of engineering and design.
Constructed in the 14th century, the dome crowns the Mausoleum of Ilkhan Oljaytu, showcasing an intricate blend of Persian and Islamic architectural styles. Its azure blue tiles and towering stature dominate the landscape, offering a breathtaking spectacle. Inside, the mausoleum is adorned with stunning mosaics, faience, and murals, reflecting the artistic zenith of its time. The Soltaniyeh Dome is not just a historical landmark but a symbol of Iran’s rich cultural and architectural heritage.
Haj dadash bathhouse
One of the oldest buildings in Zanjan, Haj Dadash Bathhouse is located in the Zanjan Bazaar complex. This century-old bath house has a dome that sits on four stone pillars, carved by master stonemasons from Hamadan. After renovation and minor changes to the original structure, Haj Dadash Bathhouse was turned into a traditional Restaurant.
Zanjan Wash House or as it is known locally Rakht-Shouy Khaneh is located in the old Abass-Qoli neighborhood of the city and was built in 1928 by the then mayor of the city Ali Akbar Tofiqi to provide the women of the city with a closed space to do their laundry. This Qajar era (1785-1925) structure has been built entirely of brick and stone.
The Wash House consists of two parts Managerial Quarters and Laundry Room. The Managerial Quarters consists of a residential building and a courtyard with trees and flowers. An entrance in the northern part of the courtyard connects the residential building with the laundry room.
Zanjan Wash House has a 17-meter long and 11.5-meter wide Khazineh, a room with a large hot water pool, which has an 8-meter high ceiling. A terrace-like platform has been built directly across from the laundry room, where the manager of the Wash House would sit and oversee the business. A nearby Qanat (underground water management system) provided water for the Wash House. Zanjan Wash House was turned into an Anthropology Museum in 1998
Katale Khor Cave
Katale Khor is a cave located in Zanjan Province, Iran. It is situated 120 km south of Zanjan city and is about 410 km from Tehran. The name, Katale Khor, means “mount of the sun”. Geological studies in 1984 showed that the cave formation dates back to the Jurassic period.
The century-old Mir Baha-ol-Din Bridge or Old Bridge is the oldest and largest standing bridge on the Zanjan River (Zanjan Roud) which was built in the Qajar era (1785-1925) by a merchant of the same name. This brick bridge is 100 meters long and 7 meters wide. The highest point of the bridge is 11 meters from the water. The bridge has a large middle arch with two smaller arches on either side. This bridge was registered as a National Heritage Site in 1977.
Sohrein protected area:
Persian gazelle (Gazella subgutturosa) is one of the most important species in the world with its wide distribution in Iran The greatest number of this species in Iran is associated with the gazelles in Sohrain plain in Sorkhabad protected region in Zanjan province.
The Sangi Caravanserai (Stone Caravanserai) is a Safavid dynasty caravanserai located in Zanjan city The caravanserai is the oldest remained monument in Zanjan city. It has a four iwans (porches) plan and it’s chambers (Persian: hojrehs) are located on one floor. The ceiling of the caravanserai is arcade. Using of stone as the main material in the building, is caused that the caravanserai is became famous as Stone Caravanserai. This 400-year-old stone building is an L-shaped remnant of a caravanserai with 10 carpet-decked vaulted alcoves facing a long row of tables. Sangi caravanserai was registered in national index in 1998 by the Iranian Cultural Heritage Organization with number 2128.
Jame mosque of Zanjan
Jame’ Mosque is situated in the old part of the city. This mosque was commissioned by Abdollah-Mirza Dara, son of the Qajar monarch Fath- Ali Shah. Existing sources also refer to this building as the Seyyed Mosque and the Seyyed Madrasa. The original building of the mosque dates back to the first half of the thirteenth century In the Pahlavi period.
Zolfaqari Mansion is a Qajar era (1785-1925) structure located at the heart of the old texture of Zanjan. Like traditional Persian homes, this structure has an Andarouni (interior), which was the private quarters used by women and servants, a Birouni (exterior), which was the public quarters mostly used by men, and living quarters for the servants, and administrative quarters.
A series of tunnels on the ground floor Mansion or and basement once connected the Andarouni, Birouni and the administrative quarters. The structure is a combination of Symmetrical Persian designs and European architecture.
The building has a dome-shaped octagonal light well which is known as the Pavilion (Kolah Farangi). The ceilings of all rooms in his structure have geometrical designs and Persian and Islamic motifs. The Qajar-style tile work on the ground floor has the famed lotus design.
The twin windows used throughout the building have stained glass decorations. In 2009, the mansion became the Anthropology Museum of Zanjan and now houses the Saltmen discovered at Chehrabad Mine. Zolfaqari Mansion was registered as a National Heritage Site in 1996.
Shilandar village is located 40 km far from Zanjan. The village has stepped architecture and is one of the most beautiful villages in the province and after passing through the village of Aliabad and Taham. The architecture of the village is the same as Masule village in the mountainous tissue. Abundance of waterfalls has added to the beauty of the countryside meanwhile the nature and lush area also catch the eye of the viewer. Shilandar village Shilandar village Shilandar village 64 km far from Zanjan is located. The village is one of the most beautiful villages in the province and after passing through the village of Aliabad and Taham, and stepped architecture is the villages. The architecture of the village is the same as Masule village in the mountainous tissue has been astounding. Waterfall is abundant, has added to the beauty of the
This mosque is one of the oldest religious buildings which has been remained safe and is located in Bazaar region. It might be built at the end of Safavid and beginning of Qajar eras. This mosque has two sections, old middle aisle and new mosque . Mirzaee Mosque Mirzaee Mosque: This mosque is one of the oldest religious buildings which has been remained safe and is located in Bazaar region. It might be built at the end of Safavid and beginning of Qajar eras. This mosque has two sect
The Archeology Museum of Zanjan is located in the Zolfaqari Mansion of Zanjan and opened in 2009. This museum houses artifacts from prehistory, ancient history and the Islamic era. Initially the mansion was used as a temporary museum to house the salt men uncovered at Zanjan’s Chehrabad Salt Mine. So far six salt mummies from the Achaemenian (550-330 BC) and Sassanid (226-651 CE) eras have been found. One of these mummies is housed at the National Museum of Iran in Tehran.
The Archeology Museum of Zanjan is located in the Zolfaqari Mansion of Zanjan and opened in 2009. This museum houses artifacts from prehistory, ancient history and the Islamic era. Initially the mansion was used as a temporary museum to house the salt men uncovered at Zanjan’s Chehrabad Salt Mine. So far 8 salt mummies from the Achaemenian (550-330 BC) and Sassanid (226-651 CE) eras have been found. One of these mummies is housed at the National Museum of Iran in Tehran.
Papayi ski piste
Papayi Ski Resort is located 20 kilometers from Zanjan on the road to Bijar. This resort has a ski school, 2 ski lifts, parking space for skiers and a restaurant where they can have a snack after a day on the piste (ski-run). Papayi has a vertical drop of 600 meters and an altitude of 21,150 meters above sea level.
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Goljyc cave 35 km southwest of Zanjan city in Goljyc village is located. This is huge natural erosion limestone cave in the cave and emerged with a pleasant climate inside the refuge of pre-history. Its dimensions are 100 × 700 m and a height of approximately 50 meters. Man cave biological effects belonging to the 16 to 30 thousand years BC shows. Inside the cave, tools, equipment, bits of stone and bones of prey animals can be seen in abundance. What is most worthy of study, study and important works of architecture in the cave and closed the living spaces and privacy rose in its ownership.
The hosseinieh of Zanjan is a place for religious gatherings and ceremonies. Mourners dressed in black take to the streets or gather in the hoseyniyeh to grieve the slaying of Imam Hossein . The Imam flatly refused to give allegiance to the oppressive Umayyad caliph, Yazid. His martyrdom took place on the tenth of the Muslim month of Muharram, known as Ashura, in 680 AD. He was martyred along with 72 of his loyal companions in the tragic massacre at Karbala. The battle of Hussein is commemorated during an annual 10-day period held every Muharram by the Shi’ah as well as many Sunnis, culminating on its tenth day, Ashura.
Zanjan bazaar is one of the most important historical complexes in Iran, and is a great attraction for tourists. It’s one of the oldest bazaars of the Middle East and the longest covered bazaar in the Iran. Dating back to the Qajar period, the bazaar is located in the heart of the old part of the city. It consists of two sections: the upper bazaar and the lower bazaar.
Having three main entrances in north, east and west the bazaar comprises almost 1000 shops and two baths called Mirli and Haj Ebrahim. In the past it could, and even now it can, meet all the needs of the people. Serai Malek and Serai Golshan are the two main caravansaries of this bazaar. The complex was a proper place to social contacts nearby commercial centers from old days and played an important role in preserving national and religious customs.
This Bazaar has been divided into 8 segments (each to do with a specific guild) such as, jewel merchants, textiles, foot ware, saddle-makers, fruit sellers etc. Four of the most important mosques of Zanjan are located here named as the Chehel Sotoon Mosque, Aqa Seyed Fathollah Mosque, Jame Mosque, Mirzaei Mosque.
Since Zanjan has hot summers and very cold and snowy winters people might not feel this weather conditions so severely when they are inside the complex due to the architecture of the roof. So they may have opportunity to spend plenty of time to choose their desired products. Zanjan’s Bazaar.