Embark on a journey through our Zanjan Travel Guide, your essential resource for exploring this captivating city in northwest Iran. Zanjan, known for its rich history and cultural heritage, offers a perfect mix of ancient allure and contemporary attractions.
This guide packed with crucial information and recommendations to enhance your experience. Explore the historic bazaars, marvel at the exquisite mosques, and uncover the hidden treasures of the surrounding landscapes.
Zanjan is a city that boasts unique architecture, delightful cuisine, and the genuine hospitality of its residents. Ideal for history enthusiasts, nature lovers, and those seeking new adventures, our Zanjan Travel Guide is your key to unlocking the city’s full potential. Join us as we delve into the essence of Zanjan and unearth the myriad experiences this extraordinary city has in store!
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 situated in North West of Iran between 3715′- 35 033′ N and 471 0′ – 49 026′ E.
Zanjan sits in central Iran, falling within the North West geomorphological unit. Its strategic location on a major transit route makes it a vital link between the central, western, and northwestern parts of the country.
It serves as a key connecting point, linking the central, western, and northwestern regions of the country, thanks to its position on a major transit route.
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 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, Zanjan has seen significant growth in various fields, particularly in the realm of handicrafts. The city has gained special recognition for producing and supplying art products, thanks to the local people’s dedication to craftsmanship.
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 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 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 turned into a traditional Restaurant.
Zanjan Wash House or known locally Rakht-Shouy Khaneh is located in the old Abass-Qoli neighborhood of the city and 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 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 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 turned into an Anthropology Museum in 1998
Katale Khor Cave
Katale Khor Cave, located in Zanjan Province, Iran, presents an astonishing geological wonder. Situated 120 km south of Zanjan city and approximately 410 km from Tehran, this cave carries the intriguing name “mount of the sun”. Geological research conducted in 1984 reveals that the formation of Katale Khor dates back to the Jurassic period, adding to its historical significance.
The Mir Baha-ol-Din Bridge, also known as the Old Bridge, stands as a testament to historical engineering on the Zanjan River (Zanjan Roud). Dating back to the Qajar era (1785-1925), a merchant bearing the same name constructed this brick marvel. Spanning 100 meters in length and 7 meters in width, the bridge reaches a height of 11 meters at its peak. It features a prominent middle arch flanked by two smaller ones. In 1977, authorities recognized its cultural significance, registering it as a National Heritage Site.
Sohrein protected area:
Persian gazelle (Gazella subgutturosa) holds a vital place in global wildlife, especially noted for its extensive presence in Iran. The Sohrain plain, located within the Sorkhabad protected region in Zanjan province, boasts the largest population of this species in the country. This highlights the region’s ecological importance in preserving these graceful animals.
Caravanserai Sangi, also known as the Stone Caravanserai, stands as a historic marvel in Zanjan city from the Safavid dynasty. It’s the oldest monument in Zanjan, showcasing a unique four-iwan (porch) design. The structure’s one-story chambers, or hojrehs, and the arcade-style ceiling add to its architectural appeal. Its construction primarily uses stone, earning it the nickname ‘Stone Caravanserai’. This 400-year-old L-shaped building features 10 carpet-decked vaulted alcoves, all facing a series of tables. In 1998, the Iranian Cultural Heritage Organization officially recognized the Sangi Caravanserai, listing it in the national index under number 2128.
Jame mosque of Zanjan
Jame’ Mosque, located in the historical section of the city, stands as a significant Qajar-era monument. Commissioned by Abdollah-Mirza Dara, the son of Fath-Ali Shah, a notable Qajar monarch, this mosque also goes by the names Seyyed Mosque and Seyyed Madrasa. Historical records trace the mosque’s original construction to the first half of the thirteenth century, with notable developments in the Pahlavi period. This mosque represents a blend of rich history and cultural heritage.
Zolfaqari Mansion, a quintessential Qajar era (1785-1925) structure, nestles in the old quarters of Zanjan. True to traditional Persian architecture, it features distinct sections. The Andarouni, or interior, served as a private space for women and servants. The Birouni, or exterior, functioned as the public area predominantly used by men. Additionally, this mansion includes living quarters for servants and spaces dedicated to administrative purposes, showcasing the rich cultural heritage of the period.
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 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 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
Mirzaei Mosque, situated in the bustling Bazaar region, stands as a testament to the rich religious history of the area. This mosque, one of the oldest and well-preserved religious buildings, likely dates back to the transition period between the end of the Safavid and the beginning of the Qajar eras.
It features two distinct sections: the old middle aisle, echoing the past, and the new mosque, representing a blend of historical and contemporary architectural styles. The Mirzaei Mosque offers a unique glimpse into the religious and cultural evolution of the region.
The Archeology Museum of Zanjan, housed in the historic Zolfaqari Mansion, opened its doors in 2009. This museum is a treasure trove of artifacts spanning prehistory, ancient times, and the Islamic era.
Initially, the mansion served as a temporary exhibit for the remarkable salt men discovered at Zanjan’s Chehrabad Salt Mine.
To date, archaeologists have unearthed eight salt mummies from the Achaemenian (550-330 BC) and Sassanid (226-651 CE) periods. These significant discoveries include one mummy showcased at the National Museum of Iran in Tehran, highlighting the region’s rich and intriguing history.
One of these significant mummies currently resides at the National Museum of Iran in Tehran, highlighting the museum’s role in preserving Iran’s rich historical legacy.
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 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 found. One of these mummies 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 the tragic massacre at Karbala, 72 loyal companions and Hussein met their martyrdom. Both Shi’ah and many Sunnis commemorate this battle annually over a 10-day period each Muharram. This period culminates 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 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 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.
Zanjan, Iran, truly stands out as a dynamic fusion of history, culture, and commerce. The city’s famous bazaar buzzes with activity, offering an array of handcrafted jewels, textiles, and other unique items. Additionally, the tranquil historic mosques provide a serene counterpoint to the lively market streets.
Zanjan is perfect for travelers seeking to immerse themselves in Iran’s rich heritage, enjoy a unique shopping experience, or embark on a spiritual quest. The city welcomes visitors with open arms, offering a mix of vibrant urban life and impressive architectural wonders.
For anyone exploring Iran’s varied landscape, Zanjan is an essential stop. It beautifully captures the spirit of a journey that spans both time and diverse cultures. With its blend of traditional charm and contemporary vibrancy, Zanjan leaves an unforgettable impression on all who visit.