Matin Lashkari * – Located just 25 km southwest of Foman city in Gilan province, North of Iran, lies an abandoned medieval castle known as Roudkhan. The castle was built as a military complex and it’s construction goes back to the Sassanid empire, during the assault of the Arabs.
It sits on two mountain peaks, separated in two sections, one for the governor and his family and two for the soldiers and servants. The whole establishment is so well preserved that all the towers are still standing tall.
I had heard people raving about this place quite a lot, but never did I think it would be such a scenic experience nor did I imagine I would be climbing 1024 stairs for more than 3 hours to reach it!! To be honest it actually took us around 4 hours to get all the way to the top, but we took breaks occasionally. We started off around 10-11 in the morning and ended up having our lunch around 5 in the afternoon, which you would probably want to avoid as our stomachs were growling all the way down. While there were peddlers along the way selling drinks and snacks, there were no restaurants to be found at the top and therefore you’d have to make your way down to the bottom to treat your belly properly.
The path goes through some alluring landscapes with relentless scenes of a lush green forest and cascades that originate from the castle height. Every once in a while we would get a glimpse of the castle towers, fooling us to believe we were only steps behind.
Once we got to the top and passed through the massive entrance gate we were all in awe of the majestic scenery which was worth all the sweating. It was such a nice respite of the daily city life we continuously experience.
The uphill trek would normally take up to 3 hours depending on your speed and the number of stops you take. While going down will take an hour less, things don’t get any easier since the cobblestones are washed out due constant rain in the region and there’s a high chance that the stairs are wet and slippery.
– The best time for hiking here would be around spring time, as summers are hot and humid and winters are cold and rainy.
– Temperatures shift dramatically once you get to the heights, therefore it’s best to have something to cover up incase you’re cold.
– If you found your way to this place, be sure to check out the gorgeous village of Masouleh which sits only a few kilometers away and is a major tourist destination of the region.
* Matin Lashkari is an Iranian Graphic Designer and Travel blogger who writes about her world travel experience one destination at a time. Read her travel stories: www.travestyle.com
Madi Jahangir* – “Iranians and Italians are so much alike. In the good and in the bad!” Angela’s emphasis on the good and the bad made me laugh aloud every time and laughter was what made our trip even more fun.
Our two weeks traveling in Iran officially ended few days ago when my friend and fellow travel writer Angela of Chasing the Unexpected flew back to Rome, Italy and I took the night bus to northern Iran. So far as being two women coming from two of the world’s first civilizations, we were not really surprised to realize that the two nations share a lot in the matter of culture and lifestyle. Perhaps one of the major traits that Iranians share with Italians is to keep that crazy sense of humor, to cheer oneself up at the time of frustrating long distances. Continue reading
Madi Jahangir* – As soon as I arrived at the lake, I found myself in a snowball battlefield in which I only managed to save my camera. I wished so much that I could join the group and shoot them back with snowballs but I rather shoot them with photographs. As I heard the various accents of Gilaki language, I realised there were residents of Lahijan and tourists among them too, who had come from cities nearby. Young and old were out and playing with the first snow of this winter in my hometown, Lahijan. Continue reading
Diako Mardanbegi * – Soobatan is a village in the north of Iran 36 km far fram the city Talesh and in the at the height of 1950m.I took the cover photo above on our way to Soobatan where is known as the heaven of Iran. I like the colours and the clouds in the image and the horizon line between the caspian sea, the beach, and the sky.
We rented a SUV vehicle in Talesh and it took us about 2 hours to reach the village. Continue reading
Dream Of Iran – Iran is the land of kebabs but Iranian cuisine is much more diverse, complicated and difficult to be made than that. Located in the Middle East, Iranian cuisine has both influenced and been influenced by its Western and Eastern neighbors. Perhaps, the modern Iranian style of cooking includes a wide variety of foods, a combination of Mesopotamian, Anatolian, Central Asian, Russian, Armenian and the ancient Iranian recipes, finely blended together as one of the most delicious cuisines in the world. Continue reading
Dream Of Iran – Iran is called the land of four seasons for a reason. This week the first snow of autumn blanketed half of Iran and led to closure of schools in several cities. This happens while at the moment, Iranians in southern Iran enjoy swimming in the Persian gulf and take bath under the beautiful warm Sun. These all seem out of context for northerners in the winter days.
Tehran also experiences white winter every year and it is much more welcomed by the Tehraners as a sign of relief from the pollution. Specially this year that the smog forced the Tehran officials to declare an air pollution emergency, even the little snow or rainfall can come to the rescue and clear away the dirt from the face of the mega capital. Continue reading
Madi Jahangir * – There are two gates. I entered the yard from the right gate where old men were sitting on the stairs and staring at my camera. Though I assume they were staring at my camera from when I was photographing Lahijan’s grand mosque on the side of the square. Upon entering the Chahar Padshahan (Four Kings), I found myself walking on the stone tiles in between them the green grass had grown. Chahar Padshahan consists of two buildings. There is a newer structure with blue ceramic artworks similar to that of typical mosques in Iran. But the shorter building on the left looks much less new and much more Gilani style of architecture: Wooden structure, white plaster walls, clay roof tiles and ancient cafe house style of paintings here and there. Continue reading
Madi Jahangir – After several times postponing my trip, I finally took the road to Ardabil the other week and on our way, we passed Heyran region on the Astara’s mountainous road to our destination. To my surprise, approximately 1500 meters above the Caspian sea, we were above the sea of clouds too!
No wonder they named the place Heyran, which means wandering in Persian. This region is very strange. It is located on the far west of Gilan province and the road is partially border with Azarbaijan and the barded wire of the border is quite visible on the right side. Continue reading
Madi Jahangir *– After visiting the picturesque town of Masouleh, we headed to touristic Bandar Anzali on the Caspian sea. Anzali is a free trade zone harbour town close to Rasht, capital of Gilan province. We arrived at the cloudy Anzali late in the evening. While the sun was not still down, the sky was gloomy and dark. Continue reading
Madi Jahangir * – On the wooden balcony and behind the geraniums, the old man was watching the people walking over the courtyard of his house. Noise of vehicles was far away, because no motor vehicle was allowed in. I knew this. I’ve been to the city once many years ago when I was a child. I do not have a clear picture of what I had seen that time though. It was not very known touristic place that time and we had traveled there after a flood which had left the place quite muddy. I had not stepped in there until recently when I decided to show my home-province to my Tajik friend. Continue reading