Qazvin is the largest city and capital of the Province of Qazvin in Iran with an estimated population of 331,409 in 2005. [*]
Introduction and history
Qazvin is a city in Iran, some 165 km northwest of Tehran, in Qazvin Province. It is at an altitude of about 1800 meters above sea level, and is a city with a cold but dry climate being south of the rugged Alborz range.
The city was the location of a former capital of the Persian Empire and contains over 2000 architectural and archeological sites. It is a provincial capital today that has been an important cultural center throughout history.
Archeological findings in the Qazvin plain reveal urban agricultural settlements for at least nine millennia. The name Qazvin or Kasbin is derived from Cas, an ancient tribe which lived south of the Caspian Sea a thousand years ago. The Caspian Sea itself in fact derives its name from the same origin. Qazvin geographically connects Tehran, Isfahan, and the Persian Gulf to the Caspian seacoast and Asia Minor, hence its strategic location throughout the ages.
The city today known as Qazvin is thought to have been founded by Shapur II, King of Persia in 250 CE, under the name Shad Shahpur, when he built a fortification there to control regional tensions.
Qazvin has sometimes been of central importance at important moments of Iranian history. Captured by invading Arabs (644 AD) and destroyed by Genghis Khan (13th century), the Safavid monarchs made Qazvin the capital of the Safavid empire in 1548 only to have it moved to Isfahan in 1598.
Hasan-i Sabbah established the headquarters of the Hashshashin at the nearby fortress of Alamut about 1090.
Bombed and occupied by Russian forces in both World Wars, Qazvin is also the place from which the famous coup detat that led to the rise of the first Pahlavi dynasty was launched in 1921.
Qazvin contains several archeological excavations dating back 9000 years. There are also 23 castles from the Ismaili Assassins nearby as well. And in the middle of the city lie the ruins of Meimoon Ghal'eh, one of several Sassanid edifices in the area.
Qazvin contains few buildings from the Safavid era, when it was capital of Persia. Perhaps the most famous of the surviving edifices is the Chehelsotoon (Kolah Farangi) mansion, today a museum in central Qazvin.
After Islam, the popularity of mystics (tasawwuf), as well as the prominence of tradition (Hadith), religious jurisprudence (fiqh), and philosophy in Qazvin, led to the emergence of many mosques and religious schools, among which the most magnificent are:
Jame' Atiq Mosque of Qazvin.
Masjed Al-nabi (Soltani Mosque): With an area of 14000m, this mosque is one of the most glorious mosques of antiquity, built in the Safavieh's monarchy era.
Sanjideh Mosque: Another mosque of Qazvin dating back to pre-Islamic Iran; a former fire temple. Its present day form is attributed to the Seljukian era.
Panjeh Ali Mosque: A former place of worship for royal harem members in the Safavid period.
Peighambarieh School-Mosque: Founded 1644 according to inscription.
Molla Verdikhani School-Mosque: Founded in 1648.
Salehieh School-Mosque: Founded in 1845.
Sheikhol Islam School-Mosque: Renovated in 1903.
Eltefatieh School: Dating back to the Il-Khanid period.
Sardar School- Mosque: Made by two brothers Hossein Khan and Hassan Khan Sardar in 1815, as a fulfillment of their promise if they came back victorious from a battle against the Russians.
Qazvin contains three buildings built by Russians in the late 19th/early 20th century. Among these is the current Mayor's office (former Ballet Hall), a water reservoir, and the Cantor church, where a Russian pilot is buried.
According to explorers Pietro Della Valle (1588-1713), Jean Baptist Tavenier (1605-1689), Johannes Chardin (1643-1713), and others, there have been Christians of various sects living in Qazvin for centuries. Qazvin is where the Saint Hripsime Church is located, and is also where four Jewish prophets gave tidings of the arrival of Jesus Christ. Their tomb is now a popular shrine called Peighambariyeh.
Other attractions near Qazvin are the tombs of two Saljuki era princes, Aboo Saeed Bijar, son of Sad, and Aboo Mansoor Iltai, son of Takin — located in two separate towers known as the Kharaghan twin towers. Constructed in 1067 CE, these were the first monuments in Islamic architecture to include a non-conic two-layered dome.
Unfortunately, both towers were severely damaged by a devastating earthquake in March 2003.
Aside from Shahzadeh Hossein, a Shiite saint, to whom a handsome shrine has been built, there have been an abundance of scientists and mystics who lived in Qazvin, or came from Qazvin, whose tombs are scattered throughout the cities and villages of the province. Some of these are:
Ali Akbar Dehkhoda: Prominent linguist and author of Iran's first modern Persian dictionary, originally from Qazvin.
Obeid e Zakani: Famous 14th-century poet noted for his satire and obscene verses. His Masnavi Mush-O-Gorbeh ('Mouse and Cat') is a political satire.
Abbas Baloo: He was the first shahid of Qazvin. He was a brave man.
Oveis Qarani: A celebrity of early Islam, thought to have been killed here while fighting against an army of Deilamian origin. His tomb is known as Sultan Veis.
Hamdollah Mostowfi: The great Il-Khanid historian and writer (1281-1349) and author of The Selected History (Tarikh Gozideh), Nezhatol Qoloub and Zafar Nameh. The turquoise conic dome and its inscription in Sols calligraphy in which Mostowfis family tree and his works are introduced are the features that distinguish the tomb from other historical monuments of Qazvin.
Imam Ahmad Ghazali: Famous Iranian sufi who died in 1126 CE and was buried beside Shahzadeh Hossein. His tomb was until the end of the 16th century the pilgrimage place for mystical sects. Following Shah Tahmasb's stern policies against philosophers and mystics, which led to the destruction of Ghazali's tomb, a group of his disciples took the remains of his body to the present place in Imamzadeh Ismail alley, where they constructed a new mausoleum. This monument was destroyed in Mohammad Shah Qajar's period, but was rebuilt by Majdol Islam Qazvini in 1910. Beside Ghazali's tomb there is another tomb belonging to Soltan Seyed Mohammad Vali, dating from 1625 CE.
Molla Khalil Ibn Ghazi Qazvini: Famous faghih (religious jurist) and commentator of the Qur'anin the Safavid period (d 1678).
Shahidsaless: Killed in 1846. The third religious leader after Imam Ali who was murdered during prayer.
Ra'ees ol-Mojahedin: The late Mirza Hassan Sheikhol Islam, son of Mirza Masood Sheikhol Islam, leader of the liberals and constitutionalists of Qazvin, whose endeavors and devotion to abolish the Qajar dynasty and conquer Tehran brought the title of Raeesol Mojahedin (chief of fighters) for him.
Ali Ibn Shazan
Ibn Maja, author of the last of the six canonical hadith collections recognized by Sunni Muslims.
Ibrahim Estanbeh Heravi
Ali Ibn Ghazi Ibn Ahmad
Mir Emade Ghazvini (Emadol Ketabe Ghazvini)
Sheikh Alak Qazvini
Davoud Ibn Soleiman Ghazi
Pir e Sefid
Pir e Alamdar
Molla Abdolvahab Darolshafaee
Mohammad Ibn Yahya: Commentator of Qamoosol Loghat
Nasser Takmil Homayoun
Qazvin today is a center of textile trade, including cotton, silk and velvet, in addition to leather. It is on the railroad line and the highway between Tehran and Tabriz. Qazvin has one of the largest power plants feeding electricity into Iran's national power grid, the ''Shahid Raja'i'' facility, which provides 7% of Iran's electrical power.
Colleges and universities
Qazvin has four institutes of higher education:
Imam Khomeini International University
Qazvin University of Medical Sciences
Payam-e-Noor University of Qazvin
List of famous ab anbars of Qazvin
Taban (Newspaper based in Qazvin)
Sedaye Sanat (Economic Monthly from Qazvin)