Bandar-e Anzalī, formerly Enzeli, Bandar-e Pahlavī, or Pahlavī, principal port and resort, northern Iran, on the Caspian Sea, connected with Māzandarān, Azerbaijan, and Tehrān by road. The population includes Russians, Armenians, Caucasians, and Turkmens.
Founded in the early 19th century, the town lies on both sides of the entrance to Mordāb Lagoon. It was occupied by the Russians in 1920; they declared a Soviet Republic of Gīlān, but that entity collapsed in 1921. The port lies in the channel between two sandy peninsulas; Ghāzīān Peninsula, to the east, has an airfield. The channel is quite irregular in depth. The entrance is protected by two breakwaters, and dredging is necessary. Port installations are mainly on the eastern side. There is a small wharf, an oil depot, and a fishery station. During World War II the port was modernized, and traffic greatly increased as a consequence of the U.S. lend-lease program for the Soviet Union. Pop. (2006) 110,643.
Rasht, also spelled Resht, city, capital of Gīlān province, north-central Iran. It lies about 15 miles (24 km) south of the Caspian Sea on a branch of the Sefīd River, where the higher ground merges into the marshlands fringing the Mordāb, or Anzalī (formerly Pahlavī), lagoon. Rasht’s importance as the main city of the Gīlān region dates from Russia’s southward expansion in the 17th century. The city suffered severely during World Wars I and II from Russian occupation and afterward from economic decline.
The city is surrounded by rice fields and areas of half-cleared jungle. The mostly two-storied houses have much woodwork, such as broad verandas and overhanging eaves; roofs are red-tiled, and the houses often are raised from the ground. Modernization is confined to the main streets.
Sārī, city, capital of Māzandarān province, northern Iran. Founded during the Sāsānian period (224–651 CE), it became the capital of Tabarestan (7th–9th century) after the Arab conquest of the region. The city was ravaged by the Mongols in the 13th century and visited by the historian Mostowfi in the 14th century. Āghā Moḥammad Khān of the Qājār dynasty (reigned 1779–97) ruled from Sārī before 1786, when he made Tehrān the capital of his empire.
Gorgān, also spelled Gurgān, formerly Asterābad, city, capital of Golestān province, north-central Iran. It is situated along a small tributary of the Qareh River, 23 miles (37 km) from the Caspian Sea. The city, in existence since Achaemenian times, long suffered from inroads of the Turkmen tribes who occupied the plain north of the Qareh River and was subjected to incessant Qājār-Turkmen tribal conflicts in the 19th century. It was renamed Gorgān in the 1930s after being devastated by an earthquake. Articles of trade include cereals, soap, and carpets. In modern times the plain around Gorgān has become a flourishing granary. Pop. (2006) 274,438.