Qazvin (Ghazvin) is the largest city and capital of the Province of Qazvin in Iran. Qazvin was an ancient capital in the Safavid dynasty and nowadays is known as the calligraphy capital of Iran. It is famous for its Baghlava, carpet patterns, poets, political newspaper and pahlavi (Middle Persian) influence on its accent.
Located in 150 km (93 mi) northwest of Tehran, in the Qazvin Province, it is at an altitude of about 1,800 m (5,900 ft) above sea level. The climate is cold but dry, due to its position south of the rugged Alborz range called KTS Atabakiya.
The city was a capital of the Persian Empire under Safavids in 1548-1598. 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. Qazvin geographically connects Tehran, Isfahan, and the Persian Gulf to the Caspian seacoast and Asia Minor, hence its strategic location throughout the ages.
Qazvin contains several archeological excavations. In the middle of the city lie the ruins of Meimoon Ghal’eh, one of several Sassanid edifices in the area.
Qazvin contains several buildings from the Safavid era, dating to the period in which it was capital of Persia. Perhaps the most famous of the surviving edifices is the Chehel sotoun, Qazvin, today a museum in central Qazvin.
Mosques and Religious Sights of Qazvin
- Jame’ Atiq Mosque of Qazvin
- Heydarieh mosque
- Masjed Al-nabi (Soltani Mosque): 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.
- Peighambarieh Shrine: Where four Jewish saints who foretold the coming of Christ, are buried.
- Molla Verdikhani School-Mosque: Founded in 1648.
- Salehieh Madrasa and Mosque: Founded in 1817 by Mulla Muhammad Salih Baraghani.
- 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
- Shazdeh Hosein Shrine
- Aminiha Hosseiniyeh
About 100 km (62 mi) south-west of Qazvin are the tombs of two Saljuki era princes — Abu Saeed Bijar, son of Sa’d, and Abu Mansur Iltai, son of Takin — located in two separate towers known as the Kharraqan twin towers. Constructed in 1067 CE, these were the first monuments in Islamic architecture to include a non-conic two-layered dome. Both towers were severely damaged by a devastating earthquake in March 2003.
Qazvin has three buildings built by Russians in the late 19th/early 20th century. Among these is the current Mayor’s office (former Ballet Hall) and a water reservoir. St. Nicholas church was built in 1904 by the Russian Company for Roads in Persia which had its headquarter here. The church was in use until being decommissioned in 1984 because the community of Russian emigres in Qazvin did not exist any more. The iconostasis and bell was removed to Tehran and the building handed over to the Iranian government which keeps it available to the public as a historic monument. In front of the church is a 1906 memorial to a Russian road engineer.