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1.1. Introduction

Golestan, located in the north-east of the country, south of the Caspian Sea. Its capital is Gorgan.
Golestan was split off from the province of Mazandaran in 1997. Its population is estimated as 1.7 million in 2010 and also the province covers an area of 22,000 km². There are 13 townships including: Gorgan, Gonbad-e-Kavoos, Bandar-e-Torkaman, Bandar-e-Gaz, Aliabad-e-katul, Kord Kooy, Fenderesk, Minoo Dasht, Aq Qola, Kalaleh, Ramian Azadshahr, Maraveh Tapeh and Gomeishan. Present-day Gorgan was called Esteraba or Astarabad until 1937.
Golestan is the World leading producer of Caviar.
The World's second longest wall (after the China Wall) is in the region of Gorgan.
Gorgan, Hyrcania in Latin, the district of "the wolves" (still seen thereabouts), is mentioned already as Varkana- in the Bisotun inscription.
The Turkmens reside in the north of the province, a plain called Torkman sahra, this former nomadic people live in this area from 15th century, main cities of whom is Gonbad-e Kavus and Bandar Turkaman. Recent decades has seen a huge migration to this province, especially from Zabol northest city of Sistan and Baluchestan. They are a sizable minority at cities such as Gorgan, Ali Abad, Kalaleh and many of eastern townships.
Other ethnic groups such as Azerbaijanis, Baluchs, Kazakhs, Qezelbashs, Kurds, Georgians, and Armenians also reside in this area, and have preserved their traditions and rituals.
Central coordination of GOLESTAN province locates in 36.8393°N 54.4444°E.
Gorgan city is center of Golesan province. It lies approximately 400 km to the north east of Tehran, some 30 km (19 mi) away from the Caspian Sea. It has an estimated population of 250,000 in 2010. Some 150 km (93 mi) east of Gorgan is the Golestan National Park. The city has a regional airport and several universities. Gorgan Airport was opened in September 2005.
The city was named Hyrcania, Hyrcani or Hyrcana in ancient Greek records, which comes from Pahlavi Varkana -- "Land of the Wolves". Although modern Gorgan is only a city and county (sharing the same name), ancient Hyrcania was the name of a greater region on the southern shores of the Caspian Sea (encompassing all of the present day Golestan province, as well as some eastern parts of the Mazandaran province, and some southern parts of the present day Republic of Turkmenistan). In modern times and until 1937 the city used to be known as Astarabad.
Gorgan is considered as sister city of 'Aktau', Kazakhstan.

1.2. Geography and Climate

Golestan enjoys mild weather and a temperate climate most of the year. Geographically, it is divided into two sections: The plains, and the mountains of the Alborz range. In the eastern Alborz section, the direction of mountains faces northeast and gradually decreases in height. The highest point of the province is Shavar, with a height of 3,945 meters.
Golestan National Park in northern Iran is faced with the construction of a road through the forest, allegedly for the ease of traffic for villagers and woodmen but at the expense of losing the only national park in Iran throughout which a range of different climates (humid near the Caspian Sea and desert farther south) is spread.
Golestan National Park is Iran's biggest national park which spans three provinces, Golestan, Mazandaran and North Khorasan. Surprisingly, the authorities ignore repeated calls by experts to construct such roads around, instead of through, the forests, which in this way would no longer threaten the animal and plant life.
The wide Dasht-e-Gorgan (the Plains of Gorgan) are located north of the city of Gorgan and is geographically bounded by 37°00' - 37°30' north latitude and 54°00' - 54°30' east longitude and covers an area of about 1,700 square kilometers.
In general, Golestan has a moderate and humid climate known as "the moderate Caspian climate." The effective factors behind such a climate are: Alborz mountain range, direction of the mountains, height of the area, neighborhood to the sea, vegetation surface, local winds, altitude and weather fronts. As a result of the above factors, three different climates exist in the region: plain moderate, mountainous, and semi-arid. Gorgan valley has a semi-arid climate. The average annual temperature is 18.2 °C (64.8 °F) and the annual rainfall is 556 millimeters.

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