City of Water Lilies, Foggy Port, Gateway to Europe
Bandar Anzali is the second most populated city in Gilan Province and the first and largest port on the southern shores of the Caspian Sea. The city borders the Caspian Sea in the north, Sowme'eh Sara in the south, Rasht in the east and Rezvanshahr in the west.
Anzali has humid subtropical climate with high levels of annual rainfall. Humidity levels in the city vary between 71 to 97 percent. Anzali is cloudy or overcast and is blanketed by heavy cloud-like fog for the most part of the year.
The name of the city is believed to come from the word “Anzal” meaning “Anchor” and Anzali therefore means “Port.” What we know from historical records is that the city’s name has always been Anzali and was only briefly changed to “Port Pahlavi” under the Pahlavi (1925-1979) monarchs.
For centuries Anzali has served as a gateway to Europe, connecting the economies of the East and West. Not surprisingly the customs authority of Anzali is at least 300 years old.
Inhabitants of Anzali are decedents of an ancient warrior tribe known in Greek accounts as the Cadusii, who populated the northwestern part of the Persian Empire.
Fishing is the main occupation in Anzali, which is the main producer of caviar in Iran, and the city’s Fisheries Organization was established 150 years ago. Rice cultivation and farming are the other traditional professions of Anzali inhabitants.
Some of the city’s historical attractions include the Pahlavi era Mian Poshteh Palace which is a Military Museum, the Qajar era (1785-1925) St. Mary Church, and Anzali Clock Tower which was originally a lighthouse. The five-deck Mirza Kouchak Khan Cruise Ship which sails the Caspian Sea is another one of Bandar Anzali’s attractions.
Anzali Lagoon and Sorkhangol Wildlife Refuge are among the city’s top natural attractions. Anzali Lagoon divides the city into two parts and is home to various indigenous and migrant birds and fish, and also draws is many tourists because of its lotus flowers and water lilies. Sorkhangol Wildlife Refuge is home to migratory birds in the winter.
Bandar Anzali hosts several sports clubs like the Iran Pro League (IPL) soccer club Malavan. Anzali ranks first in the country in terms of number of athletes with 14,000 resident professional soccer players, swimmers, boxers, volleyball players, basketball players and ….
Top things to do:
Top foods to try:
- Morgh-e Torsh or Sour Chicken – A stew made with chicken breast, yellow split peas, egg, finely chopped herbs (mint, chives, coriander, dill, chard, pennyroyal), garlic, onion and verjuice, served with Kateh (Caspian sticky rice).
- Baqala Qatoq- A delicious combination of cranberry beans, dill, eggs and turmeric, garnished with saffron and served with Kateh.
- Mahi Shekam Por or Stuffed Fish- A tasty dish made with Caspian white fish stuffed with finely chopped herbs like (mint, pennyroyal, coriander and garlic leaves), walnut, onion, and pomegranate paste, served with Kateh.