City of 100 Gates, City of Pistachio
One of the oldest cities in Iran, Damghan is located in Semnan Province. Damghan neighbors the cities of Gorgan, Kordkuy, and Behshir from the north, Shahroud from the east, Khur and Biabanak, and Anarak from the south and Semnan and Sari from the west.
According to archeological findings at Tepe Hissar, the history of this city dates back to 4,000 BCE when the Aryan tribe settled in the Iranian plateau. In the Parthian era (247 BC–224 CE) Damghan was part of Qumis Province (modern day Semnan Province) and of the capitals of the Parthians.
The ancient name of the city was Saddarvazeh or Hecatompylos meaning city of one hundred gates. The city’s current name ‘Damghan’ is believed to come from ‘Deh’ meaning ‘village’ and ‘Moghan’ meaning ‘Magi’ (Zoroastrian Priests) which suggests it was an important religious center in ancient times.
In 856, half of Damghan was leveled by an earthquake, which is said to be the sixth deadliest earthquake in recorded history.
Damghan is rich in historical attractions from the Sassanid (226-651 CE), Seljuq (1038-1118) and Qajar (1785-1925) eras. These sites include several castles, Tarikhaneh Mosque, which is one of the first mosques built in Iran over the ruins of a fire temple, Jame Mosque, Cheshmeh Ali Complex, Lotfi Mansion, Qousheh Caravanserai, Toghrol Tower (also known as Mehmandust Tower), and Chehel Dokhtar Tower.
Damghan’s natural attractions include Shirband Cave, a number of deserts most notably Haj Ali Gholi Playa which has a salt lake, and four 300-to 600-year-old Sycamore trees that are considered sacred by locals.
Top things to do:
Top foods to try:
- Carrot and Pistachio Stew- A sweet and sour stew made with chicken breast, pistachio slivers, chopped carrot, verjuice and saffron. This dish is served with white rice.
- Sabzi Polo or Herb Rice- This mixed rice dish is made with local herbs, eggplant, tomato, and pumpkin. Cinnamon powder, sumac powder, and saffron are used to season this dish.
- Mani Polo -A rice dish made with toasted noodles, raisons, split peas, barberry, Persian cumin, lamb chunks, saffron and yogurt.