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Known as the city of orange groves, Tonekabon has a rich ancient past and was once part of the realm of the Paduspanid (655–1598) rulers. Paduspanids were of Sassanid (224 to 651) decent and ruled Tabaristan (modern day Mazandaran, Gilan, Golestan, and the northern part of Semnan) for nearly 1,000 years. They are considered the longest dynasty in Iranian history and the longest dynasty in the world after the imperial Sun Line of Japan.
During its history, the city has gone through several name changes. In the Safavid era (1502 – 1736), the city was named Feiz. The Qajars (1781–1925) changed the city’s name to Tonekabon. When the Pahlavis came to power, the founder of the dynasty Reza Shah (1878-1944) named the city Shahsavar, which means ‘noble horseman’ in the Persian language. Following the victory of the 1979 Islamic Revolution, the city’s name was once again switched back to Tonekabon.
The city is famous for its lush landscape particularly the Do-hezar and Se-hezar forests, frequented by hikers, campers and nature photographers. The forests each take their names from the number of rivers that flow through them. ‘Do,’ which means ‘two’ in the Persian language, indicates that the forest has two rivers and ‘Se,’ which means ‘three’ in the Persian language, indicates that the forest has three rivers.
Chaldareh Forest Park, Daryasar Plian, Danial Cave are some of the city’s natural attractions. The city also has a Pahlavi era bridge named Cheshmeh Kileh, which was built by German engineers in the early 1900s.
Some of the cities prominent figures include 19th century jurist and scholar Mirza Soleiman Tonekaboni, Constitutional Revolution Commander Mohammad Vali Khan Tonekaboni (1846-1926), poet, writer and Constitutional Revolution figure Mohammad Zohari (1926–1995), actor Amrolah Saberi (1941), wartime hero and pilot Ali Akbar Shiroodi (1955-1981), poet Salman Harati (1959-1986), futsal player Javad Asghari Moqaddam (1979), and footballer Mohammad Mokhtari (1984).
City of Orange Groves
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