Golestan Province, located in the northeast of Iran and the eastern shores of the Caspian Sea, with an area of 20,367 square kilometers is the 21st province of the country in terms of size. Golestan has a common border with the provinces of North Khorasan, Semnan, Mazandaran and the country of Turkmenistan. Golestan has 14 counties and its center is the city of Gorgan. Different ethnic groups live in the province, majority of them are Turkmen. Turkish, Tabari and Persian languages are common in different parts of the province. The Alborz Mountains cover a large part of the south and southwest of the province and Gorgan and Turkmen Plains (Turkmen Sahra) surrounded north of the province. The Kūh-e Gāv Koshān is the highest point of the province. The climate of Golestan province varies widely in different seasons; the southern and western parts are mountainous and frigid and semi-arid climates, temperate and humid are dominant in the north.
Before the advent of Islam, Golestan province was one of the oldest, largest and the most developed lands of northwest of Iran. In the middle of the second millennium B. C., this area was the main center of the civilization of Aryan and was known as Hirkani (Hyrcanian) during the Achaemenid period. There are many historical monuments in these areas including the remains of Alexander’s wall (dam) with the approximate length of 155 km which has remained from the Sassanid era. This dam was built to prevent the invasion of the northern tribes. After Muslim conquest of Persia, the Samanid, Buyid and Ziyarid ruled the area. The tomb of Qabus ibn Wushmagir, one of the Ziyarid Sultans still exists near the ruins of the ancient city of Jorjan. This area was widely known as Gorgan until the seventh century, but from that time to fourteenth century, it was called the Esterabad.
Golestan province contains various natural and historical attractions and tempts many foreign and domestic tourists to voyage there. Caspian Sea shores, Gulf of Gorgan, Miankaleh peninsula, Khalid Nabi shrine and its historical cemetery, hot springs and waterfall of Ziart, Kaboud-val waterfall, Nahkarkhoran forest, Emadieh school of Gorgan, historical bridge of Aqqala, Miran castle, Seyyed Gelich Ishan Mosque and school, Naftiljeh mud volcano and the Gonbad-e Qabus Tower are the attractions of this province.
Gonbad-e-Qabus tower has been registered at the UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The most important handicrafts of the province are the silk weaving, plaas bafi (kind of ground cloth), Jajim, carpets and rugs of Turkmen, Khorjin, Kilim and needlecraft.
The province’s souvenirs mostly include caviar, fish, citrus, kiwi, honey, silk, carpet, rug, Turkmen backrest and Jajim.
Native dishes include Chakdormeh (Traditional Turkmen rice), Manty, Tomato Aush, mung bean Aush, Aush-e-Heli, Aush-e-kei, Aush-e- Siyah sholeh, Kumeh Lakey Borek (Borek of mushroom), Pusigh, Chafati, Akmak and Potato Borek.
Prominent celebrities of province are Fakhruddin As’ad Gurgani (Poet), Mir Damad (Philosopher), Mir Fendereski (Philosopher) and Magtymguly Pyragy (also known as Ferdowsi of Turkmen Sahra, a poet and spiritual leader).