North Khorasan province located in the northeast of Iran has an area of 28,434 square kilometers, introducing it as the fifteenth largest province of Iran. Its neighbors include Semnan, Razavi Khorasan, and Golestan provinces and Turkmenistan country. North Khorasan containing eight counties and Bojnord city is its center is one of the three provinces created after the division of Khorasan in 2004. The province is located in mountainous areas with Shahsavan as the highest point.
The temperature varies in each region because of the altitude difference. For example, Kopet Dog and Aladagh mountains have a cold and mountainous temperature but the urban zones and their immediate vicinity have a mild and cool temperature. Ethnic groups in North Khorasan include Kurmanji Kurds, Persians, Khorasani Turks, and Turkmen, each of which speaks their own language.
The current area of North Khorasan was a part of the past Grand Khorasan and so its history is interwoven with other parts of Grand Khorasan. In the archeological excavations in the ancient regions of Pahlevan and Heydaran Tepe, a number of dishes and artifacts unearthed with a history dating back to 12000 years ago. The oldest site in the region is Espakhu stone temple situated in a village called Espakhu in Maneh and Samalqan County.
When the Achaemenid Dynasty (550-330 B.C.) came to the throne, Khorasan went under their domination until their demise by the Seleucid Dynasty (312-63 B.C.) that took control of the region. When the Parthian Dynasty (247 B.C. – 224 A.D.) began taking the country back from the Seleucid kings, Khorasan was one of the first places freed. Sassanid Dynasty (224-651 A.D.) also conquered this area by a Spahbed (an army chief) known as Padgoosban.
After the invasion of Khorasan by Muslim Arabs, local people gradually converted to Islam. Specifically, Tahirid (821-873 A.D.) and Saffarid (861-1003) Dynasties ruled over the region. Esfarayen one of the cities located in North Khorasan was ruined twice by Mongols and Uzbek armies.
The province enjoys a variety of historical, natural, and cultural attractions. The pilgrims of the holy shrine of the eighth Shiite Imam traveling from the north and northwest of the country to reach Mashhad, pass from North Khorasan on their way. The province is also the host of the Kurmanj nomads when immigrating to cool places.
These nomads along with Espakhu Historical Temple, traditional wrestling of Esfarayen, the Jalal Al-Din Castle, Kafar Ghale Cave, Jame Mosque of Shirvan, Jajrom Historical Bathhouse, the remnant of Belqis Historical City, Besh Qardash Tourist Complex (five brothers in Turkish), and Sardar Mofakham Edifice are among the tourist attractions of the province.
In terms of handicrafts, the most prevailing ones in North Khorasan include silk Turkmen rugs, wool rugs, costumes with traditional patterns, traditional jewels, silk weaving, Turkmen traditional clothes, and wrapper for bedclothes. Local eatable souvenirs also include nuts, candy, and dried white and black whey. Traditional foods of the province are rice with cherry (Albaloo-polo), apple stew, different kinds of Aush like Masore (a kind of soup), Balkeh, Qalyeh, Yarmeh, and Halve Shole.