Geographical Position, Semnan
The province of Semnan covers an area of 96,816 square kilometers, to the east of which is Khorassan province, to the north are the provinces of Golestan and Mazandaran, to the west stand the provinces of Tehran and Qom, and to its south is Esfahan province. The various townships of the said province are, Semnan, Damqan, Shahrood and Garmsar. In the year 1996, the province had a population of about 501,000 of which 68.3 % were in urban areas, and 31.7 were rural dwellers. In 1996, Semnan city (the capital of the province) had a population of 91,000, and the city of Shahrood, which accounts for being the largest city of this province, had a population of 105,000.
Semnan province is located in the southern skirts of the Alborz Mountain Ranges, with a downward gradient from north to south, ending at the deserted plain. The said province is divided into two,i.e., a mountainous region and the plains at the foot of the mountains. The former offers a scope for recreational activities as well as being a source for minerals. Whereas, the latter encompasses ancient cities of Iran.
The mountainous region of the province experiences a cold climate, whereas the mountain skirts and around the fringes of the desert are temperate and warm respectively. The city of Damqan, has cold weather in winter with moderate summers, being influenced by the strong northern rain bearing winds from Golestan and Mazandaran regions. The city of Semnan experiences warm summers and moderate winters, Shahrood in its northern sector proves to be cold and in the central and southern regions temperate, and warm respectively. Furthermore, the city of Garmsar has extremely hot summers with comparatively cold, rainy winters, as this city is located in a dry and desert-like region.
History and Culture, Semnan
Semnan province can be said to be divided into sixteen sectors from the olden days dating to the time of Avesta. During the Medes and Achaemenian periods, it accounted for being as one of the largest provinces of the Parthians. Likewise, this region held its importance during the Sassanide period, and thence in the post Islamic era was part of the historical region of Gomess or 'Komesh'. Needless to say, this province was witness to wars, defeats and victories in the past. The 'Silk Road' paved its way from the midst of this region.
Besides which a number of historical relics such as, palaces, buildings, castles, ancient inns or 'caravansaries', water reservoirs, towers, rampart and… have created an imprint here. To state a few examples such as, the palaces of Aqa Mohammad Khan and Fathali Shah in Damqan, the palaces of Shah Abbas, Einol Rashid and the Haramsara or special apartments for the women (of the palace) of Soltani in Garmsar. Edifices belonging to the daughters of Naseredin Shah in Damqan, the castles of Saroo, Kushmoqan and Pachenar in Semnan, the castles of Lasjerd and Benkooh in Garmsar and ... are interesting historical relics of the province.
In addition to the above , there are various religious and sacred places and mosques such as, the Soltani Mosque, the Jame' Mosque, the Tarikhaneh Mosque of Damqan, the Jame' Mosque of Bastam and ... are such examples.
Semnan province is one of the most attractive regions from the aspect of natural beauty. These picturesque scenes can be viewed alongside the river banks, natural and mineral springs, recreational areas, forests, open spaces, protected areas, summits and peaks, caves, and special desert features account for the numerous natural attractions of the region.
Moreover, the province encompasses various cultural traditions and rituals. These can be related to national or religious festivities, marriage ceremonies and both public and private mourning ceremonies including religious rituals, which hold their own and differ from other parts. This province can boast of scholars and poets such as, Manoochehri Damqani, Ebne-Yameen Forumadi, Forouqi Bastami, Yaqma'ie Jandaqi, and Zowqi Bastami. Regarding scholars and Gnostics of this region, such personalities can be named as, Bayazid Bastami, Sheikh Abol Hassan Kherqani, Sheikh Allaoddoleh Semnani, Sheikh Sakak and Bibi Manjomeh Semnani are worth mentioning.
As to the reputed contemporary personalities, Haj Ali Semnani, Feyz Semnani, Zabiollah Safa and Ali Mo'alem can be quoted as examples. One of the outstanding rituals of the region is the refraining from wearing black clothing during mourning ceremonies, thus revealing a basic revulsion towards the 'black flag' of the Abbasian dynasty.
Hazrat Ali-ebne Ja'far Mausoleum, Semnan
The same is situated in the Shaheed Raja'ie Ave., of Semnan. The structure consists of a dome, porch, two large halls and a huge terrace in front of the porch. The courtyard, hall and corridor and terrace were all places for burial and took the form of a cemetery. Imamzadeh Ja'far is the offspring of Imam Sadeq (PBUH).
Abdol Aali and Abdol Emali Mausoleum, Damqan
This mausoleum is located in the locality of Ma'soomzadeh, to the south east of Damqan. It has an onion shaped dome, constructed of sun baked bricks and clay. Externally covered with plain dark blue tiles. Two tombs are located in the center of an octagonal chamber, surrounded by a 'zari' or plain wooden railing, protected with colored panes.
Other Old Mosques, Semnan
Other ancient mosques and Tekiyeh of Semnan province are as follows - Al Qods Mosque in Shahrak-e-Enqelab, Tekiyeh-ye-Sefid Mosque in Abuzar Qaffari Ave., Saheb-ol-Zaman Mosque in Mehdi Shahr, Tekiyeh-ye-Aazam Koosh Moqan in Hakim Alla'hi Ave., Tekiyeh-ye-Jahadiyeh in the Ayatollah Kashani Ave., Bayazid Bastami Mosque, Imamzadeh Mohammad Mosque in Bastam, Sheikh Ama'uddin Mosque in the village of Qalleh-e-Showkat, Farumad Jame' Mosque in Farumad village of Shahrood, Tekiyeh -ye-Mahal-e-Imam in Damqan, and Tekiyeh-ye-Miami Mosque in Miami.
Zavqan Jame' Mosque, Semnan
It is located to the north Zavqan vicinity of Semnan which dates back to the 2nd century AH. and is a relic from the Alavian period. It is made of brick, lime stone and sun baked bricks. The structure has a tall porch with small rooms on either side in a double storey. On the right side of which are thick, tall brick pillars. The arched ceiling of the porch is decorated with inlaid and intricate brick works.