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Golestan

Golestān Province is one of the 31 provinces of Iran, located in the north-east of the country south of the Caspian Sea. Its capital is Gorgan. The province was put as part of Region 1 upon the division of the provinces into 5 regions solely for coordination and development purposes on June 22nd, 2014.Golestān was split off from the province of Mazandaran in 1997.

It has a population of 1.7 million (2011)[3] and an area of 20,380 km². The province is divided into the following twelve counties (shahrestans): Aliabad County, Aqqala County, Azadshahr County, Bandar-e Gaz County, Gonbad-e Qabus County, Gorgan County, Kalaleh County, Kordkuy County, Maraveh Tappeh County, Minudasht County, Ramian County, and Torkaman County. Present-day Gorgan was called Esterabad until 1937.

The Turkmens reside in the north of the province, a plain called Turkmen Sahra, this former nomadic people live in this area from 15th century, main cities of whom is Gonbad-e Kavus and Bandar Torkaman. Turkmens are Muslim and follow the Hanafi school of Sunni interpretation. They are a sizable minority at cities such as Gorgan, Ali Abad, Kalaleh and many of eastern townships.

Other ethnic groups such as Baluchs, Qezelbashs, Kazakhs, Georgians, and Armenians also reside in this area, and have preserved their traditions and rituals.Recent decades has seen a huge migration to this province, especially from Zabol northest city of Sistan and Baluchestan.

Golestān enjoys mild weather and a temperate climate most of the year. Geographically, it is divided into two sections: The plains, and the mountains of the Alborz range. In the eastern Alborz section, the direction of mountains faces northeast and gradually decreases in height. The highest point of the province is Shavar, with a height of 3,945 meters.

Golestan National Park in northern Iran is faced with the construction of a road through the forest, allegedly for the ease of traffic for villagers and woodmen but at the expense of losing the only national park in Iran throughout which a range of different climates (humid near the Caspian Sea and desert farther south) is spread.

Golestān National Park is Iran’s biggest national park which spans three provinces, Golestan, Mazandaran and North Khorasan. Surprisingly, the authorities ignore repeated calls by experts to construct such roads around, instead of through, the forests, which in this way would no longer threaten the animal and plant life.

Geocoding for Golestan, Iran: 36.8393°N 54.4444°E

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