Semnan province is an ancient region dating back to 2000 years ago and full of natural and historical tourism attractions. It is one of the major provinces of Iran, located to the south of Alborz mountains and north of Kavir plain. Semnan consists of 8 counties, each with their own attractions, which makes it an excellent destination for visitors.
You can experience two completely different climates in less than 20 kilometers in Semnan. If you love nature and biodiversity, this province is the best option possible because it has everything from deserts to forests and mountains. It is the sixth-largest province of Iran.
Top attractions in Semnan
Cheshmeh Ali (Ali Fountain) is a spectacular location about 35 kilometers north of Damqan on the Damqan-Kiasar-Sari road, between Astaneh and Kalateh Rudbar villages. This spring, which supplies the city for Damqan, is one of the most magnificent places in the province and an ideal destination to spend one whole day in the summer.
Cheshmeh Ali was also a favorite resort for kings and rulers of Persia. Cheshmeh Ali Complex, one of the most prestigious resorts in Damghan, was, in fact, a summer recreation area for the Qajar kings.
Jangal-e Abr (Cloud Forest) is an amazing and pleasant forest in Semnan province. Located 50 kilometers northeast of Shahroud on Shahroud-Azadshahr road, this vast forest covers an area of 35 thousand hectares. Because this region is covered with clouds, its called by this name. Shahroud Abr forest is one of Semnan’s sights where nature lovers are fascinated by its unique beauty.
This forest has a great spring, waterfall and a wide variety of plants and animals such as bears, foxes and leopards. If you want to make the most of the spectacular cloudy view in Abr forest, you should visit this area in the first half of the year.
Africa of Iran is the nickname given to Iran’s largest protected area in the desert village of Qale Bala. The Kharturan National Park, known as Turan wildlife gate, with an area of 14.7 million hectares, houses many species of birds, mammals, reptiles and amphibians.
Kharturan is the second-largest habitat of animals after the Serengeti National Park in Tanzania. You can find unique kinds of animals here such as Persian deer, Jabir (tropical gazelle), Persian zebra, Asian cheetah, yellow jackals and many other special mammals. Kharturan Protected Area was recognized as one of the protected areas of Iran’s environment in 1351 and in addition to being registered in UNESCO in 1355, it was declared as Iran’s wildlife refuge.
Kashaneh Tower, one of Bastam’s historical monuments in Shahroud, has created an eye-catching sight for tourists. This building was designed 60-sided, which, according to some experts, had a chronological application. In the southwestern part of the tower, you can see the sentence “in the name of God” written in Islamic and historical handwriting.
Kashan Tower is located in the southeast of Bastam Jame Mosque and it is not known if the mosque was made after the monuments or before that. Many studies indicate that the building was a fire temple in the pre-Islamic era and after Islam, it was used as a watchtower.
One of the inspiring sights of Semnan is the traditional bazaar of the city, located on Imam Street. Due to its architecture and history, Semnan Bazaar is not only a place for trade and is not considered just a market. Built at the beginning of the Qajar era, it has a simple yet attractive architecture. The north side of this bazaar, with about 250 stores, is long and here you can see the remains of several mosques, baths and caravanserais.
Darvazeh Argeh Semnan (Gate of Citadel of Semnan) is the only remnant of the ancient Semnan citadel that is nowadays referred to as the symbol of the city. The rest of the old citadel buildings have all been demolished by modern construction plans. This unique gate is a valuable treasure for the locals. The Semnan Citadel (Darul-Hikmah), which was seven meters high, was the government center of the city during its time. It was built by one of the sons of Fath Ali Shah Qajar.
The beautiful city of Mojen is about 35 kilometers northwest of Shahroud, in the mountainous part of Semnan province. Within 10 kilometers away from the town, lies a strait called Tange-ye Dastan with a waterfall in its heart. The Mojen river has cold water, which makes it a pleasure to put your feet in it in the summer.
This region has a variety of vegetation and animals in addition to the pleasant climate due to its location in the mountainous area. The soil of this city is red, and hence, people call Mojen the jewel of the eastern Alborz mountains. All four seasons have their own unique beauty in this city.
With the coming of spring, wildflowers, wild herbs, and medicinal species grow and make the environment even more beautiful. Specific climatic conditions of the region have led to the growth of various plant species. Cheshmeh Haft Rang-e Mojen (seven-color fountain of Mojen) has created a particular landscape in this area. In addition to the different plant species in this region of Shahrood, when you visit the seven-color fountain, you can see various animal species in the area.
Semnan province’s traditional diet has an excellent nutritional value due to the variety of delectable cuisines and the use of indigenous and local foods. This province does not have a favorable agricultural position due to its location in an exceptional geographical area with desert and semi-desert climate as well as water and soil conditions. However, we can see a fantastic variety of traditional and local foods here.
In the traditional Iranian diet, rice is one of the primary raw materials consumed widely. One of the most famous rice cuisines in Semnan is Sabzi Polo Damqani, which is served with the unique vegetables of the province. Khoresht-e Havij Va Pesteh (carrot and pistachio stew) is also another essential part of the Damqani people’s diet because the pistachio harvested in this region is among the best ones in Iran. It is cooked with white meat, usually chicken and pomegranate paste.
Majlesh Afrooz restaurants is a high quality and famous place all over the province where you can find top Iranian cuisines there. Darchin restaurant serves all kinds of dishes, which include foreign, Iranian and traditional cuisines. So if you travel to Semnan with your family and each one of you wants to taste a different kind of persian food, Darchin is the best place.
Do not forget to visit the café after the meal and enjoy a cup of delicious coffee or tea there. If you are interested in historic houses, Emarat-e Badgir will be a fascinating restaurant for you. By visiting this place, not only you can enjoy a variety of high quality Iranian and foreign cuisines, but also you will relax in a charming and traditional setting.
Where to stay in semnan and shahrood
The newly established Gotke Mall Hotel is the first five-star resort in the province. The hotel offers modern and up-to-date services and employs experienced staff ready to serve Semnan’s travelers and guests. The rooms are big enough, clean, and organized. Also, there is a 20-unit complex in the hotel in which you can find a bank, a currency exchange office, a travel agency, a clothing and hairdressing salon, and a massage room. The cost of rooms ranges from 45 to 70 dollars per night.
The Semnan Darband Hotel is set on an area of 4500 square meters. This hotel is a new one too, established nearly ten years ago. Situated in the tourist area of Darband, Semnan’s Darband three Star hotel provides easy access to Mahdishahr and Shahmirzad regions. Compared to its quality, the rooms cost at a reasonable price, starting from 20 to approximately 40 dollars.
Souvenirs and handicrafts of Semnan
Due to the suitable climatic conditions, high-quality pistachio is harvested in Damqan county. It is more than 700 years that people here collect this product. A large amount of pistachio is exported.
Shahroud county is one of the agricultural hubs of the province due to its geographical location and hence a large percentage of its souvenirs are agricultural products. One of the city’s most famous souvenirs is grape. The production of raisins and grape juice by women is very common. The grape harvest season in Shahroud begins in early summer and continues through mid-autumn.
More than 50 types of grapes are harvested in Shahrood, some of which are produced only in this region. Apricot is another popular crop in the county that is very popular.
The walnut of Shahmirzad, part of Mahdishahr county, is famous in the country. The largest walnut orchard in the world, with an area of about 750 hectares, is located in this city. Unlike many other regions in Semnan, Shahmirzad has a mountainous climate.
Carpet weaving is an authentic Iranian art that you can see in many villages of the province. Semnan handicrafts are among high-quality ones among provinces of Iran.