Zanjan is located in the northwest of Zanjan province in a mountainous area with the height of 1663 m above the sea level. Zanjan is known for its beautiful handcrafts such as knives, traditional sandals called Charoogh, and Malileh, a handcraft made with silver wires. Zanjani artists make many things like various decorative dishes and their special covers as well as silver jewelry. In ancient times, Zanjan was known for its stainless and sharp knives. Soltaniyeh, a great and glorious building in this city, is one of the Iranian biggest and of the most famous Islamic buildings registered on the UNESCO global heritage list.
The tourist attractions of Zanjan are:
Archaeological Museum of Zanjan
Archaeological museum of Zanjan is a nice Qajar-style mansion located on the main square of Zanjan. Zolfaghari mansion is the name of this house on the northern side of Sabze Meydan square and Jameh Mosque. The Zolfaghari mansion was built by Sardar Asad Zolfaghari. In the past, the building was used as the house of Zanjan ruler which has been recently transformed into the Archaeology Museum of Zanjan. This aristocratic mansion included different internal and external parts. The museum exhibits the cultural heritage of the area including old-fashion dresses and furniture. It was in 1379 S.H. that the Cultural Heritage Organization of Zanjan Province decided to restore the Zolfaghari Mansion in order to be transformed into the Museum of Salt Men. There were six salt men totally found in the mine which four of them are preserved in this museum. The salt and the dry air of the mine have led the corpses even their skin and clothes to remain intact .
The corpses of Saltmen
Rakhtshooy Khaneh edifice is a traditional laundry house of Qajar era. Rakhtshooy Khaneh literally means the house of laundry. It was built by two brothers whose names were Mashhadi Akbar (architect) and Mashhadi Ismaeil (the builder). The building has an architecture of the late Qajar and the early Pahlavi eras. The most significant reason to build this building was creating an appropriate, enclosed and safe place to wash the clothes and dishes by women.This unique building is now turned into Zanjan anthropology museum and have been open to the visitors from 1998.
Soltaniyeh Dome is a UNESCO World Heritage site, the third largest dome in the world after Santa Maria Dome in Italy and Hagia Sophia Dome in Istanbul and also the largest brick made dome in the world. The main building erected between 1302 and 1312 AD. This mausoleum, as an artistic masterpiece of Iranian and Islamic architecture in Azari style is the first monument through which we can clearly follow the evolution process of Persian-Islamic architecture from Seljuk to Ilkhanid.
Eight minarets have been designed to place on the angles of the octagonal above the third floor. In addition to eight entrances, eight porches, eight minarets and a dome, the building has consisted of a Torbat khaneh and a basement. The outer shell of the dome has been covered by turquoise blue.
Katale Khor Cave
Katale Khor cave is a cave located in Zanjan Province, Iran. It is situated 120 km south of Zanjan city and is about 410 km from Tehran. The name, Katale Khor, means “mount of the sun”. The Cave was discovered about 90 years ago. Geological studies in 1984 showed that the cave formation dates back to the Jurassic period. Katale Khor is one of the prettiest caves in Iran and the initial part of the cave is ready to visit. One of the attractive parts of the cave is the Roof Cake and a mushroom-shaped limestone formed on the roof and walls of the cave. Stalagmites and stalactites are really beautiful but most of them have been destroyed by visitors. Tourists can visit 2,850 meters of the cave in the first floor which takes an hour.
It’s better to have warm clothes in order to visit the cave. The weather into the cave is always cool and humid, so this humidity makes you feel cold. There is an opportunity for the caving experts to explore the whole cave by an official permission. The studies show that the length of the cave reaches to 30 km.
Katale Khor cave
Caravanserai Sangi (Stone Caravanserai)
Caravansary Sangi was built in the Safavid period (the 16th century). It is the oldest monument in the city which is located in Zanjan city. The name Sangi which means stone comes from the reason that the caravanserai is mostly made of stone. The 400 years old building is still serving people as a traditional restaurant where the visitors can enjoy visiting a Safavid era architecture as well as tasting Iranian foods. It has been registered in Iran’s National Heritage in 1998 by Cultural Heritage Organization.
Zanjan is mostly known in Iran due to its handicrafts the most important ones of them are knives and filigree. Knife making is one of the oldest and most famous handicrafts of Zanajn. It can be estimated that Zanjan was a city where knives, swords and daggers were produced immensely from the 17th century. But due to their design, cut, diversity and durability, Zanjan knives have been the most successful of these crafts.
Filigree is one the most important applied arts in the province of Zanjan. Filigree is a kind of metalwork, and researchers have traced it back to 550 to 330 B.C. Based on records, 16th century is the first recorded history for filigree in Zanjan. Today most filigree products are of sliver, which is obtained by melting silver objects that are old and obsolete.