Shahrud (Persian: شاهرود, also Romanized as Shāhrūd, Shahrood, and Shahroud; also known as Shārūd) is a city in and capital of Shahrud County, Semnan Province, Iran.
Situated about an altitude of 4413 ft (1345 m), it is located at latitude 36°25'N, longitude 055°01'E. Now, it is the largest city of Semnan Province and also its county has same position in the province. The main launch site of the Iranian Space Agency is near Shahrud. It is also well known for unique types of grapes which are cultivated specially in Shahrud. Therefore, this city is called as Grapes-City.
In 2006, traces of a prehistoric, 8,000-year-old settlements were found in Shahrud. This is the pre-historical site of Deh Kheyr, Semnan, located in Shahrud Plain, 15 kilometers from the city of Shahrud. The discoveries included ovens, craft workshops, and other evidence of settlements.
Archeological excavations in different parts of Shahrud Plain indicate the existence of villages in this area during 7-5 millennium BC.
As a modern city, the city of Shahrud was merely a village before the reign of Fath Ali Shah of the Qajar dynasty, with two old castles and a small farm named "Shabdary". The surrounding areas however, such as Biarjomand, Miami and Bastam do have a distant history.
The old town of Bastam is located 6 kilometers north of Shahrood. Its pre-Islamic history is not clear, but according to some historians, it was built during Shapur II period (310-379 CE). During the Abbasid era, it was the second largest town (following Damghan) in the Qomis province.
The town was visited by Nasser Khosrow Qubadiani, the great Iranian poet of the 12th century, and mentioned by him as the center of the Qomis province. But Bastam declined during the Mongol era assaults, and Shahrud eventually took its place.
Shahrud’s geographical location is very interesting, it has cloud forests in the north and from south it meets the central desert of Iran. The most interesting geographical and historical attractions of Shahrud are as follows:
- Caspian Hyrcanian mixed forests and High peaks of East-Alborz mountain range, lie in north of the city and shape a marvelous mixture of natural elements.
- Two or three hours left to the sunset, with temperature fall, clouds rush into the forest. They are so thick that it seems you are walking on the clouds, and then you may not be able to see a meter ahead of you. It is what happens often in the Jangal-e Abr in Shahrood. Jangal-e Abr (Cloud Forest) is one of the oldest and most beautiful forests in Iran. It is the continuum of northern forests in the south of Alborz mountain range. It is located 30 km north east of Shahrud. The forest is full of steep hills, and a river runs and beautiful waterfalls in there. Summer and spring is the best time to see the forest.
- SHAHVAR peak, lies in 25 km north of Shahrud, from north near Negarman village and from south near Tash village, highest peak of East Elbruz mountain range with 4000 m high. Every year thousands of mountain climbers are traveling to this city to enjoy rock climbing and surrounding beautiful natural landscapes.
- The Saljuki Mosque which is located in Bastam. Its construction belongs to the year 1120 C.E.
- The Village of Kharaqan which is located 12 kilometers from Bastam. It was a famous village during the 14th and the 15th centuries. The tomb of Abul-Hassan Kharaqani, who is one of the most famous Arefs (mystics) of the Sufi groups of the 12th century, is located in this village. The brick building with its dome dates to the 12th century.
- The Byar Castle ruins, which is located on the south-eastern area of Bastam, and is near to the desert edge of Byarjomand. This castle has an old mosque and an old wall with three gates.
- Shahrud Museum: Dating from the later Qajar and early Pahlavi periods, originally belonging to the Shahrud Municipality and already located in the center of the town, this two-storied structure with brick facing was transformed into the present museum in 1988 after a series of major repair and renovation works. It is an interesting structure in terms of architectural style and exterior tile works. It houses both archaeological and ethnological sections.
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