Rasht, capital of Gilan province, north-central Iran. It lies about 15 miles (24 km) south of the Caspian Sea on a branch of the Sefīdrood River, where the higher ground merges into the marshlands fringing the Anzali lagoon. Rasht’s importance as the main city of the Gilan region dates from Russia’s southward expansion in the 17th century. The city suffered severely during World Wars I and II from Russian occupation and afterward from economic decline.
The city is surrounded by rice fields and areas of half-cleared jungle. The mostly two-storied houses have much woodwork, such as broad verandas and overhanging eaves; roofs are red-tiled, and the houses often are raised from the ground. Modernization is confined to the main streets.
Besides being a cultural center, Rasht is a market and processing center for rice, tea, peanuts (groundnuts), and silk; soap, glass, razor blades, and jute bags are manufactured. In 1962 a large dam on the Sefīdrood River was completed. Rasht is connected by road with the Caspian port of Bandar-e Anzali, Tehran, and Tabriz; it also has an airport. Pop. (2006) 557,366.
Rasht Grand Bazaar (Pileh Meydan)
This bazaar is the largest open-roof bazaar in Iran. It also has a variety of stores, vaults, and caravansaries, which have changed their function over time and made part of the entire bazaar. Fish Market is one of the attractions of this bazaar.
Museum of Rural Heritage of Gilan
The museum is located in Gilan Province, 18 kilometers in the south of the city on the Rasht-Qazvin highway. The museum exhibits a complete collection of handicrafts and the architectural style of local houses in different parts of Gilan Province. The museum has an area of 45 hectares.