© 2019 Homayoon Vahidi

Passing

Qazvin was a former capital of the Persian Empire under Safavids. It is a provincial capital today that has been an important cultural center throughout history. Archeological findings in the Qazvin plain reveal urban agricultural settlements for at least nine millennia. Qazvin geographically connects Tehran, Isfahan, and the Persian Gulf to the Caspian seacoast and Asia Minor, hence its strategic location throughout the ages. The city today known as Qazvin is thought to have been founded by Shapur II, King of Persia in 250 CE, under the name Shad Shahpur(shad can be read happy), when he built a fortification there to control regional tensions. Qazvin has sometimes been of central importance at important moments of Iranian history. Captured by invading Arabs (644 AD) and destroyed by Hulagu Khan (13th century). After the Ottoman capture of Tabriz, Shah Tahmasp (1524–1576) made Qazvin the capital of the Safavid empire (founded in 1501 AD), a status that Qazvin retained for half a century until Shah Abbas I moved the capital to Isfahan. In the 19th century Qazin flourished as a center of trade because the only all year accessible road from the Caspian Sea to the Highland started from here and with enhanced traffic on the Caspian Sea the trade volume grew. Its bazaars were enlarged. In the middle of the century the Babi movement had one of its centers here and the first massacre of Babis occurred in Qazvin in 1847. In the second half of the 19th century Qazvin was one of the centers of Russian presence in northern Iran. A detachment of the Persian Cossack Brigade under Russian officers was stationed here. From 1893 this was the headquarter of the Russian Company for Road construction in Persia which connected Qazvin by roads to Tehran and Hamadan. The company built a hospital and the St. Nicolas Church. In 1920 Qazvin was used as a base for the British Norperforce. It was from here that the 1921 Persian coup d’etat that led to the rise of the Pahlavi dynasty was launched. And it became State in 2001