Lankaran is a beautiful city on Azerbaijan's southeastern coast of the Caspian Sea. It is situated near the southern border with Iran and is surrounded by lush green forests and breathtaking mountains. As of 2021, Lankaran has a population of approximately 89,300 people, making it one of the most populated cities in the region.
Although Lankaran is next to Lankaran District, the city is an independent entity that forms a distinct first-order division of Azerbaijan. The town has a municipal government responsible for the city's administration.
The Talysh people are the predominant ethnic group in Lankaran, making up most of the city's population. Lankaran is the main urban centre of the Talysh people and their ethnic homeland, Talyshstan. The Talysh people have a rich cultural heritage, and the city is home to many museums, art galleries, and cultural centres that showcase their history and traditions.
Lankaran is also known for its beautiful beaches, a major tourist attraction. The city has a warm and humid climate, with temperatures ranging from 15°C to 25°C throughout the year. This makes it an ideal destination for those looking to escape the cold winter months.
Lankaran is a vibrant and culturally rich city that offers visitors a unique glimpse into the Talysh culture and lifestle.
The Unique History
It is unclear when the town of Lankaran was founded, but Jacques de Morgan discovered ancient remains there, including dolmens, graves, and bodies exposed in a Zoroastrian fashion.
After the death of Nader Shah (r. 1736–1747), Seyyed Abbas founded the Talysh Khanate. His ancestors were members of the Iranian Safavid dynasty, and they moved into the Talish region during a turbulent period in Iranian history in the 1720s. The Talysh Khanate was under the suzerainty of the Iranian Zand and Qajar dynasties from its inception until 1828.
In the first half of the 18th century, the Russians briefly gained control over the khanate during the Russo-Persian War of 1722–1723. However, the Treaty of Resht in 1732 ceded the khanate back to Iran.
The khanate was not immune to conflict, and during the Russo-Persian War of 1804–1813, General Kotlyarevsky led the southernmost Russian contingent during the war. He stormed and captured Lankaran's fortress, further escalating the tension between the two powers.
Lankaran, a city in Azerbaijan, has a rich history of changing hands between various empires and nations. The Treaty of Gulistan in 1813 saw the town being ceded to Russia. However, during the Russo-Persian War of 1826-1828, Qajar Iran retook control of the city, only to be forced to relinquish it after the Treaty of Turkmenchay in 1828. This marked the end of Persian influence in the South Caucasus, and the city remained under Russian rule for a long time.
During Russian rule, Lankaran was known as Lenkoran (Ленкорань) and was the centre of the Lenkoran Uyezd of the Baku Governorate. Following the collapse of the Russian Empire, Lankaran briefly became a part of the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic from 1918 to 1920. However, the city was once again taken over by the Soviet Union and became a part of the Azerbaijan Soviet Socialist Republic following the Soviet Union's Sovietization of Azerbaijan.
In 1991, after the dissolution of the Soviet Union, Lankaran finally became a part of independent Azerbaijan. Despite the city's turbulent past, it remains an important regional cultural and economic centre.
What To See
Lankaran, a beautiful town, boasts sandy beaches perfect for sunbathing and swimming. If you're looking for a place to relax and rejuvenate, head 12 km west of the village to the Andjin Springs. These mineral springs are known for their thermal sulphide, chloride, and sodium-calcium waters, which have healing properties and are great for your skin. The Ballabur castle ruins, located near the village of the same name, are also worth a visit. Explore the remains of this ancient castle and soak up the region's rich history.
The region boasts a vast expanse of national parks, which serve as a sanctuary for diverse flora and fauna. One of the most notable parks is Gizil-Agach State Reserve, where you can find over 250 types of plants, 30 species of fish, and more than 220 birds. Another highlight is the presence of Parrotia, also known as ironwood, which is naturally grown in the area and can be seen in Hirkan National Park. According to local legend, ironwood is the only type of wood sinks in water, which is how it got its name. It has historically been used for heating since it burns for a long time and is difficult to extinguish. In addition to ironwood, the national park is also home to the Persian leopard (Panthera pardus saxicolous) subspecies of the leopard. Finally, it's worth noting that in 1937, members of the Opilio Lepidus harvestman species were sighted in the area.