The Lankaran-Astara region is known as a sub-tropical area, with extremely picturesque scenery, and rich flora and fauna. For good reason, Hirkan National Park and Gizilagaj Reserve have been formed here. The gulf at the mouth of the Kura River, surrounded by cane thickets, attracts migratory birds, transiting in spring and autumn.
In Hirkan National Park, many unique species of plants grow, and the age of some trees is more than one thousand years. The Talish Mountains are covered with thick forests, the main part of which constitute native species, including demiragaj (iron tree). This is a rare variety, characteristic only to Azerbaijan and Iran.
The rigid wood of the demiragaj allows us to create even some details for the textile industry. The Gizilagaj Reserve, created in 1929, is included in the list of wetlands of international value as a place of habitation for waterfowl birds (Kamsare, 1976). Such birds as geese, swans, ducks, pelicans, herons, flamingoes, etc. winter in the Reserve.
Lankaran is located in the south-eastern part of Azerbaijan on the Caspian Sea. This is one of the brightest and most beautiful cities in the country. Exquisite architecture, a wonderful climate and beautiful natural landscapes are the hallmarks of this city. The fertile soil serves to the prosperity of agriculture, the presence of hot springs attracts tourists and people who want to improve their health and a long history and an abundance of historical and cultural attractions do not leave fans of Antiquities indifferent.
The date of the foundation of Lankaran is not precisely determined yet. Sights of information about Lankaran are present in records of medieval western travelers as L.Chempen (XVI), A. Oleari (XVII) and other. In that times Lankaran was a small settlement consisting of 200 houses. In XVIII several khanates, one of which was the Talish khanate existed on the territory of Azerbaijan. During period of governing of the Talish khan Garakhan (1747- 1786) the capital of the khanate was transferred from the city of Astara to Lankaran. Various foremen and architects were engaged for construction works; city has started to develop, the economic, political and cultural life of the city had developed along with its area. Such crafts as blacksmith business, production of copper items, potter business; jewelers business and other were advancing.
Lankaran started to play the important role in Azerbaijan’s trade with Iran, Central Asia, India and Russia. In Lankaran there were 9 markets, surrounded with dwelling-courtyards.
In XVII the Lankaran fortress was constructed. The fortress had 2 battle towers: northern on the coast of the sea and southern above a mouth of the river Lankaran-Chay. Some contributors link an origin of the name of the city with the Persian word collocation “Langarkyunan” : (“Langar” – ship, “kyunan” – coast), other with talish words “Lan” – cane and “Karan” – house i.e. house from a cane.
In 1795 troops of the Iranian Shakh Agha Muhammad Gajar attacked Lankaran. Being unable to resist the Gajar troops, the Tallish khan Mustafa (1786-1814) evacuated the city inhabitants on the island of Sari and took a defensive position. After plundering the city, the army of Gajar has departed to the south.
Lenkoran was built on a swampy area near the river Lenkoran, therefore the name. In 1812 there was a strong fight between the Iranian and Russian armies here, and by the 1st of January 1813 the Lankaran was already seized by Russia. Later, according to Gulistan peace agreement Lankaran was attached to Russia and the city Lankaran became a center of the district. In the beginning of XX century over a number of villages of Lankaran district there waved armed movements of the population against Russian authority. After the February revolution in Russia (1917) the Soviets came to an authority in Lankaran. In the summer of 1918 the Soviet authority in Lankaran was eliminated by Denikin’s white-guardians and local Russian bourgeoisie So-called “Mughan State” was founded, which in turn was eliminated by Bolsheviks on April 25, 1919. For getting into “a democratic attire” of the plans directed against territorial integrity of the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic (the first democracy in history of the East), Bolsheviks conducted the 1st regional congress of the workers-n-peasants’ deputies and declared founding of the Mughan Soviet Republic with capital in Lankaran.
Being rescued from moving ahead ADR troops, on July 25, 1919 Soviets stay more in Lankaran and kept themselves on the island of Sari. After intrusion of Soviet troops in Azerbaijan on April 27, 1920, and following occupation of Baku, on May 3, 1920 governing power in Lankaran again was again grasped by Soviets. As a territorial-administrative unit, the Lankaran region was founded on August 30, 1930. In 1994 local population encountered as 196,5 thousand.
On the shore of the Caspian Sea stands one of the most ancient cities of Azerbaijan, Lankaran.
Lankaran district is in the center of popular tourist routes. Part of it is located along the coast of the Caspian Sea, one of the features of the shoreline is black sand, which has amazing healing properties.
The Gaftonin zone of the district is known for its historical sites and sanatorium “Lenkaran”, where holidaymakers have the opportunity to undergo a rich health course based on Isti-su water from healing springs located in the Gaftoninsky forests.
On the territory of Lenkoran located the Girkan National Park (the habitat of the Asiatic leopard) and the Gizilagaj Reserve, which is of considerable interest for eco-tourism lovers, are partially located.
In Lenkoran there is an abundance of historical sights, among which the Lankaran fortress attracts special attention, more precisely its surviving fragments. It was built in the XVIII century and was known as one of the most important defensive fortifications in the Talish Khanate.
The brightest architectural landmark in Lenkoran is the Miramhad Khan House, located in the center. This palace was erected in 1913, and became the first three-story building in the city. Despite the fact that his project involved two French architects, in the external appearance of the House of Mirahmad Khan the features of the national Azerbaijani architecture are clearly present.
A few kilometers from the city is located Hanega – an complex of mausoleums and mosques, distinguished by exceptional artistic decoration.
Lankaran’s cuisine has largely been affected by its multicultural history, hence the large variety of food originating during Talysh Khanate. Lankaran’s signature cuisine includes lavangi, Lankaran kulcha, marji plov, white plov, pumpkin plov and turshu kebab.