Bandar Torkaman, The Nomadic Haven of Iran
Bandar Torkaman, also called Bandar Turkaman, is the capital city of Torkaman County, in northwest Golestan Province. Located in a plain, this place offers a wonderful opportunity to commune with nature and even live with one of the kindest nomadic tribes in Iran. Since this port is located on the east side of the Caspian Sea, it has a great atmosphere and weather. The city is a beautiful blend of culture and tradition and offers some of the most beautiful landscapes in Iran. If you have a plan to have a trip to Bandar Torkaman, this article about Bandar Torkaman travel guide can help you have a better experience in this beautiful green land. Moreover, we are going to introduce you to the most popular tourist attractions in Bandar Torkaman.
Located on the shores of the Caspian Sea, Bandar Torkaman is about 373 km from Tehran. It is also less than an hour away from the city of Gorgan. Therefore, it will be possible to see both cities on your trip. On the north, it is next to Turkmenistan; Kordkuy and Gorgan are located to the south; Aq-Qal’a to the east and the Gulf of Gorgan and the Caspian Sea are to the west.
The city located in a plain, but due to rising sea levels, increased sedimentation and climate change, its weather patterns have changed tremendously. Bandar Torkaman has a semi-dry climate, but the breeze and moisture from the Caspian Sea make the heat bearable. The city does not get too much precipitation and boasts an average temperature of 17.8 degree Celsius.
History of Bandar Torkaman
It is believed from archaeological evidence that the city was first inhabited by the Turkmens during the reign of the Seljuk Turks. However, it is considered a newly founded city in Iran because it was officially registered as a city during the reign of Reza Shah Pahlavi. That’s why it was first called “Bandar Shah” but then the name changed to “Bandar Torkaman”. To make this city more beautiful and in accordance with the principles of urbanization, the king asked the architects and engineers from Belgium to plan the urbanisation of this city. Therefore, aside from the traditional life of the Turkmen tribe in this area, you can still see how accurate and in order this city is.
Demographics, Customs and Rituals
The people of this city are called Turkmen who are mostly fishermen and farmers. Women also work in Bandar Torkaman, most of them weave carpets which is a major occupation in this city. Aside from carpets, they also weave aesthetically pleasing cushions, prayer mats, Turkmen rugs.
A majority of the people in Bandar Torkaman is fishermen and farmers. Nearly 70 per cent of the population speaks Turken while the remaining 30 per cent speaks Farsi and Kazakh. The people of Bandar Torkaman practice Islam. The carpets and rugs come with motifs and designs that beautifully depict the historical past of the region. Because the rugs are handmade, they are so popular and valuable in this area.
One of the greatest things you can see in Bandar Torkaman is their traditions. One of them is the wedding traditions. Kalim is paying a price for the bride which is very expensive for the groom. Hence, bridal kidnapping is quite prevalent among young tribal men, who cannot offer kalim. However, that’s just a show and a tradition.
The other greatest thing in Bandar Torkaman that can even be mentioned as one of the tourist attractions in Bandar Torkaman, is the traditional clothes that people wear. They are so colourful and eye-catching. Turkmen always wear bright colours that’s why they always look happier and more alive than people in the big cities. The men wear a skin cap and a loose red garment called Doon, and the women wear a loose skirt called Kooyink.
If you like you can ask them to give you the local dress, they will be happy to see tourists wear the same clothes as the locals.
Bandar Torkaman Celebrations and Special Events
Turkmen celebrate Ramadan with a lot of joy. It is common for them to bake oily bread and serve it in mosques and to their neighbours. Women often indulge in Laleh singing. This tradition dates back to centuries when young brides had to leave their tribes and were taken to distant regions by their husbands. This traditional song is about the love of life and the pain of separation.
During the sacrifice holidays (Eyd-e-Fitr or Eyd-e-Qorban) which is almost 5 days, Turkmen feast and celebrate. This is the time when they open the doors of their homes to strangers, inviting them to join the festivals. They also serve strangers with delicious local food.
Bandar Torkaman Traditional Foods
No trip to Iran is completed without tasting the local foods in each city. Bandar Torkaman is also one of the cities which have the most tasteful traditional cuisines. Chegdermeh is the most popular food in Golestan province. It is cooked with rice, meat, tomato paste, onion, oil, and water. To make it more tasteful, salt and pepper will be added. This dish is prepared in a cast iron pot called a “Ghazan”. Some believe that the cast iron pot is one of the reasons why this cuisine is so delicious.
Aside from the delicious foods that you can eat in Bandar Torkaman, you can also find great traditional bread which is made by the locals in an oven called “Tamdoor”. One of the most delicious bread in Bandar Torkaman is called “Bishmeh”. However, this word literally refers to anything that is being cooked. But the Bishmeh bread is a kind of oily bread which is cooked by mixing milk, sugar, eggs, and baking soda.
Tourist Attractions in Bandar Torkaman
Bandar Torkaman has the most beautiful sceneries. Therefore, most of its attractions are natural. If you are a nature lover you will find Bandar Torkaman Attractions so mesmerising and breathtaking.
One of the most important tourist attractions in Bandar Torkaman is Ashuradeh Island which is the biggest Iranian Island on the Caspian Sea. It is located on the west side of Bandar Torkaman and is famous for its eco-tourism opportunities in fall when the island becomes a nesting ground for migratory birds.
Soofikam Wetland is a preserved area almost an hour away from the city of Bandar Torkaman, close to Agh Qala. It is a place where you can find rare species of animals and birds. During migration season you can also see some rare birds such as White-tailed eagles that mostly come from Europe or Africa. Therefore, this wetland is a great place for bird-watchers and the ones who would like to be close to animals. However, it should be mentioned that hunting is not allowed in this area and tourists should not get so close to any animal in this area.
It is another great place for bird lovers because each year many migrating birds come to this wetland in winter. They are mostly migrating from Russia since it will become so cold for them to live there during winter. Flamingos, swans, eastern imperial eagles, storks and many other beautiful birds can be seen in this wetland. So don’t forget to bring your camera to catch the most beautiful pictures of these birds.
Torkaman Sahra is a dreamland which is almost 2 hours away from Bandar Torkaman. It also has great attractions such as the stone cemetery, Kabudval waterfall, Gonbad Kavous tower, and the most important one, Khalid Nabi Cemetery. If you would like to see greenery and the most beautiful and colourful sceneries, you can take a tour to Torkaman Sahra. We assure you this camping will be so fun and memorable for you and your companions.
Horseback Riding Competition
Bandar Torkaman regularly hosts horseback riding competitions, and they attract people from far and wide. These competitions are exciting, fun and entertaining to watch. It is definitely an experience of a lifetime. This city is also one of the most popular tourist destinations among tourists in Iran. You should definitely visit this place once in your lifetime.
If you are looking for quality handicraft at competitive prices, head out to Doshanbeh Bazaar (Monday Market). You can enjoy visiting the bazaar every Monday. You will be able to pick up vibrantly coloured silk clothes, carpets, felt outfits, agricultural produce and even livestock.
How to get to Bandar Torkaman?
Bandar Torkaman has a railway so you can easily get to this city via train from other cities such as Tehran or Gorgan. It will also be easy to rent a car in the city of Gorgan and get to this place in less than an hour. However, we still recommend you to choose tours, as the guides can help you see the hidden gems of each city too.
Where to Stay in Bandar Torkaman?
You can find great hotels in Bandar Torkaman or stay eco-tourism resorts. However, since the city of Gorgan is also very close to Bandar Torkaman, you can also choose a hotel in Gorgan and plan day trips to Bandar Torkaman or Torkaman Sahra. If you need any help finding hotels in these cities or taking a tour, please contact us. We can plan the greatest tours for travellers.
How to book a Hotel in Bandar Turkmen?
To find and book your perfect Hotel in Bandar Turkmen or any other destination in Iran go to Iran Hotel Booking page.