Lighthouses of Northern Iran

The northern coast of Iran is 630 km (395 mi) long, facing the southern end of the Caspian Sea (known in Iran as the Sea of Māzandarān). The Iranian coast is low and sandy, although the Alborz (Elburz) Mountains rise steeply to the south. In general the coastline lacks natural harbors; the one traditional harbor is Bandar-e Anzali at the mouth of the Sefid River near the west end of the coast. In modern times ports have been developed at Noshahr in the central part of the coast and Amirabad in the east.

Since lighthouses on the Caspian Sea are not included in international light lists, not much is known about them. Given this lack of information and photos, contributions from travelers to the area would be very welcome.

Navigational aids in Iran are maintained by the Ports and Maritime Organization. The Persian phrase for a lighthouse is فانوس دریایی(fanews daraa).

Gilan (Guilan) Province Lighthouses
* Bandar-e Anzalī
Date unknown. Active; focal plane about 50 m (164 ft); light characteristic unknown. Approx. 50 m (164 ft) harbor control tower with a 16-sided control and observation room and a radar antenna. The light is mounted on the gallery at the top of the building. The tower is gray concrete with dark red bands around the top and bottom of the control building. David Khani's photo is at right, Vahid Benyaghoub has another photo, the light is seen in action in F. Alizadeh's photo, and Bing has a satellite view. The only port of Gilan Province, Bandar-e Anzali (known as Bandar-e Pahlavi before the Iranian revolution of 1979) is at the mouth of the Sefid River and the southwestern corner of the Caspian Sea, about 30 km (20 mi) northwest of the provincial capital of Rasht. Located on the west side of the harbor entrance near the base of the west breakwater. Site status unknown, but the tower is easily seen from nearby. Operator: Anzali Port.
Anzali Light
Bandar-e Anzalī Light, September 2008
Panoramio photo copyright David Khani; permission requested
* Anzali Breakwater (Range Front)
Date unknown. Active; focal plane about 12 m (39 ft); green light, characteristic unknown. Approx. 10 m (33 ft) square skeletal tower carryin a green triangular daymark, point up. Rahim Rahmani Nejad has a closeup and a view from the sea, and Bing has a satellite view. This light appears to be the front light of a range, but it is likely that the range has been discontinued. Vahid Benyaghoub's 2006 photo of the harbor control tower also shows a tall skeletal tower that may have carried the rear light, but this tower is missing from more recent photos. New and much longer breakwaters have been built at Anzali, and probably they made the range obsolete. Located on the original west breakwater of Anzali. Accessible by walking the pier. Site open, tower closed. Operator: Anzali Port.
* Anzali Clock Tower
Early 19th century. Inactive as a lighthouse for many years, but the tower is floodlit at night and is a prominent landmark. 28 m (92 ft) round stone tower with gallery, painted white with blue trim. A closeup photo, an aerial view, and a nighttime photo are available, and Bing has a satellite view. This historic building is well known as the symbol of Anzali. Built as a lighthouse, the tower was converted to a clock tower in 1928. It was restored in 1990, and another restoration is planned. Located about 160 m (520 ft) from the waterfront on the north side of downtown Anzali. Site open, tower status unknown.

Māzandarān Province Lighthouses
Noshahr (Nowshahr)
Date unknown. Active; focal plane about 22 m (72 ft); light characteristic unknown. Approx. 20 m (66 ft) square pyramidal skeletal tower. An aerial photo and a distant view of the harbor (the light is on the breakwater on the right) are available, and Bing has a satellite view. Noshahr is a beach resort and university town in Māzandarān Province, near the southernmost point of the Caspian Sea. Located at the end of the east breakwater at Nowshahr. Site status unknown, but the light is easy to see from the waterfront. Operator: Nosharh Port.
Amirabad West Breakwater
Date unknown. Active; focal plane about 12 m (39 ft); light characteristic unknown. Approx. 8 m (26 ft) square pyramidal concrete tower, painted green. No photo available, but the shadow of the tower is visible in Bing's satellite view. The Port of Amirabad is a modern port located 34 km (21 mi) northeast of the provincial capital of Sari. It is Iran's only port on the Caspian that is connected to the national railroad system, so it plays a major role in the country's international trade. Located at the end of the west breakwater of Amirabad. Site status unknown. Operator: Amirabad Port.
Amirabad East Breakwater
Date unknown. Active; focal plane about 12 m (39 ft); light characteristic unknown. Approx. 8 m (26 ft) square pyramidal concrete tower, painted red. No photo available, but the shadow of the tower is visible in Google's satellite view. Located at the end of the east breakwater of Amirabad. Site status unknown. Operator: Amirabad Port.

Golestan Province Lighthouse
* Bandar-e Gaz
Date unknown. Reactivated; focal plane about 30 m (98 ft); continuous white light. Approx. 26 m (85 ft) square concrete block pillar centered on a square concrete block base, with several large lights at the top of the pillar. M.Z. Mirzaei's photo is at right, a nighttime photo is available, and Bing has a distant satellite view. The history of this structure is somewhat uncertain; apparently it was built in the 1920s to guide ships trading with Russia. Bandar-e Gaz is a town on the Gulf of Gorgan, a lagoon at the southeastern corner of the Caspian Sea. Located on Pharos Square, a park on the waterfront of the town. Site open, tower closed.

Information available on lost lighthouses:

Bandar-e Gaz Light
Bandar-e Gaz Light, March 2010
Panoramio photo copyright M.Z. Mirzaei; used by permission

Notable faux lighthouses:

Adjoining pages: East: Turkmenistan | West: Azerbaijan

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Posted August 5, 2011.Checked and revised July 23, 2014. Lighthouses: 7. Site copyright 2014 Russ Rowlett and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.