Formerly known as Astarabad, Gorgan is the capital city of Golestan province which lies south-east of the Caspian sea. It’s located 400km. north-east of Tehran and 30 km. from the Caspian sea coast.
There are several archaeological sites near Gorgan, including Tureng Tepe and Shah Tepe, in which there are remains dating from the Neolithic and Chalcolithic eras. Some other important Neolithic sites in the area are Yarim Tepe and Sange Chaxmaq. Also, the nearby Shahroud Plain has many such sites. The number of conﬁrmed Neolithic sites on the Gorgan Plain now totals more than fifty.
According to the Greek historian Arrian, Zadracarta was the largest city of Hyrcania and the site of the “royal palace”. The term means “the yellow city”, and it was given to it from the great number of oranges, lemons, and other fruit trees which grew in the outskirts of that city.
Hyrcania became part of the Achaemenid Empire during the reign of Cyrus the Great (559–530 BC), its founder, or his successor Cambyses (530-522 BC).
The Great Wall of Gorgan, the second biggest defensive wall in the world, was built in the Parthian and Sassanian periods.
At the time of the Sassanids, “Gurgan” appeared as the name of a city, province capital, and province.
Gorgan maintained its independence as a Zoroastrian state even after Persia was conquered by the Muslim Arabs in the 8th century.
In 1210, the city was invaded and sacked by the army of the Kingdom of Georgia under command of the brothers Mkhargrdzeli.
“Old Gorgan” was destroyed during the Mongol invasion in the 13th century, and the centre of the region was moved to what was called “Astarabad”, which is currently called “Gorgan”.
Gorgan with its surrounding regions was sometimes considered as part of the Tabaristan region.
Astarabad was an important political and religious city during the Qajar dynasty.