Covering an area of 15972 square kilometers, Chaloos is located at 51° 27' eastern longitude and 36° 38' northern latitude. It is limited northward by the Caspian Sea, eastward by Noshahr city, southward by the Alborz mountain range and Tehran province ( Taleqan and Karaj ) and westward by Tonekabon city.
Chaloos has an altitude of 19 meters above free sea level and includes 3 cities : Chaloos, Kelar-dasht and Marzanabad; 2 districts and 5 hamlets. According to the census of 2000, Chaloos has a population of approximately 114120.
Having plain temperate and humid climate, and cold mountainous and half humid, Chaloos is located in the plains and Kelar-dasht and Marzanabad are located in the mountainous region.
The most important rivers flowing in this city are Sard-abrood, Chaloos, Namak-abrood and Hachi-rood, which originate from the northern Alborz mountain range. Featuring 45 peaks, with a height of 4000 meters, Kelar-dasht is the tallest point of the Alborz mountain range. ‘Alam-kooh with a height of 4850 meters is the tallest summit in Chaloos and is the third one after Damavand and Sabalan peaks.The economy of this city is based on agriculture, animal husbandry and tourism.
Historical Background :
According to an old fiction, the native inhabitants believe that the appellation of Chaloos originates from the name of a beautiful girl who lived there. But scholars believed that the word “Chaloos”, consists of “Cha” or “Chal” meaning lowland and “loos” meaning oozy ground.
Written sources mention it as “Chaales” or “Chales” and in Arabic ones it appears as “Shaloos” or “Shales”. Archeological surveys indicate that Kelar-dasht was the most ancient residences of human beings in this area, in the 2th millennium BC.
Kelar-dasht was excavated in 1975-1976 by a research team headed by the Archeological Institute of Tehran University and more than 50 hills were identified and studied. These hills date back to the end of the second and the early first millennium.
The native inhabitants of the area were from the southern Mediterranean and the Caucasus, and later Amards replaced them. The languages spoken in Chaloos are Gilaki-e Kelarestaqi, for the major part, Khajevandi for Khajevands who live in Kelar-dasht and Gilaki for the inhabitants of Gilan who emigrated to Chaloos in the recent century.
This city was erected because of the existence within it of a historic fortress limited by the east of Deilamestan and its dates back to the Sassanid period.The name of Chaloos first appears in Ebn-e Khordad-beh’s Masalek al-Mamalek in 232-272 AH. The author refers to it as a city equal to Amol and Sari, so Chaloos was developed. It was successively regarded as a fortified garrison and a fortress.
So many happenings took place in Chaloos, following settlements of Sassanid margraves, Mazandaran rulers and then Muslim Arabs and Transoxianan Turks as well as, because of invasions by Issmailiyeh and civil war of Padoosbanid tribe.Ebn-e Khaldoon, the Arabian historian, records it as a ruined hamlet, while a holy person refers to it as a city with a fortress and a congregational mosque that were connected and made of stone.
Chaloos fortress was destroyed by order of Seyyed Hassan Ebn-e Qassem, one of the followers of Naser-ol Haqq in 287 AH, and then the Padoosbanid dynasty that ruled in Royan, was succeeded by Shah ‘Abbas I, the Safavid monarch, in 1004 AH. All of these caused that Chaloos gradually lost its importance and by the name of Kelarestaq joined to Kojoor and Tonekabon.
During the reign of Pahlavi I, Chaloos was located at the intersection of the coastal way and Kandavan road, and a silk-weaving factory was built in it, which attracted many emigrant workers; so the city flourished again.Chaloos was separated from Tonekabon after erecting Noshahr, in 1948, and was regarded as a part of its domain of diplomacy. Eventually Chaloos was known as an independent city in 1996.
Historical Attractions :
1- Chaykhoran Palace:
Registration No. : 1045
This building is located on the southern edge of Mo‘allem square. Dating back to the Pahlavi I period, this palace today houses the administrative section of the Cultural Heritage Organization of Chaloos. It was built in an area of about 4000 square meters.
The structure consists of one story and a basement. Its two main entrances are located on its eastern and western sides. Within this monument includes the main part and service section connected through a corridor.
The main part features an aivan decorated with pillars on the north, two square halls on the south and a rectangular hall adorned with stucco carvings, on the northern and southern sides. The service section houses two chambers, a kitchen and two aivans on the eastern and western sides.
2- Bonyad Pahlavi Hotel:
Registration No. : 1523
Located on the eastern edge of Mo‘allem square, it was built as a hotel during the reign of Pahlavi I. Lying north and south, it is a two-story-high building with a basement and a gable roof. This building was handed over to the Revolutionary Guards Corps after the Islamic revolution.
Now it is the Emam Reza expertise clinic. Facing eastward, the exterior façade is decorated. Access to the monument is gained from the east.
3- Jangalbani (forestation) Cottages:
Located on the northern edge of Mo‘allem square, in the yard of the forests organization, near the Chaloos river.
The complex consists of five cottages, all of which are two-story-high. They are made of fired brick, wood and stone.
4- Pol Felezi :
Located at the center of the city, it spans Chaloos river. This bridge was built in 1933 and used in 1934. It is 200 meters long and 6.5 meters wide (including the parapet). Its span is 68.5 meters long. The bridge is decorated with numerous lampposts and stone statues of lions stand on its both sides.
5- Parvin E‘tesami Primary School :
Located on the northern edge of the Emam street, 100 m west of Azadi square. It was built, following the erection of the silk-weaving factory as its canteen. In 1942-1946, it came under the authority of the command post of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics’ military forces.
After the exit of the allies, since 1947, this monument was used as a place of learning. At first it was Shapur high school, and the Parvin E‘tesami primary school has since been installed in it.The structure consists of a story and a basement. The first floor was built more than 1.30 meters above earth level. The monument has a tall ceiling with a height of 4.8 meters. Access to the building is gained from the south.
6- Silk-weaving Factory :
The factory was built from 1933 to 1936. Its products, such as silk cloth, socks, curtains, ties and so on were unique in the middle east of the time, and were exported abroad throughout 1936-1958.
In 1958, the factory was closed and its machines were transferred to Rasht. It had steam boiler, energy producer, water reservoir and spinning, cloth weaving, socks-knitting, dyeing and administrative sections.About 1500 people worked there. Most of them were from Gilan province and some of them were from Amol, Babol, Esfahan, Mashhad and Tabriz.Later, this building came under the authority of the Agriculture and Natural Resources Ministry. It was handed over to the Revolutionary Guards Corps after the Islamic Revolution of Iran.
Monuments Outside Chaloos :
1- Mausoleum of Seyyed Mohammad :
Located 6 kilometers away from Chaloos, south of the beltway from Chaloos to Tonekabon, in the Zavat village. It is an octagonal construction crowned by an octagonal conical and twin-shelled dome. The exterior pyramidal façade is decorated and the inner shell is a round dome.The building is accessed from the east and a light aperture exists between its blind arches.
2- Stone-paved Road :
This road dates back to the Qajar period, during the reign of Nasser-ed-Din Shah. It is 3 meters wide.This road is visible from Sinava and Maziposhteh villages, located south of Chaloos, on the western edge of the bank of Chaloos river.Apparently, it is the way that connected Chaloos to Manzariyeh in Shemiran.
3- Shah-Cheshmeh Building :
Located on the western edge of the Chaloos-Karaj road, 4km off the beltway from Chaloos to Noshahr. Its appellation is due to the existence of a spring near it, by the name of Shah Cheshmeh .Facing eastward the main entrance is decorated with a beautiful portico. Dating back to the Pahlavi I period, the structure consists of one story with numerous pillars.
4- Zoghal Bridge :
Located 18km off Kandavan road, between Chaloos and Marzanabad, it spans Chaloos river.According to its inscription, this bridge dates back to 1317 AH. It was decorated with stones and houses three holes in different sizes. Whit a width of 6.2 meters and a height of 38.5 meters, the bridge features a 20 meter-long arch.
5- Tomb Tower of Emamzadeh Zakariya :
Located 7km north of Kelar-dasht, in the Shekar-kooh village, it is the burial place of Emamzadeh Zakariya Ebn-e Razi Ebn-e Jafar Ebn-e ‘Ali Ebn-e Hossein Ebn-e Amir-ol-Mo’menin.Dating back to the Safavid period, this tomb tower is an octagonal construction crowned by a twin-shelled octagonal conical dome. Bands of moqarnas (stalactite decoration) and blind arches adorn the building.In addition it houses a latticed light aperture and a carved door with inscriptions, which bear verses from the Holy Qor’an and give the name of the commissioners.
6- Tomb Tower of Emamzadeh Haqqani :
Registration No. : 476
This holy shrine is located in Kelar-dasht. Emamzadeh Hadi Ebn-e Emam Zain-ol-‘Abedin, famous as Haqqani, is buried in this place. It is a quadrilateral construction surrounded by four aivans each of which has ten wooden pillars, and the corner one is engraved.Access to the building is gained from the east. According to the inscription of the entrance, it dates back to 771 AH. Another engraved wooden door exists inside the monument.Having a case, its inscription bears the date of construction (782 AH, during the reign of Soltan Jalal-oddoleh Eskandar) and gives the name of its commissioner (Heyydar Kia) and carpenter (Ostad Farhad Ebn-e Rostam-ol Khalil-ol Mo‘alla).
7- Incomplete Hotel :
Located at the center of Kelar-dasht, the structure consists of three stories. It dates back to the Pahlavi I period. The construction was built by a German company, but it is not yet complete, because at that time the commissioners could not convince Reza Khan, the Pahlavi monarch, about its solidity. Now, some sections of it are used by different governmental departments.
8- Complex of Governmental Offices , Kelar-dasht:
Built upon the order of Reza Khan, the Pahlavi monarch, during his numerous trips to Kelar-dasht. The complex consists of a palace and 15 governmental offices, which were constructed by a German Company in 1941, but the hotel is incomplete.Some of them are located on the northern edge of Pasdaran street, and used as administrations of Tobacco Products, Natural Resources, the Police, Cultural Center, City hall and serum factory. Some of these buildings have the same exterior facades.
9- Ojabit Palace:
Located on a hilltop, overlooking Kelar-dasht, in the Ojabit district. Dating back to the Pahlavi period, it is a two-story-high construction with a gable roof. Built in 1939, it was used as a museum and now it is under the authority of the Presidency Office.
10. Malak - Joob Stream:
Malak-Joob stream is one of the branches of Sard-aberood river, used to irrigate the farmlands. It was dug under the Padoosbanid dynasty. This stream is divided into two eastern and western parts. The eastern Malak- Joob stream originates from Roodbarak river. It is 4km long and waters 290 hectares of lands. The western one, whose source is Valval district in Kelar-dasht, is 8.5 meters long. It irrigates an area about 13 hectares. Numerous water mills were along the Malak-Joob stream, but none of them exists today.
Tourism and Natural Attractions:
1- Public Forests :
Fin public forest located at km 7 of the Chaloos-Tehran road, public park and telecabin of Namak-abrood located at km 12 of the Chaloos-Tonekabon road, Shohada public forest located south of Chaloos.
2- Seaside :
Radio-Darya boulevard and the public walk near the seaside.
3- Mineral Warm Water Springs :
There are numerous mineral warm water springs in Chaloos. These include Vahed in the village by the same name, on the ‘Abbasabad-Kelardasht road, Pish-Tark, between Roodbarak- Mahal village and Kelardasht, Tolu, south of Roodbarak village, Daryu, near the Barar village, in the Birun-Bashm hamlet in Kelardasht, Kandav, in Anguran village, in Kelardasht, Laleh-Jar, in a village by the same name, north of Marzanabad, and Dalir in Kelardasht.
4- Lakes :
Valasht is the most beautiful lake in Chaloos and the tenth sweet water lake in Iran. It is located at km 14 of Chaloos-Marzanabad road, in Sama village, in Kelar-dasht. This lake is 650 meters long and 300 meters wide. It covers an area of 20 hectares and has a maximal depth of 30 meters. Having limpid water, it is suitable for fishing, swimming and boating.
Various birds such as wild goose, partridge and pheasant live around this lake. It houses a kind of pike. Daruk lake is located in a mountainous area, opposite Valiabad village, along the Kandavan road. Covering an area of one hectare, it has a maximal depth of 5 meters and latitude of more than 3500 meters above free sea level.
Many kinds of fauna, geese and ducks live around it. Another lake by the same name, is located at the beginning of the northern forest of Kelar-dasht, in the Pelet-Cheshmeh district. It was surrounded by reed beds and marshes, where various wild birds reside.
5- Rivers :
The most important rivers flowing in this city are Chaloos-rood and Sardaberood. Their beautiful riversides attract many visitors.
6- Peaks :
The mountains of Chaloos are ‘Alamkooh and Takht-e Soleiman, which attract many mountain climbers. Housing camps, technically, it is the seventh peak in Iran. In addition, its glaciers and snow holes are famous.
7- Waterfalls :
The waterfalls of Chaloos include Harijan in a village by the same name, near the Hezar-Cham defile and Ekapol in the forest of Sardichal village, in Kelar-dasht.
8- Glaciers :
There are numerous natural and permanent glaciers in an area between the mountains of ‘Alamkooh and Takht-e Soleiman. This collection is the biggest one in the Middle East. The glaciers of ‘Alamkooh exist on the valleys and mountainous area. On the average, they move forward about 30cm to 1m every day. Dating back to the Mezozoic Era, they are some 600 million years old. The most important ice ponds, in order of largeness, are:
Haft-Khan, which is the biggest one in Iran, ‘Alam-Chal, at the foot of ‘Alamkooh mountain, it is 3000 meters long, 750 meters wide and 80 meters deep. ‘Alamkooh, on the northwestern edge of the mountain by the same name, Takht-e Soleiman, Khar-san, Chaloon and Marjikash. All of these glaciers are the sources of the rivers in this area. In addition, there are many glaciers in the mountainous area, including Sar-Chal, Se-Chal, Hesar-Chal and Espelit.
9- Snow Holes :
There are numerous snow holes in the mountains of Kelardasht. The most important one is Tang-e Loo, near the animal way which connects to Kelardasht-Taleqan road. Another one is Gardan-Kooh, located between two glaciers: Kharsan and Hesar-Chal, at the foot of Menareh peak.
10- Hunting-grounds :
The most important hunting-grounds of Chaloos are located in the mountainous areas. These include Naft-Chak, Kal-Jaran, Barbar, Pit-Sara, Avider, Khoshkeder, Bala-Khorram-dasht, Paeen-Khorram-dasht, Eshkesseh, Hesar-Chal, Espendeh, Patakht and Div-Chal.
11- Caves :
The caves of Chaloos are: Yakh-Morad in Harijan village, in Kelar-dasht, Div-Koli and Daranguran in Kelar-dasht and Div-Ghar in Barar village, in Kelar-dasht.
12- Tomb Tower of Emamzadeh Fazl & Fazel :
This holy shrine is located on an isolated mountain in Fashkoor village, a dependency of Kelar-dasht. It is an octagonal construction with a twin-shelled dome. The monument is made of stones and mortar. The interior and exterior pyramidal facades are not decorated, and the inner shell is a round dome. It has an addition without any special architectural features.
13- Nahar-khoran Building , Kandavan :
Located at 40km of Chaloos-Karaj road, in the Dozd-e Bon district, near the Chaloos river. It dates back to the Pahlavi I period, following the construction of the Kandavan road. This monument was used as a rest place and now it is a restaurant. Having a gable roof and square plan, the structure is made of fired brick, stone, cement and lime. It was adorned with stucco carvings of simple patterns and decorated capitals.
14- Reza Khan Rest Place:
This monument is located in Valiabad village, on the Kandavan road. It was used as a temporary rest place by Reza Khan. The structure consists of a single story and a basement. It features a central hall and a chamber on the western side that connects to the rest room through a corridor. Facing eastward, it houses an aivan that was changed into two chambers. Having a gable roof, the monument is decorated with round pillars and engraved capitals and plinths. The aivan is floored with cement and the other parts of the building are paved with wood.
15- Stone Gate :
This gate or tunnel is located in the Gazna-Galleh district, in Valiabad village, a dependency of Kelar-dasht, along the Kandavan road built during the reign of Nasser-ed-Din Shah, the Qajar monarch. Lying east and west, it is 3.8 meters wide and 4.7 meters high. The tunnel features three inscriptions. One of them, that is located on the eastern entrance, consists of six lines in Latin script. The western one bears this text: “ This road was built during the reign of Anooshirvan Khan E‘tezadod-doleh in Mazandaran, and when ‘Aziz Khan was the general in chief of the guarded army in Iran.”
One of the inscriptions gives the name of the gate’s commissioner: Ostad ‘Ali Akbar Darakehee. The Nasseri road was built by Mr. Kastker. It was inaugurated by Nasser-ed-Din Shah and connected Chaloos to Tehran. This road branches off in Kelar-dasht.
16- Stone Caravansary :
( on the slope of the Kandavan mountain ) Located 200m north of Kandavan tunnel, on the eastern edge of Chaloos-Karaj road. Lying north and south, it is a rectangular construction with two rows of domed cells. Measuring 22 x 9 meters, it is a mountain caravansary. Today, only five round domes on the eastern side of the monument remain. Housing a light aperture, each of them rests on four arches. Apparently, the main entrance was located on the northwest side, but was later ruined.
17- Kandavan Tunnel :
Located at a height of 2700 meters of Kandavan mountain, 90k south of Chaloos, along the Chaloos-Karaj road, this tunnel was built from 1935 to 1939. It is 1883.8 meters long and 5 meters wide. Because of its small width, it was one-way. But later, in 2001, it was widened and used as a two-way road. The tunnel’s importance is due to prevention of dangers in winters.18- Stone Caravansary :
( on the peak of the Kandavan mountain ) The remains of this stone caravansary are located on the peak of the Kandavan moutain, in the extreme south of Mazandaran. It is a rectangular construction, measuring 16 x 14 meters. Its entrance is located on the east side and connected to a corridor on the west. Symmetrically, the corridor is flanked by two chambers. The building is made of quadrangular cut stones, mortar and lime. The evidence indicates that the inner shell of the caravansary was a round dome.
19- Kelar-dasht Treasure :
During the construction of Ojabit palace, located in a village by the same name, in Kelar-dasht on a hill, Ganj-Tappeh, a treasure of gold, bronze and pottery vessels was discovered, in 1939. This collection consists of: canteens, jugs, plates, tubular vessels and rhytons, as well as a collection of golden vessels including cups, daggers etc., weighing 574.79 grams. At first this collection was delivered to the treasury of Melli Bank, as the backing of money. And in 1943 it was given to the Iran-e Bastan Museum (National Museum).
A gold cylindrical cup adorned with three lions with embossed heads, is among the discovered collection.
According to construction techniques, it is comparable with the Marlik cup.
20- Kelar-dasht Silver Collection :
During the excavations carried out in Kelar-dasht, some silver and gold-beaten items, dating back to the Sassanid period, were discovered. Some of these are: numerous cups with patterns of animals such as lion, winged lion and eagle.
Two golden cups adorned with a hunting scene, Qobad, the first Sassanid monarch on horseback. A silver and gold beaten ewer shows some musicians sitting under the blind arches as well as branches of grapevine and different kinds of animals like fox, partridge, quail and tiger.