Situated on the western shores of the Caspian, it is bordered by the sea on one side and the mountains and jungles on the other. The weather is approximately humid and warm due to its proximity to the sea and the dense mountainous forests. Located 534 km. from Tehran, Astara is the northern most port of Iran and palys an important role on the country's border.
Trade expansion, in addition to being placed strategically military wise, have added to its importance. From the Safavid to the Qajar era, the name Astara was merely attributed to an area between Anzali and Aras, which is currently a part of the Republic of Azarbayjan. Trade relationships with several parts of Russia and Europe, caused the influx of European civilization to this region. The importance of trade and tourism in Astara has increased after the expansion of relationship between Iran and Azarbayjan.
The earliest mention, under the name Astaarab, comes in the Ḥodud al-aalam, written toward the end of the 10th century. In the 14th century, Astara became the seat of the small principality of the Esfahbad or Espahbad (-bod) of Gilan. From the 16th to the 18th centuries, the Taleshi Khans of Astara were either autonomous or nominally subordinate to the governors of Gīlān or Ardabil; on several occasions they played important parts in the history of the Caspian provinces. According to Minorsky, We do not know whether the later governors of Astara still continued the line of the ispahbads. Even after the conquest of Northern Tālish by the Russians (1813) the family of the Tālish-khans maintained some special rights.
Astara was part of the short lived Talysh Khanate in the 18th and 19th centuries, and for a short while it was the capital of the Khanate before it was moved to Lankaran. In 1828, with the signing of the Treaty of Turkmenchay, Astara was split into two. The city of Astara in Azerbaijan is located just across the Astarachay River.
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