City (pop., 2006: 557,366), north-central Iran. It is situated on a branch of the Safīd River south of the Caspian Sea. Its importance as the main city of the Gīlān region dates from Russia's expansion southward in the 17th century. In the 20th century, it was severely damaged by Russian occupation during both world wars. Surrounded by rice fields and areas of half-cleared forests, it is a market and a processing centre for rice, tea, peanuts (groundnuts), and silk.
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