DELĀRESTĀQ (also Delārostāq, Dīlārostāq), dehestān (administrative district) in the šahrestān of Āmol (Lārījān baḵš), on the northeastern slope of Mount Damāvand (q.v.) in Māzandarān (Razmārā, Farhang III, p. 122). It is a small, isolated region, located between Lārījān and Nūr and thus forming part of the conglomeration of mountain valleys in the central Alborz. For a long time it was difficult of access owing to the altitude and especially to the steepness of the slopes in the lower part of the valley bordering the Harāz river (Sotūda, pp. 463 ff.).
The population consists of only 1,300 inhabitants of eleven small villages and hamlets (Census, 1365 Š./1986). As is general in Lārījān, most of the villagers winter in the neighborhood of Āmol, and only agricultural families and herdsmen remain all year in the mountains. Although a few families from the village of Razān (or Razon) call themselves Mongols (Sotūda, pp. 463 ff.), the basic population of Delārestāq has been settled there since time immemorial, and all speak the Gīlakī dialect of Āmol. Until the beginning of the 20th century they were governed by local princes who resisted the successive political authorities (de Planhol, p. 20).
The heart of this pastoral district is a vast plateau, only a small part of which is cultivated (in wheat, barley, and potatoes); it is overlooked by the steep, snowy slopes of Mount Damāvand. The main village, Nāndal (or Lāndāl), is located on this plateau and is often damaged by earthquakes; it serves as the point of departure for ascents of the north face of Damāvand. In the summer herds of cattle and especially flocks of zeli sheep (without fat tails) from the Āmol region graze on the high pastures. Summer visitors from Māzandarān and Tehran have become numerous, especially since the construction of the road from Panjāb along the main Harāz route and passing through the neighboring valley of Namā-rostāq.
According to tradition, Delārestāq was part of the region in which legends linked with Mount Demāvand were set, and many shrines (takīyas and emāmzādas) attest the symbolic and mythical richness of this small plateau (Sotūda, passim). According to Ebn Esfandīār (p. 57), Ferēdūn was born in Var, a village in Delārestāq the location of which is at present unknown, though H. L. Rabino (p. 115) seems to have recorded its existence in the 19th century; Ferēdūn was supposed to have grown up among cattle herders at Šalāb in the vicinity of Āmol, which seems to fit the present pattern of seasonal migrations between the two districts. Near the village of Kahrūd in the lower part of Delārestāq, where the climate is relatively mild, there are ruins of a castle known only as Robāṭ, which overlooks the entrance to the Harāz valley and Lārījān beyond. Rabino identified them as the celebrated fortress of Prince Manōčehr of Lārījān, who was supposed to have rebuilt it as a palace; it was destroyed by Sayyed Faḵr-al-Dīn Marʿašī in 783/1381 (Rabino, p. 115; cf. Sotūda, p. 478).
(For cited works not found in this bibliography, see “Short References.”) X. de Planhol, “Un haut pays du versant aride de l’Alborz. Le Laridjan (haute vallée du Harâz),” in X. de Planhol, Recherches sur la géographie humaine de l’Iran septentrional, Paris, 1964, pp. 17-36.
H. L. Rabino, Mázandarán and Astarábád, GMS, N.S. 7, London, 1928.
M. Sotūda, Az Āstārā tā Estārbād III. Māzandarān-e ḡarbī, Tehran, 1335 Š./1956.
Originally Published: December 15, 1994
Last Updated: November 21, 2011
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Vol. VII, Fasc. 3, pp. 233-234