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Ramsar, Mazandaran


Ramsar, Mazandaran

Persian: رامسر‎‎ ‹Ramsar›
From top left, Ramsar Old Hotel, Sunset at Caspian Sea, Statue of Esfandiyār, Ramsar Marble Palace, Ramsar Hotel Walkway, Ramsar Campus of Mazandaran University of Medical Sciences and Ramsar Gondola lift (Ramsar Télécabine)
From top left, Ramsar Old Hotel, Sunset at Caspian Sea, Statue of Esfandiyār, Ramsar Marble Palace, Ramsar Hotel Walkway, Ramsar Campus of Mazandaran University of Medical Sciences and Ramsar Gondola lift (Ramsar Télécabine)
Motto: The Paradise on Earth (Behesht-e rooy-e Zamin)
Ramsar is located in Iran
Location of Ramsar in Iran
Country  Iran
Province Mazandaran
County Ramsar
Bakhsh Central
 • Mayor (Ŝahrdār) Mohsen Morradi
Elevation 985 m (3,232 ft)
Population (2012)
 • Total 33,018
Time zone IRST (UTC+3:30)
 • Summer (DST) IRDT (UTC+4:30)

Ramsar (Persian: رامسر‎‎, also Romanized as Rāmsar and Rānsar; formerly, Sakht Sar)[1] is a city in and the capital of Ramsar County, Mazandaran Province, Iran. At the 2012 census, its population was 33,018, in 9,421 families.[2]

Ramsar lies on the coast of the Caspian Sea. It was also known as Sakhtsar in the past. Natives of Ramsar speak the Gilaki language which is a member of Northwest-Iranian languages and a dialect of Persian along with Mazandarani. The town is known for having some of the highest levels of natural background radiation on Earth.


  • Location 1
  • History 2
  • Tourism 3
  • Ramsar Convention 4
  • Climate 5
  • Radioactivity 6
  • International relations 7
    • Twin towns and sister cities 7.1
  • Notable people 8
  • Gallery 9
  • See also 10
  • References 11
  • External links 12


Ramsar is the westernmost county and city in Mazandaran. It borders the Caspian Sea to the north, Gilan province to the west, Qazvin Province to the south, and Tonekabon to the east.

Map showing position of Ramsar county as well as Ramsar city in Mazandaran province



Old Hotel of Ramsar

Ramsar is a popular sea resort for Iranian tourists. The town also offers hot springs, the green forests of the Alborz Mountains, the vacation palace of the last Shah, and the Hotel Ramsar. Twenty-seven kilometres south of Ramsar and 2700 meters above sea level in the Alborz mountains is Javaher Deh village, which is an important tourist attraction in Ramsar county.

Ramsar Convention

The Convention on Wetlands, signed in Ramsar, Iran, in 1971, is an intergovernmental treaty which provides the framework for national action and international cooperation for the conservation and wise use of wetlands and their resources. There are presently 160 Contracting Parties to the Convention, with 1920 wetland sites, totaling 1,680,000 square kilometres, designated for inclusion in the Ramsar List of Wetlands of International Importance. Presently, there are 160 contracting parties, up from 119 in 2000 and from 18 initial signatory nations in 1971.[3] Signatories meet every three years as the Conference of the Contracting Parties (COP), the first held in Cagliari, Italy in 1980. Amendments to the original convention have been agreed to in Paris (in 1982) and Regina (in 1987).[4]


Climate data for Ramsar (1961–1990, extremes 1955–2010)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 31.0
Average high °C (°F) 10.8
Daily mean °C (°F) 6.9
Average low °C (°F) 3.4
Record low °C (°F) −10.0
Average precipitation mm (inches) 86.5
Average precipitation days (≥ 1.0 mm) 9.0 8.7 11.0 8.3 7.3 4.9 3.9 6.6 8.6 11.6 9.2 8.8 97.9
Average snowy days 1.2 1.2 0.8 0.1 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.1 0.3 3.7
Average relative humidity (%) 84 85 88 86 85 81 79 82 84 86 86 85 84
Mean monthly sunshine hours 111.3 98.9 84.1 119.4 161.7 186.8 183.3 159.8 119.5 108.8 110.2 96.1 1,539.9
Source #1: NOAA[5]
Source #2: Iran Meteorological Organization (records)[6][7]


Two survey meters show dose rates of 142 and 143 µSv/h on contact with a bedroom wall
The statue of Rostam in front of Ramsar Old Hotel

Ramsar's Talesh Mahalleh district is the most radioactive inhabited area known in the world, due to nearby hot springs and building materials originating from them.[8] A combined population of 2000 residents from this district and other high radiation neighbourhoods receive an average radiation dose of 10 mGy per year, ten times more than the ICRP recommended limit for exposure to the public from artificial sources.[9] Record levels were found in a house where the effective radiation dose due to external radiation was 131 mSv/a, and the committed dose from radon was 72 mSv/a.[10] This unique case is over 80 times higher than the world average background radiation.

The prevailing model of radiation-induced cancer posits that the risk rises linearly with dose at a rate of 5% per Sv. If this linear no-threshold model is correct, it should be possible to observe an increased incidence of cancer in Ramsar through careful long-term studies currently underway.[9] Early anecdotal evidence from local doctors and preliminary cytogenetic studies suggested that there may be no such harmful effect, and possibly even a radioadaptive effect.[11] More recent epidemiological data show a slightly reduced lung cancer rate[12] and non-significantly elevated morbidity, but the small size of the population (only 1800 inhabitants in the high-background areas) will require a longer monitoring period to draw definitive conclusions.[13] Furthermore, there are questions regarding possible non-cancer effects of the radiation background. An Iranian study has shown that people in the area have a significantly higher expression of CD69 gene and also a higher incidence of stable and unstable chromosomal aberrations.[14] Chromosomal aberrations have been found in other studies[15] and a possible elevation of female infertility has been reported.[16]

Radiation hormesis was not observed in a study that also recommended that Ramsar does not provide justification to relax existing regulatory dose limits.[17] Pending further study, the potential health risks have moved scientists to call for relocation of the residents and regulatory control of new construction.[18][19]

The radioactivity is due to the local geology. Underground water dissolves radium in uraniferous igneous rock and carries it to the surface through at least nine known hot springs.[11] These are used as spas by locals and tourists. Some of the radium precipitates into travertine, a form of limestone, and the rest diffuses into the soil, where it is absorbed by crops and mixes with drinking water. Residents have unknowingly used the radioactive limestone as a building material for their homes. The stone irradiates the inhabitants and generates radon gas which is usually seen to promote lung cancer. Crops contribute 72 µSv/yr to a critical group of 50 residents.[20]

International relations

Twin towns and sister cities

RAMSAR is twinned with:

Notable people


See also


  1. ^ Ramsar, Mazandaran can be found at GEOnet Names Server, at this link, by opening the Advanced Search box, entering "-3081959" in the "Unique Feature Id" form, and clicking on "Search Database".
  2. ^
  3. ^ 2011-03-07
  4. ^ Ramsar: A brief history, retrieved 2009-11-07
  5. ^ "Ramsar Climate Normals 1961-1990".  
  6. ^ "Highest record temperature in Ramsar by Month 1955–2010". Iran Meteorological Organization. Retrieved April 7, 2015. 
  7. ^ "Lowest record temperature in Ramsar by Month 1955–2010". Iran Meteorological Organization. Retrieved April 7, 2015. 
  8. ^ Selinus, Olle; Finkelman, Robert B.; Centeno, Jose A. (14 January 2011). Medical Geology: A Regional Synthesis. Springer. pp. 162–165.  
  9. ^ a b Mortazavi, S.M.J.; P.A. Karamb (2005). "Apparent lack of radiation susceptibility among residents of the high background radiation area in Ramsar, Iran: can we relax our standards?". Radioactivity in the Environment 7: 1141–1147.  
  10. ^ Hendry, Jolyon H; Simon, Steven L; Wojcik, Andrzej; Sohrabi, Mehdi; Burkart, Werner; Cardis, Elisabeth; Laurier, Dominique; Tirmarche, Margot; Hayata, Isamu (1 June 2009). "Human exposure to high natural background radiation: what can it teach us about radiation risks?" (PDF). Journal of Radiological Protection 29 (2A): A29–A42.  
  11. ^ a b Ghiassi-nejad, M; Mortazavi, SM; Cameron, JR; Niroomand-rad, A; Karam, PA (January 2002). "Very high background radiation areas of Ramsar, Iran: preliminary biological studies." (PDF). Health physics 82 (1): 87–93.  
  12. ^ Mortazavi, S.M.J.; Ghiassi-Nejad, M.; Rezaiean, M. (2005). "Cancer risk due to exposure to high levels of natural radon in the inhabitants of Ramsar, Iran". High Levels of Natural Radiation and Radon Areas: Radiation Dose and Health Effects 1276: 436–437.  
  13. ^ Mosavi-Jarrahi, Alireza; Mohagheghi, Mohammadali; Akiba, Suminori; Yazdizadeh, Bahareh; Motamedid, Nilofar; Shabestani Monfared, Ali (2005), "Mortality and morbidity from cancer in the population exposed to high level of natural radiation area in Ramsar, Iran", International Congress Series 1276: 106–109,  
  14. ^ "Long-term immune and cytogenetic effects of high level natural radiation on Ramsar inhabitants in Iran". J Environ Radioact 74 (1-3): 107–16. 2004.  
  15. ^ Zakeri, F.; Rajabpour, M. R.; Haeri, S. A.; Kanda, R.; Hayata, I.; Nakamura, S.; Sugahara, T.; Ahmadpour, M. J. (2011), "Chromosome aberrations in peripheral blood lymphocytes of individuals living in high background radiation areas of Ramsar, Iran", Radiation and Environmental Biophysics 50 (4): 571–578,  
  16. ^ Tabarraie, Y.; Refahi, S.; Dehghan, M.H.; Mashoufi, M. (2008), "Impact of High Natural Background Radiation on Woman`s Primary Infertility", Research Journal of Biological Sciences 3 (5): 534–536 
  17. ^ Ghiassi-nejad, M; Mortazavi, SM; Cameron, JR; Niroomand-rad, A; Karam, PA (January 2002). "Very high background radiation areas of Ramsar, Iran: preliminary biological studies." (PDF). Health physics 82 (1): 92.  
  18. ^ Ghiassi-Nejad, M.; S. M. J. Mortazavi; M. Beitollahi; R. Assaie; A. Heidary; R. Varzegar; F. Zakeri; M. Jafari (2001). "Very High Background Radiation Areas (VHBRAs) of Ramsar: Do We Need Any Regulations to Protect the Inhabitants?". 34th Annual Midyear Meeting, "Radiation Safety and ALARA Considerations for the 21st Century", Regulatory Considerations Session (Anaheim, CA). 
  19. ^ Karam, P.A; Mortazavi, S.M.J; Ghiassi-Nejad, M; Ikushima, T; Cameron, J.R; Niroomand-rad, A (2002). "ICRP evolutionary recommendations and the reluctance of the members of the public to carry out remedial work against radon in some high-level natural radiation areas". Radiation and homeostasis 1236: 35–37.  
  20. ^ Ghiassi-Nejad, M; Beitollahi, MM; Asefi, M; Reza-Nejad, F (2003). "Exposure to (226)Ra from consumption of vegetables in the high level natural radiation area of Ramsar-Iran.". Journal of environmental radioactivity 66 (3): 215–25.  

External links

  • Ramsar's tourism
  • Ramsar's radioactivity
  • (Permission to use and copy these photos is hereby granted provided the above copyright notice appears in all the copies and modified versions of photos.)Photos of Ramsar
  • ramsar
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