Darband Area, Tehran’s Breathing Space
Tucked away in the northern reaches of Tehran, lies a haven of tranquillity and nature known as Darband.
Renowned for its pleasing climate and impressive scenery, Darband is situated in the northern part of the city, within the districts of Zaferanieh and Darband.
To reach Darband, one must start at the bustling Tajrish Square and make their way up Darband Street. The street ends at Sarband Square, which is considered the entrance to the Darband neighborhood.
At the center of this square, one can find a concrete statue symbolizing a mountaineer, dating back to 1959. Adjacent to Sarband Square, the Boulevard Hotel and the cable car station can be found.
A visit to this lovely neighborhood would ideally take about 3 to 4 hours, though this can vary based on your interests and pace. It is open to visitors throughout the year, and entrance is absolutely free.
Attractions and Activities
The Darband trail is a popular starting point for many hikers tackling the central Alborz mountain range.
If you decide to embark on a hike here, you will be welcomed by a winding path flanked by a river on one side and an array of cafes and restaurants on the other. The air is often filled with the enticing aromas of tea, shisha, omelettes, stew, kebabs, and more.
About three kilometers ahead, you’ll come across a metal bridge leading to Agha Mehdi’s pass. Beyond the bridge, a fork in the road awaits, with both paths converging at Osun junction. Here, a signpost directs visitors to Doogloo Waterfall, a frequent destination for most visitors and a preferred choice for low-altitude hikers during spring.
It should be noted that reaching Doogloo Waterfall may involve navigating some challenging terrain using installed cables on the mountain. Like most of the Shemiranat area, this waterfall is seasonal and freezes completely during winter, presenting an incredibly majestic sight.
Facilities and Accommodation
For those looking for accommodation and facilities near Doogloo Waterfall, Espinas Hotel and a buffet are available. The waterfall stands at a height of 20 meters and appears as two separate falls running alongside each other due to its flow over a large slab of rock, hence the name Doogloo (which means twin in Persian).
At an altitude of 2,700 meters, the waterfall is located near the Shirpala shelter on the route to Tochal Peak. Many mountaineers who visit the area also conquer Band-e Yakhchal Peak, the first peak where rock and cliff climbing have been practiced.
The journey from Sarband Square to the Waterfall takes about two to three hours, making for a memorable day spent amidst the stunning natural beauty of Darband. This peaceful enclave is indeed a breath of fresh air in the heart of Tehran.
The History of The Mountaineer Statue
In truth, the concrete statue known as the Mountaineer’s Statue is a tribute to Colonel Amir Shah Ghadimi, an accomplished mountain climber, parachutist, eminent ski trainer certified by the federations of Iran and France, and also a kite trainer.
Creation of the Statue
In 1959, Hassan Vojdani Khosh, a professional mountaineer, proposed the construction of this statue to the Mountaineering Federation. After approval from the Federation’s then-president, who was also the head of the Army’s Mountain Training Center, Colonel Ghadimi, then an army captain, mountain climbing coach of the Mountain Training Center, and national ski coach, was introduced as the model for the statue to Reza Laal Riahi, a professor at the School of Fine Arts, sculptor, and army colonel.
The cost of constructing this statue, amounting to ten thousand Tomans, was assumed by the municipality. Ultimately, the plaster model of this statue was constructed in 1959 and installed in Sarband Square. However, due to heavy rain and severe frost during the winter of the same year, parts of the statue, including its hand, were damaged.
The concrete statue seen today was made in 1962 from the clay model of the original statue. A few years after the statue was installed in Sarband Square, in November 1971, at the suggestion of the Iran Mountaineering Federation and with the agreement of the Tehran City Association and Municipality, the square was renamed “Mountaineers’ Square.”
Colonel Ghadimi was awarded a Medal of Merit by then U.S. President Kennedy for his involvement in a rescue operation to save the passengers of an American plane that had crashed on the Zard-Kuh peak in Bakhtiari. He passed away at the age of 82 on May 1, 2012.
The Best Time to Visit Darband Neighborhood
The mountainous Darband area is located at the foot of the Central Alborz mountain range. The Central Alborz and Shemiranat region usually have cold winters and are fully covered in snow from late autumn. Spring and summer are the best seasons for hiking, mountain climbing, and nature sightseeing in these areas. Autumn is also suitable for snow activities in this region, but during winters, the paths become slippery and icy. If you are not a professional climber and do not intend to hike, it’s better to visit this region. The water from the Twin Waterfall is bone-chilling even in summer and completely freezes during winter.
How to Reach Darband via Transport?
Accessibility Access to Darband via public transportation such as buses and the subway is not possible, so it’s better to use online taxis or private vehicles.
Private Vehicle: To reach the Twin Waterfall, you should enter Darband Street from Tajrish Square and then enter the Pas Qaleh village. Follow the direction signs towards the Twin Waterfall. You have a two-hour hike to the waterfall ahead.
Park your car near the mountain, take your mountaineering equipment, and head towards the waterfall. If you intend to sightsee, park your car at the end of Darband Street in Sarband Square and head towards a winding road filled with plenty of restaurants and cafes.