City of Babolsar
 
Babolsar, also formerly known as Mashhadsar, is a city located literally in the center of the province of Mazandaran. In the 2006 census, its population was estimated to be 47,872. Babolsar has an area of 446 square kilometers. It is located on the southern coast of the Caspian Sea. Since the river Babolrood passes through the city, both banks of the river and the beach of the sea form major tourist attractions. The city is also home to one of the most vibrant universities of the country, the University of Mazandaran. 
 
By the 18th century, Babolsar had become a busy commercial port. During the reign of Nadir Shah, it was the base for Iran’s Caspian fleet and by 1909, the port yielded 12 percent of the total customs revenue of Iran. However, by 1895, ports in Guilan were already competing with Babolsar. 
 
 
During Reza Shah’s reign, Babolsar lost much of its remaining trade to the new port of Bandar-e Shah at the terminus of the trans-Iranian railroad. 
 
The end of World War II brought a new era of vitality to the city as a summer seaside resort for people from Tehran and other Iranian cities which gave rise to a new phase of rapid expansion. The population of the city increased from about 3,500 in 1945 to 11,781 in 1966 and 18,810 in 1976.