Babol (bäbōlˈ) [key], town (1991 pop. 137,348), N Iran, near the Caspian Sea, NE of Tehran. It is the region's chief commercial center and was once the major trading center of N Iran. Processed food and textiles are produced, and fruits, tea, tobacco, and cotton are raised nearby. Founded in the 16th cent., it was built on the site of the ancient city of Mamter. Ruins of a palace of Abbas I are there. Located in the Caspian littoral, the city receives abundant rainfall. It was formerly called Barfrush.