In this study, low cost activated carbon was prepared from the pistachio shell by chemical activation with zinc chloride (ZnCl2). The prepared activated carbon was characterized by thermogravimetry (TG) and differential thermal gravimetry (DTG), infrared spectroscopy (FTIR), scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and Brunauer, Emmett and Teller (BET) surface area analyses. Results showed that the activation temperature and impregnation ratio have significant effect on the iodine number of the prepared activated carbon. The optimum conditions for preparing the activated carbon having the highest surface area were found to be an activation temperature of 700 degrees C, soaking time of 24 h and ZnCl2/pistachio shell ratio of 50 %. The results showed that the BET surface area, total pore volume, iodine number and methylene blue (MB) number of activated carbon prepared under the optimum conditions were 1108 m(2)/ g, 0.39 cm(3)/ g, 1051 mg/ g, 98.48 mg/ g, respectively.