Iran Main Cities


Meschhed, Mashhad [- ʃ -], city in northeast Iran, capital of the province of Khorasan-e Rasawi, at the foot of the Koppe Dag, 945 m above sea level, (2016) 3 million residents.

University (founded in 1939) and other colleges, museum. Meschhed is a commercial and industrial city (wool and cotton processing, carpet weaving, jute spinning, leather goods manufacturing; cement factory), junction of important traffic routes (including the railway line to Tajan [Tedschen], Turkmenistan; since 1996) with an airport; Center of a rich growing area (apricots, cherries).

The complex of the sanctuary of Imam Resa († 818), with the grave mosque (renewed in 1009 and expanded in the 15th and 16th centuries), includes the Gauhar-Schad Mosque, a high point of Timurid architecture (1st half of the 15th century, restored inside 1855 and 1883).

The original suburb of the older city of Tus, where Harun ar-Raschid died in 809, became famous for the tomb of Imam Resa, so that the name Meschhed (“tomb of a martyr”) was transferred from the Shiite pilgrimage site to the village. After the destruction of Tus by the Mongols (1389) Meshhed took its place; its development was particularly promoted by the Timurid ruler Shah Rukh (1405-47). In the 16th century it was conquered and plundered several times by the Uzbeks. Nadir Shah(1736–47) made Meshhed his residence. In 1753 it came under Afghan rule. In the 19th century it became the capital of Khorasan.


According to bridgat, Isfahan, Esfahan, formerly Ispahan, is the third largest city in Iran, in a wide, desert-like basin between the Zagros and Kuhrud mountains, on the Sajende Rud, 1,500 m above sea level, (2016) 1.96 million residents.

Capital of Isfahan Province, cultural and commercial center, university (founded in 1954), museums, libraries; Research reactors in the nuclear industry, manufacture of nuclear fuel rods. Isfahan is the center of the Iranian textile industry (wool and cotton spinning mills, carpet production) and has food, steel and others. Industry; Petroleum refinery; Tourism. The arts and crafts (silver and wood inlays, brocade weaving, miniature painting) have played a major role since time immemorial. To the north there is a spacious oasis with fruit trees, which is supplied with water via canoes. 40 km southwest is a steelworks with the satellite town of Poulad Schar. The airport is to the east.


The oldest Islamic building in the city and the most important building from the Seljuk period in Iran is the Great Friday Mosque (11th and 12th centuries, often changed and restored since then; hardly anything has survived from the Abbasid mosque, the two domed halls in the 11th century South and north); the floor plan of the 12th century was decisive for many courtyard mosques built later in the four-iwan scheme. The stucco mihrab of the Ilkhanid Oldjaitu in northwestern Ivan(1310), which contains religious texts in woven kufi, is noteworthy. The cityscape is shaped by Shah Abbas I. (1588–1629), under which Isfahan was magnificently expanded. He laid out the parade, festival and tournament ground Meidan-e Shah (1597–1611; 500 m × 150 m; UNESCO World Heritage Site), lined with two-story arcades; the Lotfollah Mosque (1602–16), the training center of the imperial father-in-law Sheikh Lotfollah, the Shah Mosque (1612–38), the Ali Kapu Palace (1598; inside figurative frescoes) and the decorative main portal to the bazaar lie on it. In the course of the 17th century, the garden palaces Tschehel Soton (1647; wall paintings) and Hescht Behescht (1669), 1706–14 the Madar-e Schah madrasah. Still under Abbas I. the 33-arch bridge was also built over the Sajende Rud, which leads to the Armenian colony of Djolfa, founded in 1603 (Cathedral of the Savior, 1658–62). – The Cuban architect Ricardo Porro designed numerous villas in the 1970s that combine organic motifs with Persian architectural traditions.


Isfahan, the ancient Aspadana, was conquered by the Arabs around 643 and was then dependent on the omaijad., Later on the Abbasid caliphate. The cultivation of the area, the construction of irrigation systems, the multiple expansion of the urban area and a steady increase in population characterized this heyday of the city, which was ruled by princes of Persian and Iraqi dynasties. At the end of the 11th century, Isfahan became the capital of the Seljuks. Isfahan, destroyed by Timur in 1386, came to the Safavids in 1502, under whom it became the capital of Iran in 1598 (until the middle of the 18th century). In 1722, Afghans temporarily conquered the city.


Karaj [ka Raed ʒ ], Karaj, Karaj, city in northern Iran, capital of the province Alborz, at the southern foot of the Elbursgebirges, at the outlet of the river into the plain, in the midst of an intensively cultivated oasis (2016) 1.59 million residents.

Islamic University (founded in 1984), Tehran University Agricultural Faculty, Nuclear Research Center; chemical industry, sugar factory, textile, fertilizer and food industry; Rail and metro connection with Tehran. To the northeast of the city, a 180 m high dam dams the Karaj River into an 8 km long lake (200 million m 3), which is used for energy generation, irrigation and water supply for Tehran.

Karaj, iran