Khorasan Province - Iran


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Geography and History

Khorasan province which is located in north-east of Iran, covering an area of 313,335, is the largest province of the country and includes one fifth of the country’s area. The townships of this province are Esfarayen, Birjand, Taibad, Torbat-e-Jam, Torbat-e-Haydarieh, Chenaran, Khaf, Darega, Sabewar, Sarakhs, Shirvan, Tabas, Ferdows, Fariman, Ghayenat, Ghoocha, Kashmar, Gonaba, Meshed, Nahbandan, Neyshabour, Bardaskan and Bojnoord. Meshed is capital city of this province in which the Shrine of His Holiness Imam Reza, the eighth Imam of Shi’ite, is situated.
The population of Khorasan province was 6,047,661 in 1994, of which 56.58% resided in urban areas and 43.36% in rural areas. Remaining were non- residents or nomads.

From natural features point of view, Khorasan province is divided into two northern and southern sections. The northern part is nountainous which in its lower areas, fertile plains are formed and suitable conditions for agricultural and animal husbandry development are made available. The southern part constitutes of low plains with low hills and poor vegetation cover.
Khorasan province is located in north temperate zone and has changeable weather as a whole. The temperature of the province increases from north to south, but annual precipitation decreases.
The high regions of the province, Aladagh and Binalood heights, have cold mountainous weather. Bojnoord, Ghoochan and Shirvan regions and southern parts of Binalood, Kopeh-Dagh heights, Hezarmasjed and some part of Meshed township have temperate mountainous climate, Ghaenat and mountainside of the province have mild semi-arid weather and southern areas have warm, dry and arid climate.
Khorasan province has been the permanent arena of emergence and fall of powers and governments along the past history of Iran. The Turkkish, Arab, Tatar, Ghaz, Ghagar and Ghabchan, Mongol, Turkemen and Afghan clans have caused uncountable events in this wide territory.
Ancient geographers have divided the Great Iran (Iranshahr)into eight territories of which Khorasan was the largest and the most flourishing territory. In Sasanian Dynasty era,this province was governed by a Espahbod (Lieutenant General) who was called "Padgoosban" and four margraves, each commander of one of the four parts of the province.
In the Islamic period, Khorasan was divided into four Parts, each part was called in the name of four large cities i.e., Neyshaboor, Marve, Harat and Balkh. In the year 652 AD., Arabs came to Iran and in this period residents of Khorasan adhered to Islam religion.
Khorasan land till the year 821 AD. was dominated by Bani-Abbas clan. But in the year 900 AD. was emancipated by Taherian clan as an independent territory and in 904 AD. joined to the realm of Samanian dynasty. In the year 1004 AD. Sultan Mahmood Ghanavi conquered Khorasan and in 1049 AD. Toghrol the First (Saljooghian dynasty) conquered Neyshaboor. Sultan Mahmood Ghaznavi fought against Saljooghians and finally Ghaznavi Turks defeated Sultan Sanjar Saljooghi badly. In the year 1161AD. Khorasan was conquered by Kharazmshahian, simultaneously, due to attacks of Mongols, it was annexed to the territories of Mongol Ilkhanan.
In 15thcentury, independence flag was hoisted by Sarbedaran movement and in 1493 Khorasan was occupied by Amir Teymoor Goorkani and city of Harat was declared as capital. In 1537 AD. it was possessed by Ozbakans.
After the death of Nader Shah Afshar (1791), Khorasan was occupied by Afghans and in Ghajar period, with Supporting of Afghans for protection of Indian’s borders, finally paris Treaty was concluded (1903) and Iran was obliged to not interfere in Afghanestan’s internal affairs.
At this time Khorasan was divided into two parts: eastern part became England protectorate and western part remained under occupation of Iran. In other wors, the most populated part of Khorasan separated from Iran. In spite of all these ups and downs, Khorasan is one of the fertile and flourishing provinces of Iran.
From natural attractions point of view, despite of water resources limitation, Khorasan is one of the sightly points of Iran . Small lakes, mineral water springs, recreational areas, protected regions, heights and summits, caves and ... are amongst the attractions of this province.
Khorasan province has encompassed numerous religious buildings and monuments of pilgrimage, including the Shrine if His Holiness Imam Reza and hundreds of nausoleums and Imamzadeh which attract so many pilgrimages and visitors to this province.
Hereunder, historical, cultural and tourism characteristics of the cities of the province are pointed out



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