Ahvaz

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Ahwaz
اهواز
city
Pol Hashtom Ahvaz.JPG
Ahwaz is located in Iran
Ahwaz
Ahwaz
Coordinates: 31°19′13″N 48°40′09″E / 31.32028°N 48.66917°E / 31.32028; 48.66917Coordinates: 31°19′13″N 48°40′09″E / 31.32028°N 48.66917°E / 31.32028; 48.66917
Country Iran
Province Khuzestan
County Ahwaz
Bakhsh Central
Government
 • Mayor Saeed Mombeini
Area
 • city 528 km2 (204 sq mi)
Elevation 17 m (52 ft)
Population (2011 census)
 • city 1,112,021
 • Density 2,100/km2 (5,500/sq mi)
 • Metro 3,532,965
Demonym Ahwazí
Time zone IRST (UTC+3:30)
 • Summer (DST) IRDT (UTC+4:30)
Postal code 61xxx
Area code(s) (+98) 611
Website www.ahvaz.ir

Ahvāz[1] (Persian: اهواز‎, also romanized as Ahwaz), is a city in and the capital of Khuzestan Province, Iran. At the 2006 census, its population was 1,432,965, in 796,239 families.[2] Ahvaz has the world's worst air pollution according to a survey by the World Health Organization in 2011.[3]

Ahwaz is built on the banks of the Karun River and is situated in the middle of Khūzestān Province. The city has an average elevation of 20 meters above sea level.

Etymology[edit]

The word Ahwaz is a Persianized form, which in turn itself is derived from a Persian word. The Dehkhoda Dictionary specifically defines the Arabic "Suq-al-Ahwaz" as "Market of the Khuzis", where "Suq" is the Arabic word for market, and "Ahwaz" is a broken plural (اسم جمع) of the form "af'āl" (افعال) of the word "Huz", which itself comes from the Persian Huz, from Achaemenid inscriptions where the term first appears. Thus, "Ahwaz" in Arabic means "the Huz-i people", which refers to the non-Arabic original inhabitants of Khūzestān.

The name of the region appears in medieval Syriac sources as ܒܝܬ ܗܘܙܝܐ Beṯ Huzáyé, literally meaning "land of the Huzis".[4]

The term "Huz", meanwhile, is the Old Persian rendition of Suz (Susa-Susiana), the native Elamite name of the region. Old Persian commonly changed the initial "s" in a foreign word into an "h," most famously, in its rendition of the name the river and the people Sindh/Sindhi into Hind/Hindi, which was then Hellenized into Indus, whence India.[citation needed] See Origin of the name Khuzestan and Elam#Etymology for more details.

Location and roads[edit]

Ahvaz located 100 km north-east of Abadan and is accessible via following routes in addition of a single runway airport:

Ahvaz being the largest city in the province consists of two distinctive districts: the newer part of Ahvaz, the administrative and industrial center, has been built on the right bank of the Karun while residential areas are found in the old section of the city, on the left bank.

Climate[edit]

Ahvaz has a desert climate (Köppen climate classification BWh) with long, very hot summers and mild, short winters. Ahvaz is consistently one of the hottest cities on the planet during the summer, with summer temperatures regularly at least 45 degrees celsius, sometimes exceeding 50 degrees Celsius with many sandstorms and duststorms common during the summer period while in winters the minimum temperature could fall around +5 degrees Celsius. Winters in Ahvaz have no snow. The average annual rainfall is around 230 mm.

Climate data for Ahvaz
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 17.3
(63.1)
20.3
(68.5)
25.3
(77.5)
31.8
(89.2)
39.0
(102.2)
44.3
(111.7)
46.2
(115.2)
45.3
(113.5)
42.5
(108.5)
35.6
(96.1)
26.5
(79.7)
19.4
(66.9)
32.79
(91.01)
Daily mean °C (°F) 11.9
(53.4)
14.25
(57.65)
18.55
(65.39)
24.25
(75.65)
30.6
(87.1)
34.7
(94.5)
36.75
(98.15)
35.9
(96.6)
32.55
(90.59)
26.75
(80.15)
19.4
(66.9)
13.55
(56.39)
24.929
(76.873)
Average low °C (°F) 6.5
(43.7)
8.2
(46.8)
11.8
(53.2)
16.7
(62.1)
22.2
(72)
25.1
(77.2)
27.3
(81.1)
26.5
(79.7)
22.6
(72.7)
17.9
(64.2)
12.3
(54.1)
7.7
(45.9)
17.07
(62.73)
Precipitation mm (inches) 52.8
(2.079)
32.1
(1.264)
27.3
(1.075)
15.7
(0.618)
6.7
(0.264)
0.6
(0.024)
0.1
(0.004)
0.0
(0)
0.1
(0.004)
8.3
(0.327)
31.9
(1.256)
52.9
(2.083)
228.5
(8.998)
Avg. precipitation days 6.8 5.4 5.4 4.2 1.6 0.1 0.0 0.1 0.0 1.9 4.3 6.0 35.8
Source: World Meteorological Organisation (UN)[5]

Pollution[edit]

In 2011, the World Health Organization ranked Ahvaz as the world's most air-polluted city.[6]

History[edit]

For a more comprehensive historical treatment of the area, see the history section of Khūzestān Province.

Ancient history[edit]

Ahvaz is the anagram of "Avaz" and "Avaja" which appear in Darius's epigraph. This word appears in Naqsh-Rostam inscription as "Khaja" or "Khooja" too.[citation needed]

First named Ōhrmazd-Ardašēr (Persian: هرمزداردشیر) (Roamn Hormizdartazir)[7] it was built near the beginning of the Sassanid dynasty on what historians believe to have been the site of the old city of Taryana, a notable city under the Persian Achaemenid dynasty. It was founded either by Ardashir I in 230 (cf. Encyclopædia Iranica, al-Muqaddasi, et al.) or (according to the Middle Persian Šahrestānīhā ī Ērānšahr) by his grandson Hormizd I; the town's name either combined Ardashir's name with the Zoroastrian name for God, Ōhrmazd or Hormizd's name with that of his grandfather. It became the seat of the province, and was also referred to as Hūmšēr. During the Sassanid era, an irrigation system and several dams were constructed, and the city prospered. Examples of Sassanid-era dams are Band-e Bala-rud, Band-e Mizan, Band-e Borj Ayar and Band-e Khak. The city replaced Susa, the ancient capital of Susiana, as the capital of what was then called Khuzestān.

The city had two sections; the nobles of the city lived in one part while the other was inhabited by merchants.[8] When the Arabs invaded the area in 640, the part of the city home to the nobility was demolished but the Hūj-ī-stānwāčār "Market of Khūz State", the merchant area, remained intact. The city was therefore renamed Sūq al-Ahwāz, "Market of the Khuz", a semi-literal translation of the Persian name of this quarter - Ahwāz being the Arabic broken plural of Hûz, taken from the ancient Persian term for the native Elamite peoples, Hūja (remaining in medieval khūzīg "of the Khuzh" and modern Khuzestān "Khuz State", as noted by Dehkhoda dictionary.

Medieval history[edit]

During the Umayyad and Abbasid eras, Ahvaz flourished as a center for the cultivation of sugarcane and as the home of many well-known scholars. It is discussed by such respected medieval historians and geographers as ibn Hawqal, Tabari, Istakhri, al-Muqaddasi, Ya'qubi, Masudi, and Mostowfi Qazvini. Nearby stood the Academy of Gundishapur, where the modern-day teaching hospital is said to have been first established.

Ahvaz was devastated in the bloody Mongol invasions of the 13th and 14th centuries and subsequently declined into a mere village. The dam and irrigation channels, no longer maintained, eroded and finally collapsed early in the 19th century. During this time Ahvaz was primarily inhabited by the original Khuzhis (Persians) and a small number of Sabians. Although most Arab migrants fled the city, a few stayed. Some minor cultivation continued, while all evidence of sugarcane plantations is still going on in Haft Teppe area in north of Ahvaz, although ruins of sugarcane mills from the medieval era remained in existence.[9] Several ruins of water mills also still remain in Shoush and Shoushtar.

Modern history[edit]

Sahel Cinema.

The seat of the province has for the most of its history been in the northern reaches of the land, first at Susa (Shush) and then at Shushtar. During a short spell in the Sasanian era, the capital of the province was moved to its geographical center, where the river town of Hormuz-Ardashir (modern Ahvaz). However, later in the Sasanian time and throughout the Islamic era, the provincial seat returned and stayed at Shushtar, until the late Qajar period. With the increase in the international sea commerce arriving on the shores of Khuzestan, Ahvaz became a more suitable location for the provincial capital. The River Karun is navigable all the way to Ahvaz (above which, the Karun flows through rapids). The town was thus refurbished by the order of the Qajar king, Naser al-Din Shah and renamed after him, Nâseri. Shushtar quickly declined, while Ahvaz/Nâseri prospered to the present day.

In the 19th century, "Ahvaz was no more than a small borough inhabited mainly by Sha'ab Arabs and a few Sabeans (1,500 to 2,000 inhabitants according to Ainsworth in 1835; 700 according to Curzon in 1890)."[10]

In the 1880s, under Qajar rule, the Karun River was dredged and re-opened to commerce. A newly built railway crossed the Karun at Ahvaz. The city again became a commercial crossroads, linking river and rail traffic. The construction of the Suez Canal further stimulated trade. A port city was built near the old village of Ahvaz, and named Bandar-e-Naseri in honor of Nassereddin Shah Qajar.

Oil was found near Ahvaz in the early 20th century, and the city once again grew and prospered as a result of this new found wealth. From 1897-1925, the city of Ahvaz was in the hands of heshmatoddoleh Ghajar, whom acted as governor and Sarhang Reza Gholi Khane Arghoon as commander of Ghajari's army based in Khuzestan. Khaz'al Khan/Sheikh Khaz'al was appointed by Mozaffareddin shah in Khorramshahr, Sardar Asad Bakhtiari as the most powerful leader of Khuzestan's Bakhtiaries. He had power and authority over most regions of Khuzestan, such as Dezful, Shushtar, Izeh, even Ahvaz and Amir mojahede bakhtiari in Ramhormoz and Behbahan. At this time, the newly founded Ahvaz was named Nâseri in honour to its founder Nassereddin Shah Qajar. Afterwards, during the Pahlavi period, it resumed its old name, Ahvaz. The government of the Khūzestān Province was transferred there from Shûshtar in 1926. The trans-Iranian railroad reached Ahvaz in 1929 and by the World War II, Ahvaz had become the principal built-up area of interior of Khūzestān. Professional segregation remained well marked between various groups in that period still feebly integrated: Persians, sub-groupings of Persians and Arabs. Natives of the Isfahan region held an important place in retail trade, owners of cafes and hotels and as craftsmen.[11]

Iraq attempted to annex Khūzestān and Ahvaz in 1980, resulting in the Iran–Iraq War (1980–1988). Ahvaz was close to the front lines and suffered badly during the war.

Iraq had pressed its claims to Khūzestān in part because many of the inhabitants of the area spoke Arabic rather than Persian, the dominant language in Iran. Iraq had hoped to exacerbate ethnic tensions and win over popular support for the invaders. Most accounts say that the Iranian Arab inhabitants resisted the Iraqis rather than welcome them as liberators. However, some Iranian Arabs claim that as a minority they face discrimination from the central government; they agitate for the right to preserve their cultural and linguistic distinction and more provincial autonomy. See Politics of Khūzestān.


During the year 2005 the city witnessed a series of bomb explosions. Many government sources relate these events to developments in Iraq, accusing foreign governments of organising and funding Arab separatist groups.

Religion[edit]

Ahvaz is mostly inhabited by indigenous Arab groups, making up 75% of the total population. The majority of the inhabitants are Shi'ite forming 70%. The second largest religious group is the Sunni branch of Islam with 24% of the inhabitants following it. Other groups comprise about 1%[12]

Contemporary Ahvaz[edit]

In 1989, the Foolad Ahvaz steel facility was built close to the town. This company is best known for its company-sponsored football club, Foolad F.C., which was the chart-topper for Iran's Premier Football League in 2005. Ahvaz is also home to another IPL football team, Esteghlal Ahvaz F.C..

Transportation[edit]

Ahvaz Metro Logo
  • Ahvaz is accessible via freeways from Isfahan and Shiraz, and roadways to Tehran.
  • A metro urban railway system is being built by the Ahvaz urban railway. It will be a 23 km underground line with 24 stations.
  • The airport is served by Iran Asseman Airlines (Dubai, Kuwait, Tehran, flying on Boeing 727-200s or Fokker F100s), Caspian Airlines (Dubai, by MD-80), Iran Air (Isfahan, Kuwait, Tehran, by Boeing 727-200 or Fokker 100), Iran Air Tours (Isfahan, Mashad, Shiraz, Tehran, by MD-80), Kish Air (Tehran, by MD-80), and Saha Air (Tehran, by Boeing 707-300).

Sport[edit]

Traditionally, Khuzestan province has been a major soccer hub in Iran. The city has two existing sport complexes: Takhti Stadium and a newly constructed stadium Ghadir Stadium. There are several other smaller complexes for martial arts, swimming pools and gymnasiums. Also, a new privately owned stadium is currently under construction by Foolad F.C. in Ahvaz.

Football[edit]

Football is a major part of the city's culture. The numerous enthusiasm has made Ahvaz home to three Iranian major Football clubs: Foolad F.C., Esteghlal Khuzestan F.C. are currently playing in Iran Pro League, and Esteghlal Ahvaz F.C. is playing in Azadegan League.

Futsal[edit]

Ahvaz has also two team in the Iranian Futsal Super League which are Sherkat Melli Haffari Iran FSC and Gaz Khozestan FSC.


Colleges and universities[edit]

Ahvaz is also known for its universities as well as its role in commerce and industry. Ahvaz institutes of higher learning include:

Some famous Ahwazis[edit]

Abū Nuwās al-Ḥasan ibn Hānī al-Ḥakamī (756–814), also known as Abū Nuwās[1]. He became a master of all the contemporary genres of Arabic poetry. Abu Nuwas has also entered the folkloric tradition, and he appears several times in The Book of One Thousand and One Nights.
Malileh Farshid: One of Iran's first and youngest female architects. She designed the Ahvaz Sports Complex. Her wish was to have it ready for Ahvaz to host the 1984 Summer Olympics.[14]

Gallery[edit]

Panoramic view of Ahvaz at night
Panoramic view of Ahvaz at night

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Ahvāz; Encyclopædia Britannica
  2. ^ "Census of the Islamic Republic of Iran, 1385 (2006)" (Excel). Islamic Republic of Iran. Archived from the original on 2011-11-11. 
  3. ^ Guinness World Records 2013, Page 036 (Hardcover edition). ISBN 9781904994879
  4. ^ Bar Bahlul, Hasan. "Bar Bahlul Dictionary". Retrieved 1 February 2012. 
  5. ^ "World Weather Information Service – Ahvaz". United Nations. Retrieved 1 January 2011. 
  6. ^ Walsh, Bryan (27 September 2011). "The 10 Most Air-Polluted Cities in the World". Time. Retrieved 2012-02-25. 
  7. ^ Dodgeon M. H. and Lieu S. N. C., The Roman Eastern Frontier and The Persian Wars; A Documentary History, London (1991), p.35; ISBN 0-415-10317-7
  8. ^ cf. Encyclopædia Iranica
  9. ^ X. de Planhol, Encyclopædia Iranica
  10. ^ Encyclopædia Iranica, p.690, see entry: Ahvaz
  11. ^ Ibid, p.690
  12. ^ "Ahwaz the arab spring's forgotten uprising news and discussion.". Pakistan Defence. Retrieved 2014-04-16. 
  13. ^ iau-asrc.ac.ir
  14. ^ Pirnia, Mansoureh. Salar Zanana Iran. 1995. Maryland: Mehran Iran Publishing.
  15. ^ أعیان الشیعة ۱۰/۳۰۶.
  16. ^ تاریخ الأدب العربی /العهد العباسی/النقد الأدبی /أبو هلال العسکری
  17. ^ سایت الحکواتی مرتبط با ادب عربی

External links[edit]