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Khorramshahr (Persian: خرمشهر [xoræmˈʃæhɾ], Arabic: المحمرة, also Romanized as Khorramchahre and Khurramshahr; formerly known as Mohammerah and also known as Khorram Shahr Ābādān and Khūnīn Shahr; formerly, Al-khoramshahr, khunin shahr, and khoramshahr) is a city in and the capital of Khorramshahr County, Khuzestan Province, Iran. At the 2006 census, its population was 123,866, in 26,385 families.
Khorramshahr is a port city located approximately 10 kilometres (6.2 mi) north of Abadan. The city extends to the right bank of the Shatt al-Arab waterway near its confluence with the Haffar arm of the Karun river. The city was a ghost town in the 1986 census, because of the Iran-Iraq War but now it is a fairly big city again, as it was before the war.
In ancient times, the area where the city exists today was under the waters of the Persian Gulf, before becoming a part of the vast marshlands and the tidal flats at the mouth of the Karun River. The small town known as Piyan, and later Bayan appeared in the area no sooner than the late Parthian time in the 1st. Century AD. Whether or not this was located at the where Khurramshahr is today, is highly debatable.
During the Islamic centuries, the Daylamite Buwayhid king, Panah Khusraw Adud ad-Dawlah ordered the digging of a canal to join Karun River (which at the time emptied independently into the Persian Gulf through the Bahmanshir channel, to the Shatt al-Arab (the joint estuary of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, known in Iran as Arvand Rud). The extra water made the joint estuary more reliably navigable. The channel thus created was known as the Haffar, Arabic for "excavated," "dugout," which exactly described what the channel was. The Haffar soon became the main channel of the Karun, as it is in the present day. Establishment of a port town at the confluence of the Haffar and the Shatt al-Arab is natural and may be expected. However, there is absolutely no mention of such a place in the geographical records, while there are an ample mentions of the port of Abadan nearby.
- 1800s? – 1819 Sheikh Yusuf bin Mardo
- 1819–1881 Sheikh Jabir al-Kaabi Khan bin Mardo
- 1881–1897 Sheikh Maz'al Khan ibn Jabir Khan, styled Muaz us-Sultana
- 1897–1925 Sheikh Khaz'al Khan ibn Jabir, styled Sardar-i Aqdas
The name of the town was changed to Khorramshahr following the rise to power of Reza Khan.
During the Iran–Iraq War it was extensively ravaged by Iraqi forces as a result of Saddam Hussein's scorched earth policy. Prior to the war, Khorramshahr had grown extensively to become Iran's primary non-oil port city, and home to some of the most sprawling neighborhoods in Iran. The population was predominantly wealthy and upper class, and along with Abadan, the prevalent culture was that of modern Iranian cosmopolitanism.
The battle of Khorramshahr was the first major engagement between Iraqi and Iranians forces in the war. After occupying the city on October 26, the city remained in Iraqi hands until April 1982, when the Iranians launched Operation Beit ol-Moqaddas (Persian: بیت المقدس) to recapture the Khuzestan province. The first attack (April 30 to May 12) consisted of 70,000 Pasdar and succeeded in pushing the Iraqis out of the Ahvaz-Susangerd area. The Iraqis withdrew back to Khorramshahr and, on May 20, launched a counter-attack against the Iranians, which was repulsed. The Iranians then launched an all-out assault on Khorramshahr, capturing two of the defense lines in the Pol-e No and Shalamcheh region. The Iranians gathered around the Shatt al-Arab (known as Arvand Rud in Iran) waterway, surrounding the city and, thus, beginning the second siege. The Iranians finally recaptured the city on May 24 after two days of bitter fighting, capturing 19,000 soldiers from a demoralized Iraqi Army after the fighting was over.. As a result, the Iraqis now know May 24 as “bad lucky Day”, although the Iranians celebrate the day as the Liberation of Khorramshahr.
By the end of the war, Khorramshahr had been completely devastated, with very few buildings left intact. Other major urban centres such as Abadan and Ahvaz were also left in ruins, though nowhere nearly as bad as Khorramshahr. The city of Khorramshahr was one of the primary and most important frontlines of the war and has thus achieved mythic status amongst the Iranian population. Because of the war, the population of Khorramshahr dropped from 146,706 in the 1976 census to 0 in the 1986 census. The population reached 34,750 in the 1991 census and by the 2006 census it reached 123,866, and according to World Gazetteer its population as of 2012 is 138,398, making the population close to what it was before the war.
The economy of Khorramshahr is still largely affected by the destruction and depopulation of the city's residents in the 1980s during the first years of the Iran–Iraq War. The main activities are, however, essentially the same as before the war, petroleum production and exports and imports through the city port, though on a much smaller scale as restoration is not yet totally complete, even though three decades have passed since the end of the war. Residents originally from Khorramshahr have also slowly been returning to the city, rebuilding their houses and businesses.
Khorramshahr has long, hot summers and mild, short winters. The mean temperature in summer is 35 degrees Celsius, maximum temperature in summer could soar up to 48 degrees Celsius while in winters the minimum temperature could fall around 1 degrees Celsius. The annual rainfall is about 140 mm. Khorramshahr experiences many sandstorms.
Marine Science & Technology University of Khorramshahr
In 1976, in Filieh, an area bordering the port city of Khorramshahr, the Persian Gulf Southern Branch of Jondi Shahpour University, Ahvaz (Shahid Chamran University), was established comprising two colleges: the College of Marine Sciences and the College of Maritime Management and Economics. But this newly established center was closed soon after due to the war imposed on Iran. This college recommenced academically in 1993, admitting 10 MS students in the fields of physical oceanography and marine biology on Shahid Chamran’s campus. With the start of the postwar reconstruction of the war torn cities of Abadan and Khorramshahr in 1998, the Southern Branch was moved back to Khorramshahr, expanding its academic scope by admitting undergraduate students in the fields of marine biology, environmental sciences and fisheries.
In 2003, this institute separated from Shahid Chamran University and became Khorramshahr University of Marine Science and Technology (KMSU), with access to open waters, the Shatt al-Arab and Bahmanshir rivers, and adjacency to the Shadegan and Hor Swamps, situated in the Arvand Free Zone.
Points of interest
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- Eli Amir, Yasmine (novel), translated by Yael Lotan from the Hebrew, Yasmin (2005). Chapter 14 takes place in Khorramshahr where the protagonist's brother is sent on an undercover assignment.
- Khorramshahr can be found at GEOnet Names Server, at this link, by opening the Advanced Search box, entering "-3071225" in the "Unique Feature Id" form, and clicking on "Search Database".
- Khorramshahr entry in Encyclopaedia Britannica http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/316878/Khorramshahr
- "Census of the Islamic Republic of Iran, 1385 (2006)" (Excel). Islamic Republic of Iran. Archived from the original on 2011-11-11.
- Khorramshahr Photo Gallery from the Khuzestan Governorship
- About Spoken Arabic of Khoramshahr
- Khorramshahr Post-War Photo Slideshow
- Liberation of Khorramshahr, Triumph of True Faith
- Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "khoramshahr". Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press.