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Geography and History

The province of South Khorassan, located in the east of Iran covering an area of 88,404 sq. km. It is bounded to Razavi Khorassan in north , Afghanistan Republic in the east, Sitan and Baluchistan in the south and Kerman Province in westsouth and Yazd Province in the west.  This province has 4 townships that are Birjand, Qaenat, Sarbisheh , Nehbandan , Sarayan and Darmian. In 2006 about 636,000 people resided in South Khorassan.


Climatically this province is a dry and warm region composed of two mountainous and plain areas. The mountainous region is located in the north and northeast of the Province while the plain areas are in south and southeast of it. The mountainous area enjoy moderate climate. The climate of the region can be divided as follows: Moderate Semi-arid That includes northern and east northern areas and Arid and warm region that is in the south and west of the Province. The highest temperature of the province in the summer is 40 degree C and the lowest in -10 degree C. Average annual precipitation is about 200mm.

History and Culture

In the past history of Iran, the province of South Khorassan has been a part of Ghahestan (meaning mountains in Arabic language)  that was attributed to the southern part of Khorassan of which  Qaen was the center. In the legendary history of Iran, the foundation of Ghahestan has been attributed to Saam and Nariman in the time of Pishdadian Dynasty. There are some villages in the region called Salm-Abad, Fereydoon Geer and… indicative of this fact. According to inscriptions belonging to Achaemenian time and some Greek historians, Ghahestan had been the habitat of Sagart and Aryan tribes. Herodotus, the Greek historian, describes that they have been oriental tribes and a part of 14th Satrap of Achaemenian Government.In late 5th century AH, Ghahestan was an important center of Ismailieh sect under the leadership of Hassan Sabbah. Due to its natural conditions and backwardness, it was a suitable place for the activities of this movement after Alamoot in Ghazvin.  In Safavid era, due to their policy for development of buisiness and commerce, this region developed considerably from economic ans security points of view. Then, Birjand, that was a village, was chosen  as capital of Qaenat under the governorship of Alam Clan. This family played a very important role in all historical events of the region. This province was a part of Khorassan Province till the year 2004 and it was separated as a new province.

South Khorassan Province Townships

Birjand, Nehbandan, Qaenat, Sarbisheh.


Birjand, as the capital of South Khorassan Province, stands in the southeast of the province, and is 1309 km. far from Tehran. Being surrounded by the desert (Kavir) the weather in the southern regions is warm and in mountains it is temperate. In the past, Birjand was a small part of a region named ‘Qahestan’ (mountain side) and bore an important role after Islam prevailed.This region offered refuge to some movements such as the Esmailaian, and on the other hand proved to shelter the Arabs who were escaping from the hands of the Abbasi Caliphate. In Birjand evidence of Zoroastrian vestiges have been discovered. From the 11th century AH on wards, during the Safavid era when the Shiite religion was formally recognized, the city developed economically and was an important center for trade and commerce. In present times Birjand enjoys its role as one of the focal cities in the south of the province of Khorassan.


Is the center of Nehbandan township and is bounded to Sarbisheh in the north, Birjand in the west, Sistan and Baluchistan Province in the southeast and Kerman Province in the west. Locating at the margin of Kavir Loot (Central desert) it suffers water shortage and lack of fertile agriculture lands. There is a remains of an old city 5 kilometers far from the city called “Neh”, founded in Sassanide time, and has been mentioned in several reliable historical and geographical books. It seems that Neh has been one the most important cities of the region.


Qaenat (Qahestan region) or Koohestan (mountainside) is surrounded by the desert from the south of Nayshabur right till Sistan. It has a semi-arid and temperate climate. Marco Polo in his records has named this city as ‘Tonokayn’- the combined version of the two large cities of this state i.e. ‘Toon’and ‘Qaen’. Ghahestan, simultaneous with the entrance of Arabs into Iran, was a refuge area for Zoroastrians. In Sekjughi time, it was a suitable place for Ismailieh followers who constructed several castles and fortifications in the area. In the time of Kharazmshahian, they regularly attacked Ismailieh. After the invasion of Mongols, Ismailieh was completely defeated and Ghahestan was destroyed as well. Hamdollah Mostofy, famous Iranian historian in 8th century AH, describes Ghahestan as a flourishing region with good saffron and fruits.  One important historical monument of Qaen is Jame’ Mosque that was constructed in 8th century AH.


This township has recently been promoted to township neighboring with Birjand at the north, Afghanistan Republic in the east, and Nehbandan in the south. Its history is mixed with Birjand’s. Among historical sites of the city are pilgrimage places of Baash-Abad and Saam.

Historical Monuments

Akbarieh Garden and Edifice-Birjand

This aggregate was central nucleolus of Akbarieh Village in the Past. It was constructed as a multi-purpose complex as governmental and residential. Some parts of this building belonged to Alam family. The central part was used for governmental and administration activities. There are different parts in this aggregate like portal, edifice, stable, bath, wine house, administration section, ceremony hall, pool and… This aggregate, covering an area of 45,069 Square meters, is constructed east to west and is presently used as library and College of Art.






Pordeli House-Birjand
It is one of the beautiful houses of Birjand dates back to Qajar time. Its façade is decorated very nice based on local architecture techniques as well as those Azerbaijan.




Ebne Hessam Khosfi School-Khosf  

This school is also located in the historical texture of the city founded by Late Molla Ali Khosfi. It has a central yard with nice brick-work.




Religious Monuments


Khargard Mosque


Imamzadeh Zeid-ebne Moosa

This is also well known as “Zeidulnar’ is located in Afreez village of Birjand . The main structure is an eight paneled tower made of brick. One of the inscriptions here is extremely interesting in the Kufi script. The internal walls of this structure is very simply decorated, though the facade is worked in intricate and delicately laid brick work. The dome of this mausoleum is erected on a 16 paneled column. This is the remnants of the 4th or 5th century AH and is said to be the place of burial of one of the grandsons of Imam Moosa Kazem (AS). There are several old mosques and pilgrimage places dating back to Safavid and Qajar time with interesting architecture, decoration and ornaments like  Malek Mausoleum in  Sangan …   .


Malek Mausoleum , Sangan


Natural Attractions

Chahardeh Waterfall

This waterfall is located in a valley with same name in Bagheran heights in the north of Birjand. In the first and highest waterfall water comes down 7 meters.

Thermal Springs of the Province

Garmab (Boiling water) in Fadashak, Garmab in Nasreddin village. Kaltorsh in Kalateh, Kaltorsh in Nehbandan Road, mineral water in Tonak village, Siah Mineral Water in Kalateh Soleiman, Gooab in khosf village, Golab Torsh in Barakooh village.

Momen-Abad Mountain and Summit-Birjand

Momen-Abad or Mina Abad extends parallel to the former one and its summit is 2,782 meters high. There are in the skirts of this mountain several springs, streams and resorts which are usually used in hot seasons by urban and plain residents. Moreover, here Ahangaran Mountain should be pointed out of which Sepestan summit is 2,830 meters and is the highest point of the province. Other heights and summits of the province are Shahkooh 2,732 meter west of Nehbandan, Golrak Mountains 2,481 meters, Zeen-Abad 2,419 meters, Bazoo 2,350 meters, Baran 2,518 meters, and… .

Culture and Art


The museums of the province are Shohada (Martyrs), archeological and anthropological museums in Birjand, Nationally Honored Persons Museoum, National History Museum, Vaghf Museum all in Birjand.


The Governmental universities in Khorassan-South province

University of Birjand, Birjand University of Medical Sciences.

The Islamic Azad universities in Khorassan-South province

Islamic Azad University of Birjand.

Handicrafts and Souvenirs, South Khorassan  

The most important handicrafts of the Province are high quality Carpets with unique designs (especially in Mood Village which are mostly exported), rugs, mat-making, silk cloth, pottery, earthenware objects, coarse carpet klim etc.

Local and Regional Foods, South Khorassan

Various cities and villages of Khorassan province have a variety of local foods such as many types of ‘Aash’. ‘Ishkkeneh’ and other dishes.
Types of Aash: Joosh Pareh, Mahali, lekhshak, Blqur-e-Torsh, Qaliyeh, Balqur-e-sheer, Anar, Omaj, Gooshvareh. borsch, dooqeh and Qeimeh Aash.
Type of Abgoosht: Boz Baash, Kashk, Gandom and Balqoor Abgoosht.
Types of Eshkaneh: Khenjak, Zereshk, Tokhm-e-Morq (Egg), Qorooti, Owjij, Gowjeh (Tomato), Sibzamini (Potato) and Ard-e-Beriyoon Eshkaneh.
Besides these there are other dishes such as Corn Soup, Kabab Narejaki, Qatqab, Polani, Halim, Polow Zireh, Arzeh Polow, Reshteh Farangi Polow, along with different Khoreshts like Kangar, Bamiyeh, Kado Halva and Gojeh farangi Khoreshts.