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Markazi(Ostane Markazi)

Markazi (Ostane Markazi)

05/16/13

Geography and History

The Markazi (Central) province with an area of 29,130 square kilometers is limited to the provinces of Tehran-Alborz and Qazvin from the north, to Hamadan from the west, to Lurestan and Esfahan from the south, and to Qom from the east. This province includes the townships of Ashtian, Arak, Tafresh, Khomein, Delijan, Saveh, Sarband and Mahalat. The city of Arak is the center of this province. In 2006 the population of this province was 1.35 million out of which 68.97% lived in urban areas and 31.2% resided in rural areas. This province is to the east of the intersection of the Alborz and Zagross Mountain Ranges. The unevenness of this province includes parts of the central mountains and internal parts of the Zagross Mountains Range.The lowest part of this province are the plains to the south and east of Saveh which is between 500-1000 m. high, and its highest point is the Rasvand summit which is 3,342 m. high, and is located in the Rasvand Mountain Range to the southwest of Arak.

Climate

The climate of the Markazi province is semi-arid, moderate and cold mountainous type. This province is under the influence of the pressure of the Indian Ocean currents with dust hurricanes, Atlantic Ocean currents and Mediterranean currents with humidity and rain. The south, southeastern and the northwestern regions of the province named as Khomein, Mahalat, and Shazand are located in the mountainous moderate climate of the eastern Zagross and to the north and northeast of Saveh. Other townships of the province, i.e., Tafresh, Ashtian and northern Arak are located in the semi-arid region of Esfahan and Sirjan.The diversity of climate leads to a varied rate of moisture and rain in different cities of the province. In mountainous area, there is often snowfall and in lower areas it rains. The north of the province that is in Zarand region has the minimum amount of rainfall while the Shazand heights have the maximum amount of rainfall. April to June is the best season for traveling to this province.

History and Culture

According to historical sources, Markazi province was a part of Median Empire in the first millennium BC. which included all central and western parts of Iran. It was one of the ancient human settlements in the Iran plateau. In Seleucidian era, this area, specially the northern part (Khorheh village), was paid due attention to by the Greek rulers. During the reign of Khosrow Parviz the Sassanide ruler, Iran was divided into four parts: north, east, south, and west. The central province was located in the west.In the early centuries of the Islamic era the name of this area was changed to Jebal or Qahestan province. In the 2nd century AH., this area along with Hamadan, Ray, and Esfahan was named Iraq-e-Ajam. In the early 4th century AH., Khorheh became one of the famous cities of Jabal province. Late in this century, Tafresh was one of the famous urban centers, and Khorheh and Khomein ranked as the next famous urban areas. The mentioned cities were active and flourishing in the Safavid period. During the Qajar dynasty the central part of Arak began flourishing.During the recent decades, the expansion of the railroad and the setting up of several major factories and huge industrial units, this area developed considerably. Due to the new divisions of the country and the formation of the province of Tehran, this province was formed and Arak is its capital.From the cultural and religious point of view this province is one of the major centers for training scholars, scientists, poets, politicians, and Gnostics. To be more specific, Fakhr-Adin Araqi, Mamalek, Farahani, Mirza Abulqasem Qaem Maqam, Abbas Eqbal Ashtiani, Mirza Taqi Khan Amir Kabir, Qaem Maqam Farahani, Professor Mahmoud Hessabi, Imam Khomeini, Ayatollah Araki, Ayatollah Nooredin Hosseini, Molla Ahmad Naraqi and Molla Mehdi Naraqi, can be named.

Markazi Province Townships

Arak, Ashtian, Delijan, Khomein, Mahalat, Sarband, Saveh, Tafresh.

Arak

The township of Arak is to the southwest of the province. It is cold in winters and moderate in summers. Arak is the capital of the province and is 295 km. from Tehran. This city is one of the industrial centers of the country. The Tehran – Khuzestan railroad crosses this city. The city of Arak was established during the reign of Fathali Shah Qajar. At first this city was called “Qaleh Soltan Abad”. In 1216 AH. its name was changed to Arak.Since its establishment till date Arak faced several changes. Until the early 1270 AH., Arak was a military city and the base for generals. But from the time of Mirza Hassan Khan, the military status of the city reduced and gradually became a commercial and industrial city. Once the World War I broke out and the Qajar dynasty cracked down, Russian forces occupied Saveh, Soltan Abad, and the nearby regions. When the World War I and the political changes of the country ended, Soltan Abad also faced the changes of that time, and its physical appearance changed immensely. This process continued to the next decades. Presently, Arak is one of the important industrial cities of Iran.

Ashtian

The township of Ashtian is located to the northeast of Arak. It is one of the ancient regions of the province. The people of this region were Zoroastrian before Islam. Their most important fire-temple was the Verd fire-temple. Today, Ashtian is one of the developing regions in Markazi province. Ashtian is 270 km. from Tehran.

Delijan

The township of Delijan is to the south east of the province, and at an intersecting point. It is located en route the Esfahan – Tehran Road, and is 409 km. from Tehran. In the past Delijan was a very big city with four gates on four sides. It is said that it extended almost to Khorheh. Historical relics such as earthenware, ditches, and beautiful bricks confirm its greatness and antiquity. Due to its geographical position, Delijan has gradually developed and in 1980 was changed to a township. The famous caves of Chal Nakhjir and Kahak are near this township.

Khomein (Kamareh)

The town of Khomein is located to the south of the province, in a fertile plain. The climate of Khomein is a moderate mountainous inclining to a semi-desert one. Winters are cold and summers are moderate. This city lies at a distance of 323 km. from Tehran. The name of Khomein was primarily mentioned in a book named “The History of Prophets and Kings”. Subterranean canals (qanats), sewers and its famous fire-temple can be named as some pre-Islamic relics. This town was called the center of Kamareh 200 years ago.Presently, this town is famous because of the leader of the Islamic Revolution. This town is the birthplace of the leader of the Islamic Revolution. His father’s house has become an important historical monument.

Mahalat

The township of Mahalat is located to the southeast of the province, and is among the plains in the mountains. It is surrounded by heights and has a mountainous climate. Mahalat is 362 km. from Tehran, and is on the skirts of the heights. The same is one of the ancient regions of settlement in the country. In the historical books Mahalat has been called Sayer Al Bolouk (other regions), because according to the maps of that time it was not one of the territories of Qom and Kashan. The exact date of nomination of Mahalat is not known but according to the regional informants it was named during Afghan (Azad Khan) invasion to Iran.During the Safavid era, Mahalat had its major commercial interactions with Esfahan. In the Qajar era, Mahalat was the base of the Esmaili sect. In the meantime, the governor of Mahalat (Mirza Mohammad Khan) was appointed by Zel-al-Soltan (the shadow of God) coinciding with the time that Golpayegan, Khansar, Mahalat and Khomein together formed a province, the center of which was Golpayegan. In 1937, according to the new law of the divisions of the country, the region of Qom, that Mahalat was a part of which, was changed to a new township. In the new divisions the Khorheh Village and Nimvar city have an older history than that of Mahalat and have several historical relics.Nimvar, is one of the important religious centers of ancient times. The Khorheh village is one of the most ancient villages. Its antiquity goes back to the Seleucidian era. Flower cultivation has been common in Mahalat since the past 50 years. Nowadays Mahalat is a very beautiful city.

Sarband (Shazand)

It is located to the southwest of the province, in a mountainous region. Its center is Shazand which is 330 km. from Tehran, and was called Sarband. This town was a village named “Edris Abad” in old times and since the railroad has crossed it, its name changed to Shazand. Presently, this town is a township of the central province and is developing and flourishing city.

Saveh

The township of Saveh is located to the east of the province. Its climate is moderate to warm. Saveh is the center of this township and is 140 km. from Tehran. Saveh is one of the archaeological cities and ancient regions, i.e., a remnant of the Sassanide period. In the Parthian era, Saveh was named “Savakineh” and was one of the most important points concerning roads. In the 7th century BC., it was one of the forts and bases in the Medes era. The arrival of Hazrat Ma’soomeh (AS) in Saveh was the first event that has been mentioned in the Islamic history of this city. The city and region of Saveh was always the winter quarters for Saljuqi and Deylami Monarches. During the Saljuqi period Saveh reached the most flourishing period of its existence, and became the center for the chief of Saljuqi tribes, who were called “Atabak”. During the disastrous attack of Mongols in the 7th century AH., Saveh was inflicted with great damages. But in the Ilkhanan era, these were rebuilt. In Teimoorid and the Qoyonloo era, Saveh was inflicted with great damages because of the looting and rivalry among princes. In the Safavid era Saveh became the settlements for the tribes related to Safavids such as Qezelbashs and Shahsavans, and the city started flourishing. In the Zandieh era, there was an attempt to revive the city commercially, but when Tehran became capital, Saveh lost its importance. In the mid Qajar dynasty era, the habitants of Saveh started to immigrate to Tehran. Presently, Saveh is one of cities of Markazi province.

Tafresh

Tafresh is located in an arduous mountainous region. Its climate is mountainous and moderate. In the past Tafresh was called “Tabress” or “Gabresh”, and later on it became Tafresh. It is 282 km. from Tehran. This township is an ancient one. Farahan is one of its districts. The Azargoshasb Fire Temple was located in the Farahan Village. Muster Hillock was also reputedly known as one of the 13 regions of “Qubad” the Sassanid. Furthermore, Farahan is the birthplace of many famous and historic Iranian poets and scholars.

Historical Monuments

Atashkooh Fire Temple, Mahalat

 

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The said is located near the Nimvor Fire Temple (Atashkadeh) Village, and dates to the Sassanide period. The structure consisted of cylindrical stony columns (supporting the ceiling). Besides which there were covered chambers and a porch that was the location for alighting the fire. This fire-temple was in a verdant. Near this fire temple is an archaic plane tree, from the roots of which other such trees have arisen and reached to a majestic height.

 

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Khorheh Solooki Temple, Delijan

The historical Khorheh Village is located to the west of main road running between Tehran and Esfahan. To the west of which is an archaeological relic related to the Seleucidian era. This remnant is related to the 4th or 3rd centuries BC., and was most probably a temple. Two columns of stone to the elevation of 6 m. remain from this vestige. This historical monument is an extremely valuable one. According to the studies and views of ‘Hertsfold’ this was the temple of the ‘God of War’.

 

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Today wine-yards surround this vicinity. This structure overlooks the southern plain and the Khorheh River flows close to it. The ramparts and columns are the remnants of a large structure, most probably were constructed 23 centuries ago. The results of excavations performed in this historical vicinity reveal that this structure comprises of the following:
The original southern structure consists of columns, chambers and courtyard. Whereas the northern structure, which is the main one, consists of chambers and corridors. The western structure comprises of a number of chambers and a hall.There is a mineral water spring with a good capacity of water near this historical vestige.

 

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Pillar Remainder of Khorheh Solooki Temple

 

Chahar Fasl (Four Seasons) Bath, Arak

 

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The said bath dates back to the Qajar period, and had two separate sections for ladies and gents. The tile-work of the clock room and spinal designed columns of this area, including the layout of the bath are interesting features. The said structure was renovated into a museum after undergoing necessary repairs.

 

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7 Colored Tiles of Chahar Fasl (Four Seasons) Bath

 

Imam Khomeini House, Khomein

 

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Imam Khomeini’s father-house which is located by the northern bank of the Khomein River is in the old part of the city. This house is very famous and is being visited by many tourists. It was built in the Qajar era. The same was constructed on the basis of Islamic and eastern architecture, with bricks, clay and wood. It was designed in such a way so that it had narrow interconnecting corridors and two defense towers on the northern and southern sides that are interesting features. The Imam, along with his two brothers and three sisters were born in this house, and were granted some subjects of the primary education probably in this house only.

 

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Imam Khomeini left his house at the age of 19 in order to continue his education in Arak and then Qom. The most important function and usage of this building was for defensive purposes. This house was built in order to defend the city gate, localities and acted as a place for refugies during the invasion of enemies, and defence against attacks, etc.
This edifice is unique for its dimension and position. The premises have four yards. None of them are in the center. Most of the houses of this edifice were built in such a direction so that in summers the sun does not directly shine inside the houses and on the contrary in winters it does so. This edifice consists of a facade, vestibule, corridor, yard, chambers, nocturnal area and a sentry picket.

 

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Imam Khomeini House

 

Salar Mohtasham Edifice, Khomein

 

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This mansion is located in Khomein and from architectural point of view is very important, in addition to being a valuable historical relic. The style of the internal architecture and kind of materials used in construction of this edifice have totally turned it into a unique architectural phenomenon. Its elevated ramparts and entrance are spectacular and glorious. Considering the design and ornamentations or the plan and the orienatation in the vicinity reveals that this relic belongs to the late Qajar era. The Ornaments of Salar Mohtasham Edifice is shown at these pictures below:

 

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Teimareh Epigraphs, Khomein

The aggregate of engravings and impressions in the rocks of Teimareh, seem to be that of the pre-historic age, due to repetitions, lack of diversity and the kind of impressions. The number of impressions here range between 2500-3000 as recorded. These impression are similar to the works of hunters in the long past. The implements drawn here are bow and arrow, lasso, fist, club, saddle spears and two headed spears, swords and…
The above mentioned display various kinds of animals that were hunted, which are mostly the mountain goat. Moreover, there are other engravings amongst the above mentioned and these are related to the recent decades. The location of one of these impressions is on the skirts of the elevations overlooking the Saeed Abad village.

 

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Religious Monuments

Maidan ( Qermez) Mosque, Saveh

This mosque which is also known as the Red Mosque, is located to the north of the old square of Saveh. It has been named as such because of its adornments and epigraphs. This structure is a remnant of the Saljuqi period, and comprises of a simple brick dome, a minaret, three porticos and a few porches.

 

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It has a beautiful and valuable altar adorned with plasterwork and vaulted inscriptions. This altar has three inscriptions in the ‘Kufic’ script and ‘Tholth’ script. One of the ‘Kufic’ inscriptions, is white and the other is maroon in color. Its brick minarets date back to the 5th century AH. and the date 453 can be observed here.

 

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Saveh Jame’ Mosque, Saveh

 

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The Jame’ Mosque of Saveh is one of the valuable relics of the Saljuqi period. This was constructed in the 6th century AH., coinciding with the establishment of the city itself. This structure is a treasure in the aspect of art, its tile and plasterwork are spectacular. This majestic mosque comprises of a courtyard, porch, minarets, a few nocturnal areas, dome and two archaic altars with inscription in Kufic script. Two altars dating to the Safavid era are adorned with inscriptions in ‘Tholth’ script. There are also other inscriptions, inscribed with sacred verses, in ‘Kufic’ and ‘Tholth’ script. There is an elevated porch between two nocturnal areas in the western front, that in its either sides there are chambers.The dome of the Jame’ mosque is 14 m. in diamiter and 16 m. high. Internally the dome has been adorned with tiles. The minaret is to an elevation of 14 m. This structure is on national record.

 

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Natural Attractions

Chal Nakhjir Cave, Delijan 

Chal Nakhjir is a rare geological phenomenon which was recently discovered in 1989 and is located in the township of Delijan.

 

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This cave belongs to the Cenozoic period and has been formed as a result of tectonic factors and aerobic chemical reactions. It has beautiful decorative stones. The height of this cave in some places reaches over 20 m. and has deep valleys in its divergent paths.
The reflection of light through prism of crystals and calcite stones, beside variable hangings from ceiling and spongy crystalic covering of the walls and flooring, create an exotic sight and ranks this cave to one of the most beautiful and outstanding caves of the world in attracting tourists. Certain characteristics such as passages, lakes, pools and columns have presented a special beauty to this cave. It is said that there is a pool of water at the end of this cave with large halls alongside. This cave is a rare and exceptional site for tourists is worth seeing.

 

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Mahalat Sarcheshmeh Spring, Mahalat

The Mahalat Sarcheshmeh spring has an excellent capacity of water and is located in the highest point of Mahalat city in this province. It has since past attracted many tourists. It is said that this spring was the main reason of establishment of Mahalat city. Near this spring there is a beautiful park, beautiful fountains, huge trees, old plane trees, rocky heights, with pleasant weather which annually attract many people. For tourist who are interested to stay overnight, limited facilities are offered.

 

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Culture and Art

Universities

The Governmental universities in Markazi province

Arak University of Medical Sciences, Iran University of Science and Technology (Arak Campus), University of Arak, Tafresh University, Tarbiat Moallem University of Arak, Energy University (Saveh).

The Islamic Azad universities in Markazi province

Islamic Azad University of Khomein, Islamic Azad University of Arak, Islamic Azad University of Saveh, Islamic Azad University of Farahan, Islamic Azad University of Ashtian, Islamic Azad University of Tafresh.

Handicrafts and Souvenirs, Markazi 

The important handicrafts of this province are: The Sarooq carpets, rugs, Kilims, jajims (a loosely woven woolen material), giveh (a type of local foot ware). The Sarooq carpet is a reputed carpet in this province.

 

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100 Yr. Old Hand Made Sarooq Carpet

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100 Yr. Old Hand Made Sarooq Carpet

 

Local and Regional Foods, Markazi

There are several kinds of delicacies in this provinces such as:
Omach, Shireh, Toot, Tarkhineh, Ajildar, Shalqam, Aloo, Shole Qalamkar, Balqour, Toe and Reshteh. Kinds of Abgoosht (broth): Kashk Badenjan, Dizi without meat, Bozbash, Choqondar, Qormeh, Rivas, Beh and Gerdoo.
Soups: Torobcheh and Addas, Kinds of rices, broths, etc.