Found in: Iranian provincial capitals
The city of Ahvaz or Ahwaz ( ahvaz or ), is the capital of the Iranian province of Khuzestan. It is built on the banks of the Karun River and is situated in the middle of Khuzestan Province. The city has an average elevation of 20 meters above sea level. The city had a population of 1,338,126 in 2006.
The word Ahvaz is a Persianized form of the local Ahwaz, which in turn itself is derived from a Persian word. The Dehkhoda Dictionary specifically defines the Market of the Khuzis", where "Suq" is Persian word "chahar-suy/sugh" for market, and "Ahwaz" is a plural ( ) of the form "af'al" of the word "Huz", or more precisely, the root "ha wa za" ( ), which itself comes from the Persian Huz, from Achaemenid inscriptions from where the term first appears. Thus, which refers to the non-Arabic original habitants of Khuzestan.
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.
Location and roads
Ahwaz located 120 km north-west of Abadan and is accessible via following routes in addition of a single runway airport:
Tehran-Khorramshahr national railway
Ahvaz-Abadan highway (145 km)
Ahvaz-Andimeshk (152 km) highway
Ahvaz-Bandar-e Emam Khomeyni highway (175 km).
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.
Ahvaz has long, hot summers and mild, short winters. The maximum temperature in summer could soar up to 54 degrees Celsius while in winters the minimum temperature could fall around 2 degrees Celsius. The annual rainfall is 195 mm.
For a more comprehensive historical treatment of the area, see the history section of Khuzestan Province.
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.
First named Ohrmazd-Ardaser (Roamn HormizdartazirDodgeon 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) 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 or (according to the Middle Persian Sahrestaniha i Eransahr) by his grandson Hormizd I; the town's name either combined Ardashir's name with the Zoroastrian name for God, Ohrmazd or Hormizd's name with that of his grandfather. It became the seat of the province, and was also referred to as Humser. 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 Xuzestan.
The city had two sections; the nobles of the city lived in one part while the other was inhabited by merchants.cf. Encyclopaedia Iranica When the Arabs invaded the area in 640, the part of the city home to the nobility was demolished but the Huj-i-stanwacar "Market of Khuz State", the merchant area, remained intact. The city was therefore renamed Suq al-Ahwaz, "Market of the Khuz", a semi-literal translation of the Persian name of this quarter - Ahwaz being the Arabic broken plural of Huz, taken from the ancient Persian term for the native Elamite peoples, Huja (remaining in medieval Xuzig "of the Khuz" and modern Xuzestan "Khuz State", as noted by Yaqut al-Hamawi (1179-1229) and Abu-Mansoor Javalighi.
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. Ahvaz 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 Arabs and a small number of Sabians. Some minor cultivation continued, while all evidence of sugarcane plantations had vanished, although ruins of sugarcane mills from the medieval era remained in existence.X. de Planhol, Encyclopaedia Iranica
In the 19th century, "Ahvaz was no more than a small borough inhabited mainly by Sha'ab Arabs and a few Sabeans ."Encyclopaedia Iranica, p.690, see entry: Ahvaz
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 newfound wealth. From 1897-1925, Sheikh Khaz'al controlled this area and the name was changed to Naseriyeh. Afterwards, during the Pahlavi period, it resumed its old name, Ahvaz. The government of the Khuzestan Province was transferred there from Shushtar 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 Khuzestan. 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.Ibid, p.690
Iraq attempted to annex Khuzestan and Ahvaz in 1980, resulting in the IranIraq War (1980-1988). Ahvaz was close to the front lines and suffered badly during the war.
Iraq had pressed its claims to Khuzestan 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 Khuzestan.
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.
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..
Ahvaz is accessible via freeways to Isfahan and Shiraz, and roadways to Tehran.
A metro urban railway system is being built by the Ahvaz urban railway. It will be a 23Km underground line with 24 stations.
The airport is served by Iran Asseman Airlines , Caspian Airlines (Dubai), Iran Air , Iran Air Tours , Kish air (Tehran)
Colleges and universities
Ahvaz is also known for its universities as well as its role in commerce and industry. Ahvaz institutes of higher learning include:
Ahvaz Jundishapur University of Medical Sciences
Shahid Chamran University of Ahvaz
Some famous Ahvazis
Will V. Bet-Sayad, Scientist and artist, FDA
Sousan S. Altaie, PHD Scientific Policy Advisor, OIVD CDRH, FDA
Ezzat Negahban, Patriarch of modern Iranian archaeology.
Mehrangiz Kar, Human rights activist.
Ahmad Mahmoud, Novelist.
Hamid Dabashi, Intellectual historian, cultural and literary critic
Siavash Ghomeyshi, well-known singer and music composer.
Patrick Monahan, British Comedian.
Parviz Abnar, Iranian Sound recordist.
Mohammad Reza Eskandari, Iran's current minister of Agriculture
Abu Nuwas, famous figure in Arabic poetry.
Ali Shamkhani, Iranian Minister of Defence (1997-2005)
Hossein Kaebi, national football star
Hamid Zangeneh, economist, author, and activist.
Jalal Kameli Mofrad, national football player
Hossein Shokrkon, Industrial and organizational psychologist
Seyed Kazem Alavi Fazel, Psychiatrist, X-Chancellor of Ahvaz Jundishapur University of Medical Sciences
Hamed Haddadi, NBA basketball player
Mohammad Mousavi Ney soloist
Ali ibn Abbas al-Majusi, the famous physician
Naubakht, an astronomer, and his sons;
Ibn Sakkit Doraghi Ahwazi, Writer in the early years after invasion of Islam
Sattaar Oraki Pouri, Iranian Pianist and Composer
Farid Omran, Originally from Abadan, Globally recognised composer
Reza Taheri, Football player, based in Husby (Sweden)
mehrzad payandeh,famouse violonist
mrs zafari,famouse english teacher
Mandaeism, Mandaic language
Politics of Khuzestan
History of Iran
Takhti Stadium (Ahvaz)