Found in: Iranian provincial capitals
Birjand is the east iranian provincial capital of South Khorasan and the centre of the county Birjand resp. Quhestan, known for its saffron, barberry, rug and handmade carpet exports.[*]
The city of Birjand had a population of 157848 people at the time of the last official census in 2006 .
The city has a dry climate with significant difference between day and night temperatures. It is a fast growing city, thus becoming a major centre in the East of Iran after Mashad and Zahedan.
The first citation of the city in the historical literature returns to the famous book Mojem Alboldan, by the Yaqut Homavi (13th century) which introduces the Birjand as the most beautiful town in the Quhestan. Before this Birjand had been probably not as big and important as a municipality but a rural community. However, the Birjand geographical area has had its historical and political importance long before emergence of the city of Birjand. Many citations of the region are available in the original literature like Ehya -ol- Molook of the once important localities in the area. Apart from literature, the oldest evidence on the history of the region is the ancient Lakh-Mazar inscription in the Kooch village some 25 Km south east of Birjand. Numerous fine drawings and inscriptions are carved on an igneous rock surface. The inscriptions include pictograms as well as Arsacid Pahlavi, Sasanian Pahlavi, Arabic and Persian scripts . The former tribe famous for the region of Birjand is called Sagarthian - historically in union with the parthian.
Birjand has emerged as the centre of Quhestan, following the decline of historical city of Qaen in the Safavid period. Since then the Alam clan had ruled the region till the end of Qajar dynasty. During the semi-autonomous ruling of Alam clan, Great Britain and Russia established consular branches in Birjand, because of the important geographical location of the region in the vicinity of the Indian subcontinent. Amir Shokat Ul-Molk Alam, the father of the Asadollah Alam(once prime minister of Iran) was still ruling the Quhestan's subprovince Qhaenat into the Pahlavi era. And the last tribal leader of Birjand Shah Seyyed Ali Kazemi was related with the Alam clan and the emperor Reza Shah Pahlavi. However Birjand lost its geopolitical importance following the emergence of Reza Shah Pahlavi and his policy of central government.
The entire Quhestan region then became a part of the modern Khorasan province. The local people, however, started a movement to become an independent province at the middle of the second Pahlavi period. The move resulted after about forty years and Quhestan and particularly Birjand regained its historical importance in 2004 after official division of Khorasan to three smaller provinces by the government of Islamic Republic of Iran.
It is said that the Shokatiyeh School in Birjand together with Darolfonoon in Tehran were the first public schools in Iran in the mid 1800s. Ever since then, Birjand has amassed an abundance of institutions of higher education and become an important location for research and development.
The city contains such higher educational institutions as:
University of Birjand [*]
Birjand University of Medical Sciences [*]
Islamic Azad University of Birjnad [*]
Payame Noor University
Iran University of Industries and Mines
University of Applied Science and Technology
Academy of Tarbiat-e Moalem
Academy of Amuzesh-e Aly
Academy of Amuzesh-e Modiriat Dolaty
The city is served by Birjand Airport.
Notables from Birjand
Abd al-Ali al-Birjandi Prominent Astronomer of the 16th Century
Amir Shokat Ul-Molk Alam, Governor of Quhestan at the end of Qajar Dynasty
Asadollah Alam, Prime Minister of Iran during Shah Mohammed Reza Pahlavi period
Hakim Nezari Quhestani
Ibn Hessam Khusfi
Kazem Motamednejad Communication scientist
Mohammad Hassan Ganji scientist of Geography
Mohammad Hossain Ayati
Sayyed Hassan Tahami
Mohammad Ibrahim Ayati
Mohammad Ismail Rezvani scientist of History
Mohammad Reza Hafeznia
Sayyed Mohammad Farzan (*1894 near Birjand) Scientist
Shah Seyyed Ali Kazemi (1984 in Birjand) last tribal leader of Birjand at the beginning of Pahlavi Dynasty
Moud, the international famous district of Birjand
Governor: Seyyed Solat Mortasavi
Crown prince: Marcel Kasemi
Mayor: Mohsen Sadeh