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In the course of history due to its distance from important capitals and its harsh natural surroundings, Yazd remained immune to major troops' movements and destruction from wars; therefore it kept many of its traditions, city forms and architecture until recent times.
Yazd hails from an ancient history. As an example, Tehran University and Iran's Cultural Heritage Organization have teamed up with France's CNRS (Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique) to carry out archeological studies in Yazd province as part of a project aiming at preparing archeological plans of the area from the Mesolithic era.
During the invasion of Genghis Khan in the early 13th century, Yazd became a safe haven and home for many artists, intellectuals, and scientists fleeing their war ravaged cities across Persia.
Yazd was visited by Marco Polo in 1272 A.D, who described it as a good and noble city and remarked its silk production industry. Isolated from any approach by a huge tract of monotonous desert, the vibrancy of Yazd often comes as a surprise.
Although more often described as the entrance to a now non-existent bazaar, the chief function of this building known as a Tekyeh, and the square before it, was to host the Ta'ziyeh, a cycle of passion plays commemorating the martyrdom of Husayn ibn Ali, which takes place once a year during the mourning month of Moharram. The site dates from the fifteenth century amid the efforts of its eponymous builder, Amir Jalal Al-Din Chakhmagh, governor of Yazd.
For a brief period, Yazd was the capital of Atabakan and Mozaffarid dynasties. During the Qajar Dynasty (18th Century A.D.) it was ruled by the Bakhtiari Khans.Amidst the immense surrounding desert, Yazd retains elements of its old religion, traditions, and architecture, which is recognized by UNESCO for its architectural heritage.
In 2004, the Majles allocated funds to help restore historical sites in Yazd inorder to nominate Yazd as a Cultural Heritage city by UNESCO. The word Yazd means feast and worship. The city of Yazd has resisted the modern urbanization changes and has so far maintained its traditional structure.
The geographical features of this region have prompted residents to develop special architectural styles. For this reason, in the older part of the city most houses are built of adobe and have domed roofs (gonbad). These materials serve as an excellent insulation preventing heat from passing through.
The existence of special ventilation structures, called Badgirs is a distinctive feature of the architecture of this city (A Badgir is a high structure on the roof under which, in the interior of the building, there is a small pool).
The Jame Mosque (Friday Mosque) of Yazd crowned by a pair of minarets, the highest in Persia, the portal's facade is decorated from top to bottom in dazzling tile work, predominantly blue in color.
The city of YAZD has a history of over 3,000 years, dating back to the time of the Median Empire, when it was known as Ysatis (or Issatis). The present city name has however been derived from Yazdegerd I, a Sassanid ruler.
Because of its remote desert location and the difficulty of approach, Yazd had remained largely immune to large battles and the destruction and ravages of war. For instance, it was a haven for those fleeing from destruction in other parts of Persia during the invasion of Genghis Khan.
It was visited by Marco Polo in 1272 who remarked on the city's fine silk-weaving industry. It briefly served as the capital of the Muzaffarid Dynasty in the fourteenth century, and was sieged unsuccessfully in 1350–1351 by the Injuids under Shaikh Abu Ishaq. The Friday (or Congregation) Mosque, arguably the city's greatest architectural landmark, as well as other important buildings, date to this period. During the Qajar dynasty (18th Century AD) it was ruled by the Bakhtiari Khans.
Under the rule of the Safavis (16th century), some people emigrated from Yazd and settled in an area which is today on the Iran-Afghanistan border. The settlement was named Yazdi. This place is currently on the Iran-Afghanistan border in the province of Farah, in Farah city in Afghanistan. Even today, these people speak with an accent very similar to that of the people of Yazd.
Here is Marco Polo writing about Yazd:
Yasdi also is properly in Persia; it is a good and noble city, and has a great amount of trade. They weave there quantities of a certain silk tissue known as Yasdi, which merchants carry into many quarters to dispose of. The people are worshippers of Mahomet.
When you leave this city to travel further, you ride for seven days over Great Plains, finding harbor to receive you at three places only. There are many fine woods [producing dates] upon the way, such as one can easily ride through; and in them there is great sport to be had in hunting and hawking, there being partridges and quails and abundance of other game, so that the merchants who pass that way have plenty of diversion. There are also wild asses, handsome creatures. At the end of those seven marches over the plain you come to a fine kingdom which is called Kerman.
Yazd is of foremost importance as a centre of Persian architecture. Because of its climate, it has one of the largest networks of qanats in the world, and Yazdi qanat makers are considered the most skilled in Iran. To deal with the extremely hot summers, many old buildings in Yazd have magnificent windcatchers, and large underground areas. The city is also home to prime examples of yakhchals, the latter of which were used to store ice retrieved from glaciers in the nearby mountains. Yazd is also one of the largest cities built almost entirely out of adobe.
There is a Tower of Silence on the outskirts, and the city itself has a Fire Temple, which holds a fire that has been kept alight continuously since 470 AD. Presently, Zoroastrians make up a significant minority of the population, around 20 - 40,000 or 5 to 10%.
Built in 12th century and still being in use, Jame mosque of Yazd is an example of finest Persian mosaics and excellent architecture. Its minarets are the highest in the country.

Historical sites in the Yazd city include:

  • Arab-ha House
  • Lari-ha House
  • sahl Ibn Ali Mausoleum
  • Rasoulian House
  • Seyed Rokn-al din Mausoleum
  • Masoudi Reservoir
  • Mortaz House
  • Hajj Yusef Reservoir
  • Fort mosque
  • Zargari Bazzar
  • Fortifications of Yazd
  • Malek-altojjar House
  • Mullah Ismall mosque
  • Khan Bazaar
  • Sheikh Ahmad Fahadan Mausoleum
  • Seyed Shams-al din Mausoleum
  • Malak-al Tojjar House
  • Iran Shahr School
  • Rig mosque
  • Shah Tahmasb mosque
  • Mortaz House
  • Zia iah school

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