Yazd (Persian: یزد[jæzd] (About this soundlisten)),[3] formerly also known as Yezd,[4][5] is the capital of Yazd Province, Iran. The city is located 270 km (170 mi) southeast of Esfahan. At the 2011 census, the population was 529,673, and it is currently the 15th largest city in Iran. Since 2017, the historical city of Yazd is recognized as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.[6]


Iran - Yazd - Amir Chakmaq Complex.jpg
Zoroastrian Fire Temple (8906007289).jpg
نمایی از حوض باغ دولت آباد.jpg
مسجد جامع یزد، محسن سالاری.jpg
Yazd-Mohsen salari- 20.jpg
Malekzadeh House (Yazd Art House) 02.jpg
Tomb of Seyed Roknildin -Negin Mohamadi Fard.jpg
Top to bottom, left to right: Jame Mosque Rotunda, Zoroastrian Fire Temple, Dowlatabad Garden, Markar Squire, Jame Yazd Mosque, Tomb of Seyyed Ruknaldin, Malekzadeh House.
Official seal of Yazd
Yazd is located in Iran
Coordinates: 31°53′50″N 54°22′4″E / 31.89722°N 54.36778°E / 31.89722; 54.36778Coordinates: 31°53′50″N 54°22′4″E / 31.89722°N 54.36778°E / 31.89722; 54.36778
Country Iran
 • MayorMehdi Jamalinejad[1]
 • City Council ChairmanGholam Ali Sefid
1,216 m (3,990 ft)
 (2016 Census)
 • Urban
529,673 [2]
Demonym(s)Yazdi (en)
Time zoneUTC+3:30 (IRST)
 • Summer (DST)UTC+4:30 (IRDT)
Area code(s)035
Official nameHistoric City of Yazd
Criteriaiii, v
Designated2017 (41st session)
Reference no.1544
State PartyIran
RegionAsia and the Pacific

Because of generations of adaptations to its desert surroundings, Yazd has a unique Persian architecture. It is nicknamed the "City of Windcatchers" (شهر بادگیرها Shahr-e Badgirha) from its many examples. It is also very well known for its Zoroastrian fire temples, ab anbars (cisterns), qanats (underground channels), yakhchals (coolers), Persian handicrafts, handwoven cloth (Persian termeh), silk weaving, Persian cotton candy, and its time-honored confectioneries. Yazd is also known as City of Bicycles, because of its old history of bike riders, and the highest amount of bicycles per capita in Iran. It is reported that bicycle culture is entered and developed from Yazd, in contacting with the European visitors and tourists in the last century.[7]


Yazd means "clean" and "holy"; Yazd city means god city and holy land.[8]


The name is derived from Yazdegerd I, a Sassanid ruler of Persia. The city has been a center for Zoroastrianism since the 3rd century AD.[9][citation needed] The word yazd means God.[10] After the Arab conquest of Iran, many Zoroastrians migrated to Yazd from neighboring provinces. By paying a levy, Yazd was allowed to remain Zoroastrian even after its conquest, and Islam only gradually became the dominant religion in the city.

Because of its remote desert location and the difficulty of access, Yazd 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 Persian Empire during the Mongol invasion. In 1272 it was visited by Marco Polo, who remarked on the city's fine silk-weaving industry. In the book The Travels of Marco Polo, he described Yazd in the following way:

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. When you leave this city to travel further, you ride for seven days over great plains, finding harbour 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 briefly served as the capital of the Muzaffarid Dynasty in the fourteenth century, and was unsuccessfully besieged 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 Safavid (16th century), some people migrated from Yazd and settled in an area that is today on the Iran-Afghanistan border. The settlement, which was named Yazdi, was located in what is now Farah City in the province of the same name in Afghanistan. Even today, people from this area speak with an accent very similar to that of the people of Yazd.

One of the notable things about Yazd is its family-centered culture. According to official statistics from Iran's National Organization for Civil Registration, Yazd is among the three cities with the lowest divorce rates in Iran.


Language and ethnic groupsEdit

The majority of the people of Yazd are Persians, and they speak Persian with Yazdi accent different from Persian accent of Tehran.


The majority of people in Yazd are Muslims. There is also a sizable population of Zoroastrians in the city. In 2013, Sepanta Niknam was elected to the city council of Yazd and became the first Zoroastrian councillor in Iran.[11] There was once a relatively large Jewish-Yazdi community, however, after the creation of Israel, many have moved there for varying reasons. Former president of Israel Moshe Katsav is an example.

The Pir-e-Naraki[12] sanctuary is one the important pilgrimage destinations for Zoroastrians, where an annual congregation is held and frequent visits are made during the year; it is now also a famous tourist spot.

The story of the last Persian prince to come to Yazd before the arrival of Islam adds to its importance. Such a transformation has occurred several times.[clarification needed][13]

Several other city traditions are the Muslim parades and gatherings, which are mainly processions called azadari held to commemorate the events experienced by the main Islamic martyrs and other important figures. These huge public gatherings created a series of spaces which, since most are near important urban monuments, are used at other times as hubs from which visitors can tour the main spots in the city .[14]


According to the Iranian Census of 2011 the population of Yazd is 486,152 people from 168,528 families, which includes 297,546 men and 285,136 women.[15]

YearPop.±% p.a.

Historical sitesEdit

Tower of Silence near Yazd

Yazd is an important 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 wind towers and large underground areas.

The city is also home to prime examples of yakhchals, 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.

Yazd's heritage as a center of Zoroastrianism is also important. There is a Tower of Silence on the outskirts, and the city has an ateshkadeh which holds a fire that has been kept alight continuously since 470 AD. Zoroastrians make up a significant minority of the population, around 20,000–40,000 or 5 to 10 percent.

The 11th-century brick mausoleum and shrine Davāzdah Imām is the oldest dated building in the city.[17]

Built in 12th century and still in use, Jame Mosque of Yazd is an example of the finest Persian mosaics and excellent architecture. Its minarets are the highest in the country.



Yazd has a hot desert climate (Köppen climate classification BWh). It is the driest major city in Iran, with a yearly precipitation amount of 49 millimetres (1.9 in) and only 23 days of precipitation, with summer temperatures very frequently above 40 °C (104 °F) in blazing sunshine with no humidity. Even at night the temperatures in summer are rather uncomfortable. In the winter, the days remain mild and sunny, but in the morning the thin air and low cloudiness cause cold temperatures that can sometimes fall well below 0 °C (32 °F).

Climate data for Yazd
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 27.0
Average high °C (°F) 12.9
Daily mean °C (°F) 6.3
Average low °C (°F) −0.3
Record low °C (°F) −14
Average precipitation mm (inches) 7.0
Average precipitation days 1 3 2 11 1 1 1 0 1 0 2 0 23
Average relative humidity (%) 53 46 37 33 25 18 17 18 19 27 38 47 32
Mean monthly sunshine hours 181.6 203.0 207.5 230.9 293.9 334.1 340.7 335.0 313.1 278.1 217.8 193.4 3,129.1
Source 1: Climate-Data.org
Source 2: NOAA (extremes, sun, humidity, 1961–1990)[18]


Always known for the quality of its silk and carpets, Yazd today is one of Iran's industrial centers for textiles. There is also a considerable ceramics and construction materials industry and unique confectionery and jewellery industries. A significant portion of the population is also employed in other industries including agriculture, dairy, metal works, and machine manufacturing. There are a number of companies involved in the growing information technology industry, mainly manufacturing primary materials such as cables and connectors. Currently Yazd is the home of the largest manufacturer of fibre optics in Iran.[citation needed]

Yazd's confectioneries have a tremendous following throughout Iran and have been a source of tourism for the city. Confectioners workshops (khalifehs, or experts) keep their recipes a guarded secret, and there are many that have remained a private family business for many generations. Baklava, ghotab and pashmak are the most popular sweets made in the city.

In 2000 the Yazd Water Museum opened;[19] it features exhibits of water storage vessels and historical technologies related to water.

Yazd has expanded its industrial fields since the 1980s. With at least three main industrial areas each containing over 70 different factories, Yazd has become one of the most technologically advanced cities of Iran.


In addition to its connection with major Iranian cities via Iranian Railways, Yazd is served by the Shahid Sadooghi Airport.


List of mayors of Yazd
  • Eskandar Aslani (circa 1979)[20]
  • Muhammad-Ali Vahdati[chronology citation needed]
  • Ali-Akbar Farshi
  • Muhammad-Hassan Khorshidnam
  • Hosseyn A'laii
  • Muhammad-Mahdi Sherafat
  • Ali-Akbar Aramun
  • Morteza Shayeq
  • Ali-Akbar Mirvakili
  • Mohammad Azim Zadeh (circa 2017)[1]




The University of Yazd was established in 1988. It has a college of architecture specializing in traditional Persian art and architecture. Yazd and its nearby towns contain the following institutes of higher education:

  • Yazd Science and Research
  • University of Yazd
  • Shahid Sadoughi University of Medical Sciences and Health Services
  • Payam e Nour University of Yazd
  • Yazd Institute of Higher Education (ACECR)
  • Islamic Azad University of Bafq
  • Islamic Azad University of Maybod
  • Islamic Azad University of Yazd
  • Yazd Sampad Information Center
  • Yazd Science and Technology Park
  • Applied Science University of Yazd
  • Imam Java University College
  • Barazande muqadam High School (Tizhushan)
  • Shahid Sadoughi High School (Tizhushan)
  • Shahid Sadoughi Middle School (Tizhushan)
  • Farzanegan Middle School (Tizhushan)
  • Bahadori High School
  • Farzanegan High School (Tizhushan)
  • Iranshahr High School

Twin towns – sister citiesEdit

Yazd is twinned with:


See alsoEdit



  1. ^ a b "شهـردار يــزد" [Mayor] (in Persian). Municipality of Yazd. Retrieved 18 February 2017.
  2. ^ https://www.amar.org.ir/english
  3. ^ Yazd can be found at GEOnet Names Server, at this link, by opening the Advanced Search box, entering "-3088569" in the "Unique Feature Id" form, and clicking on "Search Database".
  4. ^ EB (1888).
  5. ^ EB (1911).
  6. ^ "Historical City of Yazd Inscribed as World Heritage Site". 9 July 2017. Retrieved 1 January 2018.
  7. ^ "Bicycle history in Yazd". 11 February 2009. Retrieved 23 November 2018.
  8. ^ "زندگی‌نامه: محمدعلی جهان‌آرا". hamshahrionline.ir. Retrieved 17 February 2015.
  9. ^ Boda, Sharon La (1994). International Dictionary of Historic Places: Middle East and Africa. Taylor & Francis. p. 720. ISBN 978-1-884964-03-9. Retrieved 12 March 2020.
  10. ^ Steingass, Francis Joseph. A Comprehensive Persian-English dictionary, including the Arabic words and phrases to be met with in Persian literature. London: Routledge & K. Paul, 1892.
  11. ^ "Iran Suspends Zoroastrian Member of Yazd City Council", The Associated Press, The New York Times, 9 October 2017, retrieved 9 October 2017
  12. ^ Ed Eduljee. "Pir-e Seti. Pir-e Naraki. Pilgrimage in Zoroastrianism". Heritageinstitute.com. Retrieved 2013-12-09.
  13. ^ "پیرنارکی مهریز در لیست مهمترین جاذبه‌های دینی جهان - سایت خبری یزدفردا". Yazdfarda.com. Retrieved 2013-12-09.
  14. ^ "همشهری آنلاین: آشنایی با برخی آئین‌‌های عزاداری در استان یزد". Hamshahrionline.ir. 2013-12-04. Retrieved 2013-12-09.
  15. ^ http://www.amar.org.ir/Portals/2/census-90/jamiat/ostan-jamiat-21.xls
  16. ^ Iran: Provinces and Cities population statistics
  17. ^ Anisi, Alireza (2009). "The Davāzdah Imām Mausoleum at Yazd: A Re-Examination". Iran. 47: 57–68. doi:10.1080/05786967.2009.11864759. ISSN 0578-6967. JSTOR 25651464.
  18. ^ "Yazd Climate Normals 1961–1990". National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Retrieved December 29, 2012.
  19. ^ [1] Archived June 26, 2007, at the Wayback Machine
  20. ^ "شهرداران يزد پس از انقلاب اسلامي" [Mayors of Yazd since 1979] (in Persian). Municipality of Yazd. Retrieved 18 February 2017.
  21. ^ "Testvérvárosi kapcsolataink". jku.hu (in Hungarian). Berény Café. 2016-08-18. Retrieved 2020-06-18.
  22. ^ "დამეგობრებული ქალაქები". poti.gov.ge (in Georgian). Poti. Retrieved 2020-06-18.


  • "Yazd" , 'Encyclopædia Britannica, 9th ed., Vol. XXIV, New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1888, p. 733.
  • "Yezd" , 'Encyclopædia Britannica, 11th ed., Vol. XXVIII, New York: Encyclopædia Britannica, 1911, p. 919.

External linksEdit