General Information About Yazd
The word Yazd means, feast and worship, the city of Yazd has resisted the modern urbanization changes and maintained its traditional structure. The geographical features of this region have made people developed special architectural styles. For this reason, in the older part of the city most houses are built of mud-bricks and have domed roofs. These materials served as insulation preventing heat from passing through.
History and Culture
The city 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. The city was definitely a Zoroastrian center during Sassanid times. After the ArabIslamic conquest of Persia, many Zoroastrians fled to Yazd from neighboring provinces. By paying a levy, Yazd remained 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 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 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 which 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 the area speak with an accent very similar to that of the people of Yazd.