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About Kerman:   

Kerman, Past and Present:

Kerman and Makran (former Baluchestan) are said to have been the sons of Fars, the offspring of Sam, Noah’s son. Bastani Parizi, professor of Persian Literature and Kermanology believes that “Kerman is a compound word comparising of “Kar” meaning “battle” and “Man” meaning “place” deducing that it overally means “battle front” or “the land of warriors”. He rules out two other theories saying that “Kerman” is a cognate of “Kariman” and “Kerm” meaning “generous people” and “worm” respectively.

According to the second theory, a magic worm brought good luck to Haftwad, the powerful governor of Kerman in early Sassanid era who lived in Arg-e-Bam castle. Ardeshir, the Sassanid King, obtains the worm through trickery and that enables him to defeat Haftwad.

Another theory which supports the idea of “worm” being the origin of “Kerman” is based on a long-lasting industry of the region. Weavers extracted a red color from a special worm locally known as “Ghermez-Dooneh”. Kerman’s booming weaving and carpet industries demanded the worms which were expensive and imported from Europe and even Australia. The worms played a key role in the weaving industry which exported its surplus abroad.

The origin of the story is again rejected. This time by Jamshid Sorooshian, a Zoroasterian Iranian researcher who relies on the Darioos Inscriptions in Shoosh to prove that since 2400 years ago, the area has been called Kerman. Making use of the same historical evidence, Sorooshian stipulates that “Ker” is the abbreviated form of “Kar” meaning “work” and “Man” is a suffix meaning “place” and that is how the two lexemes make up the meaning of “a place of work” ie. Kerman.

The historic state of Karmania southwest of the Loot Desert, encompassed the 5 regions of Kerman, Sirjan, Jiroft, Bam and Narmashir expanding southward to the Persian Gulf coast where Hurmoz lay as its major port city. Time and again the rulers of Karmania expanded their territory to include the Sea of Oman and the other coast of the Persian Gulf. Karmania was a crossroads of Fars and Khorasan states. Geological studies show that in the long past the desert part of the area had been much smaller than now and Jiroft was circled by a thick forest.

Today’s Kerman is referred to as Butia on the Bistoon Inscription and its rulers were called “Shah” or king in the Sassanide era. The state hosted a group of migrating Arabs before the emergence of Islam. The state capital at the time of the Sassanides was Shirgan Shahr or Sirjan.

The last Sassanide emperor, Yazdgerd III fleeing the Arab’s assaults, sought shelter in Kerman. In the wake of the Arab army’s advance on the city, thousands of its residents retreated to the mountains or the states of Sistan in the east and Khorasan in the north in order to maintain their Zoroasterian beliefs.


The mountain dwellers remained independent for almost 3 centuries. Being far from the center of the Caliphate, Kerman became the hub of a group of rebels called Khavarij.The Ommayide Caliphate increased its control over the city in 720 A.D.. Kerman witnessed no major event throughout the Abbassides. It then turned into a cradle of Iranian movements, the Saffarides in particular.

The founder of the Saffaride dynasty, Yaqub layth took over Kerman in 864 A.D. It changed hands to the Samanides in 924 A.D.. Less than half a century later, Ale Booyeh kings ruled the city and in 1040 A.D. it witnessed the domination of the Ghaznavids and then the Seljuks, a period of relative calm. Kerman in 1202 A.D. surrendered to Malek Dinar Ghoz who handed it over to Gordan Shabankareh in 1204 A.D. 7 years later, the city’s governor gave alleigence the central government of Kharazmshahian. Kerman survived the Mongols’ attacks. In 1220 A.D.

In 1338 A.D Amir Mobarez-ul-din Mozzaffari became the governor and hispredecessors ruled the city until Timur captured the state capital in 1391 A.D. After the Timurides, the Turkish tribes of Qara-Quyunlu and Aq-Quyunlu seized Kerman. 1500 A.D. was a turning point in the city’s history.

That is when the Safavide King Esmael took over Kerman and spread Shi’ism there. Kerman lived in peace and tranquility for over a century before Mahmood the Afghan raided the city. The Afsharide King Nader restored calm to the war-torn state which was again shatterred by war after Nader’s death. The broad-based government of Karimkhan, the founder of the Zand dynasty was a breath of life to the looted city. But it was not the end. Kerman was hardest hit in the losing battle of the last Zand king against Aqa Mohammadkhan Qajar.

According to history, after forcing the castle of Kerman’s gate open and unscrupulously taking the life of Lotfali-Khan, the Qajar commander took 20,000 women and children as captive. 35 thousand men were blinded.A revolt by Aqakhan Mahallati in 1839 A.D. ended in failure. Kerman played an effective role in the Movement of Constitutionalism but was given no share in the government. The history of Kerman speaks of hundreds of disastrous events such as that of Aqa Mohammad Khan. Assailants always looted Kerman in revenge for crossing the hot deserts which made it far-fetched. The tragedy goes back in time to Alexander who levelled the city to ground enroute India.

After the Constitutionalism Movement, Kerman was ignored by the central governments.

Despite all this, the province raised great men such as Shah Nematollah Vali and Khaju, who highlighted their homeland’s name in the Iranian history.

Yesterday’s Kerman has a lot to say about a hard past. But today’s Kerman tells a different story.

The province is an industrial and economic hub of the country. Its pistachio brings Iran the largest revenues after oil and the quality of its date products has won a gloal reputation.

Kerman’s coal mines provide the energy needed for the country’s power-plants and industrial units and the Iranian industry (including the auto factories in Kerman itself) cannot do without its steel and copper products a single day. In the agriculture sector, Jiroft and Bam meet the domestic demands of citrus fruits. And last but not least, Kerman’s hand-woven carpet is an evidence of the province’s artistic heritage. Kerman deserves a bright future in the wake of centuries of effort and survival.


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