Ahvaz is capital of wealthy Khuzestan province in the southwest Iran. Bordering on cities such as Shushtar and Dezful to the north, Ramhormoz to the east, Shadegan, Bandar-e Mahshahr, Abadan, and Khorramshahr to the south, Ahwaz is situated on both banks of Karun River. Being an oil center, a transportation hub, and an industrial city with flourishing Metallurgical, petrochemical, textile, sugar cane, power generating, and food processing industries, it occupies an area of more than 200 square kilometers. It is so hot and humid in spring and summer.
Its population amounts to more than 1,000,000, mainly Shi’a Muslims. Its elevation from the sea level is only 18 meters. Karun is a 900-km long river that rises in the Zagros Mountains, west Iran, and flows south to the Arvand (or Shatt-ol-Arab) on the Iraqi border. Five bridges connect both parts of the town. Two of these bridges are A) Railway Bridge locally known as Pol-e Felezi; and B) Suspension Bridge, both built by the order of Reza Shah Pahlavi in 1932 and 1935, respectively.
During the 8-year of Iraq-Iran War and the holy defense against Iraqi aggression, the city served as major logistics and resistance center. It was severely attacked and damaged by the enemy during the war. During the Sassanian period (3rd century AD), Ahwaz was rebuilt by Ardashir I.
It was an important trading center with Arab world in the 12th and 13th centuries but later declined. During the Qajar period a harbor was built by Nasser-ol-Din Shah’s order (during whose reign the town was called Nasseri) not far from the present location of Ahwaz on the Karun River for trading purposes; and the river was opened to foreign trade in 1888. Finally, it was called Ahwaz and designated as the capital of Khuzestan province during the reign of Reza Shah Pahlavi in 1924.
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