Kazeroon, the Second Largest City of Fars
The city of Kazeroun is the capital of the department of the same name in the west of the province of Fars.
The city of Kazeroun is the capital of the department of the same name in the west of the province of Fars. Kazeroun is located at an altitude of 860 meters above sea level, between the shoreline of the Persian Gulf to the south (164 km from Boushehr) and the Zagros mountain range to the north. It is the second largest city of Fars after Shiraz. The city has nearly 140,000 inhabitants, and the population of the department amounts to nearly 300,000 souls. The city of Kazeroun covers an area of 2100 hectares and is 135 km from Shiraz, 1060 km from Tehran.
The present city of Kazeroun is approximately at the same location as the Achaemenid city of "Gazra" (circa 556-330 BC) and a few kilometers from the city of Bishapur, which dates from the Sassanid era ( 224-651).
The inhabitants of the city speak a local dialect of modern Persian whose origins go back to the Pahlavi, an Iranian (Middle-Persian) language that was spoken during the Sassanid era, itself descended from Old Persian. But in the city and especially in the villages of the department, there is also a population of Turkish Qashqai nomads, sedentary for many decades. The inhabitants of Kazeroun are predominantly Shiites duodécimains. Religious minorities represent only one percent of the population.
The conversion of the inhabitants of Kazzeroun to Islam began in the first century of the Hegira (seventh century of the Christian era), but a large part of the population of Kazzeroun remained long Zoroastrian. The Islamization of the region was therefore complete only quite late in the early fifth century AH (eleventh century AD).
The department of Kazeroun has a very hot and arid climate in summer, relatively temperate in winter. It is crossed by several rivers more or less seasonal which ensure a varied vegetation and provide the water resources necessary for the agricultural activities, one of the important resources of incomes for the inhabitants. The mountainous areas of the department, with milder climatic conditions in summer, are an annual transhumance destination for nomadic pastoralists in neighboring provinces.
The economy of the department is essentially agricultural. Thanks to the climatic variety of the region, farmers in the department of Kazzeroun harvest in abundance various products: cereals, rice, dates, citrus fruits, vegetables, tomatoes, aubergines, pomegranates, figs and since a few years ... olives. But the region has also been experiencing a process of industrialization for some decades. The Kazeroun hybrid power plant, with an annual capacity of 1400 MW, is the largest power plant in the province of Fars and the third largest hybrid power station (gas and steam turbines) in Iran. There are two petrochemical units in the department today, while work is also under way to extract oil from Khesht commune, south of Kazeroun.
Kazeroun will have his station at the completion of the new railway which will connect the Fars with the provinces of Khuzestan (southwest) and Hormozgan (south). Thus, at the end of this project, the city will be connected to the national rail network, which will undoubtedly increase its economic and social dynamism, and will also strengthen its tourism infrastructure.
About twenty kilometers east of Kazzeroun, on the new road that connects the region to Shiraz, you arrive in the middle of the mountains of Zagos, a vast plain called Beram, the name of the village there. The plain is covered with the usual vegetation of southern Zagros. At the end of winter and early spring, the earth is covered with poppies of Zagos. Beram is also the largest plain of oaks Zagros (scientific name: Quercus brantii).
The Plains of Narcissus:
The word Narcissus is of Persian origin (narges). In winter (late December-early February), the plains that extend around the city of Kazeroun are embellished, for a period of 45 days, very beautiful flowers: narcissus. Several species of this flower grow in the wild in this region. The most beautiful landscapes of the narcissus season are thus offered to the senses of tourists and inhabitants of the department, on a plain of 25 hectares which is near the villages of Jarreh, Balbal and Famour. The daffodils of Kazeroun are among the rare winter species of this family of flowers.
Lake Parishan (or Famour), the largest freshwater lake in Iran and the Middle East, is located east of Kazzeroun. Its average area is 4300 hectares. The lake, at an altitude of 820 m above sea level, is of vital importance in safeguarding the biodiversity of the entire region. All around Parishan Lake, the life of the inhabitants depends directly or indirectly on the life of the lake and its ecosystem. In recent years, the balance of this precious ecosystem has been disturbed for various reasons including drought and human activities (destruction of rose gardens for road operations). The inhabitants of Kazeroun and neighboring regions are mobilizing more and more for the safeguarding of Lake Parishan. On Friday, 30 January 2015, the city council, public institutions and civil society of Kazunoun organized, as in previous years, a family walk to ask for the necessary measures to protect Lake Parishan.
15 km north-west of Kazeroun, it is possible to visit one of the most important historical sites of Iran, that of the ancient city of Bishapur, of which only ruins remain today. Bishapur was founded in 266 by order of the Sassanid king Shapour I (king from 240 to 272). The city bears, in fact, the name of its founder, in Middle Persian, Bishapur meaning "Lord Shapur" (Bai Shapur). The ruins of Bishapur extend over a 200-hectare area. The construction of the city dates from the apogee of the reign of its founder after his important victories over the Romans, especially after the defeat of the Roman army and the fall of the emperor Valerian (emperor from 253 to 260), captured by the Sassanid soldiers and transferred to Bishapur. Valerian dies in captivity: the Romans did nothing to release him, having no interest in his return for political reasons related to his succession.
During the Sassanid era, Bishapur became the capital of the Persians for a relatively short period. After the Islamization of Iran, it gradually loses its importance for the benefit of its closest neighbor, Kazeroun. However, Bishapur was inhabited until the 7th century of the Hegira (14th century of the Christian era), before being abandoned.
The city was built according to the architectural models of the Arsic and Hellenistic period on the basis of a checkerboard plan. In the ruins of Bishapur, we can distinguish two parts clearly separated from each other: first the imperial citadel (which contains the temple of Anahita, the royal hall, the terrace of mosaics and the residence of Valerian, the commemorative columns where appears the name of Shapour I, and the city proper (houses, public roads, markets, hammams, caravanserais, ...).
Tangueh-Chogan and the statue of Shapour I:
Tangueh-Chogan is a narrow horseshoe valley located near the ancient city of Bishapour (500 m) and at the bottom of which flows a small river. The rocks on both sides of the valley are decorated at irregular intervals with six Sassanid bas-reliefs. These bas-reliefs date from the time of the reign of three Sassanid emperors: Shapour I, Bahram I (king from 273 to 276) and Bahram II (king from 276 to 293).
A gigantic statue of Shapour I watches over the entrance to a deep cave on the heights of the valley of Tangueh-Chogan. Shapour cave is located on a rock perched 800 meters above the village which is just down at the bottom of the valley. To go up to the cave, it takes a walk of an hour and a half from the village. The statue of Shapour I is one of the rare examples of Sassanian sculpture available today, the technique generally used during the pre-Islamic antiquity of Iran being bas-relief. It was carved in a natural pillar of the cave, and is more than 7 meters high.