ʿAQDĀ, a small settlement and subdistrict (dehestān) in the district (baḵš) of Ardakān-e Yazd lying at 32° 30’ north latitude and 53° 36’ east longitude on the road connecting Yazd with Nāʾīn and Isfahan, at a distance of 74 km from Nāʾīn and 100 km from Yazd.

In medieval Islamic times, ʿAqdā was regarded as an administrative dependency of Yazd and as marking the frontier between Yazd and Nāʾīn, the latter being sometimes reckoned to Yazd and sometimes to Isfahan. Nothing is known of its pre-Islamic history, despite a popular etymology for its name connecting it with a Sasanian commander called ʿAqdār, who is said to have constructed there a qanāt and fortress and to have established a village (Aḥmad b. Ḥosayn b. ʿAlī Kāteb, Tārīḵ-e ǰadīd-e Yazd, ed. Ī. Afšār, Tehran, 1345 Š./1966, p. 32). In the classical Arabic geographers, from Eṣṭaḵrī to Yāqūt, we find the form ʿAqda/ʿOqda, but these authorities give no details about the place’s history or geography beyond the mere mention of its name and situation on the fringe of the Great Desert (see Le Strange, Lands, p. 285). ʿAqdā had clearly played little part in the wider history of Iran; only the local historians of Yazd Jaʿfar b. Moḥammad Jaʿfarī (Tārīḵ-e Yazd, ed. Ī. Afšār, Tehran, 1338 Š./1959, p. 112) and Moḥammad Mofīd Bāfqī (Jāmeʿ-e Mofīdī III, pp. 559, 585) mention occasional charitable works there by dignitaries of Yazd.

The population is now wholly Muslim, but formerly there were Zoroastrians at ʿAqdā, which was also referred to as Deh-e Gabrān (the village of Zoroastrians). Josafat Barbaro visited what he calls “Guerde” in 1474 and mentions there several “Abraini” (i.e., “Abrahamites” = Zoroastrians). ʿAqdā (“Agda”) was further visited in 1621 by the Silesian traveler Heinrich von Posen und Gross-Nedlitz, who journeyed from Isfahan eastwards along the southern fringes of the Great Desert—the first European to do so—to Ṭabas, Bīrǰand and Afghanistan (see A. Gabriel, Die Erforschung Persiens, Vienna, 1952, pp. 57-59). At present, the dehestān of ʿAqdā comprises twenty villages, some on the desert fringes and some on the mountain slopes to the south. Its total population was estimated at 6,000 in 1344 Š./1965.

The monuments of ʿAqdā and its dependencies have been listed and discussed by Afšār (Yādgārhā-ye Yazd, Tehran, 1348-54 Š./1969-75, I, pp. 33-55, 452-56). Those of ʿAqdā itself include the rebāṭ or caravanserai of the merchant Ḥāǰǰī Abu’l-Qāsem Raštī (1262/1846), now the police station; a cistern (1027/1617-18); a Ḥosaynīya (1292/1875) for the performance of passion plays and other Shiʿite mourning rites; a bath (1055/1645); ruinous fortresses popularly connected with Ḵᵛāǰa Naṣīr-al-dīn Ṭūsī and the ancient Iranian hero Sām; the Jāmeʿ mosque (ca. 8th/14th century); the Holākū mosque (1123/1711); and the Šams mosque (1090/1679). In the environs, noteworthy are the rebāṭ of Ḵargūšī built by Shah ʿAbbās I in 1024/1625, a 7th/13th century mosque at Haftādor, and a Zoroastrian shrine of Būnāpars (Bānū-ye Pārs?) at Zarǰūʿ or Zarjū to the south of ʿAqdā (M. Boyce, “Bībī Shahrbānū and the lady of Pārs,” BSOAS 30, 1967, pp. 32-33, 38-44).



See also Jāmeʿ-e Mofīdī, ed.

Ī. Afšār, III, Tehran, 1340 Š./1961, pp. 720-21.

Schwarz, Iran, pp. 198, 582, 657.

Razmārā, Farhang X, pp. 135-36.

(C. E. Bosworth)

Originally Published: December 15, 1986

Last Updated: August 9, 2011

This article is available in print.
Vol. II, Fasc. 2, p. 191