KAZERUN i. Geography



i. Geography

Covering an area of 4,062 sq. km, the sub-province (šahrestān) of Kazerun is bounded by the sub-provinces of Shiraz to the east, Mamasani to the north, Bušehr to the west and southwest, and Farrāšband to the southeast (Figure 1).  Kazerun has been subjected to several administrative revisions within Fars Province. In 1874  Kazerun was a boluk (subdistrict) of Ayālat-e Qašqāʾi (Ṯawāqeb, p. 268; Rapport, pp. 112-13, 118-20). In the national administrative reforms of 1915-16,  Kazerun was designated as a sub-province with constituent districts (baḵš) of Ḥuma, Kuhmarra-ye Nowdān, Ḵešt, and Komāraj/Kamāraj (Ṯawāqeb, p. 268). Mamasani parted from  Kazerun in 1966 (Behruzi, p. 56). The sub-province of  Kazerun is now divided into five districts: Markazi (centered at Kazerun), Jera and Bālā-deh, Ḵešt-e Komāraj (with the towns Ḵešt and Kenār Taḵta), Kuhmarra-ye Nowdān, and Čenār-Šāhijān (centered at Qāʾemiya). In the national census of 2006 the population was counted as 258,000, 129,000, and 87,000 for  Kazerun sub-province, district, and city, respectively.

The sub-province is located in the southwestern Zagros range, which is oriented northwest-southeast in the normal folding zone and is seismically active.  Kazerun comprises contrasting climates; there is a cold zone (sardsir) in the mountainous north, with summits up to 3,000 m, and a warm zone (garmsir) in the south, with elevations less than 2,000 m. In addition to rain, water is traditionally supplied by qanāts (see KĀRIZ), springs, rivers, wells, and lakes. Outstanding natural features of the area are the lake Parišān (Fāmur) and the famous national park Dašt-e Aržan, a vast green meadow on Kazerun–Shiraz highway (see Behruzi, pp. 12 ff., 81-89 on water resources; Ṯawāqeb, pp. 66-70).  Kazerun is also renown for its gardens and more particularly for its narcissus meadows (marḡzār-e narges) by the lake Parišān (Behruzi, pp. 19-20, Ṯawāqeb, pp. 173 f.).

Due to its climate the sub-province abounds in chestnut trees, date-palm trees, and a large variety of wild trees forests (Behruzi, pp. 110-18). Among the most famous gardens and orchards, the attractive Bāḡ-e Naẓar, built by Hāj ʿAli Khan Afšār in 1150/1737-38, is known for its orange trees; it now within  Kazerun municipal boundaries (on the gardens, see Behruzi, pp. 45-47; Ṯawāqeb, pp. 174-75). The sub-province provides a large range of agricultural products: varieties of wheat, barley, rice, cotton, almonds, lentils, beans, tobacco, raisins, sesame, citrus fruits, and dates (Behruzi, pp. 91-103). In Qajar times, the production of tobacco was an important export of  Kazerun (Abbott, p. 185). Crop sharing between farmer and landowner was done according to a set of specific rules (Lambton, pp. 315 ff.). Agriculture in the area is particularly subject to nuisances caused by locusts and agricultural pests (Behruzi, pp. 103-6). Animal husbandry and hunting are practiced by nomads and peasants (Behruzi, pp. 119-23; Ṯawāqeb, pp. 70-74).

The only distinguished town of the sub-province is  Kazerun itself.  It stands 860 m above sea level, at 29°37’ N and 51°39’ E, on a vast plain between two geosynclines. It is surrounded by limestone crests and situated on the old winding road with famous vertiginous passes: Kotal-e Doḵtar and Kotal-e Pirezan eastward towards Shiraz (120 km away) and Kotal-e Komāraj and Kotal-e Malu southwestward toward Bušehr (180 km away; Behruzi, pp. 126-30). Also noteworthy is the mountain village of Davān, which has a distinct dialect and culture. It is located in a narrow gorge some 10 miles north of Kazerun. North by northwest of the city. on the road to the district capital Qāʾemiya, lies the archeological site of Bišāpur;  3rd-century rock reliefs of the Sasanian king Šāpur I and his successors are found there on either side of the Šāpur river, at the defile of Tang-e Čowgān;  east of the defile, in a mountain cave overlooking the river, is a statue of Šāpur almost 7 m in height (see below). Altogether, these sights form a major tourist attraction.

Bibliography: See below, ii.

(Jean Calmard)

Originally Published: May 31, 2013

Last Updated: April 4, 2013

This article is available in print.
Vol. XVI, Fasc. 2, pp. 211-212