BĀFQ, a small oasis town of central Iran (altitude 3,293 feet/1,004 m) on the southern fringe of the Dašt-e Kavīr, 62 miles/100 km southeast of Yazd in the direction of Kermān. Brackish water is supplied from qanāts and springs, and the main local activities are agriculture and weaving; some well-known iron deposits lie to the north of the town. It is now the administrative center of a baḵš of the same name in the province of Yazd; about 1950 the population of the baḵš was 14,273 and of the town of Bāfq 6,228.
The early Islamic history of Bāfq is obscure, and the greater events of Iranian history passed it by, lying as it does to the north of the main Yazd-Kermān highway. The medieval Arabic and Persian geographers mention a Bāft or Bāfd, but this must clearly be the small place in Kermān province between Kermān town and Sīrjān: thus in the Ḥodūd al-ʿālam, tr. Minorsky, p. 124, Bāft and Ḵīr, are placed between Sīrjān and Jīroft, and in Yāqūt, Boldān, (Beirut) I, p. 326, Bāft, and II, pp. 344, 346, Ḵabq and Babq are in the Ḵabīṣ district (cf. Schwarz, Iran, pp. 227-28, 252, and for the modern town of Bāft, Razmārā, Farhang VIII, pp. 39-40).
Nevertheless, the more northerly Bāfq near Yazd undoubtedly existed in the Saljuq period, for it is several times mentioned, in contexts where its geographical position is certain (see Moḥammad b. Ebrāhīm’s Tārīḵ-eSaljūqīān-e Kermān, ed. M.-E. Bāstānī Pārīzī, Tehran, 1343 Š./1964, e.g., pp. 40, 109, 180 [mentioned with Kūhbanān, Rāvar, and Behābād as places handed over to the atabeg of Yazd in the time of the Oghuz ruler in Kermān in the second half of the 6th/12th century, Malek Dīnār], 181 [the latter’s military operations there]). In the reign of Shah ʿAbbās, musketeers (tofanġčīān) from the Bāfq district are mentioned as distinguishing themselves in warfare with the Ottomans in Transcaucasia in 1016/1607-08 (Aḥmad-ʿAlī Khan Wazīrī, Tārīḵ-eKermān [Sālārīya], ed. Bāstānī Pārīzī, Tehran, 1340 Š./1961, p. 281).
See also Le Strange, Lands, p. 310.
Razmārā, Farhang X, pp. 34-35.
Dehḵodā, letter bāʾ, pp. 492-93.
(C. E. Bosworth)
Originally Published: December 15, 1988
Last Updated: August 22, 2011
This article is available in print.
Vol. III, Fasc. 4, p. 391
C. E. Bosworth, “BĀFQ,” Encyclopædia Iranica, III/4, p. 391, available online at http://www.iranicaonline.org/articles/bafq (accessed on 30 December 2012).