BĀḴARZ or Govāḵarz, a district of the medieval Islamic province of Qūhestān/Qohestān (q.v.) in Khorasan, lying to the west of the middle, northerly-flowing course of the Harīrūd, with Ḵᵛāf on its west, Jām on its north, Pūšang on its east and the desert on its south. A popular etymology derived its name from bād-harza “place where the wind blows.”
The medieval geographers describe Bāḵarz as a fertile region, mainly irrigated by qanāts, producing fruit, cereals, and a famed variety of fruit syrup. Its chief urban center was Mālīn (local pronunciation, Mālān), noted for a special type of “long,” presumably ellipsoid, melon, and possibly to be identified with the modern Šahr-e Now in the district of the Khorasan ostān still known as Bāḵarz today.
In the period of the Arab conquests, when Yazdegerd III was being pursued to his final fate, ʿAbd-Allāh b. ʿĀmer b. Korayz (q.v.) deputed ʿOmayr b. Aḥmad Yaškorī to occupy Qūhestān (31/651-52); but according to Balāḏorī, it was actually Yazīd Jorašī who conquered by force Zām or Jām, Bāḵarz, and Jovayn of Nīšāpūr. The garrisons of both Qūhestān and Sīstān to its south were certainly subsequently manned mainly by Arab tribesmen of Bakr b. Wāʾel (of which Yaškor were a component; Balāḏorī, Fotūḥ, p. 403, tr. P. K. Hitti, and F. C. Murgotten, The Origins of the Islamic State, Columbia Studies in History, Economics and Public Law 68/1-2, New York, 1916-24, pt. 2, p. 160; Ebn al-Aṯīr (repr.), III, p. 124). In the early ʿAbbasid period, Bāḵarz, like Khorasan in general, was badly affected by the prolonged Kharijite revolt of Ḥamza b. Āḏarak, and at one point, in 181/797, the son of the governor of Khorasan ʿAlī b. ʿĪsā b. Māhān managed to inflict a defeat, only however temporary in its effects, on Ḥamza at Bāḵarz (Ebn al-Aṯīr, VI, pp. 150-51). Bāḵarz is mentioned sporadically in the sources up to the Mongol invasions and beyond. Thus, in the warfare between the Ḵᵛārazmšāh Tekeš and his brother Solṭānšāh over possession of Khorasan, the former at one point, in 583/1187, made over possession of Jām, Bāḵarz and Zīr-e Pol (unidentified) to Solṭānšāh (Jovaynī, tr. Boyle, I, p. 298). Bāḵarz is still described as a flourishing area under the Timurids. Thereafter it is less frequently mentioned, although Curzon mentions the districts of Jām, Bāḵarz, and Ḵᵛāf as being under the governorship of a magnate of Arab descent, one Noṣrat-al-Molk toward the end of the nineteenth century (Persian Question I, p. 199).
Medieval Bāḵarz was notable also in that it produced the Saljuq official and noted literary anthologist ʿAlī b. Ḥasan Bāḵarzī (d. 462/1075; q.v.) and the Sufi Shaikh Sayf al-Dīn Bāḵarzi (d. 646/1248 or shortly thereafter).
See also Maqdesī (Moqaddasī), p. 319 n. c. Yāqūt, Boldān (Beirut) I, p. 316, V, p. 44.
Nozhat al-qolūb, p. 153; tr. Le Strange, p. 151.
Le Strange, Lands, p. 357.
D. Krawulsky, Iran. Das Reich der Iḷḫāne: Eine topographisch-historische Studie, Wiesbaden, 1978, p. 70.
Idem, Ḫorāsān zur Timuridenzeit nach dem Tārīḫ-e Ḥāfeẓ-e Abrū (verf. 817-823 h.) I: Edition und Einleitung, Wiesbaden, 1982, pp. 37-38.
(C. E. Bosworth)
Originally Published: December 15, 1988
Last Updated: August 24, 2011
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