MAHĀRLU LAKE, a picturesque, rather extensive body of water to the southeast of Shiraz. The depth of this shallow lake, called Daryā-ya Namak by the Shirazis, does not exceed a few meters. The water is extremely brackish with salt constituting about 25 percent of it. In summer sheets of salt float on its surface. Fish cannot survive in this lake due to its high salinity, but waterfowls abound in the surrounding marshes. At present the lake appears to be permanent, but its geological origin is not known. It was probably formed by the water of the vernal rains gathering in the lowest part of the depression between Shiraz and Sarvestān. Before the recent development of Shiraz the distance between the town and the lake was about 18 km, which has been reduced now to just a few kilometers. A series of hamlets and villages re scattered on the fertile land around the lake, the most important of which are Barm-e Šur, Kuhenjān, Seyfābād, Mahārlu, and Aḥmadi.
Moqaddasi (p. 446) mentions the lake Jankān in the district of Ardašir Ḵorra, referring to this lake. Ebn al-Balḵi (Fārs-nāma, p. 216), repeated by Ḥamd-Allāh Mostawfi (Nozhat al-qolub, tr. Le Strange, pp. 113, 233), describes the Lake Māhluya as a salt marsh of twelve leagues in circumference that lies between Shiraz and Sarvestān and that in spring receives the floodwater of Shiraz and its neighboring area. Two later historians of Shiraz, Mirzā Ḥasan Fasāʾi (Fasāʾi, ed. Rastgār Fasāʾi, pp. 904, 1601, 1603) and Forṣat Shirazi (p. 81) mention this lake but provide no fresh information; they only state that the name of the lake derives from the village of Māhluya, now called Mahārlu, situated on the southern shore of the lake.
Ebn al-Balḵi, Fārs-nāma, ed. ʿAli-Naqi Behruzi, Shiraz, 1964.
Mirzā Moḥammad-Naṣir Forṣat Širāzi, Āṯār-eʿAjam, Bombay, 1354/1935.
Masʿud Kayhan, Joḡrāfiā-ye-Mofaṣṣal-e-Irān, 3 vols., Tehran, 1931-32, p. 92.
September 14, 2004
Originally Published: July 20, 2004
Last Updated: July 20, 2004