Kermanshah (kĕrmänˌshäˈ) [key], city (1991 pop. 624,084), capital of Kermanshah prov., W Iran. It is the trade center for a rich agricultural region that produces grain, rice, vegetables, fruits, and oilseed. Manufactures include carpets, canvas shoes, textiles, refined petroleum, refined sugar, and other processed foods. Kermanshah has numerous caravansaries that are crowded semiannually with Shiite pilgrims to Karbala, Iraq. Kurds form the majority of the population. Kermanshah was founded by the Sassanids in the 4th cent. A.D. and became a secondary royal residence. It was captured by the Arabs in the 7th cent. Later it was a frontier fortress against the Ottoman Turks, who occupied it a number of times, including the period from 1915 to 1917. Nearby are the famed Behistun Inscriptions and notable Sassanian rock reliefs.
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