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Yazd (yäzd) [key], city (1991 pop. 275,298), capital of Yazd prov., central Iran, in a desert region. The city is known for its elaborate silk products and remains a center for silk weaving. Grain, fruit, vegetables, and nuts are grown, and underground water tunnels exist in the city. Yazd is at the junction of several roads and former caravan routes and is served by a railroad. An old city, Yazd was an important Zoroastrian center in Sassanid times. It was conquered by the Arabs in 642, and in the 13th cent., when Marco Polo visited Yazd, it was a large, flourishing city. Shah Ismail annexed it to Persia in the 16th cent. Yazd is a picturesque city, with narrow, winding streets and several medieval mosques, religious schools, and tombs. Its Zoroastrian community, the largest in Iran, erected a modern fire temple in 1942. The city is also known as Yezd.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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