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Capital of Wealthy Khuzestan province in the southwest Iran, and bordering on cities such as Shushtar and Dezful to the north, Ramhormoz to the east, Shadegan, Bandar-e Mahshahr, Abadan, and Khorramshahr to the south, Ahvaz is situated on both banks of Karun River.

Being an oil center, a transportation hub, and an industrial city with flourishing metallurgical, petrochemical, textile, sugar cane, power generating, and food-processing industries, it occupies an area of more than 200 square kilometers. It is terribly hot and humid in spring and summer. Its population amounts to more than 1,000,000 mainly Shiite Muslims.

Its elevation from the sea level is only 18 meters. The best season for traveling to Ahvaz and the whole Khuzestan province is from January to late April.

As an ancient city, its name appears in many inscriptions of ancient Iran. Its original name, according to archaeological evidence is said to have been Oxin. Achaemenians called it Avaz or Avaja. During the Sassanian (3rd century AD), Ahvaz was rebuilt by Ardashir I, who named it Hormozd-Ardeshir. In the 4th century AD, Ahvaz became a seat of bishopric, and a large church was built there. However, it was renamed to Souq al-Ahvaz following the Arab Conquest. It was an important trading center with Arab world in the 12th and 13th centuries but later declined.

During the Qajar period a harbor was built by the order of Nasser od-Din Shah (during whose reign the town was called Nasseri) not far from the present location of Ahvaz on the Karun River for trading purposes, and the river was opened to foreign trade in 1888. Finally, it was called Ahvaz and designated as the capital of Khuzestan province during the reign of Reza Shah Pahlavi in 1924.

Karun is a 900-km long river that rises in the Zagros Mountains, west Iran, and flows south to the Arvand (or Satt ol-Arab) on the Iragi border. Since the construction of Trans-Iranian Railway during World War II the Karun River has been navigable up to Ahvaz for shallow drift vessels; rapids prevent further upstream passage except during high water in April and May. Five bridges connect both parts of the town. Two of these bridges are A) Railway Bridge and, locally known as Pol-e Felezi; and B) Suspension Bridge, both built by the order of Reza Shah Pahlavi in 1932 and 1935, respectively.

The discovery of oil nearby in the early 20th century restored the city to its former importance. The modern part of Ahvaz, the administrative and industrial center, is on the right bank of the Karun River, but the population is still concentrated in the old section on the left bank. Ahvaz is linked by road, rail, and oil pipelines to Tehran and to ports on the Persian Gulf.

During the 8-year Iraq-Iran War and the holy Defense against Iragi aggression, the city served as major logistic and resistance center. It was severely attacked and damaged by the enemy during the war.
Good asphalt roads radiate from Ahvaz to all parts of the province, particularly to Abadan, Andimeshk, Chogha Zanbil, Dezful, Khorramshahr, Shushtar, and Susa.

Sights to See

  • The city has little to offer the sightseer, and for most foreigners it is no more than a convenient staging post for a tour of the region.

Excursions around Ahvaz

  • Chogha Zanbil
    45 km southeast of Susa. The Elamite Ziggurat was built by Untash-gal, King of Elam at Dur Untash, a city near Susa, about 1,250 BC, it served as both temple and tomb.



  •  Dezful
    A city 160 km to the north of Ahvaz was built during the reign of Shapur I (242-271 AD) using Roman soldiers taken prisoner at the battle of Odessa in 260 AD.



Castle the Neighborhood - Dezful


Historic House Syed sadr - Dezful - Iran


  •  Jam`e Mosque of Dezful
    One of the early Islamic monuments, which has been further expanded and repaired in the 13th and 18th centuries AD.



  •  Ivan-e Karkheh
    The ruins of a splendid brick palace from the Sassanian period (226-652 AD) in a Distance of 18 km from Dezful.


  •  Haft Tappeh
    Meaning Seven Hills, it is located 15 km to the south of Susa. It was shown the world's oldest vault was built here on the tomb of Tapati Ahar (the Elamite ruler or king of Haft Tappeh) and the adjacent mausoleum. The remains of the 2nd-millennium BC Elamite town.


  •  Susa (Shush)
    A prehistoric settlement from at least the fort millennium BC, and an important Elamite city from about the middle of the third millennium. Untash Gal built Susa as His administrative capital and founded Chogha Zanbil as his religious center. Later Darius I and Artaxerxes built great palaces there and became the winter capital of Achaemenians.


Shush Castle