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Map showing the pre-2004 Khorasan Province in Iran
Khorasan ( ) (also transcribed as Khurasan and Khorassan, anciently called Traxiane during Hellenistic and Parthian times) currently names a region located in north eastern Iranmarker, but historically referred to a much larger area east and north-east of the Persian Empire (see 'Greater Khorasan). The name Khorasan is Persian and means "where the sun arrives from." The name was given to the eastern province of Persia during the Sassanid Empire.

Khorasan is famous world wide for its saffron and zereshk which are produced in the southern cities of the province. Production is more than 170 tons per year. Khorasan is also known for its famous rugs as well as for the Ferdousi and Imamreza shrines/tombs.

Khorasan was the largest province of Iran until it was divided to three provinces on September 29, 2004. The provinces approved by the parliament (on May 18, 2004) and the Council of Guardians (on May 29, 2004) are:

The older Persia province of Khorasan (also known as the 'Greater Khorasan) included parts which are today in Iranmarker, Afghanistanmarker, Tajikistanmarker, Turkmenistanmarker and Uzbekistanmarker. Some of the main historical cities of Persia are located in the older Khorasan: Nishapurmarker and Tus (now in Iran), Mervmarker and Sanjan (now in Turkmenistan), Samarkandmarker and Bukharamarker (both now in Uzbekistan), Heratmarker and Balkhmarker (now in Afghanistan), Khujandmarker and Panjakentmarker (now in Tajikistan). In its long history, Khorasan knew many conquerors and empires: Greeks, Arabs, Seljuk Turks, Safavids, Pashtuns (ethnic Afghans) and others.

The major ethnic groups in this region are Persian with Kurdish, Turkish and Arabic minorities. Most of the people in the region speak closely related modern day dialects of Persian (see also: Dari; Tajiki). However Khorasan, as a result of its troubled history, is peopled by a great variety of ethnic groups: Turcomans in the northwest; Kurds around Bojnurdmarker and Quchanmarker; Timuris and Jamshidis in the east, some of whom are still nomadic and are believed to be of mixed Iranic and Turkic origin; and in the southeast, Baloch people. The highlands in the south are home to a settled population of old Iranian stock. There is also a sizeable Afghan community in the province due to the influx of refugees from Afghanistanmarker in recent years. Here and there are found Berberis of Mongol origin (called Hazaras in Afghanistan), Khorasani Arabs, Gypsies, and a few Jews in the towns.The largest cluster of settlements and cultivation stretches around the city of Meshed northwestward, containing the important towns of Quchan, Shirvan, and Bojnurd. The languages spoken in Khorasan are Persian, Turkic languages, and Kurdish.

In August 1968 and September 1978, the region was the scene of two major earthquakes that left 12,000 and 25,000 people dead, respectively.

References and notes

The population of all 3 provinces is over 7,000,000(including the township of Tabasmarker), but the total area of the Khorasan region is greater than the size of the United Kingdommarker which is 244,000 square km. The main ethnic group is Persians

See also

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