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Kerman

KERMAN

A province and its capital city in south-central Iran.

The province of Kerman is in south-central Iran. The construction of the town of Kerman probably began in pre-Islamic times. When Marco Polo visited the city in 1271 it had become a major trade emporium linking the Persian Gulf with Khorasan and Central Asia. Subsequently, however, the city was sacked many times by various invaders. The present city of Kerman, 661 miles southeast of Tehran, and the capital of the modern province of Kerman, was rebuilt in the nineteenth century to the northwest of the old city, but it did not recover until the twentieth century. Carpet weaving is one of the main industries of the city, and the carpets produced there are renowned internationally. A number of modern establishments such as textile mills and brickworks also have been constructed. The province's mineral wealth includes copper and coal. The population of the city in 1996 was 385,000. The total population of the province in 1996 was 2,004,328.


Bibliography


Fisher, W. B., ed. The Cambridge History of Iran, Vol. 1: The Land of Iran. Cambridge, U.K.: Cambridge University Press, 1968.

Islamic Republic of Iran Today. Tehran: Islamic Propagation Organization, 1987.

parvaneh pourshariati

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Kerman

Kerman (kĕrmän´), city (1991 pop. 311,643), capital of Kerman prov., E central Iran. It is noted for making and exporting carpets. Cotton textiles and goats-wool shawls are also manufactured. Kerman was under the Seljuk Turks in the 11th and 12th cent., but remained virtually independent, conquering Oman and Fars. Marco Polo visited (late 13th cent.) and described the city. Kerman changed hands many times in ensuing years, prospering under the Safavid dynasty (16th cent.) and suffering under the Afghans (17th cent.). In 1794 its greatest disaster occurred: Aga Muhammad Khan, shah of Persia, ravaged the city by selling 20,000 of its inhabitants into slavery and by blinding another 20,000. Reminders of historic Kerman include medieval mosques, the beautiful faience found among the extensive ruins outside the city walls, and 16th-century mosaics with Chinese motifs. Nearby is the shrine of Shah Vali Namatullah, a 15th-century Sufi holy man.

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Kerman

KERMAN

KERMAN , city located in the province with the same name in the southeast of *Iran. A popular Kermani saying considers Kerman "the heart of the world," a great exaggeration. The origin of Kerman itself goes back to the Sasanian period, but, as far as we know, the Jewish community there is relatively new. Oral tradition indicates that because of severe famine in Yazd/Yezd about 150 years ago, several Jews of that city immigrated southward and eventually settled in Kerman. Historically this may be true, because the Jews of Kerman are not mentioned in the two Jewish chronicles, that of *Bābāi ben Lutf (17th century) – except for a mention of "ignorant Yezdi-Kermani people" who extracted money from the Jews of Yezd – and that of *Bābāi ben Farhād (about 1730), nor are they referred to in other Jewish and non-Jewish travelogues from the first half of the 19th century. The Yezdi origin of the Jews of Kerman is attested by a linguistic investigation of their Jewish dialects. Neumark, who did not visit Kerman, said in 1884: "Not far from there (Yezd) there is the city of Kerman where a number of 30 Jews live".

One does not know of any important Jewish event, significant literary productions, or personalities concerning the Jewish community of Kerman. Like Yezd, Kerman too is a dwelling place of a substantial numbers of Zoroastrians. Several disastrous events befell the city of Kerman, culminating in 1794, when for the support given to the Zand monarch by the Kermanis, his foe, Muhammad Khan of Qajar, wreaked a terrible revenge on the Kermanis by allowing his men to pillage the town for three months, selling 20,000 of the inhabitants into slavery and blinding the same number of its men. With its population decimated and most of its buildings in ruins, it is hard to believe that Kerman attracted any Jews to settle there. Kerman did not regain its prosperity until after 1860 and most probably this is the time when Jews of Yezd found it appropriate to immigrate to Kerman and settle there. Neumark in the above-mentioned report confirms this assumption. At the beginning of the 20th century it was reported that 2,000 Jews were living in Kerman In course of time many immigrated to *Teheran and to Israel. Just before the Islamic Revolution 500 Jews were in Kerman. They had one elementary school and one synagogue. By the end of the 20th century fewer than 10 Jewish families remained in Kerman.

bibliography:

baiu (Bulletin de l'Alliance Israélite Universelle), Paris; G. Lazard, "Le dialecte des Juifs de Kerman," in: Les Hommages et opera minora, 7 (1981), 333–46; H. Levy, History of the Jews of Iran, 3 (1960); L. Lockhart, Famous Cities of Iran (1939); E. Neumark, "Massa' be-Ereẓ ha-Kedem," ed. A. Ya'ari (1947); E. Yarshater, "The Jewish Communities of Persia and Their Dialects," in: Ph. Ginoux and A. Tafazzoli (eds.), Mémorial Jean de Menasce (1974), 453–66.

[Amnon Netzer (2nd ed.)]

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