The province of Qom
The province of Qom is 11,237 km2 (4,339 sq mi) in the north of the central plateau of Iran. This province was formed from part of Tehran province in 1995 and its provincial capital is the city of Qom.
The climate of Qom province varies between a desert and semi-desert climate, and comprises of mountainous areas, foothills and plains. Due to being located near an arid region and located at a distance from the sea, it has a dry climate, with low humidity and scanty rainfall. Agricultural activities are not possible in most of this province, especially near the salt lake regions.
Qom province has two large salt lakes, namely: "Howz-e Soltan Lake", which can be seen from the Qom-Tehran freeway, and the larger "Namak Lake" further to the east.
History of Qom
Qom is said to have existed in the pre-Islamic ages. Architectural discoveries indicate that Qom was a residential area from the 5th millennium BC.
According to the pre-Islamic remaining relics and historical texts, Qom was a large city. "Kom" was the name of the ancient rampart of the city of Qom, thus, the Arabs called it Qom during the Arab conquests of Iran.
It was during the reign of the second caliph Omar, that Qom"s center was captured by the Muslims. During the persecution of the Alavids by Umayyads and Abbasids, many Alavids fled to Qom, making it their permanent home. When Buyid Dynasty in 10th century ("Alebooyeh" in Persian) came to power, being of the Alavid community. It was during this reign that the city of Qom expanded and thrived. In the Seljuq era, 11th century, the city rapidly flourished too. During the Mongol invasion the city witnessed destruction, but after Mongol rulers, particularly after "Sultan ?ljeitü Khoda Bandeh" of the Ilkhanid Dynasty converted to Islam, the city received special attention, thus witnessing a revival once more.
Handicrafts and Souvenirs
Pottery dishes and china utensils, silken carpets, lithic objects engraved furniture and steel are among the handicrafts of Qum.
Pomegranate, figs, "Suhan" (special sweet and delicious candy) and ceramic dishes are the souvenirs travelers take on their return from Qum.
Baluchi needle works, pottery making, mat weaving, basket weaving, carpet weaving, "Gelim" weaving and "Sekeh-Doozi" (coin works) are handicrafts and travel gifts of the province.
The holy shrine of ‘Hazrat Ma"soomeh’, Qom
In the late 14th century, the city came under the plunder of Tamerlane when the inhabitants were massacred again. During the periods of the rule of the ‘Qarah Qoyoonlou’, ‘Aq Qoyoonlou’, and especially during the reign of the Safavids, Qom gained special attention and gradually developed.
During Safavid era Qom became one of the important centers of theology in relation to the Shiite Islam, and became a vital pilgrimage site and religious pivot.
During the Afghan invasion, the city of Qom suffered heavy damages, and its inhabitants witnessed severe economic hardships. Qom further sustained damages during the reigns of Nadir Shah, and the conflicts between the two households of Zandieh and Qajar in order to gain power in Iran. In late 18th century Qom came under the control of Agha Mohammad Khan Qajar. The city of Qom thrived in the Qajar era and always received special religious attention by the Qajar monarchs and their families.
Qom was also the center from which Ayatollah Khomeini based his opposition to the Pahlavi Dynasty, while in Iran in 1963.
Today, the city of Qom is considered as one of the focal centers of the Shiism both in Iran and round the globe.
Its seminary (theological school) and the holy shrine of ‘Hazrat Masoomeh’ are prominent features of Qom and its proximity to Tehran has given it an advantage as well.
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