|— city —|
|Elevation||479 m (1,572 ft)|
|Time zone||IRST (UTC+3:30)|
|• Summer (DST)||IRDT (UTC+4:30)|
|Dargaz at GEOnet Names Server|
Dargaz (Persian: درگز, also Romanized as Darreh Gaz and Dar Gaz; formerly, Moḩammadābād, Moḩammadābād Arbāb, and Muhammadābād) is a city in and the capital of Dargaz County, in Razavi Khorasan Province, Iran. At the 2006 census, its population was 34,305, in 9,196 families.
The town of Daregaz is situated 1,150 kilometres (710 mi) from Tehran and 255 kilometres (158 mi) from the center of Khorasan province. It is bound by Turkmenistan from the north, Mashhad from the east and southeast, Chanaran from the south, and Qoochan from the west. Daregaz, which was previously known as Mohammadabad, an area which can doubtless be placed among the most ancient centers of Iranian culture. Excavations in this mountainous site have revealed artifacts dating back as far as the Parthian and Sasanian periods, and pre-historic times. Numerous mounds and other ancient sites have also yielded much evidence of the site's rich historical and cultural inheritance. Throughout its history, the site has been known by a variety of names: Dara, Daragyard, Pavart in pre-Islamic Persia, and Bavard, Abivard after the Islamic expansion. With its rich bazaar and access to fertile lands, the city was considerably more prosperous than neighboring Nesa and was widely known as one of the largest and most affluent cities of the Great Khorasan area.
For the period before the advent of the Safavids (r. 1501-1722), the historic city of Abivard was one of the educational centers of Islamic and Arabic scholarship in eastern Iran. Under the Saljuqids, Muhammad b. Ahmad al-Abivardi (d. 1114), was one of the renowned poets and litterateurs who, later in his life, settled awhile in Baghdad, but on the account of his Shi'ite proclivities was persecuted by the Abbasids. He then attended the court of the Saljuq Sultan Muhammad and was appointed to the position of Chief Accountant of the court. Another contemporary famous name from Abivard is Ali b. Muhammad Anvari-Abivardi (d. circa 1191), one of the great classical poets of Iran. After the Mongol invasion of Iran and Iraq, Husam al-Din Abivardi (d. after 1324) is mentioned as one of the theologians attending the court of the Abbasid caliphs of Egypt.
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