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The city is the capital of the central Iranian province by the same name and its altitude is 1573m above sea level. A unique feature of the city that makes it even more attractive is Zayandeh Rud, the 400-km river originating from Zagros mountains at the west of the city and continues to the flat desert area at the east in an area called Gav Khuny Marshland. The weather is usually very pleasant and moderate. It is not very dry because of the neighboring desert nor humid because of the river going through the city.
With a population of 2,400,000 people, Esfahan is ranked 4th among the most populated cities of Iran producing fine carpets, textile, steel and handicraft. The steel factory at Mobarakeh outside the city, is one of the largest in the region.
A lot of ancient prehistoric artifacts have been discovered in this city dating back to Palaeolithic period. During Elamites, it was known as Ispadana and under Medes, it became of the major towns of Iran. In Achaemenians and Parthians eras, it was part of the empire and later became a more important city under under Sassanians with several military strongholds.
The major flourishing time of Esfahan’s history is under Shah Abbas I, the Safavid king who declared it his capital in 16th century. A lot was done during that era in Esfahan and the city gained a lot of reputation and popularity among the world travelers of its own time. Roads, bridges and caravansaries were built, territorial integrity of Iran was regained and a lot more. Europeans learned about Persia and its arts and began to visit Iran and Esfahan.
In 18th century, Afghanistan, which was part of Persia at that time, went rebellious against the central government and launched an attack against the city. The dynasty was toppled down and the capital was moved from this city a number of times before it was finally moved to Tehran in 1795.