City of Pines, City of Culture and Literature, Land of Culture and Arts
The most populated city and the capital of South Khorasan Province, Birjand borders Qaen County in the north, the cities of Darmian and Sarbisheh in the east, the city of Nahbandan and Kerman Province in the south and the cities of Sarayan and Tabas in the west.
The city has cold desert climate and experiences extremely dry and hot summers and cool winters.
The name Birjand is believed to mean “land of storms.” Based on archeological finds and ruins of Zoroastrian fire temples scattered around the city, the history of Birjand is estimated to date back to at least 4,000 years ago. Birjand had relative prominence in Sassanid (226-651 CE) times.
Birjand has several historical attractions to offer most notably Akbarieh Mansion and Garden which is not only an example of the UNESCO designated Persian Garden World Heritage Site but also where the Anthropology Museum and Archeology Museum of the city are located, Shokatieh School which was the country’s third modern school, Birjand Fortress and its elaborate network of underground tunnels where inhabitants of the city sought refuge in times of attack, Forg Citadel where the deadly assassins of Hasan-i Sabbah (1050–1124) were once trained, the Old Post Office structure which once served as an arsenal in the Qajar era (1785-1925), and the Zand era (1750-1794) Kolah Farangi Mansion which was built to resemble a Ziggurat.
The city’s natural attractions consist of Band Dareh Lake which has formed behind the historic Band Dareh dam, and Chardeh Waterfalls where rock and mountain climbers can challenge themselves and enjoy the 80 waterfalls of the area. Birjand also borders Lut Desert - one of the driest places on earth and a UNESCO registered Natural Heritage Site. Lut is the perfect getaway for those who find the idea of venturing into desert to find the hottest place on the planet appealing.
Birjand is one of the top producers of saffron, which is known as red gold for its commercial value, in Iran.
Top things to do:
Top foods to try:
- Qorout Bademjan- An eggplant dish made with Birjand Black Whey (Qorout), crushed walnut, onion and fried dry mint, served with fresh basil.
- Bulgur Polo- A mixed rice dish made with bulgur, chili tomato paste, diced tomatoes and chicken stock.
- Kaleh Pacheh Abgousht – A thick soup made with lamb shank and head, legumes, potato, tomato. This dish is served with bread and fresh herbs.