Theme Week Iran – BirjandJuly 28th, 2016 | Destination: Gulf States / Golfstaaten | General | No Comments » Birjand is the east Iranian provincial capital of South Khorasan and the centre of the county Birjand resp. Quhestan, known for its saffron, barberry, rug and handmade carpet exports. The city of Birjand has a population of 180,000 people. Being close to the Afghanistan border, Birjand is located on the “Silk Road” of opium smuggled from Afghanistan on the way to Europe (also dubbed the “opium crescent”).
Birjand has emerged as the centre of Qohestan, following the decline of historical city of Qaen in the Safavid period. Since then the Alam clan had ruled the region till the end of Qajar dynasty. During the semi-autonomous ruling of Alam clan, Great Britain and Russia established consular branches in Birjand, because of the important geographical location of the region in the vicinity of the Indian subcontinent. Amir Shokat Ul-Molk Alam, the father of the Asadollah Alam (once prime minister of Iran) was still ruling the Qohestan’s subprovince Qhaenat into the Pahlavi era. And the last tribal leader of Birjand Shah Seyyed Ali Kazemi was related with the Alam clan and the emperor Reza Shah Pahlavi. However Birjand lost its geopolitical importance following the emergence of Reza Shah Pahlavi and his policy of central government. The entire Qohestan region then became a part of the modern Khorasan province. The local people, however, started a movement to become an independent province at the middle of the second Pahlavi period. The move resulted after about forty years and Quhestan and particularly Birjand regained their historical importance in 2004, after the official division of Khorasan to three smaller provinces by the Iranian government.
Birjand Airport is located in a suburban region of Birjand. Due to the geopolitical eminence of Birjand in the eastern parts of Iran, Birjand Airport began operating in 1933 as the 3rd airport in Iran. Birjand Airport offers non-stop daily flights to Tehran and Mashhad. It became an international airport after the first international flight to Medina, Saudi Arabia in June 2008. In October 2009, runway 10/28 was closed for fundamental repair. The runway was strengthened, re-carpeted and extended to 4000 meters to accommodate wide-body aircraft. During the construction phase all flights were suspended while Aseman Airline utilized the older runway (08/26) and began offering daily flights to Tehran.
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