Yazd is the capital of Yazd Province, Iran. The city is located 270 km (170 mi) southeast of Esfahan.
Because of generations of adaptations to its desert surroundings, Yazd has a unique Persian architecture. It is nicknamed the “City of Windcatchers” (Shahr-e Badgirha) from its many examples. It is also very well known for its Zoroastrian fire temples, ab anbars, qanats, yakhchals, Persian handicrafts, handwoven cloth (Persian termeh), silk weaving, Persian Cotton Candy, and its time-honored confectioneries.
Yazd has a history of over 5,000 years, dating back to the time of the Median empire, when it was known as Ysatis or Issatis. The present city name, however, is derived from Yazdegerd I, a Sassanid ruler of Persia.
Because of its remote desert location and the difficulty of access, Yazd remained largely immune to large battles and the destruction and ravages of war. For instance, it was a haven for those fleeing from destruction in other parts of Persian Empire during the Mongol invasion. In 1272 it was visited by Marco Polo, who remarked on the city’s fine silk-weaving industry. In the book The Travels of Marco Polo, he described Yazd in the following way:
It is a good and noble city, and has a great amount of trade. They weave there quantities of a certain silk tissue known as Yasdi, which merchants carry into many quarters to dispose of. When you leave this city to travel further, you ride for seven days over great plains, finding harbour to receive you at three places only. There are many fine woods producing dates upon the way, such as one can easily ride through; and in them there is great sport to be had in hunting and hawking, there being partridges and quails and abundance of other game, so that the merchants who pass that way have plenty of diversion. There are also wild asses, handsome creatures. At the end of those seven marches over the plain, you come to a fine kingdom which is called Kerman.