Yazd has 420000 inhabitants and is the capital of the homonymous provice in central Iran, 270km southeast of Isfahan. It is located on a plateu at 1200m of altitude, in an oasis between the Dasht-e Kavir and Dasht-e Lut deserts. Very close to Yazd is a very high mountain, the 4050m tall Mt Shir Kuh. Yazd has a very dry and hot climate with temperatures above 40°C in the summer. As a consequence the architecture in Yazd is well adapted to the desert environment. Windcatchers, known as badgir in Farsi, are everywhere in the city and provide a natural form of air conditioning. Mud brick houses are widespread. Yazd is a major centre for the Zoroastrian faith. Among the Zoroastrian sites are the Ateshkadeh Zoroastrian fire temple and the Towers of Silence where Zoroastrians were brought after death.
Yazd was founded during the Median empire 3000 years ago. During the Mongol invasions Yazd was spared destruction because of its remote desert location. As a result today Yazd boasts an impressive cultural heritage with many well-preserved ancient buildings. Yazd is a laid-back and pictoresque city, which attracts a large number of tourists every year.
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