How Mahmitra Town Was Converted Into Babol?
Hamshahri (Morning Daily)
Dec. 30, 2000, No. 2303
By: Morteza Shoobi
Word Count: 1978
Summary: Mahmitra town sitting on historical hills with over 4000 years background, changed name to Emamteyr during the Arab invasion, then to Barforooshdeh or Barforoosh. During the Pahlavi rule it changed its name to Babol. During its long history Babol has faced many events including a 70 year famine from 1873 to 1952 due to plague, earthquake and cholera when its population was reduced to half. Babol has a river called Babolrud with 78 km length and a width of 10 to 80 m.
Text: Babol is one of the central towns in Mazandaran Province which was known as Mamteyr in the past. During the reign of the Marashis the town changed its name to Barforooshdeh, then to Barforoosh at the end of the Safavid rule and Babol during the first Pahlavi period. Mamteyr was a small village with small population and a district of Amol and Sari which retains historical relics.
Archeological excavations around Babol show that the original Mamteyr town and its historical hills date back to the first millennium B.C.
The historical hills surrounding Babol including the Kati Dinsar Castle, Ganjkala, Koopisara Castle, Tappeh Jalal Azark, Firoozshah Castle, Tappeh Solhdarkala and Bayikola Castle are over 4 thousand years old.
The unadorned earthenware discovered in these hills in gray and polished red show the delicate artworks of its people in the past. Ornamented earthenware belonging to the Islamic period have also been discovered in these hills that show different life at different periods such as bricks with Kufi scripts belong to Ale Booyeh and Ale Seljuk periods.
In his Al-Baladan, Ibne Faqih says Mamteyr possessed a mosque and many villages exited between Mamteyr and Amol. He says the distance between Mamteyr and Amol was six Farsangs and the distance between Mamteyr and Sari was the same.
In his History of Tabarestan, Estakhri, an author of the fourth century A.H., says: "Tabarestan is a flat territory where the people are engaged in farming and animal husbandry and their language is neither Arabic nor Parsi. Mamteyr is a town in Tabarestan whose people have ample hair and knotted eyebrows and speak very fluently and their major food is composed of bread, rice, fish and garlic"
In his History of Tabarestan, Ardeshir Barzegar says: "The present Babol was a sacred town near the sea which because of containing the Mitra's gate (temple) it was called Mahmitra or grand Mitra temple. This name was changed into Mamteyr or Mamteyra during the Islamic period. The Parsi Mahmitra was of "Mah" which means great and "Mitr" which means light, friendship, kindness and truth."
Up to the beginning of the fourteenth century A.D. this town was still called Mamteyr. However in 1349 A.D. Fakhroldolleh Hassan Ibne Keykhosrow, the last king of the Bavand Dynasty was killed by Afrasiab Chalvi and the Kianians conquered Mamteyr and reigned it for 13 years. In 1390 A.D. the Marashi tribe revolted in Amol and conquered Mamteyr from the Jalali Kianian family as well. Led by Seyed Qavamuddin Marashi, known as Mirbozorg, the Marashi Dynasty was established in Mamteyr in that year and this led the followers and students of Mirbozorg to increase traffic to Mamteyr and gradually Mamteyr was changed into Barforooshdeh (city of cargo sellers).
Due to its geographical significance Barforooshdeh was an important weekly market place for trade in the region.
After the capture of Mazandaran by Timurlane in 1391 A.D. the Marashi government was transferred to some one called Ghiasuddin Marashi. They continued their rule until 1597 when Shah Abbas, the Safavid king, put an end to the feudal rule in Mazandaran and annexed Mazandaran including Barforooshdeh to his empire.
From political and economic points of view Shah Abbas was from the Marashi family and was much attached to the development of Mazandaran. The name Barforooshdeh continued until the end of the Safavid period and after Shah Abbas II and until Nadir Shah's rule it was changed to Barforoosh (cargo seller).
In his book called `The Treasure of Knowledge' which was written during the time of Nasseruddin Shah, Mohammad Taqi Khan Hakam writes: "Barforooshdeh which is now called Barforoosh is located 4 to 5 Farsangs from the Caspian Sea and is an important port. At the beginning it was a village where cargo was brought from the Caspian Sea and sold in it and this was why it was called Barforoosh. The town possesses swamp with a dry island in the center. During Shah Abbas's time, several orchards and buildings and bathes were built in this island and a wooden bridged which connected the building to the outside world. It enjoys a very pleasant place. From the building in the island which is connected to a wooden bridge one enters a lawn and then the town through a wide and long street planted with many trees and green foliage."
The majority of the Safavid kings used to spend their time in this island and were very eager for its development.
During the beginning of Karim Khan's rule in 1675 A.D. Mohammad Hassan Khan, the Qajar king and the grandfather of Aqa Mohammad Khan, conquered Barforoosh and other regions in Mazandaran and governed the region for a period of 8 years.
During his reign in Barforoosh, Mohammad Hassan Khan built a beautiful brick bridge over the Babolrud which still survives and is known as Mohammad Hassan Khan's bridge.
During a battle near Bushehr with Sheikh Ali Khan Zand in 1758 Mohammad Hassan Khan was killed and Mazandaran was conquered by the Zand Dynasty and its capital was transferred from Sari to Barforoosh.
During the Zand period Barforoosh which had been converted into Mazandaran's capital was much favored by the Zand governors and since its citizens supported the Zand Dynasty, Aqa Mohammad Khan, the first Qajar king who had overcome Lotfali Khan of the Zand dynasty, transferred the capital of Mazandaran from Barforoosh to Sari.
During the reign of Fathali Shah, Barforoosh had a population of 50,000 which was increased to 60,000 during Nasseruddin Shah. But during Mozafaruddin Shah's rule its population was reduced to 25000 persons. The reason was the spread of plague in 1783, an earthquake in 1808 and a severe cholera in 1852. These three disasters killed over 30,000 citizens of Barforoosh.
From December 1931 upon the instruction of the first Pahlavi king, Barforoosh was changed into Babol and the first survey of the town began. The lake in the middle of the town which had become a swamp was leveled into ground by spending 10 thousands tomans (100,000 rials) and new buildings and streets were built in the town and the old market at the two sides of the main street was demolished.
Of special features in Babol is incessant rains and excessive humidity and small change of temperature at various seasons which helps the town to enjoy a moderate and humid weather. This is because of its very low elevation which is 2 meters below the sea level and the high velocity winds blowing from Siberia and the Mediterranean winds from the west which bring rainy clouds. Due to ample rainfall during the autumn and moderate weather, the town enjoys a moderate climate which gives birth to orange and citrus. Average annual rainfall in Babol is around 526.6 mm and the temperature varies from 10 to 24 degrees centigrade to zero during the year.
The 78-km Babolrud, known as Bavolrud in the past, is an important waterway in Mazandaran Province. Babolrud originates from Savadkuh mountain range and after journeying a long distance pours into the Caspian Sea at Babolsar. In its passage Babolrud irrigates several thousand hectares of farms. The width of the river various from 10 to 80 m and is pleasing fishing and recreational resort for the inhabitants of Mazandaran.
The annual flow rate of the river is 561.3 million cubic meters and according to existing statistics its highest output is during spring and the lowest output is in summer.
In the past Babol possessed two big markets. One market was located at Sabze Meidan (the vegetable square) which because of falling within the routes of neighboring villages and the opening of the city was known as Sarbazaar or head market. The other well known market is Panjshanbeh Bazaar (Thursday market) which is the biggest and most famous market in the town and is still active nowadays. The present Panjshanbeh Bazaar is located at Seyed Zeinolabedin District and occupies part of the mat-sellers market. This market is 250 years old, but because of its one-way street the market has lost is former importance and the traffic of villagers had reduced to the market. Panjshanbeh Bazaar is selling rice, vegetable, fruit, domestic fowls, eggs, dairy products, flora, handicraft and garments.
LOCHO HISTORICAL CHAMPIONSHIP WRESTLING
Locho historical wrestling has many fans in Babol's villages and is a genuine ancient physical sports which was energetically exercised in the past.
Locho wrestling is normally performed in summer after rice plantation as well as in wedding parties and national and religious festivals. In the past the pioneer Locho wrestlers set up specific locations and timing for this sport.
Locho means wooden leg and in this once the wrestler succeeds to bring down his rival's two legs on the ground he is announced the winner and normally picks his prize which is a cow, sheep or fabrics from a wooden made leg. An interesting ceremony during Locho wrestling is the playing oboe and kettledrum by players who sit beside the wresting ramp.
Locho competition is normally held in light weight, medium and heavy weights. A middle referee or head referee and two side referees, normally picked up from pioneer wrestlings, supervise the wrestling.
a. Emamzadeh Qasem
Imamzadeh Qasem Shrine, known also as Kalaj Mashhad shrine, is located at the center of Babol and is said to contain the body one of the descendents of Imam Mohammad Taqi. Since the fifteen century A.D. Emamzadeh Qasem shrine has had a conical dome with an elevation of 22 m.
b. Imamzadeh Sultan Mohammad Taher
This shrine is located 3 km east of Babol and contains the body of one of the children of Imam Musa Kazem and has been officially registered as an Iranian historical relic. Its tower is octagonal and each line is erected on a rectangular artificial arch at the bottom. The shrine was built in the year 1470 A.D.
c. Darvish Fakhruddin Hajji Shrine
This shrine is located at Mozirj region and contains the body of a dervish and a leader of Marashi sect and was built in the year 1429. Darvish Fakhruddin Hajji Shrine is a barrel-like edifice made of bricks with a conical roof. Each cone is capped by a tiled square covering.
d. Shah Abdollah Kazem Tomb
This historical tomb is located at Shah Abdollah village and is now known as martyr Abdollah's tomb. A beautiful wooden box with delicate carvings is laid over the tomb and the remains of the tomb prove that it was built in 1543 A.D.
e. Mohammad Hasan Khan Qajar's Bridge
This bridge was built in 1754 by Mohammad Hassan Khan Qajar over Babolrud. The bridge is equipped with eight arches including six main arches and two smaller ones. It is 100 m in length and 8 m high and was repaired in 1928 when barricades were set at the sides and a narrow pavement for pedestrians.
This is the most famous and beautiful public drinking place located at Hamzehkola District. The drinking place was built by two young girls by selling their dowries. Two years after the completion of the building the sisters died of cholera. Kijatekieh is the most beautiful watering place in Mazandaran because of its very beautiful woodwork.
Thanks for visiting Babol.com I appreciate your comments.
Please Email me with any questions you may have.
Replace this with text welcoming your guests to your web site or describe your business here.
(Mohammad Hasan Khan) Bridge,Babol,IRAN
Thanks to Mr.Farhad Asdollahzadeh for sending this picture.