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Yazd is an ancient city in central Iran between the famous cities of Isfahan and
Kerman, surrounded by desert with an area of 72,000 km2. The population of Yazd
was 327,000 in 1996. A large number of Zorastrians still live in Yazd.
The history of Yazd dates back to the time of Alexander the Great, one thousand
years before the introduction of Islam. During the Sassanid Empire (AD 224-651),
the city of Yazd was an important center for silk production and silk textile
throughout the 13th century. Marco Polo, the famous Italian traveler (1254-1324)
who traveled on the Silk Road, on his way to Goby Desert visited the city of Yazd
and mentioned the golden thread fabrics made by the textile makers of Yazd.
The Yazd rugs have asymmetrical ( Persian ) knots with three wefts. The number of
knots in square inch is much lower than Isfahan rugs and Nain rugs, but the pile is
softer and longer. The quality of the wool which is from the local is fine and the
natural dye makes the rug look lustrous. In the desert surrounding the city of Yazd,
madder is cultivated and its root is used for different shades of deep and light red.
Some of the designs look like Kashan with one big centered medallion. Other
designs resemble Kerman rugs with open field background and floral borders
derived from the book covers. There are some other geometrical as well as
curvilinear designs which resemble non of Kashan or Kerman pattern such as "East
London " design. It is common to make room-size carpets in Yazd.
Yazd is also the home for Zilo, a kind of cotton flat weave made for mosques and
endowment to wholly shrines with only two colors of white and blue cotton yarns.