Tabas & Ferdows


Tabas is located in central Iran, 950 kilometers southeast of Tehran, in South Khorasan Province. At first, it was part of the greater Khorasan province, but in 2001 it was annexed to Yazd Province. However, in 2013 it was returned to Khorasan and it became part of South Khorasan province. The name Khorasan means the land of the rising sun. There are two other places in Khorasan called Tabas, but the name Tabas usually refers to the city under discussion.

It is a desert city with lots of dates and citrus trees. It has a 300 years old public garden, (Baghe-golshan. There is also a shrine in Tabas that is visited every year by thousands of pilgrims.  The city has hot summers and people rarely see a winter snowfall.

The people of Tabas speak a Khorasani dialect of Persian that sounds somewhat different from the standard Iranian version (“Tehran Persian”).


Tabas (Lonely Planet ref:)
x0353 / pop 35,000 / elev 678m
Once known as the jewel of the desert, the oasis town of Tabas is the largest in Iran’s two vast deserts and, as such, is an important hub. Tabas’s palm-lined roads and public gardens in vividly painted colours are in stark contrast to the surrounding sands. But most of the evocative architecture that made the town famous was flattened by a massive
earthquake in 1978 that killed 26,000. Today the highlight is the Bagh-e Golshan (Imam Khomeini Sq), with water surging through its lush variety of tropical plants, though the small cages of local fauna will appeal mainly to people who don’t like animals. The garden is well signed. The ruined 11thcentury citadel, the Arg-e Tabas, is also worth
a look.



Ferdows  is a city in and the capital of Ferdows County, located in the northwest of South Khorasan Province in Iran. It is about 345 kilometers (214 mi) south of Mashhad and 200 km northwest of Birjand.
After dividing the Khorasan province into 3 provinces, Ferdows County was initially a part of the Razavi Khorasan province, but was incorporated within the borders of South Khorasan Province in March 2007.

Founded by the Medes, Ferdows is currently a small town. It was a large and famous city in ancient days. There is an unproven theory that the town’s name in ancient days was “Taban”. In Islamic times it became known as Toon. The city continued to be known as Toon until 1929, when the name was changed to Ferdows.

The first people to inhabit Ferdows were traditionally a group of Sagartians. Toon was a famous and thriving city both before and during the Islamic era, until the raid of the Mongols. It was one of the most prominent cities of Ghohestan, along with Qaen; Nasir Khusraw mentioned Toon as a large city in the 11th century. Toon was plundered and destroyed by the Mongols in 1239. After the Mongol invasion, Toon eventually recovered and became one of the major cities of Ghohestan again. Marco Polo mentioned the south Khorasan region as Toonoqaen, apparently in reference to the two largest cities, Toon & Qaen.

Ferdows was still a famous and prosperous city in Khorasan at the beginning of the 20th century and the Municipality of Ferdows, originally formed in 1925 (under the name of Toon), was one of the first Municipalities of Khorasan province. But the city was devastated by a huge earthquake in 1968 and significantly declined thereafter.


Baghestan-e Olya village:

Baghestan-e Olya (also known as Baghat-e Bala, Baghat-i-Bala, Baghestan) is a village and center of the Baghestan Rural District, in the Central District of Ferdows County, South Khorasan Province, Iran. At the 2006 census, its population was 2,044, in 628 families.

Baghestan-e Olia (Lonely planet Ref:)
x0534 / pop – not many / elev 1594m
Two hours’ drive east of Tabas is Ferdows, a largish town at the edge of the desert flanked to the north and east by rocky mountains.  Ferdows is of little interest really, but in the garden village of Baghestan-e Olia 15km north,  architect Noushin Ghiassi has built two modern homes and has opened them to visitors. The experience is totally different to Garmeh or Toudeshk.