Ahvaz Ahvaz (Persian: اهواز Ahvāz) is a city in the south of Iran. At the 2011 census, its population was 1,112,021 and its built-up (or metro) area with Sheybany was home to 1,136,989 inhabitants. Ahvaz city has the world’s worst air pollution according to a survey by the World Health Organization in 2011.
Ahvaz city is built on the banks of the Karun River and is situated in the middle of Khuzestan Province, of which it is the capital and most populous city. The city has an average elevation of 20 meters above sea level.
Ahvaz is the analog of “Avaz” and “Avaja” which appear in Darius’s epigraph. This word appears in Naqsh-Rostam inscription as “Khaja” or “Khooja” too.
First named Ōhrmazd-Ardašēr (Persian: هرمزداردشیر Hormizdartazir) it was built near the beginning of the Sassanid dynasty on what historians believe to have been the site of the old city of Taryana, a notable city under the Persian Achaemenid dynasty, or the city of Aginis referred to in Greek sources where Nearchus and his fleet entered the Pafitigris.. It was founded either by Ardashir I in 230 (cf. Encyclopædia Iranica, al-Muqaddasi, et al.) or (according to the Middle Persian Šahrestānīhā ī Ērānšahr) by his grandson Hormizd I; the town’s name either combined Ardashir’s name with the Zoroastrian name for God, Ōhrmazd or Hormizd’s name with that of his grandfather. It became the seat of the province, and was also referred to as Hūmšēr. During the Sassanid era, an irrigation system and several dams were constructed, and the city prospered. Examples of Sassanid-era dams are Band-e Bala-rud, Band-e Mizan, Band-e Borj Ayar and Band-e Khak. The city replaced Susa, the ancient capital of Susiana, as the capital of what was then called Khuzestān.
The city had two sections; the nobles of the city lived in one part while the other was inhabited by merchants.When the Arabs invaded the area in 640, the part of the city home to the nobility was demolished but the Hūj-ī-stānwāčār “Market of Khūz State”, the merchant area, remained intact. The city was therefore renamed Sūq al-Ahwāz, “Market of the Khuz”, a semi-literal translation of the Persian name of this quarter – Ahwāz being the Arabic broken plural of Hûz, taken from the ancient Persian term for the native Elamite peoples, Hūja (remaining in medieval khūzīg “of the Khuzh” and modern Khuzestān “Khuz State”, as noted by Dehkhoda dictionary.