Wednesday, January 14, 2009


City of southwestern Iran, situated on an island of the same name at the head of the Persian Gulf. The island, averaging 2 mi (3.2 km) wide and 40 mi (64.3 km) long, was formed from silt deposited by the Karun River and the Shatt al-Arab; it is a low-lying strip situated between the Shatt al-Arab and the estuary of the Bahmanshir River. Abadan is one of the leading oil centers of the Middle East, a pipeline terminus, and an export center. An internatiional airport serves lines flying between Europe and Asia, as well as alocal line to the principal cities of Iran. A 2,000-ft (609.6 m) bridge joins the island with the railhead town of Khorramshahr.

The site of fishing villages in early Islamic times, the island was originally known as Jazirat al-Khidr. Over a period of several centuries the local settlers, by relentless efforts, managed to wash salt deposits from the soil and establish the very extensive date-palm groves which are a striking feature of the island. The discovery of oil in southwestern Iran led to an entirely new development. Pipelines were laid to the island, and the first refinery was completed in 1912. Year after year the size of the refinery was increased, docks for oil tankers extended, and housing areas expanded by the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company. After 1954 the complex intallations were operated by the National Iranian Oil Company and an international consortium of major oil companies.

Abadan has the atmosphere of a boom town, for contruction is always going on. The climate is extremely hot and humid throughtout much of the year, and many of the houses and administration buildings are air-conditioned. The modern shrine of al-Khidr, local saint of the early Islamic period, replaces an earlier structure and is much frequented on religious holidays.

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