1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Barfurush

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BARFURUSH, a town of Persia, in the province of Mazandaran in 36° 32′ N., and 52° 42′ E., and on the left bank of the river Bawul [Babul], which is here crossed by a bridge of eight arches, about 15 m. distant from the southern shore of the Caspian Sea, where the small town of Meshed i Sar serves as a port. It is the commercial capital of Mazandaran, and 26 m. distant from Sari and 90 m. from Teheran. Pop. about 50,000. Built in a low and swampy country and approached by deep and almost impassable roads, Barfurush would not seem at all favourably situated for the seat of an extensive inland trade; it is, however, peopled entirely by merchants and tradesmen, and is wholly indebted for its present size and importance to its commercial prosperity. The principal articles of its trade are rice and cotton, some sugar cane (nai shakar), flax (Katūn) and hemp (Kanab) are also grown. The town is of peculiar structure and aspect, being placed in the midst of a forest of tall trees, by which the buildings are so separated from one another, and so concealed, that, except in the bazars, it has no appearance of a populous town. The streets are broad and neat, though generally unpaved, and kept in good order. No ruins are to be seen as in other Persian towns; the houses are comfortable, in good repair, roofed with tiles and enclosed by substantial walls. There are no public buildings of any importance, and the only places of interest are the bazars, which extend fully a mile in length, and consist of substantially built ranges of shops covered with roofs of wood and tiles, and well stored with commodities. There are about ten commodious caravanserais and a number of colleges (medresseh), the place being as much celebrated for learning as for commerce. On an island in a small lake east of the town is a garden, called Bagh i Shah (garden of the Shah), with ruined palaces and baths. At Meshed i Sar, the port, or roadstead of Barfurush, the steamers of the Caucasus and Mercury Company call weekly, and a brisk shipping trade is carried on between it and other Caspian ports.

Barfurush was formerly called Māmatīr. The present name is from a settlement called Barfurush-deh, which was added to the old city A.D. 1012.

(A. H.-S.)