From Academic Kids

Missing image
Map of Iran and surrounding lands, showing location of Abadan

Abadan (آبادان in Persian) is a city in the Khuzestan province in southwestern Iran. It lies on Abadan Island, on the Arvand river. As of 2004 the population was estimated to be 327,300.



Abadan is named for Abbad, a member of the Abbasid dynasty who founded the city in the 8th century. Some etymological experts however believe the name to have originated from the Persian word "ab" (water) and the root "pā" (guard, watch) thus "coastguard station" (See Encyclopedia Iranica, p52). Supporting evidence is the name "Apphana" which Ptolemy applies to an island off the mouth of The Tigris. The geographer Marcian also renders the name "Apphadana" in his writings (see Geographia Marciani Heracleotae, ed. David Hoeschel, Augsburg 1600 p48).

Abadan is thought to have originally developed as a port city under the Abbasids' rule, but it was not until the 20th century that rich oil fields were discovered in the area. In 1910, the population had been around 400. The Anglo-Persian Oil Company built their first oil refinery in Abadan, starting in 1909 and completing it in 1913. By 1938, it was the largest in the world. To this day it remains a vast facility for refining petroleum.

On August 20 1978, the Cinema Rex, a movie theater in Abadan, was locked from the outside and set on fire, resulting in 430 deaths. To this day it is not entirely clear what happened, but it was widely believed that the government of the Iranian Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi purposely set the theater ablaze to kill several dissidents who were hiding inside. This event sparked mass demonstrations against Pahlavi's government, which was overthrown six months later by Islamic fundamentalists and their supporters. (see Iranian Revolution)

In September 1980, Abadan was almost overrun during a surprise attack on Khuzestan by Iraq, marking the beginning of the Iran-Iraq War. For 18 months Abadan was besieged, but never captured, by Iraqi forces. Much of the city, including the oil refinery, was badly damaged or destroyed by the siege and by bombing. Previous to the war, the city's civilian population was about 300,000, but before it was over most of the populous had sought refuge elsewhere in Iran.

After the war, the biggest concern was the rebuilding of Abadan's oil refinery. In 1993 the refinery began limited operation, and by 1997 it reached the same rate of production it was at before the war.

Places of Interest

The Abadan Institute of Technology was established in Abadan in 1939. The school specialized in engineering and petroleum chemistry, and was designed to train staff for the refinery in town. The school's name has since changed several times, but since 1989 has been considered a branch campus of the Petroleum University of Technology, centered in Tehran.

There is an international airport in Abadan. It is represented by the IATA airport code ABD.


  • The Abadan oil refinery was featured on the reverse side of Iran's 100-rial banknotes printed in 1965 and from 1971 to 1973.

See also

External links

Abadan is also the name of a 2003 Iranian movie from director Mani Haghighi.da:Abadan de:Abadan et:Ābādān eo:Abadano fr:Abadan gl:Abadán - آبادان it:Abadan ja:アバダーン nl:Abadan pl:Abadan ru:Абадан sv:Abadan uk:Абадан


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