Marvdasht or the Grassy Plain is a mostly fertile, level, wide expanse at an altitude of some 2000 m, hedged about by outrunners of the Zagros chain and extending at the east to the very foot of the platform of Persepolis. It has been under cultivation almost continually since the time of Cyrus the Great. Occasional floods from the Sivand River have interrupted this and in places destroyed fertility through salt deposits. The pylons and pillars of Persepolis mount guard over it from the east, a chain of abandoned watch towers on outcropping rocky ridges from the west, while on a huge butte to the north the remains of a Sassanian fortress await exploration. The plain has given its name to the district and city of Marvdasht (population about 25500 by census of 1966) lying roughly in its midst. This is a center of administration, distribution and local trade, possesses primary and secondary schools and a beet sugar refinery that provides occupation for part of the city population and for some people from the villages round about. Nevertheless, the village economies in 1963 were almost exclusively agricultural, wheat, barley and sugar beet being the most important crops. Rice, sesame, cotton and vegetables are grown in small quantities; some sheep, cattle and poultry are raised; a few villages have fruit orchards. Cultivation and animal husbandry at the time of the survey were mostly by primitive traditional methods. Yields were far below what agricultural experts estimated could have been obtained and had been still further reduced by eight preceding years of drought (average rainfall in normal years about 35 cm, but in 1962 only 16 cm and in 1963 24 cm). Temperatures range between -4° and +40° C. Relative humidity is generally low
KeywordsClay Dust Depression Migraine Dementia
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