Located in modern day Iran, Gonabad dates back 2700 years in history, having been founded during the Achaemenian period. From an archaeological viewpoint, the city is extremely important: Gonabad contains the largest known remaining example of an ancient water-delivery infrastructure called qanats. Over thirty-thousand meters worm their way beneath and through the foundations of the buildings, and under the surrounding landscape, these qanats still provide a significant amount of water to dry Gonabad, and the local saffron industry. Aside from the precious crocuses, the local trade includes grapes, pomegranates, and a not insignificant percentage of the pistachio trade.

The aforementioned qanats fed the growth of the city; as a result, the neighboring landscape is dotted with the remains of caravanserais, wineries, orchards, and a plethora of mosques and small villages.

Much of the city was destroyed during thirteenth century AD tribal conflicts, but was later rebuilt on top of the wreckage. Remaining sites include forts, which date back to the pre-Islamic sixth and seventh century AD.

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