JOVAYN, name of three locales.

1. Jovayn or Jovaym in Fars. A village in the district (kura) of Ardašir Ḵorra (a major admistrative division of Fars during the Sasanian and early Islamic periods; q.v.) at five parasangs (farsaḵ) from Shiraz on the road to Arrajān (Eṣṭaḵri, p. 133; Ebn Ḥawqal, p. 202; Moqaddasi, pp. 106, 455; Ḥodud al-ʿālam, p. 134, tr., p. 128). It is the modern Guyom in the district of Shiraz, province of Fars (29°53’ N, 52°18’ E; see Razmārā, VII, p. 207).

2. Jovayn, or Govayn, in Sistān, a fortress dating back to medieval times (Moqaddasi, pp. 297, 306, 350). It is often linked in the sources with the nearby fortress of Lāš. It was located to the northeast of Lake Zereh on the lower Farāhrud River, on the road connecting Zarang, the capital of Sistān, with Farāh, Esfezār, and Herat (qq.v.). It must have existed in pre-Islamic times, probably under the Middle Persian name Gavēn, since Isidorus of Charax (q.v.) mentions what is probably to be read as Gabēnē polis (Marquart, p. 198). Medieval Arab geographers described it as a stronghold of the Kharijites, and it figures in accounts of the fighting between the Kharijite leader Ḥamza b. Āḏarak (d. 828, q.v.) and Hārun al-Rašid’s (d. 809, q.v.) governors of Sistān (Moqaddasi, p. 306; Ebn al-Aṯir, VI, pp. 150-51; Bosworth, pp. 95, 118; Tāriḵ-e Sistān, pp. 156 ff.). In the late 19th century, Charles Edward Yate (p. 120) noted that the road from Karkuya/Karkun, located right to the north of Lake Zereh, to Lāš-Jovayn was always under water in the spring and summer flood season, and it had to be negotiated in tutins, the characteristic river crafts of the Sistān marshlands. Other British travelers describe the mud-brick ruins of the fortress as still visible on an eminence of the plain (A. C. Yate, pp. 99 ff.). Lāš-e Jovayn is now a small town in Afghan Sistān (31°43’ N, 61°57’ E), on the boundary between the modern Afghan provinces of Nimruz and Farāh (Adamec, ed., pp. 182-93).

3. Jovayn or Guyān in Khorasan. This was a rural district (rostāq) on the historic caravan route connecting Nišāpur with Jājarm and Besṭām (qq.v.) and onwards to Gorgān and the Caspian Sea (qq.v.) coast (Moqaddasi, pp. 300, 318, n. l, 323). It lies in the upland plain that runs roughly east-west for about 300 kilometers from near Besṭām almost to Nišāpur. Jovayn lies specifically between the modern Kuh-e Šāhjahān and Kuh-e Alādāḡ to the north and the Kuh-e Čaḡatāy to the south. There is no major, permanently-running river draining it, but only a stream from the winter and spring rains, which also cause the terrain to become swampy where the district meets the saline Kāl-e Šur River running down from near Esfarāyen (q.v.) into the Dašt-e Kavir (Spooner, pp. 97-98, q.v.). It is still the most fertile part of the corridor, and medieval Islamic geographers described it as a rich agricultural region, irrigated by subterranean channels (qanāt, q.v.) from the range of hills to the south. According to Šehāb-al-Din Abu ʿAbd-Allāh Yāqut, it contained 191 villages largely contiguous with each other, whilst its chef-lieu, the small town of Āzādvār (q.v.), contained a market and a mosque, with a caravanserai for travelers in its outskirts (Yāqut, I, p. 167; II, p. 192). Yāqut also noted that Jovayn had produced a number of scholars, the most eminent being the Ashʿarite theologian and legal expert Abu’l-Maʿāli ʿAbd-al-Malek Jovayni (1028-85), who had the title Emām-al-Ḥaramayn (q.v.). In the 13th century, the famous official and historian of the Mongols, ʿAlāʾ-al-Din ʿAṭā-Malek b. Moḥammad Jo-vayni (1226-83, q.v.), the author of Tāriḵ-e jahāngošāy, and his brother, no less famous official, patron, and poet Ṣāḥeb(-e) Divān Šams-al-Din Moḥammad b. Moḥammad Jovayni (k. 1284, q.v.), originated from the district of Jovayn, namely the city of Āzādvār. By the 14th century, however, at the time of Ḥamd-Allāh Mostawfi Qazvini (1280-1349, q.v.), the city of Faryumad (q.v.), situated slightly to the south, had become the capital of the region. Mostawfi described the local people as adherents of the Shafiʿite law school (Mosawfi, I, p. 150, II, pp. 148-49). Charles Edward Yate journeyed through the region in November 1897, when the bed of the Jovayn stream had some salty water in it. He noted the ruins of the ancient capital at Āzādvār, with a three or four-storey building, apparently its citadel, and also mentioned the Persian villagers of the district and Turkish and Baluch nomads (Yate, pp. 389-94). The district of Jovayn was then said to have sixty-five villages, but the formerly flourishing cultivation of silk worms had recently declined through a disease that had attacked them (Yate, pp. 389-91; cf. Gabriel, p. 223). The topography and economy of the Jovayn valley in the first half of the 20th century is described in Admiralty Handbook, Persia (see Naval Intelligence Division, pp. 44-45, 385-87), where its importance in terms of grain production is mentioned. In the 1940s, the Tehran-Mashad railway, which runs along the valley, was completed in the region.



Ludwig Adamec, ed., Historical and Political Gazetteer of Afghanistan II: Farah and Southwestern Afghanistan, Graz, 1973.

Clifford E. Bosworth, Sīstān under the Arabs: From the Islamic Conquest to the Rise of the Ṣaffārids (30-250/651-864), Rome, 1968.

Ebn al-Aṯir, al-Kāmel fi’l-taʾriḵ, ed. C. J. Tornberg, 13 vols., Beirut, 1966.

Ebn Ḥawqal, Ketāb ṣurat al-arż, ed. Michaël Jan de Goeje, Leiden, 1967; tr. Johannes Hendrik Kramers and Gaston Wiet as Configuration de la terre, 2 vols., Paris, 1964.

Ebn Ḵordāḏbeh, Ketāb al-masālek wa’l-mamālek, ed. M. J. de Goeje, Leiden, 1967, pp. 24, 44, 195.

Abu Esḥāq Ebrāhim áEṣṭaḵri, Ketāb al-masālek wa’l-mamālek, ed. Michaël Jan de Goeje, Leiden, 1967, p. 248; tr. Mo-ḥammad b. Asʿad Tostari as Masālek wa mamālek, ed. Iraj Afšār, Tehran, 1974.

Alfons Gabriel, Die Erforschung Persiens: die Entwicklung der abendländischen Kenntnis der Geographie Persiens, Vienna, 1952.

R. Hartmann, “Djuwayn,” in EI2 II, 1965, pp. 604-5.

Ḥodud al-ʿālam, ed. Manučehr Sotuda, Tehran, 1962; tr. Vladimir Minorsky as Ḥudūd al-ʿālam: ‘The Regions of the World’: A Persian Geography 372 A.H.-982 A.D., 2nd ed., ed. C. E. Bosworth, London, 1970; repr. Frankfurt am Main, 1993.

Ḵosrow Ḵosravi, “Jovayn,” in Dāneš-nāma-ye jahān-e Eslām XI, Tehran, 2007, pp. 423-25.

Josef Marquart, Ērānšahr nach der Geographie des Ps. Moses Xorenacʿi: mit historischkritischem Kommentar und topographischen Excursen, Berlin, 1901; repr. Frankfurt am Main, 1994.

Abu ʿAbd-Allāh Moḥammad b. Aḥmad Moqaddasi (Maqdesi) Baššāri, Ketāb aḥsan al-taqāsim fi maʿrefat al-aqālim, ed. Michaël Jan de Goeje, Leiden, 1967; tr. Basil Anthony Collins as The Best Divisions for Knowledge of the Regions, Reading, UK, 1994.

Ḥamd-Allāh Mostawfi Qazvini, Nozhat al-qolub, ed. and tr. Guy Le Strange as The Geographical Part of the Nuzhat-al-qulūb, 2 vols., Leiden and London, 1915-19; repr. Frankfurt am Main, 1993.

Naval Intelligence Division, Admiralty Handbook: Persia, London, 1945.

Ḥosayn-ʿAli Razmārā, ed., Frahang-e joḡrāfiāʾi-e Irān (ābā-dihā), 10 vols., Tehran, 1949-54.

Paul Schwarz, Iran im Mittelalter nach den arabischen Geographen, Leipzig, 1896-35; repr., 9 vols. in 4, Frankfurt on the Main, 1993, pp. 44, 48, 173.

Brian Spooner, “Arghiyān: the Area of Jājarm in Western Khu-rāsān,” Iran 3, 1965, pp. 97-107, with useful map after p. 98.

Tāriḵ-e Sistān, ed. Moḥammad-Taqi Malek-al-Šoʿarāʾ Bahār, Tehran, ca. 1935; tr. Milton Gold as The Tārikh-e Sistān, Rome, 1976.

Šehāb-al-Din Abu ʿAbd-Allāh Yāqut, al-Mošta-rak, ed. Ferdinand Wüstenfeld, Göttingen, 1846, pp. 115-16.

Idem, Moʿjam al-boldān, 5 vols., Beirut, 1955-57.

A. C. Yate, England and Russia Face to Face in Asia: Travels with the Afghan Boundary Commission, Edinburgh and London, 1887.

Carles Edward Yate, Khurasan and Sistan, Edinburgh, 1900; repr. Nendeln, Liechtenstein, 1977, New Delhi, 2004; tr. Mehrdād Rah-bari and Qodrat-Allāh Rowšani Zaʿfarānlu as Safar-nāma-ye Ḵorāsān wa Sistān: šarḥ-e safar-e kolonel Yāyt ba Irān wa Afḡānestān dar ruzgār-e Nāṣer-al-Din Šāh, Tehran, 1986.

(C. Edmund Bosworth)

Originally Published: June 15, 2009

Last Updated: April 17, 2012

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Vol. XV, Fasc. 1, pp. 59-61