official_name = Behbahan
population_as_of = 2005
population_total = 96836
timezone = IRST
utc_offset = +3:30
Behbahan ( _fa. بهبهان) is a city in the Khuzestan province,
Iran. Behbahan had an estimated population of 96,836 in 2005. [http://www.mongabay.com/igapo/2005_world_city_populations/Iran.html]
To the north of the city lie the ruins of the ancient city "Arrajan", built during the
Sassanianperiod, where important remnants from the Elamite era can be found.
The people of Behbahan ("Behbahanis") speak a Persian dialect distinct to their group, as well as Luri, and may still use words of "Khuzi" origin, the language of the original inhabitants of Khuzestan. Behbahanis claim various lines of descent: from the ancient peoples of "Arrajan", the
nobility, the Prophet Muhammad, ancient Israelites, or the Lurs. The inhabitants of the suburban districts are primarily of Lur background. The majority of Behbahanis are remains of Arrajan (Arjan/Argan) after an earthquake destroyed a dam, which lead to the flooding of the city. People of Arrajan were originally Zoroastrian with a Jewish minority during the elamite period, and later on converted to Islam. The details of how or when they were forced to convert are unclear (see Encyclopedia Iranica, entry for "Behbahan"). According to the elderly of the city and the oral history, the current population of Behbahan consists of a mixture of at least 30% Jewish background, 60% zoroastrian background, and 10% others. They are all "officially" muslims, even those who still observe sabbath to be the holy day of the week.
* [http://www.ostan-kz.ir/en/albumdetail_aen_i_20.html Behbahan Photo Gallery from the Khuzestan Governorship]
* [http://www.marafi.com The Marafi (Behbehani) Family of Kuwait]
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