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city, central Iran. The city dates from the 5th century AD and was described as the "noble city of Yazd" by Marco Polo. It stands on a mostly barren, sand-ridden plain about 4,000 feet (1,200 metres) above sea level. The climate is completely desertic. A network of qanats (tunnels dug to carry water) links Yazd with the edge of the nearby mountain Shir Khu. Historically, Yazd has been the link between Fars and Khorasan and between Persian Iraq and Kerman, and it was situated at the intersection of the trade routes from central Asia and India. It served as a provincial capital and earned the title of Dar al-ibada (Home of Piety), owing to its many religious buildings. Some of the city's inhabitants are Zoroastrians whose ancestors had fled toward Yazd and Kerman when the Muslim Arabs conquered Iran. Yazd is now the last centre of Zoroastrianism in Iran.