Markazi province including Arack city as its center and 12 counties has an area of 29,127 square kilometers, introducing it as the 14th largest province of Iran. Markazi is neighboring Tehran, Alborz, Qazvin, Hamedan, Lorestan, Isfahan, and Qom provinces. Different ethnic groups reside in the province speaking with Farsi, Turkish, and local Tati languages. The highlands of the Zagros Mountains and the flat and fertile plains are scattered in the province, causing three types of climate in Markazi province; the mountainous weather at high altitudes, the temperate mountainous weather in the foothills, and the semi-arid climate in flat plains.
The history of Markazi dates back to several millenniums B.C. The Greeks considered the area a part of the Median Empire (678-549 B.C.), while Islamic geographers called it Jabal (Jebal) or Persian Iraq. In the early centuries following the flourishment of Islam, indigenous people of this area preserved their religion and remained as the followers of Zoroastrian.During the Seljuk Empire (1037-1194), the region was known as a Persian Iraq where more progress was witnessed later during the Safavid Empire (1501-1736).
The attention of the Qajar Empire’s (1796-1925) kings to clerical and religious figures led to an expansion of mosques, Maktab (school buildings), and theology schools in the area. This resulted in an introduction of the influential figures including Mirza Muhammad Taghi Khan Amir Kabir (a Qajar minister) and Mirza Ghaem Magham Farahani (a Qajar minister) coming from the Persian Iraq region to reform the country’s politics.
One of the important attractions of the province is Mahallat – the city of flowers –which is domestically famous as the Netherlands and the greenhouse of Iran with a long history in producing and exporting diverse flowers. Hydrotherapy Complex of Mahallat, Arak Market, Four-Season Bathhouse, Tomb of Pir-e Morad (mystic), the Meighan Wetland, the historical village of Hezaveh, Jameh Mosque of Saveh, and Vafs Village are among the other major attractions of the province.
Importantly, Ebrahim Abad Qanat of Arak (from the Iranian Qanat collection) has been registered as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The most prevailing handicrafts of the province are carpet-weaving, Gabbeh, calligraphy, pottery, copper-making, and Kilim of Saveh. The local eatable souvenirs include pomegranate and honeydew of Saveh (a city in the province), melons, cotton, pomegranate sauce, grape syrup, and local soaps.
Also, some of the local cuisines of the region include bread, Damlameh, Abgoosht-e-Doroghin, Aush (a kind of soup), pomegranate stew, and rhubarb Abgoosht (meat stew). Of the most famous figures of Markazi province, we can mention Mirza Muhammad Taqi Khan Farahani (Amir Kabir), Ghaem Magham Farahani, Fakhr Al-Din Iraqi (Sufi and mysticism master), Abbas Eqbal Ashtiani (literary scholar and historian), and Abolqasem Sahab (human science scholar and researcher).