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Although evidence suggests that the Kāshān region has been inhabited since 6000-3000 BCE, the city itself dates to Sassanian times. Zubayda, the wife of the Abbasid caliph Harun al-Rashid (reigned 786-809) is credited with founding the town, which soonafter became a center for Shi'ism, and established the Friday Mosque (minaret dated at 1073-4). Kāshān became a center for ceramics in the 12th-13th centuries, surviving a 1224 attack by the Mongols. The Safavid dynasty (1501-1732) saw Kāshān through its most prosperous period, and under Abbas I, a dam was built to increase water to the city. In 1779, an earthquake struck and the city went into decline, although attempts have been made in the 20th century to revitalize the carpet and velvet industries.
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