Qom (kôm) [key], city (1991 pop. 681,253), Tehran prov., W central Iran. Located in a semiarid region, it is an industrial and transportation center. Its manufactures include textiles, glass, pottery, and shoes. Large deposits of petroleum have been found in the area. Qom has been a center of the Shiite Muslims since early Islamic times and is the burial place of Fatima al-Masuma (d. 816), sister of Imam Riza. The city became a center of pilgrimage in the 17th cent., and an imposing shrine was erected over Fatima's tomb. Qom was pillaged by the Afghans in 1722, but in the 19th cent. its great shrine was lavishly restored and embellished. The city is also known as Qum and Kum.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
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