The evolution of the modern town name is from Soltan Abad fortress, to Sultan Abad, to Iraq-e Ajam (Persian Iraq), and finally to its current name, Arak, in 1938.

Arak [1] is a city situated in the centre of Iran. Although during the early 1900's a Howze and Islamic university did exist in Arak, it was not very active or successful. In the year 1913 the people of Arak invited Hajj Abdul Karim Ha'eri Yazdi to their city and sought his help in making their Howze successful. He thus served in the Howza of Arak for eight years before leaving for Qom in 1922. He transformed the Howze and made it rise to the standard of Isfahan's Howze School, which at the time was the best in the country.

What Significance does Arak have in Imam Khomeini's life?

In 1920 Imam Khomeini left for Sultan Abad (Arak) to continue his studies under the guidance of Ayatollah Sheikh Abdul Karim Ha'eri. He respected Ayatollah Ha'eri a great deal. Imam Khomeini's room in Arak School was situated in the eastern part of the building in which he lived for about two years.

The late Ayatollah Ha'eri transferred Arak's Howze School to Qom in 1922. Thus Imam Khomeini also left Arak for Qom. In Qom, the Imam lived in the Darol Shafa School and continued his studies in the newly established school.

[1]Yusef Khan Gorgi was a pro-Iranian Georgian warlord and was given refuge by Agha Mohammad Khan Qajar (1742-1797), who was one of the Iranian kings. According to historians Yusef Khan built Arak from his own personal income and with the aid of a few wealthy men. The town remained a military base and fortress until 1892. The Soltan Abad fortress had a thick wall surrounded by great moats, 7 meters deep. Eight towers were constructed around the town and the governmental building was established in its northern part. In 1891 deputy governor, E'temadol Saltaneh Mirza Hasan, repaired all of the shops, gardens and all government buildings in Soltan Abad's greater town and with the owners of industries from other towns, settled in Arak. Large portions of the town were captured as personal property to the pre-existing army commanders; however these were ultimately turned over to the state from 1918-1922. The population of this city in 1917 to 1918 was approximately 35,000 people.

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