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Town in eastern Iran with 20,000 inhabitants (2003 estimate), in the Khorasan Province.
Qayen is a trading center for its region, but it is far less important than nearby cities like Birjand and Torbat-e Heydariyeh. Its own industries produce felts and carpets. The surrounding region produces saffron, for which it is the main producer in Iran, in addition to grain, vegetables and wool.
Qayen is a place of historical importance, and has been controlled by rivalling tribes and peoples over the centuries.

15th century: A new town is established in the place of modern Qayen, replacing the old town.
16th century: Comes under the control of the Uzbeks.
Around 1600: Shah Abbas 1 takes control over Qayen, driving the Uzbeks out.
18th century: Comes under control of the Afghans.

By Tore Kjeilen