Khorramshahr (خرمشهر) is a city in the Khuzestan province in southwest Iran that was much ravaged during the Iran-Iraq War. Its development dates back to the late 19th century, when steam navigation on the Karun was started. The city was known as Muhammera until the mid-1920s, when Reza Shah took it out of the hands of a semi-independent local sheikh and placed it under the control of the central government as Khorramshahr.
Prior to the war, Khorramshahr had grown extensively to become one of the world's major port cities, with a predominantly wealthy, upper class population, and along with Abadan, the prevalent culture was that of modern Iranian cosmopolitanism. By the end of the war, Khorramshahr had been completely decimated by Saddam Hussein's forces, with very few buildings left intact. Other major urban centres such as Abadan and Ahvaz were also left in ruins, though nowhere nearly as bad as Khorramshahr. The city of Khorramshahr was one of the primary and most important frontlines of the war and has thus achieved mythic status amongst the Iranian population.
The economy of Khorramshahr is still largely affected by the destruction and depopulation of the city's ethnic Persian majority in the 1980's during the first years of the Iraqi-imposed war on Iran. The main activities are, however, essentially the same as before the war, petroleum production and exports and imports through the city port, though on a much smaller scale as restoration is not yet totally complete, even though over seventeen years have past since the end of the war.
Khorramshahr was also the site of a famous incident during the war in which Saddam Hussein found himself stranded in the middle of the city, surrounded by Iranian forces. The Iraqi forces were unable to rescue him and they had thought his fate was sealed. However, Saddam was not killed, nor was he captured by Iranian forces, and somehow fought his way out of Khorramshahr and crossed over back into Iraq, barely surviving. The incident added to his mythic status amongst Iraqi's and was used extensively in anti-Iranian wartime propaganda.