and is the capital of Qom Province. At the 2011 census its population was 1,074,036 (957,496 at the 2006 census, in 241,827 families), comprising 545,704 men and 528,332 women. It is situated on the banks of the Qom River. Qom enjoys a dry and warm climate with low annual rainfall due to remoteness from the sea and being situated in the vicinity of desert.
Qom is considered holy by Shi`a Islam, as it is the site of the shrine of Fatema M?'sume, sister of Imam `Ali ibn Musa Rida (Persian Imam Reza, 789–816 AD). The city is the largest center for Shi'a scholarship in the world, and is a significant destination of pilgrimage. Qom is famous for a brittle toffee called "Sohan" (Persian:سوهان), considered a souvenir of the city and sold by 2,000 to 2,500 "Sohan" shops.
Qom has developed into a lively industrial centre owing in part to its proximity to Tehran. It is a regional centre for the distribution of petroleum and petroleum products, and a natural gas pipeline from Bandar Anzali and Tehran and a crude-oil pipeline from Tehran run through Qom to the Abadan refinery on the Persian Gulf. Qom gained additional prosperity when oil fields were discovered at Sarajeh near the city in 1956 and a large refinery was built between Qom and Tehran.