March 21 marks the start of Spring and the turn of the new Iranian year, and to celebrate the occassion we invite you to join us in an electronic tour of Iran with one province covered for you each day.
Today: Kurdistan Province
Kurdistan Province is one of the thirty-one provinces of Iran. It is located in the west of Iran and bound by Iraq on the west, the province of west Azerbaijan to its north, Zanjan to the northeast, Hamedan to the east and Kermanshah to the south.
This is a mountainous region that can be topographically divided into a western and an eastern section at Sanandaj.
The capital of Kurdistan Province is the city of Sanandaj. Other counties with their major cities are Marivan, Baneh, Saqqez, Qorveh, Bijar, Kamyaran, Dehgolan, Diwandarreh and Sarvabad.
Kurdistan is one of the most mountainous regions in Iran and has a generally mild and quite pleasant climate throughout the spring and summer. Winters are long and can be very cold with heavy snowfalls.
The Kurdish people, or Kurds are Aryan tribes who migrated to the region several thousands years ago. They speak the Kurdish language, which is a member of the Iranian branch of Indo-European languages.
From among the various handicrafts of this province we can name carpet-weaving and wood works which have gained world-wide popularity. Chessboard and backgammon board are two important and delicate woodworks of this province.
As in most other parts of Iran, carpet weaving is one of the most significant handicrafts of the region, especially in Bijar and Sanandaj.
Kurdish carpets and rugs have gained world-wide fame due to their originally Kurdish designs, colors and natural textiles used in their weaving. Bijar and Sanandaj have the best types of carpets.
o Kurdish Music and Dance
Kurdistan province is one of the richest provinces of Iran in terms of music. Due to the existence of various Kurdish music bands and expert Kurdish musicians in Kurdistan province and also due to the fame this province has gained in handicrafting musical instruments, it is considered as the cradle of music in Iran. In case we have sensible plans concerning the establishment of cultural complexes and music halls, we will be able to attract many musically-inclined tourists and hold concerts in which the music of various nations are performed.
Kurdish dance is a mirror in which the past history of Kurdish people is completely reflected. Taking a closer look at Kurdish dance, we would find out that this art is a complete reflection of people’s daily life and work. The roots of this art could be traced back into the people’s religious beliefs, national festivals and celebrations, local games of war and defense, and spiritual and inner feelings and moods.
Kurdish dance has so many varieties throughout Kurdistan, but Sanandaj and Mariwan are two famous and rich cities regarding Kurdish dance. Although modern electrical instruments are widely used these days, traditional ones are still in use.
o Kurdish cuisine
The Kurdish diet includes a wide variety of fruits and vegetables. Cucumbers are especially common. Lamb and chicken are the primary meats. Breakfast is typically flat bread, honey, sheep or buffalo yoghurt, and a glass of black tea. Savory dishes are usually served with rice or flat bread. Lamb and vegetables are simmered in a tomato sauce to make a stew usually served with rice.
Kurdistan has a climate and soil suited to grapes, pomegranates, figs, and walnuts. Kurdish honey has a clear light taste and is often sold with the honeycomb. Kurdistan also produces dairy products from sheep and buffalo milk.
The province boasts various local confectioneries such as Konjed, Badam-Sukhteh, Baslogh, and Nan-berenji. From among these confectioneries Konjed is specifically made in Sanandaj and is highly favored by customers.
o Tourist attraction
Kurdistan province has many rivers, lakes, glaciers and caves, which render it rather picturesque. Consequently, Kurdistan has always attracted a large number of tourists and fans of mountaineering, ski and water-sports.
Iran’s Cultural Heritage Organization lists 211 sites of historical and cultural significance in Kurdistan province. Some, such as Hajar Khatoon Mosque in Sanandaj or Ghal’eh Kohneh in Bijar date back to the Sassanid era.
Karaftoo Historical Cave
The said is located in a castle by the same name between Divandareh and Saqez, 20 km. north of this route. This relic accounts for being a reputed and important one in the province of Kurdistan. The cave structure is related to the Parthian era and about the 3rd century BC. The dwellings of this cave, 2000 years ago were reputed temples of Heracles (the Grecian deity). In one of the chambers, the name of Heraclitus is engraved in the Latin script, whereas, on one of the walls of the third chamber there is an impression of a rider hunting a deer.
This is a reminder of the victorious Goodarz the Parthian over the monarch of Armenia. Gaining access to this archaic temple proves difficult today because of its steep gradient. On entering the cave and crossing chambers of stone, there is a large area, connected by dark corridor to two pools of stone. In the third and fourth chambers there are other attractive impressions. In other parts of the cave there are remnants of corridor, porches, chambers of stone and outlets such as windows. Evidence proves that this cave is related to the eras of Mitraism and sun worshippers.
Qezel Ozan River
This river is one of the main branches of the Sefid Rood River and originates from the Cheshmeh Mountains, elevations of the Hezar Kanian, springs of the eastern mountainous region of the Zagross located to the south, and west of the township of Divandareh. On entering the province of Zanjan, it joins the Shahrood River in Loshan, forming the Sefid Rood River and flows to the Caspian Sea.
Qamchoqay and Ozan Dareh Rivers in Bijar and the Terval and Shour Rivers in the township of Qorveh are two important branches of Qezel Ozan in Kurdistan province. The river valleys and fringes of this river are attractive inhabited with reputed species of fish.
Zarrineh Rood River
The same flows from the north to south direction, running from Kurdistan toward Lake Orumiyeh. Its main branch “Cham Saqez” (Chomeh) takes its source from the Gardaneh Khan Mountains east of Baneh. The “Khor Khoreh” River is its main branch which runs beside the city of Saqez and finally enters the Zarrineh Rood River. Its other branches are Sarooq and Mordi (Leila) and take their source from Takab and Sahand regions, entering the Zarrineh Rood.
The Zarrineh Rood, in Saqez is well known as the Jaqtoo River and after crossing the south of west Azarbaijan, it flows into the Orumiyeh Lake. The banks of this great river is one of the best naturally attractive areas from the point of tourism in this province, in addition to which this regions offers water sport facilities throughout the said area. The whole of it has capacity of using water sports such as fast water boating.
Within the limits of the township of Baneh, there are two plains, Tal and Shoey. The Tal Plain is 1,800 hectares and the area of the Shoey Plain is about 2,000 hectares. In the former the Seedsarem and Zarivan Rivers flow, finally flowing into the Galvi River. In Shoey Plain Shoey and Nejoo Rivers finally joining the Galvi River. In this area a variety of vegetation can be found and accordingly in summer and spring it has fresh, green landscape and in autumn is very beautiful.
The forests of the region of Marivan which are about 185,000 hectares and their maximum expansion is from the Garan Gorge towards the west till the Sheikh Atar Village. The elevated western plains of the Zagross Mountains attract moisture bearing clouds of the Mediterranean, thereby supplying suitable conditions for the creation of forest covering.
Oramanat Takht Village
The same is located in an east-west valley on steep slope overlooking the northern front of the Takht Mountains 63 km. south of Marivan. The village houses are generally made of stone and stair like fashion, with beams covering the ceilings. These houses are arranged such that the roof of one house is the courtyard of the other. The climate of this region in spring and summer is very pleasant and it is very cold in winter. The Oramanat Takht Village is one of the attractive rural areas of Kurdistan which besides its panoramic views, has valuable tourism capacities because of the annual performance of an ancient and wonderful ceremony of Peer Shahriar.
The inhabitant of this territory and their language is known as Hevarami. The Urami dialect is one of the famous Kurdish languages. Ancient fire temples, remnants of this region indicate that the inhabitants were Zoroastrians before converting to Islam.
The Sirvan River flows from the deep valleys of this region and enters Iraq. The border areas of the Sirvan River are called Ravar. Here the lands are covered with walnut, pomegranate, fig and mulberry trees. In spite of difficult climatic conditions the inhabitants abide by their traditions.
The tombs of Peer Shahriar Urami, writer of the book Acquaintance of Peer Shahriar is one of the creditable pilgrimage sites of the people, which was a Zoroastrian celestial before the advent of Islam. The inhabitants of the Uraman Takht are Sunni Muslims from the Shafei sect. From other sacred sites, mention can be made of the Oihang and Abdollahi mosques, the tomb of “Loskeh Hijij” which is highly respected by the people of this region and other people of Kurdistan.
The province of Kurdistan has only one archaeological and anthropological museum. The said is in Salar Seyed Edifice in the city of Sanandaj. Various relics from the region of Kurdistan, as well as other parts of Iran are housed here. Besides public holidays and Mondays, the same is open to public throughout the week. The working hours in spring and summer are from 9-12 a.m. in morning and 4-7 p.m. in the afternoon, while in autumn and winter the working hours are from 8-12 a.m. in morning and 3-5 p.m. in the afternoon.
This plain is located in the Kamyaran Township and it’s divided in two parts: The southern part which is located in the province of Kermanshah and its northern sector in the Cheqabraleh Village (10 km. south of Kamyaran). The area of this plain is 17,370 hectares and its altitude from sea level is 1,400 meters and it is one of the most beautiful and attractive plains of the Kurdistan province, specially from beautiful landscape point of view.
Sanandaj and Asef Bazaar
From other historical relics of Kurdistan mention can be made of the Sanandaj bazaar and Asef bazaar of Sanandaj. They were constructed according to the architectural style of the Safavid period and considered valuable in this respect.
Other ancient bazaars of this province are: Sheikh Tajavanchi and Ardalan in Saqez and covered Orami bazaar in Marivan.
Vakilol Molk Edifice
The same is one of the old and noticeable buildings of the city of Sanandaj. This edifice is an ancestral and private building of the Vakil Family who were always held a seat of power in the history of Kurdistan. The main structure is related to the Zand period. Various sections were added to it in later periods. It underwent primary renovations in 1310 AH. by Amanollah Khan Vakilol Molk, changing it into an aggregate comprising of several buildings, yard and the present garden. This building has still retained its fortifications.
Sanandaj Region Forests
The area of these forests is about 78,000 hectares and situated mostly to the west of Kamyaran and south of Sanandaj.