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Geography and History

Covering an area of 20,133 square kilometers, Ilam province is located in the western Iran. According to the latest divisions of the country , the cities of the province are Ilam, Mehran, Dehloran, Dareh Shahr, Shirvan Va Chardavol, Aivan and Abdanan. Ilam is the capital city of the province. This province is neighboring the Khuzestan province in the south, Lurestan province in the east, Kermanshah province in the north and Iraq in the the west with 425 kilometers of common border. In 2006 the population of the province was 545,787 of which 60.7% were urban dwellers and 38% resided in rural areas and the rest were non-residents.
From geological point of view, there are two parallel folds in the northwestern and southeast of the province which belong to the Mesozoic and Cenozoic periods. The northern and northeast parts of the province are mountainous and western and southwestern parts are low lands. The most important heights of Ilam province are Kabir and Dinar Mounts. There are some small plains in the mountainous areas of the north and northeast of the province like Halilan, Shirvan, Ilam etc. In southwestern and western parts of the province, there are vast plains with a warm climate like Dehloran and Dasht Abbas which join the Khuzestan  plain in the east.


From climatic point of view, Ilam province is among the warm regions of the country enjoying a diverse weather so that the signs of three seasons can be seen in different regions of the province simultaneously. The mountainous areas of north and north eastern Ilam are relatively cold with long winters. The plain areas of the west and south west are warm. The central region enjoys a mild climate. Average annual rainfall in the province is 578 mm. According to the records of climatology stations in 1996, absolute maximum temperature has been 38°C in August and its minimum temperature has been 0.4° C in February. Freezing days in winter have been recorded as 27 day.

History and Culture

Limited archaeological studies and discoveries indicate that the Gooti tribe has lived there about 4,000 BC. the Kassi or Kassit tribe has immigrated to this region from Caucasia after the Gootis. the Kassis worshipped Souriash or the Goddess of Sun who had Aryan origin. According to valid historical evidences, present Ilam province has been a part of the ancient Elam land. In Elamite and Babylonian inscriptions, Ilam is called Alamto or Alam which means “mountains” or “the country of sunrise”. It has been part of the Achaemenian Empire. Existence of numerous historical vestiges in Lurestan and Ilam provinces belonging to the Sassanide period indicates the specific importance of the region in that time. In the late 4th century AH., Kurdish tribes governed over the region till the early 6th century AH. Between 570-1,006 AH., Atabakan-e-Lor ruled Poshtkooh and Lurestan. Later on, this dynasty transferred their capital to Poshtkooh (present Ilam). In 1930 AD., in the division of the country, Ilam became a part of Kermanshah province. Then, being a border region and due to important political situation, it was changed into a province and now it is one of the important provinces of the country. Totally, Ilam is a tribal province but in recent years the tribal relations specially the decampment of tribes have changed it drastically.

Ilam Province Townships

Abdanan, Aivan, Dareh Shahr, Dehloran, Ilam, Mehran, Shirvan Va Chardavol.


Located in the south of Ilam province, Abdanan is 876 kilometers from Tehran enjoying a mild mountainous climate. This area has abundant mines including oil, sulfur and alum. Due to plenty of water resources, there are rich forests, pastures and fertile lands. The vestiges of an ancient civilization are scattered all around the region including the ruins of historical cities like Goorgabran and Krodit. This township holds many promenades worth seeing.


Located in the north of Ilam province this township is 761 kilometers from Tehran enjoying a mild mountainous climate. It is a new township of the province with high agriculture potentials and eye-catching natural beauties. There are considerable historical monuments.

Dareh Shahr

Dareh Shahr is located in southeastern Ilam 840 kilometers from Tehran enjoying a mild climate. It is situated in a relatively wide valley with many historical ascent and descents. Attacks of Arabs and Assyrians caused destruction of the city. Its forgotten and extinct fire-temple is still standing. Dareh Shahr may be the same city of Madakto the Elamite capital. In the ancient time Elamites were the governor of Lurestan mountains and constructed several strong buildings. Dareh Shahr was the first Elamite city attacked and destroyed by Assyrians in addition to the massacre of people. There are in Simareh Valley the remains of the Sassanide monuments, hence Dareh Shahr might has been a thriving city in the Sassanide and the Parthian periods. In the ruins of Dareh Shahr, belonging to the Sassanide era, there are the vestiges of crosses, alleys and passages with a specific order of urban development criteria of that time. All the buildings of Dareh Shahr are constructed from abraded rubble stones and gypsum. Abundance of gypsum in Seimareh Valley from one hand, and simplicity of working with it have caused to making the best use of this material in the Sassanide architecture. The coins discovered in this area belong to Khosrow III and his successors. Holding vast fertile lands, different and rich water resources, rich pastures, dense forests, Dareh Shahr is one of important and ancient cities of Ilam province.


Dehloran is located in the south of Ilam province 910 kilometers from Tehran enjoying an arid and semi-arid climate. It is situated on the southern slope of Dinarkooh. In past, it was known as “the village of Lurs”. The remains of historical monuments and discovered vestiges indicate that the antiquity of the region dates back to the pre-historic and Sassanide periods. Dehloran has not developed due to water shortage. The city was severely damaged in the imposed Iraq  war. But now it is reconstructed and is paid due attention. This area is known for its oil fields with a long history of exploitation.


Located 710 kilometers from Tehran, the city of Ilam is surrounded by heights covered with forests enjoying a mild mountainous climate with very pleasant springs. In the ancient time, Ilam was known as Arboojan. Then, Ilam was known as Hossein Abad till 1929, when it was reconstructed. Hossein Qoli Khan, the most powerful governor of Poshtkooh, constructed numerous different buildings in the city that was his and successors summer resident. Regarding its historical background, in 1946. it was named Ilam by the approval of Iranian Academy. Presently, Ilam is the capital of the province and has developed considerably in recent years. Ilam is a very important city from the tourism point of view due to several natural, historical and cultural monuments.


Located in the south of Ilam province, Mehran is at a distance of 791 kilometers from Tehran. Mehran has an arid and semi-arid climate. It is situated on the banks of Konjan Cham River close to the Iraq border. In the past Mehran was known as Mansour Abad but in 1930 it was named Mehran by the approval of Iranian Academy. In recent years Mehran was paid due attention and has developed. This city was occupied and severely damaged during imposed Iraq war and was reconstructed after the war.

Shirvan Va Chardavol

This township is located in the northeast of Ilam 737 kilometers from Tehran enjoying a mild mountainous climate and it is one of historical places of Ilam province. The old Shirvan was a city in the north of Seimareh of which many monuments are there. Among the ruins of the city there are many vestiges belonging to the Sassanide time. The ruins of Shirvan are the most perfect remains of a Sassanide city including strong houses with high walls made of stone. There is a huge building in the city known as Qasr-e-Anoushirvan (the palace of Anoushirvan). In 1983, according to the latest divisions of the country, it was changed to a township beginning its development.

Historical Monuments

Bahram-e-Choobin Gorge, Dareh Shahr 

This narrow and high valley is one of the most important and strategic points of the region, located in the western side of the Dareh Shahr – Pol-e-Dokhtar Road. This gorge, which is also called the Bahram Hunting Field, contains several historical monuments in its entrance and on the hard rocks like the ruins of a Sassanide castle which is built of stone and gypsum with stone stairs and four connected water reservoirs which are worth seeing.




Dareh Shahr Fire Temple, Dareh Shahr

There is a fire-temple in the city of Dareh Shahr which is a four-arched building which is locally called Taaq. Originally the building was constructed by rubble stone and gypsum, and has recently been repaired.




Gavmishan Bridge, Dareh Shahr

This Sassanide bridge has been constructed in the confluence of the Seimareh and Kashkan Rivers. Although it has been repaired several times during the past, it is almost in a ruined state now.




Sheikh Makan Fort, Dareh Shahr

Located 6 kilometers southeast of Dareh Shahr, the ruins of this fort can be seen in the entrance of the village with the same name with 150 years of antiquity. Construction materials indicate that it belongs to the Qajar period. The walls of the fort are delicately made of stone and gypsum. There is also the remains of a water mill.




Vali Castle, Ilam

This castle is located on the Choqa Mirag hill in the city of Ilam. This castle is built about 100 years ago in the Qajar period and its area is 2,500 square meters. The construction materials are of brick, gypsum and marble. This castle is renovated by The Cultural Heritage Organization.




Takht-e-Khan Inscription, Ilam

This inscription is carved on a large stone in a place with the same name 34 kilometers far from Ilam. There is some information about the history and the governors of Ilam in this inscription.




Vali Castle Inscription, Ilam

This inscription is in Vali Castle in the city of Ilam. Its date of Construction and the name of its architect are mentioned in the inscription.




Religious Monuments

Imamzadeh Saleh, Dareh Shahr 

This Imamzadeh is located in Majeen Graveyard around Dareh Shahr. This quadrangular and two storey building has a pyramid shaped dome. The main tomb is located in the first floor which is totally made up of brick with a herringbone arch. In the second floor, there is a tomb covered with stone, gypsum and earthenware. Its antiquity dates back to the 8th century AH. and needs some repair. Interior plaster works of the Imamzadeh are unique and counted as worthy vestiges of this period.




Other Imamzadehs of the province are: Seyed Akbar 10 kilometers far from Dehloran, Seyed Hassan on the Mehran – Dehloran Road, Seyed Ebrahim Qatal Pilgrimage site on the border road of Mehran, Abbas Pilgrimage in Dehloran, Seyed Fakhredin Pilgrimage site close to Abtaf Waterfall, Jaber Ansari Pilgrimage site in Dareh Shahr, Seyed Salaheddin Mohammad in Abdanan, Abbas Pilgrimage site in Shirvan Va Chardavol, Baqer Pilgrimage site in upper Shirvan and Chardavol, Seyed Abdollah Pilgrimage place near Sarab Aivan, Haji Hazer Pilgrimage place in Aivan and Madar Zoleykha Pilgrimage in Dareh Shahr.




Natural Attractions

Siyah Gav Binary Lake, Abdanan

This lake is located 8 kilometers from Sarab Baq in Abdanan. It is surrounded by plains and not very high mountains. It has beautiful landscape in spring and autumn which is worth seeing.

Culture and Art


The Governmental universities in Ilam province

Ilam University of Medical Sciences, University of Ilam, Payame noor University of Ilam.

The Islamic Azad universities in Ilam province

Islamic Azad University of Ilam.

Handicrafts and Souvenirs, Ilam 

The Ilam province is a tribal region and its handicrafts specially embossed Kilim is famous nationally. The most important handicrafts of the province are: wickerwork, coarse carpet, silk products, rug, felt carpet, wooden products and… . Ilam province, like the other provinces of the country, has its own especial souvenirs like local chewing gum (the gum of Persian turpentine tree), local sweets,candy and… .






Local Music and Dances, Ilam

The musicians of the province use several kinds of local musical instruments. Some of these instruments are double tone, unlike other Iranian instruments which are monotone, and can be played in harmony with other instruments. These musical instruments are used in wedding ceremonies, war and mourning rituals. Choobi is a local dance which is performed individually or collectively. In addition to the artistic aspect, in the past, the local music was used for fighting and sport readiness. The local music is rich and diverse in melodies and rhythms and commonly used by Kurds and Lors. The music which is used in mourning ceremonies is another kind of local music. The people of Ilam specially nomads have a special skill in composing local songs.