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Kermanshah

Kermanshah

05/13/13

Geography and History

The Kermanshah province with an area of 24,998 square kilometers is located in the west of the country. This province from the east is limited to the Hamadan province, from the north to Kurdestan province, from the west to Iraq and from the south to Ilam and Lurestan provinces. According to the latest divisions of the country in 1996, the townships of Kermanshah were Islam Abad Qarb, Paveh, Javan Rood, Sar Pol-e-Zahab, Sonqor, Sahneh, Qasr-e-Shirin, Kermanshah, Kangavar, Gilan Qarb, Harsin.The population of the province in 2006 was about 1.88 million out of which 66.79 percent were settled in the cities and 33.92 % resided in rural areas, the rest were non-residents. The province of Kermanshah is located between Iranian Plateau and Mesopotamia Plain in the mountainous area and Zagross heights along with summits cover the whole area. Parts of the slopes of a lower incline and mountainous expansion, are low lands and alluvium plains.

Climate

In accordance with its geographical location, the province has four climatic zones:
The mountainous temperate climatic zone in the western sector, covering part of the north and east of Paveh. This area enjoys cold winters and temperate summers. The mountainous temperate climatic zone of the eastern Zagross with towns such as Kangavar, Harsin and parts of north-eastern Kermanshah with short winters and moderate summers.The mountainous temperate zone of central Zagross with towns such as Islam Abad Qarb, Sar Pol-e-Zahab, Qasr-e-Shirin, and the south and southwest of Javan Rood is located in this area.The semi-desert climatic zone of the western foothills of Zagross covering the southern parts of Gilan Qarb and having a temperate climate in winter and a warm and intolerable weather in summer. In overall from climatic point of view, the Kermanshah province is divided into two regions one being the tropical zone in the west and the other the cold  region in the rest of the zones.The important winds of the Kermanshah province consist of the western winds that transfer the relative humidity of the Atlantic Ocean and Mediterranean to the territory of this province and causing rainfall. This current blows more in winter and spring. The northern winds that blow in summer are effective in modifying the climate in part of the province and reducing the heat. The “Saam” or “Somoum” wind, blows only in the frontier zone making the climate very hot and intolerable in summers and also causing damages.

History and Culture

The Goutic or Kasi migrants resided in the mountainous territory of the Zagross in the 3rd and fourth millennium BC., ultimately occupying Mesopotamia. According to the Babylonian, Assyrian and Elamite inscriptions, tribes such as Lului, Gouti, Fayeri, Amouda and Parsovariz were settled in the skirts of the Zagross. The Luluis or Lalos (the ancestors of the Lors), in the past inhabited Zahab, Shahr-e-Zoor and Soleimaniyeh. It is for the first time, that “Medes” were mentioned in the attacks of the Assyrians to the jurisdiction of the current Kurdestan.
Therefore, it is understood that the Medes were present in the skirts of the Zagross as early as the first millennium BC. Besides the Medes, there were other tribes such as Pars and Kurds in this region. The construction of the city of Kermanshah is related to Bahram Shah Sassanid, the governor of Kerman during his father’s reign; hence it was named Kermanshah. The Arabs took hold of the same on their victory over the Iranians in the battle of Nahavand. In the 4th century AH., a minor Kurdish dynasty, named as Hosnaviyeh gained independence in the western sector, and ruled for a period of about 50 years. The large castle of Sermaj, which was constructed near Dinvar, was considered as a seat of power and defense and burial of valuable treasures. In the year 441 AH., Soltan Togrol Saljuqi dispatched a hundred soldiers to take possession of the Sermaj Castle, and captured it after a period of 4 years. During the Saljuqi era, Kermanshah was a thriving city and in order to confront Masoud Saljuqi, the Abbaside Caliph sent forces to this city. In the Mongol period, due to the attack of Helakoo to the city of Baqdad, the city of Kermanshah witnessed heavy damages. During the Teimoorid period, Kermanshah came under the realm of the Hamadan territory. In the 9th and 10th centuries AH., the Ottomans repeatedly attacked Kermanshah.
According to narrations of foreign travelers of the times, Kermanshah was a thriving city with several caravansaries and bridges in the Safavid era. Specially due to the great attention paid by the Safavids to religious pilgrimages, and Kermanshah being en route to Karbala and Najaf, this city thrived to a great extent. During the reign of Nader, the ancient castle of the city was demolished and a new one was constructed. Karim Khan Zand captured the city and in the Qajar period, it came to be known as a center of the western sector and also a seat of government. The son of Fathali Shah, Mohammad Ali Mirza Dowlatshah confronted the Ottomans from this city, and alike other cities of the country, Kermanshah played an important role in the constitutional movement.During the World War I and II, Kermanshah came under the control of foreign powers. Today, this province is a prosperous one, and its provincial capital is the city of Kermanshah. The said province is of the Kurd residing territory of Iran and the Kurdish language has a close tie with the Persian language here, besides being similar grammatically too. The Kurdish language has various dialects, the most outstanding of which are named as, Kalhori, Urami, Sourani (Jafi), Laki and Farsi. The people of the province are of the Aryan race, and their religious beliefs play a vital part in the culture adapted by them. Great poets and writers have arisen from this region.

Kermanshah Province Townships

Gilan Qarb, Harsin, Islam Abad Qarb, Javan Rood, Kangavar, Kermanshah, Paveh, Qasr-e-Shirin, Sahneh, Sar Pol-e-Zahab, Sonqor.

Gilan Qarb  

Gilan Qarb is located to the west of the province near Ilam and enjoys a temperate climate. Gilan Qarb is located 660 km. from Tehran. The level plain of Gilan Qarb is situated on the west of the Kalhor Mountain ands. Its lands are irrigated by Gilan Qarb River as well as several other local rivers. The ruins of the ancient Gilan Village is situated on southern end on the Kermanshah – Baqdad route. Upon the nearby hill, there is a square castle with trenches in the corners. In Gilan Hill, a number of large bricks of the Babylonian style have been discovered. In the same area there is a large fire-temple of the Parthian period was known as the God of hunting that are attributed to Hercules.

Harsin

Harsin is one of the southeastern townships of Kermanshah and enjoys a temperate climate. Harsin is one of the ancient areas of Kermanshah. In this area there are relics belonging to the Sassanide period, also an engraved tablet in the mountain, stony pond, stony arched ceilings, stony stairway, castle and other works have remained… . The historical record of Harsin is linked with that of Kermanshah. A reputed historian has mentioned the name of Harsin in his records during the rule of Shah Soltan Khodabandehloo during the war between the Ottoman and Iranian soldiers. In the Qajar period, the rulership of this area was given to Aminoroaya and his offspring. This area in recent years has changed into an independent township. Harsin is one of the southeastern cities of Kermanshah province and is at a distance of 23 km. to the Kermanshah – Tehran Road and at a distance of 566 km. from Tehran.

Islam Abad Qarb

Islam Abad Qarb is one of the townships of the Kermanshah province and has a temperate climate. The center of which is the city of Islam Abad Qarb and is at a distance of 589 km. from Tehran. Primarily, the name of Islam Abad, was “Mendeli” and after the Arab invasion, one of the Arab commanders put an extreme effort for its flourishment and its development. Thus it became to be known as “Haroun Abad”. In 1930 its name was changed to Shah Abad Qarb and after the Islamic Revolution in 1978, its name was changed to Islam Abad Qarb. In the Safavid period specially during the time of Shah Abbas this city flourished. Some parts of its townships like Mahidasht have a long historical antecedent. Mahidasht because of its good climate and pastures, was the place for breeding horses and training of Parthian warriors. In the Safavid era, Shah Abbas Safavid constructed a caravansary there; and today Islam Abad Qarb is considered to be one of the flourishing townships of the province.

Javan Rood

The township of Javan Rood is situated to the northwest of Kermanshah and from the north is limited to the Kurdestan province. It has temperate climate. Javan Rood is located at a distance of 585 km. from Tehran. Hamdollah Mostowfi, a famous historian, has made special mention of the same with a pleasant climate, hunting grounds and vegetation as well as being an area of grain cultivation. In 1067 AH. to the west of Javan Rood was the city of Zoor, to the south was Zahab of Kermanshah, to the east was Ravansar and to the north it was linked to Uoraman. In the period of Shah Tahmasb Safavid, Safi Khan, the King of Gooran, Mir Zia Eddin, was its governor and constructed castles around it. In the Afshariyeh and Zandieh periods, Javan Rood came in the hand of their brother and offsprings. In the Qajar era Amanollah Khan the governor gave over the rule of Jaf and Javan Rood to his son Mohammad Sadeq. After which, in the year 1320 AH. it was ruled by one of the Beig-Zadegan, Rostam Beik Jaf. This city presently has expanded and flourished and also has a beautiful surroundings as well.

Kangavar

Kangavar is located to the east of the province and near the province of Hamadan. The same has a temperate mountainous climate. It is one of the historical towns of the country due to the Anahita Temple. This city was flourishing till the Sassanide period, but after the Arab aggression on Iran, was destroyed. At present the relics of the Anahita Temple is within the city. This temple was built from stone and has sculptured stone columns. Arab historians and geographers after the 4th century AH. have mentioned this region. Kangavar was reputed in the Islamic period and at present is reputed for its Anahita Temple (palace). The distance between Kangavar and Tehran is 616 km.

Kermanshah

The city of Kermanshah is located in the center of the province and has a temperate climate. Kermanshah is one of the ancient cities of Iran and it is said that, Tahmores Divband, a mythical ruler of the Pishdadian had constructed it. Some attribute its constructions to Bahram Sassanid. During the reign of Qobad I and Anushirvan Sassanid, Kermanshah was at the peak of its glory. But in the Arab attack suffered great damage. Concurrent with the Afghan attack and the fall of Esfahan, Kermanshah was destroyed due to the Ottoman invasion. But from the beginning of the 11th century AH. it began to flourish.
In order to prevent a probable aggression of the Zangeneh tribe and due to its proximity with Ottoman Empire, the Safavid ruler paid great attention to this city. But in the Zandieh period upheavals increased, whereas during the Qajar era, Ottoman attacks reduced. Mohammad Ali Mirza in 1221 AH. was seated in kermanshah in order to prevent Ottoman aggression, and Khuzestan also came under his realm. An epigraph of Mohammad Ali Mirza in Taq-e-Bostan has been remained as a relic. In 1267 AH. Imam Qoli Mirza was appointed by Naseredin Shah to protect the Kermanshah frontier. The former during his rule of 25 years constructed some buildings which have remained to be seen. In the Constitutional Movement this city played an important role and in World War I and II and was taken possession by foreign powers and after the war ended, the city was evacuated. As a result of the imposed Iraq war, this city sustained great losses and after the war vast efforts were taken to rehabilitate it. Kermanshah is the capital of the Kermanshah province and is located at a distance of 526 km. from Tehran.

Paveh (Oramanat)

Paveh is located in the Oramanat Mountainous region and to the extreme northwest of the province. From the west it is limited to Iraq. Paveh has cold winters and temperate summers. The small mountainous city of Paveh is to the northwest of Kermanshah and located at a distance of 636 km. from Tehran. The name of Paveh is attributed to Paveh, one of the commanders of Yazdgerd III, who in order to seek the Kurd support settled in this region and was extremely respected by the people of this territory. The Dej and Pasgah forts which have remained since then are the relics of that era. The word Oramanat is derived from the word Uortan or Uorman and related to sacred Zoroastrian anthems.

Qasr-e-Shirin

Qasr-e-Shirin lies at a distance of 692 km. from Tehran, and is located to the northwest of Kermanshah. The climate of this city is warm and from this point of view it is distinctive from the other townships of the province. Qasr-e-Shirin is one of the ancient cities of Iran related to the Khosrow Parviz era. It was thriving during the Achaemenian period. Around the present city the ruins of the ancient Qasr-e-Shirin, has been remained together with a collection of demolished stone and walls. It is said that during the rule of Khosrow Parviz there was a large garden with beautiful palaces. Out of which the most famous were Khosrow and Shirin Palaces. Qasr-e-Shirin till 1270 AH. was a small town. But in the World War I became the border town for the German and Ottoman soldiers from one hand and for English and Russian soldiers on the other hand. During the Iran-Iraq war Qasr-e-Shirin was demolished, but after the conclusion of the war it was renovated. Now this city has expanded and has changed to attractive and large area.

Sahneh

Sahneh is located to the east of Kermanshah and has mountainous and temperate climate. The region of Sahneh was a part of the province but in recent years has been changed to an independent township. The limits of this region is one of the old and historical zones of this province and holds vestiges and monuments of the past periods. Sahneh is located en route of Kermanshah – Tehran Road and is at a distance of 586 km. from Tehran.

Sar Pol-e-Zahab

The township of Sar Pol-e-Zahab is located in the west of the province and is limited to Iraq from its western borders. Its climate is warm but in some parts temperate. This city is located at the distance of 665 km. from Tehran. Sar Pol-e-Zahab is near the ruins of the ancient city of Halvan and a ruined castle can be also seen near the same. Sar Pol-e-Zahab was considered as a castle and frontier base of Iran, which was destroyed in the Arab invasion to Iran, and only some remnants of its brick laid pillars have remained. In historical books it has been mentioned as the center of Halvan state. The name of “Sar Pol” has been taken from a bridge on Alvandoo River and the suffix of “Zahab” was due to the abundance of springs and wetlands. This city with its natural attractions sustained losses in the imposed war but after the conclusion of the war it was renovated.

Sonqor 

The township of Sonqor is located in the northeast of Kermanshah and has a mountainous and temperate climate. The same is at a distance of 612 km. from Tehran. The word Sonqor means a hunting bird. In the Saljuqi period the commanders of Sonqor were known as Aqa Sonqor. During the reign of Shah Esmail Safavieh II, Sonqor was under the rule of “Soulaq Hossain Taklou”. During the reign of Shah Tahmasb I, a rule of Sonqor and Kalhor was established in this territory and was given to the Zangeneh tribal chiefs. In the Afshariyeh and Zandieh reigns the rule of Sonqor was given to the chiefs of the Kalyaie tribes and then after “Khosow Khan Ardalan”, governor of Kurdestan was appointed as ruler of this city.
During the rule of Fathali Shah Qajar, his son Fathollah Mirza was appointed as a governor of Sonqor. This area was then merged with Kangavar, Malayer and Towiserkan and brought under the rule of Sheikhali Mirza, the son of Fathali Shah. At present Sonqor and Koliaee are attractive and beautiful regions of Kermanshah which are placed in a level and beautiful plain alongside a river, with beautiful gardens and groves surrounding it, thereby increasing its values regarding tourism.

Historical Monuments

Anahita Temple, Kangavar

In Kangavar, on an elevated rocky platform, is the remnants of a majestic structure. The same belongs to the pre-Islamic era and was known as Anahita. The name of this temple is depicted from Anahita (Nahid) who was a deity and gaurd angel of water, abundance and blessing. Some believe that the structure dates back to the Parthian era, whilst upon this relic the evidences of this period and the early Islamic era can also be noted. According to scientific researches, the architectural characteristics of this temple have acquired inspiration from that of the Achaemenian age.

 

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The main structure of the Anahita temple is a quadrilateral one. Its ramparts being 230 m. in length, and its thickness in most of the parts is 18 m. which reveals the archaic grandeur and magnificence of this structure.

 

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The stairway of the temple is bilateral and closely attached to the wall. The difference between the lowest and highest point of the structure is 30 m. and is in a form of steps, similar to the Achaemenian structures. At the foot of the eastern wall of the structure is a cemetery which is related to the Parthian era. It is noted that the deceased have been buried in such a way to face the Anahita structure.

 

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Goor Dakhmeh Darband, Sonqor

This large rectangular shaped crypt is a historical remnant in the city of Sonqor, from the times of the Meads. The outstanding features of the same are its impression and guide lines of Ahoura Mazda, that is a sun with wings displayed on the facade of the crypt.

 

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Bistoon Inscription, Bistoon

The primary scientific studies regarding the engravements and inscriptions of Bistoon were made in 1835, by Henry Rawlinson, a young British officer. After which this research was carried on by several scientists who added their discoveries to this historical treasure. The text of this inscription was engraved in the breast of the mountain in 522 BC. by a decree from Dariush. The same relates to the war which lasted for two and a half years, between him and his opponents in order to gain power.

 

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Encircling the Bistoon impression is an epigraph in three languages, named as, the ancient Parsi, Elamite and a Babylonian dialect. The Elamite text is to the right of the impression, the second to the left, running parallel to the Parsi text. Whereas, the Babylonian text stands above that of the second Elamite inscription. Additional and complete translations can be observed in the surroundings and to the right. The ancient Parsi text is in 414 lines and engraved in a beautiful uniform script on a polished surface. In all the epigraphs of Dariush the Achaemenian begins with the phrase “King Dariush proclaims” and this is repeated throughout his decrees, emphasizing the grandeur and greatness of the power of this monarch. This sovereign owned his victory to Ahura Mazda and thus offered a religious effect to the epigraph to a great extent. This view can be noted and brought to light specially in the fourth column of the inscription.

 

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Taq-e-Bostan Engraving, Kermanshah

The “Taq-e-Bostan” (Bostan Arch) or “Taq-e-Vostan” (Vostan Arch) is situated to the right of the city entrance of Kermanshah, and is to the north east of this city. This aggregate which comprises of engravings and epigraphs is related to the Sassanide era. The same is located in the mountain, and together with the natural surroundings, a gorgeous landscape comes into view. On entering this area, the first epigraph is related to Ardeshir II. Ardeshir stands between Ahoura Mazda and Mitra. His face turned towards Ahoura Mazda, and his left hand receiving a wreath of friendship from Ahoura Mazda. Under their feet lies the enemy or “Ahriman”.

 

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After this epigraph there is a smaller arch, which depicts the figures of Shapour II and his son Shapour III, and above each of these impression the personalities of epigraph have been introduced in Pahlavi Sassanide script. In the third section of this aggregate there are beautiful epigraphs throughout, revealing winged angels, the tree of life, boar hunting in the groves, duck hunting etc.… together with a group of musicians bringing about a festive atmosphere. Below the epigraph is an armed rider on a horse. Some believe this to be “Pirouz Sassanid”, whilst others take this personality to be “Khosrow Parviz”.

 

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Religious Monuments

Moavenol Molk Mourning Place, Kermanshah

The mourning place and Hossainieh of Moavenol Molk comprises of 3 buildings such as the Abbasieh, Hossaineh and Zeinabieh, located in the city center of Kermanshah. The Tekieh has 2 courtyards and a building in the center.

 

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The Hossainieh walls are covered and adorned with beautiful multi colored tiles. Portraits of great personalities of the times have been painted by delicate paint brushes and attractive colors on the tiles. The subject of some of these tile works are related to the historical and mythological episodes besides religious traditions such as: Hazrat Soleiman, the Karbala and Ashoura events, and tales of Rostam and Sohrab.

 

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Kermanshah Jame’ Mosque, Kermanshah

This mosque is placed in Kermanshah city and is a relic from the late Zandieh period which in 1196 AH. was constructed appearently at the site of the former mosque by Alikhan Zanganeh, the governor of Kermanshah. What has remained from the mosque old building, is part of the pillared nocturnal area and the octagonal vestibule. The present nocturnal area, with the exception of the altar, has no special adornments. In the southwest corner of the building, are stairs which have been built for gaining access to the top floor that was perhaps used to be a part of a school. At the beginning and to the right hand side of the entrance, there are three inscriptions dating 1200 AH. The same is relevant to matters concerning the purchase, sale and endowments of the said mosque.

 

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Natural Attractions

Sarab Niloofar Wetland, Kermanshah

The Niloofar Sarab (wetland) is located 30 km. northwest of Kermanshah and in THE Kermanshah – Kouzran road. This wetland has a large pool covered with lotus flowers. The same is a recreational area, besides which fishing is also possible here.

 

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Qoori Qal’eh Cave, Paveh

Among the oak forests of Oramanat and Paveh at a distance of 90 km. from Kermanshah, exists the Qoori Qaleh Cave which is considered the largest cave with water in Asia. This cave begins in the Qoori Qaleh Village and according to people continues till Iraq. In 1989, a group of mountaineer of the mountain Climbing Institute of the province succeeded in discovering the internal portion of the cave and its various halls.

 

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This group in addition to gaining access to the depth of the cave discovered about 12 dark and meandering paths and mapped them. The Qoori Qaleh Cave is about 3,140 m. in length. In this cave a rare species of bats has been seen. Some articles related to a relic of an ancient Sassanide castle nearby have been discovered. a variation of colors and oblique pillars and waterfalls are unique characteristics of the Qoori Qaleh Cave.

 

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Culture and Art

Handicrafts and Souvenirs, Kermanshah

Kermanshah since long has been one of the most famous handicrafts centers of Iran. The most important handicrafts and gifts of the province that mainly are produced by the villagers and tribes are: Carpet, Kilim, Jajims or a loosely woven material, Kitchen implements, traditional kitchen wares and wooden articles, Giveh (local shoes), metal engraving, glassware, felt and leather products, and its famous sweet-meat mainly Kak.

 

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Kermanshah Museum, Kermanshah

The said aggregate in one of the religious and historical structures of the Qajar period granted to the then Ministry of Culture by the family of Moavenol Molk.. A major portion of this edifice has undergone repairs by the cultural Heritage Organization with impressions or portraits of clergies and mystics. It comprises of three sections named as Hosseinieh, Zeinabieh and Abbasieh. The Abbasieh section with tile-work walls, adorned with paintings of scientists, mystics, poets and kings comprises of two floors. The second floor is devoted to the anthropology museum. The first floor is the archaeological section of the museum.  

 

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Local and Regional Foods, Kermanshah

In urban and rural areas and among the tribes of Kermanshah different types of local food can be seen. Out of which we can point out soups, side dishes, broth and different breads, different kinds of Aash, Koofteh Berenji, Khamkoo, Shami Kabab, Shirdaq, Shiriej, Kashkak, Halim Goosht, Qormeh, etc.

 

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Universities

The Governmental universities in Kermanshah province

Kermanshah University of Medical Sciences, Razi University.

The Islamic Azad universities in Kermanshah province

Islamic Azad University of Kermanshah.

Local Music and Dances, Kermanshah 

Kurdish music, at first was epic and heroic. Verse-readers who were the most ancient Kurdestan composers were often illiterate. But since earlier centuries till today heroic stories have been converted to poem and composition accompanied with the melodies of the kettle drum and trumpet. Later on, melodies, tunes and heroic tunes entered Kurdish music: The types of Kurdish instruments in Kermanshah are as follows:
Kettle drum and trumpet: These are usually used in wedding and mourning ceremonies. The sound of these instruments either conduct the singers or played mourning of tunes in “Chamry” ceremonies. Generally, players are gypsies who are reputed as Qarahchi and Kharrat. The Drum, tambourine, Shemshal: These are played by gypsies and used in heroic, epic and mystical ceremonies. Today, there is at least one group of traditional musicians in every Kurdish village. The players and singers of the area perform to obtain a spiritual affect only. An instrument similar to a guitar is also considered sacred. This is generally played in the foothills of the Zagross. Kordish dances are rhythmic, forming a unity in all body movements. In most of the Kurdish dances the dancers hold hands, taking steps in one direction, similar to militia. The famous Kord dances are as follows: Geryaneh, Broodova, Chapi, Separseh, Jar, Sehpa and Fatah Pashaii.

 

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Dance in Wedding Ceremony

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Traditional Dance