Introduction Geography & Climate History kurdistan today

1.1. Introduction

KURDISTAN province, not to be confused with the greater geographical area of Iranian Kurdistan, covers area of 28,203 km² where encompasses just one-fourth of the Kurdish inhabited areas of Iran or Iranian Kurdistan. It is located in the west of Iran and bound by Iraq on the west, the province of west Azerbaijan to the north, Zanjan to the northeast and Kermanshah to the south. The capital of Kurdistan Province is the city of Sanandaj (Kurdish: Sinne). There are 10 counties in the province including Marivan,Baneh, Saqqez, Qorveh, Bijar, Kamyaran, Dehgolan, Diwandarreh, Sarvabad and Sanandaj.
The population of the province is estimated as 1,400,000 of which 52% are evaluated as urban dwellers and 48% as rural dwellers. The Kurdish people are the majority population in this province, and they speak Sorani-Kurdish which is a northwestern Iranian language. The region's historical name is Ardalan.
The Kurdish language is categorized under the Indo-European group of languages, with a distinctive grammatical form. This language has various branches in Iran, such as the Sorani, Hewrami, Feyli, Kalhuri and Kurmanji. Majority of the people in Kurdistan province speak variants of Sorani Kurdish, sometimes called as "Ardalani" dialect. Hewrami Kurdish is also spoken around Marivan, in a region called "Hewramanî Text"(The Flat Hawraman). In eastern parts of the province including Bijar and Qorveh, the majority are Shiite Kurds. There also exists an Azeri minority in the villages around Qorveh.
Kurdistan central coordination locates in 35.3113°N 46.9960°E. Sanandaj or Senna (Sine or Kursan as it is known by the majority of the locals) is the capital of the Iranian province of Kurdistan.
It has an estimated population of 350,000. The city of Sanandaj is the capital of the province, and lies at a distance of 512 km from Tehran, 1,480 m above sea level. It is also the administrative centre of Sannandaj County as well as of a district (bakhsh) with the same name as the city.
The name "Sanandaj" is a variant of the Kurdish name "Sinedijh" (Sine fortress).
The name of Senna, seems to be a contraction of Sadkania (100 springs), a title given to the medieval town of Sisar to avoid confusion with other towns named Sisar in the neighboring regions. Sisar may be identified with Sisiri (or Sisirti) of the Assyrian period. Sisiri was a fortess on the land of Kharkhar (preserved in the name of the neighbouring Khorkhora River), on the frontier of the land of Ellipi.

1.2. Geography and Climate


KURDISTAN province is a mountainous region that can be topographically divided into a western and an eastern section at Sanandaj. As a result of its elevation and mountains, 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.
The Zarrineh River, 302 km long, is one of the longest rivers of this province. Its banks offer great opportunities for recreation and the river's plentiful water renders itself ideal for water sports. This river runs northwards and ultimately pours into Lake Urmia. The Sirvan River is another prominent river in this province. It runs over a long distance, eventually to join the Tigris in Iraq. The banks of this river are remarkably attractive. The Simineh River is also an important river in this province. A large number of marine species and birds live on the banks of the province's numerous rivers which they seem to find ideal habitats.
Lake Zarivar is the most beautiful water-way of the province, which lies at the feet to high mountains, providing a delightfully picturesque sight. Its water is sparklingly fresh. The lake has a maximum depth of 50 m and an average depth of 3 m. It is surrounded by thick forests. The whole collection of the lake, the mountains and forests generates a fascinating panorama. This lake, which has a length of 5 km and a maximum which width of 1.7 km, lies to the west of Marivan. Lake Vahdat's dam, to the north of Sanandaj (Sinne), provides excellent opportunities for fishing and water-sports.
Kurdistan benefits from many resourceful mineral water springs. The most outstanding of these are: Govaz to the northwest of Kamyaran, Abetalkh close to Bijar and Baba Gorgor to the north of Qorveh.
Cave Kereftoo, close to Divandarreh, is a unique natural and at the same time archeological site. Inside the cave there are a number of ancient buildings known as the Temple of Heraclius, because the name of this Greek god is carved on the ceiling of one of the halls. Cave Shoovi, 267 m long, is another prominent cave, which lies near the city of Baneh.
Mount Charkhaln 3,330 m high, mount Chehelcheshmeh, 3,173 m, Mount Hossein Bak, 3,091 m, and Mount Masjede Mirza, 3,059 m, are the other large mountains of Kurdistan.
Kurdistan has vast forests and refuges, where many animals and birds live, safely from the harms of the human beings: the leopard, ram, wild goat, hyena, jackal, wolf, fox, sable, weasel and such birds as the partridge, wild duck, stork, parrot and eagle
Kurdistan is one of the most mountainous (hilly) 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.
Sanandaj has a pleasant weather in spring and summer. The average seasonal temperature in Sanandaj is 15.20 °C in spring, 25.20 °C in summer, 10.40 °C in autumn and 1.60 °C in winter. In a 30-year long study carried out on the climate of Sanandaj, the maximum absolute temperature was found to be 44 °C, the minimum absolute –31 °C, and the average annual temperature 13.10 °C. The average relative humidity was 69% at 06:30 hours and 38% at 12:30 hours. The average annual rainfall was 497.3 mm and the maximum daily, 61 mm. The average number of frosty days was 111.4; and the maximum number of hours of sunshine over the entire year 2,786.2.

1.3. History

The rich, beautiful and mountainous lands of this area first encouraged Aryan tribes to settle in this region after their immigration to Iran. It was from here where the first plan to overthrow the Assyrians began, leading to their defeat in 612 BCE, and setting the stage for commencing the Median Empire.
When the Islamic Arabs attacked the Sassanid Empire in 634 CE, many Kurds resisted their invasion, but were eventually brought under Muslim rule. In 835 CE, one of the Kurdish leaders revolted against Al-Mu'tasim, but was eventually suppressed. The Kurds revolted against the Arab Caliphs several times but were defeated.
During the next few hundred years, Kurdistan became the arena of conflict between various invaders, including the Mongols and Timurids. Its steady decline began in the 16th century, when sea traffic replaced the famous Silk Road.
Upon the order of Sultan Muhammad Khodabandeh (Öljaitü), a small town by the name of Soltanabad Chamchal was constructed in Bisutun region to function as the official and political center of Kurdistan in the Middle Ages. It remained the capital for nearly one-and-a-half centuries, until, in 1372 CE, the government moved to Hassanabad fort, 6 km south ofSanandaj (Sinne). Around 14th century, people from Ardalan tribe established themselves in Sinne (Sanandaj) as the rulers of this region.
According to Sharafnama written by Sharaf-al-Din Bitlisi, the earliest known leader of the tribe, Bawa Ardalan, was a descendant of "Ahmad b. Marwan", who ruled in Diyarbakir. He settled down among the Gorans in Kurdistan and toward the end of the Mongol period took over the "Sare Zor" (Sharazur) region, where he established himself as an absolute ruler. He is considered to be the founder of the Ardalan principality. The territories of Zardiawa (Karadagh), Khanaqin, Kirkuk, and Kifri, which were already the homelands of the Goran-Kurds, all belonged to this principality. The capital city of the principality was first in Sharazour, but was moved to Sinne later on. During the reign of Shah Ismail I, the founder of Safavid dynasty, Sunni Kurds (among them the Ardalans) were supported by Ottoman against the Shi'ite government of the Safavids. When Soleiman Khan Ardalan came to power in 1630 CE, the throne was transferred to Sanandaj (Sinne), and, from then on, the rulers contributed to the flourishing and development of the area.
The Ardalan Dynasty continued to rule the region until the Qajar monarch Nasser-al-Din Shah (1848-1896) ended their rule in 1867 CE.
Iran's Cultural Heritage Organization lists 211 sites of historical and cultural significance in Kordestan province. Some, such as Hajar Khatoon Mosque in Sanandaj or Ghal'eh Kohneh in Bijar date back to the Sassanid era.
Sanandaj is a rather new city and was built less than 400 years ago by the Ardalanprincipality in 17th century. After the Islamic conquest in AD 642, majority of the inhabitants accepted Islam.
Suleyman Khan Ardalan the governor of the region constructed the Sine dijh (castle) during the Shah Safi period (1629–1642). Sanandaj was under the control of the Ardalan household for four centuries. In the war between the Safavids and the Ottomans, this family sometimes sided with the Safavids and sometimes with the Ottomans. In 1733, Karim Khan Zand took control of the city.
After a period of chaos, Khusrow Khan Ardalan took over power in this part of Kurdistan. From 1799 to 1824, Amanolah Khan Ardalan, son of Khusrow Khan Ardalan governed, ruled in Sanandaj. He worked to build up and inprove Sanandaj. In 1867, due to the dissatisfaction of the inhabitants, Haj Mirza Mu'tamid-u-lleh, the uncle of Nasser-al-Din Shah, came to power. He governed in the region until the year 1874.
The main landmark of Sanandaj is a fortress dating back to the period of Abbasid rule. Sanandaj was very prosperous in the Safavid era. It was later chosen to be the capital of this province and is presently one of the most prominent cities of western Iran.
Some major historical and geographical attractions of Kurdistan include:

1.4. KURDISTAN today

According to the The Kurdish language is categorized under the Indo-European group of languages, with a distinctive grammatical form. This language has various branches in Iran, such as the Sorani, Hewrami, Feyli, Kalhuri and Kurmanji. Majority of the people in Kurdistan province speak variants of Sorani Kurdish, sometimes called as "Ardalani" dialect. Hewrami Kurdish is also spoken around Marivan, in a region called "Hewramanî Text"(The Flat Hawraman). In eastern parts of the province including Bijar and Qorveh, the majority are Shiite Kurds. There also exists an Azeri minority in the villages around Qorveh.
The major activities of the inhabitants are agriculture and modern livestock farming. Wheat, barley, grains and fruits are the major agricultural products. The chemical, metal, textile, leather and food industries are the main industrial activities in this province.
Main academic centers of the province include

As in most other parts of Iran, carpet weaving is one of the most significant handicrafts of the region, especially in Bijar and Sanandaj, Shaw, kilim and jajim weaving. Wood work and jewelry and ornaments are among other main handicrafts of this province. The unique art of crafting backgammon boards utilizing genuine wood from walnut trees up to 1000 years old, mostly grown wild inside small valleys high up in the Zagros mountains must be noted. These magnificent trees were sadly overharvested during the past 50 years, exported to Europe, mainly to Italy.