Kermanshah City of Heroes
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: Kermanshah Province
Kermanshah Province is one of the 31 provinces of Iran. It is located in the West of the country. Its capital is the city of Kermanshah. Kermanshah has a moderate and mountainous climate.
Major cities and towns: Eslamabad-e Gharb, Paveh, Harsin, Kangavar, Sonqor, Javanrood, Salas-e-babajani, Ravansar, Dalahoo, Gilan-e Gharb, Sahneh, Qasr-e Shirin and Sarpol-e-Zahab.
The language spoken by the majority of people is Kermanshahi Kurdish and Kermanshahi Persian.
- Handicrafts and Souvenirs of Kermanshah
Kermanshah since long time ago has been one of the most famous handicraft centers of Iran. The most important handicrafts and gifts of the province that mainly are produced by the villagers and tribes are:
Carpet, Gelim, Jajims or a loosely woven material, Kitchen implements, traditional kitchenware and wooden articles, Giveh (local shoes), metal engraving, glassware, felt and leather products, and its famous sweets mainly Kak.
- Local and Regional Foods of 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, Khoreshte Khalal, etc.
- Local Music and Dances of Kermanshah
Kurdish music at first was epic and heroic. Verse-readers who were the most ancient Kurdistan composers were often illiterate. However, since earlier centuries up until today, heroic stories have been converted to poems and compositions accompanied 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 conducts the singers or plays 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. Kurdish 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. The famous Kurdish dances are as follows: Geryaneh, Broodova, Chapi, Separseh, Jar, Sehpa and Fatah Pashaii.
This province has hundreds of tourist attractions and historical monuments. The followings are just a few of these tourist charms which attract tens of thousands of people from Iran and across the world each year.
Alongside the Bistoon - Kermanshah Road, is an embossment of a heroic figure leaning against a piece of lion skin. This embossment shows a powerful man with curly hair and beard. He is leaning on his left side under the shelter of a tree. To its left hand side a cup is seen. In this impression, the right hand of the figure is placed on the right foot, whereas the left foot leans on the right one. The length of this statue is 147 cm. Behind the said statue, inscriptions and images can be observed in ancient Latin or Greek script.
The same is very similar to that of the Grecian temples an impression alongside the inscription reveals a tree with a double pointed bow hanging on a branch, besides an archers sheath or quiver full of arrows also hanging from a branch of the tree. On the two sides of the platform on which the statue is located, a rampart of stone can be observed. The same is of non-sculptured stone and covered with gypsum.
Bistoon Archaeological Region
The Behestan Mountains with a height of about 2,794 m above sea level is located to the right side of the Kermanshah - Hamadan Road. This mountain in different periods was called by the names of Boqestan, Begestan and Bistoon, and today is known as Bistoon.
Bistoon is alongside the ancient Silk Road and is located at the crossing point of Iran's western roads. In this area of the Zagross slopes, there are abundant gushing springs, which have caused the area to flourish and there is a resting point for the travelers and a location for caravans to stop. The Bistoon region due to its special importance in different ancient historical periods, has evidences from various eras, right up to the Safavid period.
The "Taq-e-Bostan" (Bostan Arch) or "Taq-e-Vostan" (Vostan Arch) is situated to the right side of the city entrance of Kermanshah, and is to the north east of the city. This aggregate which comprises of engravings and epigraphs is related to the Sassanid 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".
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 Sassanid 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".
Near the city of Harsin there is the ruins of a Sassanid palace. This palace belongs to the era of Shapour Sassanid I. Inside the palace there is a fire-temple and an altar for sacrifice. The signs and elements of this structure show that Shapour Sassanid wished to leave this palace as a relic of his times. This palace which was once a majestic site, and a recreational area for the king is currently in a form of a ruined hillock.
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 guard 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 Achaemenid age.
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. 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 Achaemenid 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.
Koocheh Brick Bridge
To the north of the Koocheh Village, in the vicinity of Goodin Village of Kangavar is a brick bridge. This is a construction belonging to the Shah Abbas era, and lies in a west to east direction on the Ab Khoram. The same is 68.80 m in length, the base of which, till the right of the arched openings is made of slabs of stone. The foundation of these base pillars are filled with cobbled stones in between these columns and covered with a brick layer. All the five openings of the bridge arches are worked in a zigzag fashion. Its northern opening, from the western direction runs in a zigzag style, whereas, from the eastern direction it is of a crescent shaped. On both ends of this bridge are embankments made of slabs of stone, mortar, clay and gypsum.
This spring is a famous spring of Kangavar that originates from the hill slopes in the north of Kangavar. This spring irrigates the Abdol spring sector. The Imam Allah Khan Aslani castle is fed from the branches of this spring.
Sarab Kangavar River
The Sarab Kangavar River is 40 km in length and takes its source from eastern slopes of the Amrouleh Mountains which is at a 75 km distance northeast of Kermanshah. After passing the Hezar Khan Sarab, Khoram Abad Villages and… adjoins several tributaries from west Kangavar, forming the Khoram Rood River. The same after passing various villages joins the Qarah Chay and Gamasiyab Rivers. The surroundings of this river have recreational values.
The primary scientific studies regarding the engraved stones 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.
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 Achaemenid 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.
Moavenol Molk Mourning Place
The mourning place and Hosseinieh of Moavenol Molk comprises of 3 buildings such as the Abbasieh, Hosseinieh and Zeinabieh, located in the city center of Kermanshah. The Tekieh has 2 courtyards and a building in the center. The Hosseinieh 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.
Protected Wildlife Zones and Hunting Sites
In the past, Kermanshah was one of the important wildlife zones of Iran. Engravings of the Taq-e-Bostan margin shows the aspects of this hunting ground. In the groves and highlands of the province, various types of birds both migratory and endemic are seen. The most important of the endemic birds are: partridge, dull yellow partridge, turtle dove, and dove. The most important of migrant birds are, duck and goose that are mainly seen in winter. Due to intensive hunting in this region, other species of birds are decreasing in number such as the rare species of bustard. Wild animals namely are the, leopard, bear, wild goat, wolf, jackal, fox, bore and bear. The most important of these hunting grounds are, Sahneh, Kenar Gamasiyab, Bortaj, Alvand and Abgarm.
Sarab Niloofar Wetland
The Niloofar Sarab (wetland) is located 30 km northwest of Kermanshah and on 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.
Qoori Qal'eh Cave
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. 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 Sassanid castle nearby have been discovered. A variation of colors and oblique pillars and waterfalls are among the unique features of the Qoori Qaleh Cave.
Goor Dakhmeh Darband
This large rectangular shaped crypt is a historical remnant in the city of Sonqor, from the times of the Medes. 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.