Kurdistan Province


Kurdistan Province located in the northwestern part of Iran covers a wide geographic area (28,203 kilometers) and has over 200 kms of shared border with Iraqi Kurdistan. Its neighbouring provinces are West Azarbaijan (north) and Zanjan (north and east), Hamedan (east), Kermanshah (south) Based on the last official state divisions in 2003, the province consists of 9 cities, 23 towns, 23 districts, 79 rural districts and 1,767 villages. The capital of the province is Sanandaj which is 512 kilometers from Tehran. The major cities of this province are Baneh, Bijar, Diwandareh , Saqiz, Qorveh, Kamyaran, Sarvabad and Mariwan (see map). As per the last population census in 2003, Kurdistan Province has 1,574,119 inhabitants and the most populated cities being, in the order mentioned, Sanandaj (419,750 people) and Saghez.


Natural and Climatic Conditions

Kurdistan Province is a mountainous region with an average altitude of 200 0 meters above sea level, making it the highest province in the country. It extends over high plains and within vast valleys of the region. The highest and the lowest points of the province are Mount Shaho and Aloot region with altitudes of 3300 and 900 meters , respectively making the height difference between the highest and the lowest points of the province 2,400 meters. This difference, in turn, creates different kinds of climates in the region with mild springs and summers and cold winters.  Other significant mountain peaks of this province are Abidar, Soltan Serajeddin, Awalan (to the south of Sanandaj), Shahneshin (in Zhawarood), Kocheksar (to the south of Sanandaj), and Charkhalan (to the southwest of Sanandaj).


Most people in Kurdistan Province are engaged in agriculture and modern livestock farming. The natural climatic conditions of the region as well as its fertile lands make the province an ideal place for the aforementioned industry. Wheat, barley, grains and fruits are the major agricultural products. The chemical, metal, textile, leather and food industries are the other main industries in this province.


Handicrafts of Kurdistan Province in western Iran reflect its people’s culture and were developed as per the needs of the people. The carpet-weaving and wood works of the Province have attracted world-wide attention and popularity. Kurdish carpets and rugs are famous due to their unique Kurdish designs, natural dyes and textiles used in their weaving. The cities of Bijar and Sanandaj are known for their high-quality carpets. A traditional weaving method known as Julai is used to make traditional Kurdish men’s clothing fabric by specialist weavers known as Julais. Other woven products include Mowj (which is used for wrapping mattresses, pillows and blankets) and Ja-Namaz (a type of prayer mat). Another example of handwoven product is Klash which is a type of footwear produced in Kurdish speaking areas and is highly suitable for mountainous regions due to the flexibility of its sole. The Klash’s light weight makes it a popular choice among Kurds even today in the dry seasons.
Kurdistan Province is renowned for the intricately designed chessboards and backgammon boards and has earned a reputation for handcrafting beautiful musical instruments, in large part due to the abundance of high quality wood in the region.
The province also boasts a wealth of musical talents which have lent credence to the area’s reputation. Kurdish musical instruments include the Qernête (a double reed musical instrument) and the tembûr (a fretted string instrument). Other wooden products produced in Kurdistan include pipes, hubble-bubbles, wooden chests and make-up boxes.
Other handicrafts which are produced in this province are stone products, basket weaving, jewelry and ornaments, and leather products.
The province boasts various local confectioneries such as Konjed Gazanbin, Badam-Sukhteh, Baslogh, and Nan-Berenji. From among these confectioneries Konjed is specifically made in the provincial capital Sanandaj and is highly favored by tourists.

Kurdish Culture and Language

One of the most important attractions of the province is its cultural features such as language, ethnic music, ethnic costume, ethnic dance, festivals, celebrations, and handicrafts. People in this province speak Kurdish as their first language. The Kurdish language is a west Iranian language related to Farsi and Pashto and like Farsi is a branch of the Indo-European languages. It has its own grammatical and writing regulations as a language. Due to the sporadic dispersion of Kurdish population and the vastness of Kurdistan ("Land of the Kurds"), this language has two main dialects and some sub dialects. The existence of various dialects has made this language very rich in terms of the number of vocabularies; and the melodic tone of its vocabularies has tremendously enriched the literary and musical practices.

Kurdish dance or Halparkeh mirrors the past history of Kurdish people and by 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 inner feelings and moods. Kurdish dance has so many varieties throughout Kurdistan, but Sanandaj and Mariwan are two famous and rich cities in this regard and the varieties danced are named as follows: Garyan, Peshtpa, Halgerten, Fatah Pashayee, Chopi, Zangi, Shlan, Sehjar, and Khanameeri. Traditional musical instruments are still used for dancing to but modern electrical musical instruments are in wider use.
Kurdistan boasts one of the most beautiful costumes in the world. As it is written by many tourists in their travel books, Kurdish costumes are absolutely unique in terms of beauty, delicacy and color. Due to their positive attributes they have won the first place in several international festivals. Traditional Kurdish clothes are still widely used in everyday life in many parts of the province and gain special significance at weddings and religious ceremonies.