Those craving to see what has been left of early civilizations
on Earth come to see Kermanshah province in Western Iran, where the best
and most powerful Iranian heroes were born or lived and where remnants,
inscriptions and monuments of ancient Persia can be readily found.
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
- 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
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
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
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
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
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.