Iranian Kurdistan

Travel Guide Middle East Iran Iranian Kurdistan

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Introduction

Kurdistan Province (Persian: استان کردستان‎, Ostān-e Kordestān) is one of the 31 provinces of Iran. The province of Kurdistan is 28,817 km² in area which encompasses just one-fourth of the areas in Iran inhabited by Kurds. It is located in the west of Iran, in Region 3, and bound by Iraq on the west, the province of West Azerbaijan to its north, Zanjan to the northeast, Hamedan to the east and Kermanshah to the south. The capital of Kurdistan Province is the city of Sanandaj (Kurdish: Sinne‎). Other counties with their major cities are Marivan, Baneh, Saqqez, Qorveh, Piranshahr, Bijar, Kamyaran, Dehgolan, Diwandarreh and Sarvabad.

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Geography

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 kilometres 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 metres and an average depth of 3 metres. It is surrounded by thick forests. The lake, the mountains and the forests create a scenic panorama. This lake, which has a length of 5 kilometres and a maximum which width of 1.7 kilometres, 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 Province 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 metres high, mount Chehelcheshmeh, 3,173 metres, Mount Hossein Bak, 3,091 metres, and Mount Masjede Mirza, 3,059 metres, are the other large mountains of Kurdistan.

Kurdistan Province 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.

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People and culture

The population of the province in 1996 was 1,346,383 of which 52.42% were urban dwellers and 47.58% rural dwellers. According to National Census, in 2011 population of Kurdistan Province was 1,493,645 out of which 66% lived in urban area.The Kurdish people are the majority population in this province, and they speak Sorani-Kurdish which is a northwestern Iranian language. There is also a significant Azeri minority in Qorveh and Bijar. 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.

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Weather

Kurdistan Province 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.

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Keep Connected

Internet

You'll find internet cafes in most cities and even smaller towns now have access to the world wide web. Like other countries with a very strict censorship, the country has strict rules about using the internet and also has a very restricted domestic version, highly unlikely to be used by travellers. Connections are generally good and it's cheap to use as well.

Phone

See also International Telephone Calls

The international country calling code of Iran is +98. Special numbers include 110 for the Police, 115 for Ambulance, 125 for the Fire Department and 112 for calls from mobile phones. Iran Telecom is the main telecommunication company in the country and provides, together with Irancell, almost all mobile services as well. You can find a complete list of telephone codes at Farsinet.com.

Irancell (MTN), MCI, Iran Taliya and Rightel offer pre-paid SIM cards for international travelers starting at IRR60,000. It is possible to buy recharge cards from all newsstands and supermarkets for IRR20,000. GPRS, MMS, and 3G services are also available at very low prices, specially at night, for surfing the web or checking your email.

Post

The I.R. Iran Post Service is the national postal service in Iran. Services are fairly reliable and cheap, but rather slow. It usually takes at least several weeks for your letter or postcard to arrive in European countries, longer for other Western areas. Post officies generally are open from around 7:30am to 3:00pm Saturday to Thursday, so the main offices in big cities tend to have somewhat longer hours. Your best bet is to visit in the morning if you need to use their services. Stamps can usually be bought at small shops and kiosks as well. Sending parcels is more expensive but also quicker and more reliable with international companies like FedEx, DHL, TNT and UPS.

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This is version 4. Last edited at 10:52 on Apr 30, 18 by Utrecht. No articles link to this page.

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