A Guide to Kurdistan Province

Kurdistan is one of the northwestern provinces in Iran. Kurdistan of Iraq bounds this province on the west. Its northern neighbor is West Azerbaijan. On the other hand, Zanjan, Hamedan, and Kermanshah cities surround Kurdistan Province. The capital of this province is the ever-green city of Sanandaj. As its name suggests, Kurdistan is the Country of the Kurds. Accordingly, the majority of its population are Kurds. Notably, this province is on the northwestern parts of the Zagros Mountain Range. Therefore this mountainous region has many picturesque landscapes, including rivers, lakes, valleys, and caves. Also, the historical and cultural attractions of Kurdistan are notable in their way. In this post, we get into the points that make Kurdistan an exceptional travel destination. We will also talk about its attractions, history, Local Food, how to get around, and more.


The Story of Kurdistan

For telling the story of Kurdistan, it is better to ponder upon the history of Kurds. Before the advent of Islam, Kurds were among the mountain dwellers of the east of Zagros Mountain. These mountain tribes expanded their dwellings to the southern parts. That is how, Sanandaj, the capital of Kurdistan Province, and Kermanshah became the land of the Kurds. In the history of Iran, the Kurds are the guardians of the land of Persia. That is due to their heroic acts and persistence during different Battles, Revolts, and World Wars. Today’s Kurdistan is a part of Kermanshahhan state. Accordingly, it was during the Pahlavi Era, that this state became divided into two Provinces. These two provinces are Kurdistan and Kermanshah.

What Makes Kurdistan Exceptional?

The most exceptional point of interest in this province is its wonderful nature. The mild mountainous spring and summer condition makes Kurdistan a perfect destination for mountain activities. On the other hand, you can enjoy skiing on the snowy slopes of Zagros Mountain during the winter.  The nomadic and village life is another notable attraction of this province. Accordingly, the Uraman-Takht village and Hoyeh village are some of the rarest rural attractions of Kurdistan. These villages are the best places to touch on the Kurdish art, customs, and ceremonies. Also, there are several ancient and historical sites around this province that we will be introducing below. With this in mind, let us get to the history and points of interest of Kurdistan. Also, we will be talking about the handicrafts and Signature Dishes of the province.

Need to Know

People & the cultural customs of Kurdistan

The majority of people speak Kurdish in this province. Accordingly, the locals speak Ardalanî and Gorani that are two of the main dialects of this language. As one of the main ethnic groups in Iran, they hold national and religious ceremonies for different occasions. The Kurdish culture has a close connection with the arts of Music and Dance. Notably, Sanandaj, the capital of Kurdistan, became a part of UNESCO’s Network of Creative Cities in music in 2019.

Some of the significant Kurdish Ceremonies and Festivals

  • Pir Shalyar Festival has mythological and ancient religious roots. According to some sources, it is a celebration of an ancient wedding of a respected clergyman named Pir Shalyar. This ceremony takes place during February (also around may) in Uraman-Takht village.
  • Special ceremonies during Nowruz (Persian New Year) and Yalda Night.
  • Weakly mystical ceremonies.

What is the best time to travel to Kurdistan?

As we mentioned before, Kurdistan enjoys mountainous weather for being in the vicinity of the Zagros Mountain Range. If you are looking for moderate and pleasant weather, you can travel to this province during spring and summer.

In summary, the best time to travel to Kurdistan is:

  • During spring from March to the end of June.
  • From July to the end of summer in September.

Keep in mind that as the autumn begins, the weather gets colder. Accordingly, snowfalls occur around the end of autumn until the end of winter.

What is the best way to get to Kurdistan?

You may find domestic flights from Tehran to Sanandaj, the capital of Kurdistan province. These flights land at Sanandaj Airport. Also, by getting on intercity buses from Tehran, Qazvin, Tabriz, and Rasht, you can reach this city. However, one of the best ways to travel to Kurdistan is by car. In this way, you can also enjoy the lush and colorful sceneries along this road trip. If you need a private guide, driver, or simply if you need to book domestic flights, trains, or intercity buses, you can get the best deals through Travelopersia.

How to get around Kurdistan

While in Kurdistan, you can use public transportation such as the buses to get around. However, the best way to get around is by car.  Accordingly, you can explore this province and its regions by getting a taxis, booking a driver-guide, or renting a car. If you are looking for car rentals for your trips, you can rent a car through Travelopersia.


The City Map

Trip Ideas

Kurdistan’s Points of Interest

Currently, Kurdistan has about 10 regions and several villages. Below, we will be talking about the main cultural and natural attractions of these regions. Moreover, we will be introducing some of the unique villages in Iran that you can visit in Kurdistan. You can find more information on the following attractions by checking out our Blog posts.

Attractions of Sanandaj, the capital of the province

  • Sanandaj Museum in Sheikh-ol Islam Historic House.
  • Traditional Bazaar of Sanandaj and Khan Bath on its northern side.
  • Sanandaj’s Jame Mosque belonging to Qajar era.
  • Abidar Recreational Center (The biggest outdoor cinema screen in the country is a part of the complex).
  • The Kurd House or Asef Mansion (one of the biggest anthropological and ethnic museums in Iran).
  • Khosroabad Mansion.
  • Vakil Mansion.
  • Moshir Diwan Mansion.
  • Hajar-e-Khatoon Shrine.
  • Pir-Omar Shrine.
  • Pir-Mohammad Shrine.
  • Gheshlagh Dam and River.
  • The ancient castle of Ziwiyeh.

Attractions of the town of Sarv-Abad and Uraman Region

  • Breathtaking forests and rivers of Sirwan pass in the Uraman region.
  • Uraman-Takht village with stone houses (one of the step-like villages where the rooftop of a house is the yard of another house).
  • The mosque and shrine of Pir Shalyar.

Attractiond of the city of Mariwan

  • Natural attractions (forests and lakes).
  • Bahsmagh Bazaar (bordering with Iraq).
  • Zeriwar Lake (one of the biggest fresh spring waters) near Mariwan.

Attractions of the city of Diwandareh

  • The Ancient Cave of Karaftoo or Hercules’s temple (according to a greek epigraph).
  • Eco-touristic region of Saral to the west of Diwandareh.
  • Chelcheshmeh Mountainous region to the northwest of Diwandareh.

Other attractions around the province

  • Stepped Villages of Palangan and Tangi-sar near Kamyaran city
  • Saqqez city with historic mosques and Bathhouses.
  • Ski resorts of Bijar city
  • Hoyeh Village and ecolodges
  • Negel Quran in Negel village ( believed to be a 1000-year-old Quran written by the third Khalif)

Local Food & Signature Dishes of Kurdistan

The Kurdish Cuisine includes a variety of ingredients including, vegetables to lamb and chicken meat. Also, dairy products are the base of some of these local dishes. You can try the main Iranian dishes and some local dishes in Kurdistan’s restaurants. Below, there is a list of top Kurdish local dishes that you would want to try.

  • Khoresht-e Rivas (Rhubarb Stew)
  • Tareh Kurdi Khoresht ( Leek Stew)
  • A variety of Polows ( Rice mixtures)
  • Shish Kebab
  • Kurdish Biryani
  • 14 main types of Ash ( pottages)
  • Dolma (stuffed grape leaves)

Some of the main food souvenirs of Kurdistan are:

  • A variety of Bread such as: Kalaneh, Barsaq, and Shalikneh.
  • Black tea.
  • Mastow ( a type of yogurt mixed with salt and water).

Handicraft & Souvenirs

Carpet, Jajim, and Kilim weaving are some of the main handicrafts of Kurdistan. The centers of these arts are the cities of Sanandaj and Bijar. Notably, Kurdistani Carpet has worldwide fame. Accordingly, Seteh (Sanandaj in the Kurdish language) represents a special kind of Carpet in the British Encyclopedia. Another famous handicraft of the Kurds is making Kulash Giveh footwear. The Uraman Takht village is known for making high-quality Kalash Giveh.

Other handicrafts of the province are:

  • Delicate Wood carving (Nazok Kari) sine Kurdistan is one of the suppliers of quality forest wood.
  • Traditional Musical Instruments’
  • Namad Mali (felt processing)
  • Kurdish Traditional Clothing
  • Embroidery Works