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Location of Kurdistan Province within Iran
|• Governor||Bahman Moradnia|
|• Total||29,137 km2 (11,250 sq mi)|
|• Density||55/km2 (140/sq mi)|
|Time zone||IRST (UTC+03:30)|
|• Summer (DST)||IRST (UTC+04:30)|
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.
The mountainous lands of this area first encouraged Iranian-speaking tribes to settle in this region after their immigration to Iran. It was from here where the first plan to overthrow the Assyrian Empire began, leading to their defeat in 612 BCE, and setting the stage for the commence of the Median empire.
During the next few hundred years, the area of present-day Kurdistan Province became the arena of conflict between various invaders, including the Mongols and Timurids. Its steady decline began in the 16th century, when sea traffic replaced the famous Silk Road.
Upon the order of Sultan Muhammad Khodabandeh (Öljaitü), a small town by the name of Soltanabad Chamchal was constructed in Bisotun region to function as the official and political center of Kurdistan in the Middle Ages. It remained the capital for nearly one-and-a-half centuries, until, in 1372 CE, the government moved to Hassanabad fort, 6 km south of Sanandaj (Sinne). Around 14th century, people from Ardalan tribe established themselves in Sinne (Sanandaj) as the rulers of this region.
According to Sharafnama written by Sharaf al-Din Bitlisi, the earliest known leader of the tribe, Bawa Ardalan, was a descendant of Ahmad bin Marwan, who ruled in Diyarbakır. He settled down among the Gorani people in Kurdistan and toward the end of the Mongol period took over the "Şare Zor" (Sharazor) region, where he established himself as an absolute ruler. He is considered to be the founder of the Ardalan principality. The territories of Zardiawa (Karadagh), Khanaqin, Kirkuk, and Kifri, which were already the homelands of the Goran-Kurds, all belonged to this principality. The capital city of the principality was first in Sharazor, but was moved to Sinne later on. During the reign of Shah Ismail I, the founder of Safavid dynasty, Sunni Kurds (among them the Ardalans) were supported by Ottoman against the Shi'ite government of the Safavids. When Soleiman Khan Ardalan came to power in 1630 CE, the throne was transferred to Sanandaj (Sinne), and, from then on, the rulers contributed to the flourishing and development of the area.
The area of Kurdistan Province incorporates portions of the former Gerrus Province.
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 km 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 m and an average depth of 3 m. 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 km and a maximum which width of 1.7 km, 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 m high, mount Chehelcheshmeh, 3,173 m, Mount Hossein Bak, 3,091 m, and Mount Masjede Mirza, 3,059 m, 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.
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.
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.
Kurdistan Province (Kordestan Ostan) is sub-divided into 10 counties (shahrestan), with populations as follows at the 2006, 2011 and 2016 Censuses. Each county is named after the city or town which is its administrative capital.
|Totals for province||1,440,156||1,492,645||1,603,011|
The major activities of the inhabitants are agriculture and modern livestock farming. Wheat, barley, grains and fruits are the major agricultural products. The chemical, metal, textile, leather and food industries are the main industrial activities in this province.
Iran's Cultural Heritage Organization lists 211 sites of historical and cultural significance in Kordestan province. Some, such as Hajar Khatoon Mosque in Sanandaj or Ghal'eh Kohneh in Bijar date back to the Sassanid era.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Kordestan Province.|
|Wikivoyage has a travel guide for Kurdistan (province).|
|Wikisource has the text of a 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica article about Kurdistan Province.|