The mountains, forests, lakes, waterfalls and rustic villages embellish this region, which welcomes many ecotourism enthusiasts every year. Protected areas have been delineated to mitigate the deterioration of the environment.


The province of Kurdistan of Iran covers more than 28,000 km². It is bounded on the north by the provinces of Azerbaijan of the west and Zandjan, on the east by the province of Hamadan and another part of the province of Zandjan, on the south by the province of Kermanshah, and on the west by the Iran-Iraq border. The mountains, forests, lakes, waterfalls and rustic villages embellish this region, which welcomes many ecotourism enthusiasts every year. Protected areas have been delineated to mitigate the deterioration of the environment.


Towns of Kurdistan



The 1996 census enumerated more than 1.3 million people in this province, with more than 50% of city dwellers. The administrative center is the city of Sanandadj. The other principal towns are Baheh, Bidjar, Divandarreh, Ghorveh, Kamyaran, Marivan, Saghez.
Sanandadj is located 512 km southwest of Teheran, at 1480 m altitude. The present city dates from the Safavid era. It was built near an ancient city that existed since antiquity and was destroyed in the Middle Ages, probably because of an earthquake or the attack of the Mongols. The city of Baneh is located in the north-west of the province, near the Iran-Iraq border, 262 km from Sanandadj. The آ rbaba Mountain and the surrounding forests give a special beauty to the area around this city. Baneh has become a business center since a few years because of its proximity to the border. Bidjar is located 140 km north-east of Sanandadj, on the road from Sanandadj to Zandjan. This city is nicknamed "the roof of Iran" because of its very high altitude. The carpets and kilims of Bidjar are very famous. Fort Ghamchaghay, which dates from the 9th or 8th century BC J.-C., is located 45 km from this city. This fort is surrounded by deep valleys and is one of the tourist attractions of this region. The city of Divandarreh is located 100 km north of Sanandadj. The beautiful region of Saral, prized for the beauty of its landscapes, is west of this city. The Chehel Tcheshmeh mountain, located northwest of Divandarreh, is visited every year by many tourists and mountaineers. The town of Ghorveh, located 87 km east of Sanandadj, on the road from Sanandadj to Hamadan, has a mineral spring, numerous rivers and a fertile plain; these natural elements were the cause of the gathering of the population and the foundation of this city centuries ago. The town of Kamyaran, located 65 km south of Sanandadj, is in a mountainous area embellished by water sources, waterfalls, valleys, and villages on the mountain tops. Palangan is one of these villages, located 47 km northwest of Kamyaran, near a river that joins the river Sirvan. The houses of the village are stone. They are built in stairs, that is to say that the roof of the house below is the courtyard of the house above it. The current town of Marivan, located 125 km northwest of Sanandadj, was founded a hundred years ago. Lake Zarivar, the surrounding forests and the beautiful landscapes in the spring are the tourist assets of this city located near the Iran-Iraq border. The creation of a border market has also contributed to the growth of this city in recent years. The town of Sarv-Abad, 95 km west of Sanandadj, is on the road from Sanandadj to Marivan. This region is famous for its beautiful landscapes, especially in the spring, and its villages, which are the most typical of the province; one of them is the village of Ouraman-takht, situated southwest of the city of Sarvadede. The city of Saghez, located near the western Azerbaijan, has existed since ancient times. The Ziwieh archaeological site, 55 km southeast of Saghez, bears witness to this long history; the objects discovered in Ziwieh belong to the first millennium BC.

The province of Kurdistan is a breeding center in Iran, and an important region for agricultural and honey production. The industry is not very developed. On the other hand, the province's artisanal productions are reputed, diversified and have existed for a long time. Among them are the carpet, the kilim, and the cotton shoes that we call Giveh.


Mountains of Kurdistan



The province of Kurdistan is a mountainous region. The mountains, covered with vast pastures or forests, are intersected by wide valleys. The highest peaks are Shahou with 3325 m of altitude and Kouh-e Pir with 3250 m of altitude, located both in the south of the province, Tchehel Chechmeh with 3173 m of altitude, located to the west of Divandarreh, Ghareh-dagh with 3120 m altitude, located north of Bidjar. Overall, the elevation is gradually increasing to the east and south of the province. The difference in altitude between the highest and the lowest region is 2400 meters; Mount Shahou is more than 3300 meters high, and the آloute region, located near Baneh, is 900 meters above sea level. The hills, plateaus and valleys occupy nearly 40% of the surface area of ​​Kurdistan. The hills were formerly covered with oak forests. The plateaus, mostly located in the northeast of the province, were formerly used as pasture; they are currently used as agricultural fields.

 

Several important rivers such as Sefid-roud, Zarrineh-roud, Khorkhoreh, Ghezel-Owzan, Sirvan start in the mountains of Kurdistan. The Sefid-roud River flows north, crosses the province of Azerbaijan and empties into the Caspian Sea. The rivers Zarrineh-roud and Khorkhoreh start in the Tchehel Chechmeh mountains, move north, meet at a place called Goudarz, then flow into Lake Orumieh. Ghezel-Owzan, one of the largest rivers of Kurdistan, also begins in the heights of Tchehel Chechmeh. The river Sirvan, which is formed of all the rivers of the south and south-west of the province, enters the province of Kermanshah in the region of Ouraman, joins the river Alvand, then arrives in Iraq where it takes the name of the Dyaleh river, and flows into the Tigris. The edge of this river is one of the regions where wild animals congregate during the winter.

In Kurdistan, the temperature is 22 to 28 ° C from May to October. It rains a lot during the first two months of spring, and nature is very green at this time of the year. Rainfall is especially important in the western parts of the province, with an average of 800 mm per year in the regions of Baneh and Marivan; it is decreasing in the central and eastern parts of the province because of the mountain barrier. The climate is dry during the summer and cold during the winter. The number of days per year when the temperature is below zero is 160 days in Bidjar, 110 days in Sanandadj and Kamyaran, 113 days in Saghez and Divandarreh, 85 days in Baneh and Marivan.


Tourist Assets of Kurdistan


One of the most beautiful natural sites in Kurdistan is Lake Zarivar, located 2 km west of Marivan at 1285 meters altitude. The dimensions of this lake surrounded by forests vary according to the seasons; it is on average 4.5 km long, 2 km wide and 3 meters deep. The lake's water, which freezes during the winter, comes only from freshwater sources at the bottom of the lake itself.
The forests of Kurdistan are among the most important in Iran; their extent places them second in the country, after those of the Caspian Sea. Their area is 185,000 hectares in the Marivan region, 50,000 hectares in the Baneh region, 78,000 hectares west of Kamyaran and south of Sanandadj, and 7,000 hectares in the Saghez region. The forests of Baneh and Marivan have great ecological value. There are various species of oaks, pear and wild apple trees, walnut trees, pistachio trees and wild plum trees, as well as almond trees and griottiers.

Bidjar National Park, which covers an area of ​​31,000 hectares, has long been the only protected area in the province. It was created in 1971. In the past decade, Iran's Environmental Protection Organization has focused its policy in Kurdistan on the protection of the environment, which has suffered serious deterioration during the past eight years. Iran-Iraq war years. The protected area of ​​Badr and Parishan in the Ghorveh region, with an area of ​​37,000 hectares, the protected area of ​​Abdol-Razzagh in Saghez, with more than 40,000 hectares of area, and the region of Koussalan and Shahou, located between Kamyaran, Marivan and Sarv-ābad, with more than 57 000 hectares of surface area, are the concrete results of these measures of protection of the environment. These protected areas are home to specific animals from the region, such as Armenian rams and ewes, and rare, endangered species such as the Iranian yellow deer. Also living in these areas are brown bears, wild panthers and goats, as well as wolves, wild boars, foxes, hyenas and jackals. These protected areas are also home to many bird species such as partridges, wild ducks, eagles, hawks, nightingales, woodpeckers and storks. Several migratory bird species also come here each year.

The beautiful landscapes, forests, villages, mineral springs and lakes of Kurdistan province are all assets to develop ecotourism in this region. Every year, many mountaineers come to Kurdistan to climb the mountains of this province. The abundance of snow during the winter would also create ski runs and thus develop tourism throughout the year. This would be a way to give a boost to the economic activities of the province.