Tourist attractions of Kermanshah province
Kermanshah is one of the oldest provinces of Iran located in the west of the country. With an area of 24,640 km², it is the 17th largest province in terms of area.
Kermanshah is one of the oldest provinces of Iran located in the west of the country. With an area of 24,640 km², it is the 17th largest province in terms of area. It comprises fourteen principal towns, of which Kermanshah, chief town of the province, Eslamabdd-e Gharb, Pahveh, Javanrud, Ghasr-e Shirin, Sar Pol-e Zahab, Sahneh, Songhor, and Harsin. According to historical records and archaeological finds, this province has been inhabited since the Iron Age. Today, about three thousand archaeological works from various historical and ancient periods have been discovered there. Region of importance between the Iranian plateau and Mesopotamia, it has notably hosted the capitals of Median, Achaemenid and Sassanid. Of these dynasties, there remain among others many vestiges, the sites of Tagh-e Bostan, Bisotoun and its epigraph and the temple of Anahita.
The climate of this mountainous province is varied: for example, the climate of Ghasr-e Shirin is hot, that of Songhor and Paveh rather cold, and that of Kermanshah and Eslamabad-e Gharb is moderate. More than half of the province's expanse is covered with high mountains. As the province is located in the heart of the Zagros Mountains, it also has a wide variety of fauna due to variations in altitude.
The historical and natural attractions of the province
Bisotoun Mountain is home to the world's largest rock epigraph, which is also the first known text in Iran. This epigraph, dating from the Achaemenid period, is located near the town of Harsin, engraved on the Bisotoun mountain. An archaeological document narrating one of the founding episodes in the history of Persia, he returns to the conquests of Darius I, Achaemenid in three languages: Old Persian, Elamite and Akkadian. Old Persian text contains 414 lines in five columns; the Elamite text, 593 lines in eight columns, and the Akkadian text contains 112. The inscription was illustrated with a bas-relief depicting Darius and two life-size helpers, surrounded by ten figures one meter tall representing the peoples conquered. Ahura Mazda hovers over the stage, giving his blessing to the king.
To the west of Darius' engraving and bas-relief on Mount Bisotoun, a large rocky wall has been engraved. At a height of almost 45 m and a width of about 200 m, it dates from the Sassanid period. At the time, the construction of a citadel on these sites had been ordered by the Sassanid king, but the latter died and the citadel remained unfinished. According to the famous poetic legend developed in his Khosro o Shirin by the poet Nezami, a man of humble condition, Farhad, stonemason, fell in love with Shirin, a princess promised to the king, had obtained from him the right to marry his beloved provided he carve and dig the mountain Bisotoun to find water. After long years of this task, Farhad discovered the water and went to see King Khosro to tell him the news, but the king told him in return the news of Shirin's death. Desperate, Farhad threw his tool in the air, the tool falling on him, he died instantly.
The Tagh-e Bostan site is a complex comprising several rock inscriptions from the Sassanid period. This site is located northwest of the city of Kermanshah. Endowed with great artistic and historical value, its epigraphs and bas-reliefs include historical scenes including the coronations of Khosrow Parviz, Ardeshir II, Shahpour II and Shahpour III, as well as some epigraphs in Pahlavi. The mountain and the sources of the place, including a small lake, make it, beyond its archaeological interest, a pleasant hiking spot. This site also includes two carved caves at the entrance of which Sassanid bas-reliefs showing royal scenes are to visit. It is located at the foot of a mountain in the Zagros range just outside Kermanshah. Two trees of life and two female winged figures surround the entrance to the main cave. The second cave is much more sober; neither the entrance nor the side walls are decorated. To the right of the second cave is a bas-relief depicting the investiture of Ardeshir II surrounded by Mithra and Ahura Mazda.
Temple of Anahita
A temple dedicated to the angel-goddess (izad) Anahita, goddess of waters, abundance, beauty and fertility, is to visit in the city of Kangavar. Perched on a rock, its panorama opens on the plain of Kangavar. Anahita was a divine guardian very revered before Islam. The remains of this splendid temple, which is one of the largest stone monuments in Iran, date back to the Parthian and Sassanid epochs. Sassanid epigraphs have been engraved in some parts of the temple. Like other Persian monumental constructions like Persepolis, the temple was built on an elevated platform. The origins of the site date back to the Parthian period, as evidenced by multiple tombs, pieces of pottery and stones found on the spot. The temple continued to be used during the Sassanid period, as evidenced by the traces of restorations of many parties bearing the signature of the techniques in force at that time.
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