Kermanshah the capital of Kermanshah Province, is located 525 kilometres (326 miles) from Tehran in the western part of Iran.
According to the 2011 census, its population is 851,405. A majority of the population speaks Southern Kurdish. Kermanshah has a moderate and mountainous climate. Kermanshah is the largest Kurdish-speaking city in Iran.
Most of the inhabitants of Kermanshah are Shia Muslims, but there are minorities such as Sunni Muslims, Yarsanism and so on. Kermanshah is the principal city in this region, and also one of the tourist Attractions in Iran.
With an altitude of about 1200 m above sea level, it has a moderate and mountainous climate. According to 2006 census, the population of this city was about 950400.
Because of its antiquity, attractive landscapes, rich culture and Neolithic villages, Kermanshah is considered one of the cradles of prehistoric cultures. According to archaeological surveys and excavation, the Kermanshah area has been occupied by prehistoric people since the Lower Paleolithic period.
The Lower Paleolithic evidence consists of some hand axes found in the Gakia area to the east of the city. The Middle Paleolithic remains have been found in the northern vicinity of the city in Tang-e Kenesht and near Taqwasan. Neanderthal Man existed in the Kermanshah region during this period. The known Paleolithic caves in this area are Warwasi, Qobeh, Malaverd and Do-Ashkaft Cave.
A major part of the city’s prosperity depends on agriculture. But there are also some other factors like food processing, constructional materials, and local handicrafts like carpet weaving, cotton-shoe making (Giveh), leather works, etc. Kermanshah is a center of Iranian and Kurdish traditional music. It’s been the homeland of prominent figures in literature, art, history, science, and politics.
Kermanshah has been always the link between Iranian plateau and the Mesopotamia throughout its history. In the fourth millennium BC, the region currently known as Kermanshah province, was one of the most important centers of trade and commerce with Mesopotamia.
There were also many conflicts and wars between these two nations. Therefore, this region used to be the center of various Iranian and Mesopotamian civilizations and governments for centuries.
During the reign of Abbasid caliphs, it was an important city because of its strategic location. In 1220 A.D., after Mongol invasion of Iran, Kermanshah was badly damaged again.
In the early Safavid period, due to Iran’s conflicts with Ottoman, ruling Kermanshah was a complicated situation. At times, Ottomans could defeat Iranians and rule over the city. But some other times, they were defeated by Iranians and left its ruling to Iran.
But from the reign of Shah Safi, the sixth king of Safavid dynasty, to the end of Safavid period, the city was enjoying a period of peace and prosperity.
Benefiting from artillery attributed to Nader Shah, the founder of Afsharid dynasty, Kermanshah gained a military significance. Such condition made the city a battlefield between Nader Shah and Ottomans.
Because of its artillery, Kermanshah was the focus of attention after the death of Nader Shah. There were many conflicts over the takeover of the city among those who sought power, and it was Karim Khan Zand, the founder of Zand dynasty, who won.
There are four museums that are established in old houses of Qajar period. These are Museum of ethnography at Tekyeh Moavenalmolk, and two museums of Zagros Paleolithic Museum and Museum of epigraphy and Qajar hand writings at Tekieh Biglar Baigi.
One of the most impressive reliefs inside the largest grotto or iwan is the gigantic equestrian figure of the Sassanid king Khosrau II (591-628 CE) mounted on his favorite charger, Shabdiz. Both horse and rider are arrayed in full battle armor.
The arch rests on two columns that bear delicately carved patterns showing the tree of life or the sacred tree. Above the arch and located on two opposite sides are figures of two winged angles with diadems. Around the outer layer of the arch, a conspicuous margin has been carved, jagged with flower patterns.
The archway of Taq-e Bostan, the most notable image of which depicts the last king of the Sassanid Empire with Ahura Mazda (the creator in Zoroastrianism) and Anahita (a Zoroastrian diety).
These patterns are also found in the official costumes of Sassani kings. Equestrian relief panel measured on 16.08.07 approx. 7.45m across by 4.25 m high .
There are tiny flouting islands in this marsh with various plants sheltering 200 sorts of birds. The 1500-hectare marsh is 32 km distant from Kermanshah. Prav cave in the Prav mountains between Taq Bostan and Bisotun heights is the deepest cave in Asia.
There are famous glaciers and a marvelous 762-meter deep valley in it with several streams. Qoori Qal’eh cave is another of the natural wonders of the province, located 92 km from the city heading toward Paveh.
The cave’s spine is 3,140 meters long and the cave-length is 12 km with a beautiful natural surrounding of a variety of forest trees. In the cave, the first phase of which has been developed, there is an ever-flowing stream of 111 liters per second, and chambers with enchanting icicles and colorful columns. In fact, it is a romantic sight never to be forgotten.
This museum is unique because it has many pictures on the walls that relate to shahnameh, despite some of its more religious ones. The Mo’avenalmolk museum was commissioned by Husayn Khan Mu’ini al-Ra’aya, a well-known merchant in the Kermanshah bazaar, and built in 1897.
Originally built as a husseiniya, it was partially destroyed in 1909 by enemies of its patron. It was bought in 1912 by Hasan Khan Mu’ini Mo’avenalmolk , who renovated it, adding two new components, a zainabiyeh and an abbasiyeh, to the tekkiyya. During the Iran-Iraq war, the building was partially destroyed, and was subsequently renovated post-war. The structure is known for its dramatic and colorful tile mosaic panels, which depict religious stories and their principal religious, historical, and political protagonists.
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