One of the most amazing, untouched parts of Iran is Kurdistan province. This mountainous region has located in the west part of the country and with a very delightful climate and unique natural landscapes, is home to one of the most authentic and original Iranian tribes.
Kurdish people are said to be among the warmest and most hospitable people in Iran and a trip to this region will prove this claim. Apart from breathtaking views of cliffs, waterfalls, and mountains, Kurdistan is known for its stair-stepped villages.
The unique architecture of these villages has granted the region a very distinctive and special character which can rarely be seen in other parts of Iran, except for a few other examples in some northern or central parts of Iran like Masouleh village.
Passing through winding roads of Kurdistan -which go through the Zagros mountain range- you’ll reach one of the most beautiful districts of the region. Uraman- also known as Oraman, Hawraman or Avroman- is probably the most famous stair village of Kurdistan.
Located in a very beautiful valley and surrounded by Zagros mountains, Uraman benefits from so many natural sources such as springs and rivers. That’s the main reason for its breathtaking landscapes and natural attractions.
Although the region experiences long and very cold winters, it becomes a very popular destination among travelers and nature lovers during spring, when the water level in rivers and waterfalls is very high and cliffs are covered with a green velvet of fresh grasses.
The history of this magnificent villages dates back to thousands of years ago. Archeologists have discovered some stone tools in a cave located near the village, which had been made by Neanderthals or early modern humans more than 40 thousands years ago.
The name of the village proves the long history of Uraman as well. Comprised of two names, Ahura and Man, Uraman originally means the land of Ahura (a particular class of Zoroastrian angelic divinities). Ahura Mazda is the name of God in Indo-Iranian Avestan language.
Nowrooz ritual in Kurdistan
That’s why local people often add the name of Takht –meaning throne- to the name of the village because they believe it was once a splendid and holy city. The ruins of Sassanid fire temples can still be found in surrounding areas which testifies that the region possesses a rich, ancient history.
As well as being a pilgrimage site for Zoroastrians, one of the oldest evidence of the Islamic period, Negel Quran, dating back to the 4th century AH, is kept in the village’s main mosque.
The culture of the region is also very rich and remarkable. Local people speak Hawrami, which is a branch of the Kurdish language. It is believed to be one of the oldest dialects of northwestern Iranian language, Zaza-Gorani. According to a survey carried out in 1996, there were 40 thousand speakers of this language in the world.
Folk music and folk dance called Halparke are very popular among the locals and Uraman has been the center of Kurdish traditional and folk music. A special style of singing called Siah Cheshmane- meaning dark eyes- exist between locals which are performed without any instrument and is generally used for storytelling and entertainment.
One of the most notable rituals and celebrations of this region is called Pirshalyar, named after a legendary local figure, believed to have cured and married a princess. The ceremony has been practiced since many years ago and is still among the most important ceremonies of Kurdish people. Pirshalyar is held on the 40th day of the winter and is done in 3 different stages.
Pir Shalyar Ceremony in Uraman. Photo@xposure.com
The traditional costumes of the local people are also very remarkable. Younger women mostly wear brightly colored dresses with a vest or jacket adorned with beads and sequins and older women wear darker clothes with a white head-cover.
In the past, the outfit of men was normally a traditional brown felt jacket with pointed shoulders called Kolabal. Today, they normally wear loose fitting pants and coat with a wide wraparound belt and a wraparound hat.
Kolabal outfit. Photo@kooch.com
Like other parts of Zagros, the surrounding mountains of the village are covered with Persian oak, ash and fig trees. The houses have been built in a steep slope in the step-like rows, meaning that the roof of each house is the yard of the upper one. They are mostly built of stone and wood and the special location and architecture of the houses add to the attractiveness of the village.
Photo by firstname.lastname@example.org
A trip to Uraman will be a visit to history, culture, architecture and the amazing nature of Zagros.