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Tourist Attractions of Kurdistan: a hidden Gem inside Iran

Attractions of Kurdistan

by Parastoo Sahebi
15 minutes read
Attractions of Kurdistan

Undoubtedly, one of the important tourist destinations in the northwest of Iran is the lush and beautiful province of Kurdistan. Its moderate and pleasant climate, especially in spring and summer, pristine nature, beautiful landscapes, rich culture, warm-hearted people, and diverse historical sites found throughout this region have led to the annual travel of many domestic and foreign tourists to this province. In the following article, join us at Eligasht to have a brief visit to some of the tourist attractions of Kurdistan.


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Sightseeing in Kurdistan

Surely, if you intend to travel to the western region of the country, the name of Kurdistan unconsciously comes to your mind as one of the main options. It is a border province located in the vicinity of West Azerbaijan, Hamadan, Kermanshah, and Zanjan provinces. In the following, we introduce some of the tourist attractions of Kurdistan province to you.


The beautiful city of Sanandaj

Sanandaj is the capital city of this province. If you travel to Kurdistan and do not pay a visit to this beautiful city with its truly hospitable people, you have missed out. The Kurdish people of this city will create pleasant memories for you with their hospitality. Sanandaj is one of the mountainous cities of Iran. Therefore, it has a cold climate in winter and a moderate and pleasant climate in summer. The presence of two mountains, Abidar and Sang-e Siyah, on either side of the city, has doubled its beauty.


Sanandaj Grand Mosque, one of the tourist attractions in Sanandaj

A mosque, considered one of the most beautiful mosques in the province in terms of architectural art, and among the valuable examples of Islamic architecture, is one of the tourist attractions of Kurdistan. Sanandaj Grand Mosque was built during the Qajar period when Fath-Ali Shah ruled the country. This mosque has a large nocturnal prayer hall with 24 columns, placed next to each other in all their glory. When you travel to this city, make sure to visit this historic mosque.

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Abidar Cultural and Recreational Complex, one of the best tourist attractions of Kurdistan

Abidar is a place that is crowded with Sanandaj locals on weekends who come for picnics. It is the main recreational area in Sanandaj, located on a mountain of the same name. Due to the elevation of this park from the city’s surface, you can enjoy a beautiful view of Sanandaj from the top of this park. Abidar complex, with its several springs, gardens, and zoo, has been the most important recreational area in Sanandaj in the past and is highly popular among the city’s people.

Attractions of Kurdistan

Sanandaj Bazaar and Places to Visit in Sanandaj

If you are longing for a traditional place with old-fashioned people wearing colorful clothes, you must visit the old bazaar of Sanandaj as it is one of the tourist attractions of Kurdistan. It might resemble the Naqsh-e Jahan Square in Isfahan to some extent. Similar to that, it has a rectangular plan and was established during the Safavid era. Today, due to the urban development projects carried out in the middle of this bazaar, it is divided into two sections: the northern and southern parts.


Assef Building in Sanandaj (Kurdish House), Tourist Attractions of Kurdistan

The Kurdish House is one of the most magnificent and oldest buildings in Sanandaj. It features beautiful Safavid stucco and brickwork, with later additions of exquisite stucco work during the Qajar and Pahlavi eras. The Kurdish House is the largest ethnographic museum dedicated to a specific ethnic group and is considered one of the most valuable cultural treasures of the country.

Among other important tourist attractions in the city of Sanandaj, we can mention Sanandaj Museum, Vakil Mansion, Mashir Divan Mansion, and Khan Bathhouse, as well as many other historical sites and attractions.


Mariwan County and Zarivar Lake

Undoubtedly, one of the most beautiful lakes in the country is Zarivar Lake in Mariwan. If you are a nature lover, visiting this beautiful lake and maybe staying overnight next to it is highly recommended.

Zariwar Lake is undoubtedly one of the most famous and beautiful tourist attractions of Kurdistan. This lake is located three kilometers west of Mariwan, and there are numerous stories and legends about its formation. One unique feature of Zariwar Lake is that it has no specific water source and is formed through rainfall and springs. This is why the people of Kurdistan and Mariwan consider this lake mysterious. A trip to Zariwar Lake can offer you a joyful and exciting day. You can go boating on the lake and then enjoy the famous grilled fish for lunch. In addition to grilled fish, various local soups and bread are also available for sale, and you can give them a try. Zariwar showcases its special beauty both in summer and winter and in winter, when the lake freezes over, it adds a unique charm to this lake.


Oramanat, the Nature of Kurdistan

Another attraction of Kurdistan is Hawraman, which we also know as Oraman or Oramanat. This beautiful region is a shared border between Iran and Iraq and attracts many visitors each year to witness its beauty. The captivating beauty of this region stems from its winding valleys, towering mountains, meandering rivers, and clouds that seem to be within reach of the land. Today, Oramanat is considered one of the best natural attractions in Kurdistan.

Attractions of Kurdistan

Garan Historical Bridge

Garan Historical Bridge is located 10 kilometers towards Mariwan along the Saqqez route. This historical bridge, situated over the Garan River, is one of the tourist attractions of Kurdistan, dating back to the Safavid era. Garan Historical Bridge is registered as a national monument, adding to the tourism highlights of Kurdistan.


Gavile Waterfall, Among the Tourist Attractions of Kurdistan

Kurdistan boasts numerous natural attractions that contribute to the beauty of this region in Iran. Gavile Waterfall is one of those captivating places, situated on the Gavile route between Saqqez and Marivan, approximately 1 kilometer away from the road. The waterfall is at its fullest during the spring season, creating stunning views. Marivan itself is abundant in diverse tourist attractions, including Malaqovi Promenade, Kuna Shamsham Cave, and many other historical sites.


Baneh, a City for Shopping

Baneh is one of the best cities in Kurdistan, well-known for its shopping convenience. The numerous shopping centers and markets in this city attract a wide range of visitors. Exploring Baneh on holidays is highly recommended.


Palangan Staircase Village

Palangan Village features traditional stone and staircase architecture, making it one of the most unique tourist attractions of Kurdistan. Alongside Palangan Village, there are numerous extraordinary springs and waterfalls, which have made it a popular destination within the city. This village is located in the Kamyaran County of Kurdistan.


Historical Karaftu Cave

In the vicinity of Divandarreh City, Kurdistan, there is a cave that is the result of the collaboration between humans and nature. Due to the different periods of habitation by various individuals in this cave, interesting changes have occurred over time, turning it into one of the tourist attractions of Kurdistan. This cave is also known as the longest cave in Iran.

Attractions of Kurdistan


In many historical books, a hill called Ziviyeh is mentioned. This ancient hill was the dwelling place of the Mana people in ancient times. Currently this place, Saqqez is one of the most important cities in Kurdistan, hosting a wide range of attractions, especially historical ones. Among the notable sights in this city, we can mention the historical Twin Minaret Mosque and Haji Saleh Bathhouse.


Bijar, the Roof of Iran

Bijar is one of the elevated regions in Iran that has been nicknamed the “Roof of Iran.” Before delving into this city, it’s worth mentioning that if you have an adventurous palate, you must try the traditional ice creams of this city. These ice creams are made with rose water and cardamom. Among the historical and scenic attractions in this destination, we can highlight the Nesar Ski Resort and the traditional bazaar of Qaleh Qamchay.


Mount Awalan

For those who are interested in nature exploration and mountaineering in various regions of Iran, we recommend visiting Mount Awalan among the tourist attractions of Kurdistan. This mountain, with an altitude of 3,000 meters, is located 25 kilometers south of Sanandaj. It is also known as Hevareh or Abdulaman Mountain.


Sirvan River

Undoubtedly, one of the most important and famous rivers flowing in Kurdistan Province is the Sirvan River. This long and winding river always follows a long path. The river is located in the western and northwestern parts of Hooraman. It reaches the Haraz Plain and then enters the country of Iraq.

Attractions of Kurdistan

Vakil ol-Molk Bathhouse

Among the tourist attractions of Kurdistan built during the rule of Qajars in this province is the Vakil ol-Molk Bathhouse. This bathhouse is located in Sepidar Park, Sanandaj. The bathhouse incorporates influences from animal and human figures as well as various geometric shapes. Due to the use of lime, lime residues are visible in various parts of this bathhouse.


Tangi Sar Village

One of the Kurdish villages built in the form of a staircase or stepped pattern is Tangi Sar Village. This village is located in the middle of the Shahou Mountains in the city of Kamyaran. The locals believe that the history of their village dates back over 1,000 years.


Hajar Khatun Mosque and Shrine

Hajar Khatun Mosque and Shrine were built by an enlightened person named Haj Sheikh Shokrallah. This mosque is considered one of the most important mosques in the city of Sanandaj. The complex consists of three courtyards with adjacent spaces, a tomb, a mosque, and the resting place of the elders and prominent figures of Sanandaj. Due to the use of plaster, mirror work, beautiful floral and plant motifs, and the use of Kurdish architecture in the southern columned courtyard, Hajar Khatun Mosque and Shrine are considered valuable structures.


Khan Bathhouse of Sanandaj

This bathhouse is located in the northern part of the covered bazaar of Sanandaj and has been popular since its establishment due to its location. There is an engraved stone in this bathhouse belonging to Amanullah Khan Ardalan, the governor of Kurdistan. This bathhouse, which is one of the tourist attractions of Kurdistan, was acquired in 1998.


Twin Minaret Mosque of Saqqez

This mosque is located on Imam Khomeini Street in Saqqez and belongs to the Afsharian period. The plan of this mosque is square, and materials such as stone mortar, clay, bricks, and wood have been used in its construction. The mosque is named after its two beautiful minarets.

Zerivar Wetland

Undoubtedly, one of the most unique freshwater lakes in the world is Zerivar Wetland. Relevant experts estimate that there are approximately 30 million cubic meters of water in Zerivar Wetland. Boating is also possible in this lake.

Attractions of Kurdistan

Qamchay Castle, a Tourist Attraction in Kurdistan

Undoubtedly, one of the other tourist attractions of Kurdistan is Qamchay Castle. This castle existed during three different periods of the Parthians, Medes, and Ashkanians. There is an inscription in this castle in Hieratic and Hieroglyphic languages. This artifact was registered nationally on October 26, 1986.


Oraman stone

One of the most famous tourist attractions in Kurdistan is a stone inscription called Oraman, also known as Tang-e Verv. This inscription is located 50 kilometers northwest of Kamyaran and 10 kilometers from the historic village of Palangan. The age of this inscription dates back to the second millennium BC or the early first millennium BC. It contains references to various tribes.


Salar Saeed Mansion (Sanandaj Museum)

Sanandaj Museum, also known as Salar Saeed Mansion, is located on Imam Khomeini Street in Sanandaj. This building was originally the personal residence of Salar Saeed Sanandaji and was converted into a museum in 1975.


Mountains of Kurdistan

Kurdistan is a mountainous region, with its topography characterized by mountains. The region is covered with high mountains, such as Mount Shahou, which reaches an elevation of 3,300 meters. There are numerous mountains in this area.


Historical Quran of Negel

In Kurdistan, there is a historical Quran called Negel. This precious Quran is one of the most valuable treasures preserved in Kurdistan. It was written by the third caliph, Uthman ibn Affan, and is believed to be 1,000 years old. The Quran dates back to the 4th century AH (10th century AD).


Sanandaj Church

Undoubtedly, one of the tourist attractions of Kurdistan is Sanandaj Church, located on Namaki Street in the western part of the city. The architectural style of this church is Isfahani.

Attractions of Kurdistan

Khosro Abad Mansion

One of the ten beautiful buildings in Iran is the Khosro Abad Mansion, located in the city of Sanandaj. Its construction dates back to the Qajar period.


Darol Ehsan Mosque, Sanandaj

In the year 1228 AH (1813 AD), during the reign of one of the influential governors of Kurdistan, Darol Ehsan Mosque was built and inaugurated. When this mosque was built, it was considered the religious center and heart of Sanandaj.


Qeshlaq Bridge

This bridge, which is one of the tourist attractions in Sanandaj, is built over a river called Qeshlaq. It was constructed by the order of Shah Safi Safavid and by Suleiman Khan Ardalan. The height of this bridge from its base is approximately 6.4 meters.



Dehgolan is the center of Dehgolan County and one of the cities in Kurdistan. It is located in the Leilakh region, on a vast plain. The winters in this city are very cold, while its summers have pleasant and moderate weather.



The center of Divandareh County in western Kurdistan is the city of Divandareh, which includes famous areas such as Saral.



You may have heard the name of the city Qorveh as one of the tourist attractions in Kurdistan. This city is located in western Iran and is considered a historical city. Qorveh has numerous historical attractions, as well as various tourist attractions and shopping centers.



Sarvabad is located 80 kilometers from Sanandaj and has a beautiful and scenic nature. Among the historical attractions of this city, we can mention Zharo, Zherizha, and Delmarz.

Attractions of Kurdistan

Splendid Rituals of Kurdistan

Pir Shalyar is not just a place but a glorious ritual that has become one of the tourist attractions of Kurdistan. This magnificent ceremony takes place in Oramanat. The locals refer to this ceremony as “Pir Shalyar’s Wedding,” and it has a history of several thousand years. The ceremony is held twice a year in Kurdistan, once on the 15th of Ordibehesht (April/May) and once on the 15th of Bahman (February).

Another famous ceremony in Kurdistan that has become a tourist attraction in the region is the Komasi or Breaking the Holy Stone ceremony, held on the last Friday before the first half of Ordibehesht (April/May). This ceremony, which precedes the first Pir Shalyar ceremony, includes rituals such as drum playing, and Talileh singing. In this ceremony, stones are broken to symbolize their regrowth in the following year. Interestingly in 2016, approximately 8,000 spectators visited Oramanat to witness this ceremony.


Final words

The tourist attractions of Kurdistan are so numerous that it is not possible to mention all of them in one article. From important and valuable historical sites to natural locations such as oak forests, roaring rivers, tall waterfalls, and majestic mountains, all have made Kurdistan shine like a gem in the western part of Iran. You can simply purchase a ticket to visit this fascinating and attractive destination in Iran and prepare yourself for an exciting travelogue in the Kurdish region.

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