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Travel Guide to Kurdistan

by Parastoo Sahebi
14 minutes read

Kurdistan, with its abundant natural attractions, is considered one of the most tourist-friendly regions in Iran and attracts many visitors, especially in spring. The center of this province is Sanandaj, and in this article from Eligasht, we want to provide you with comprehensive information about all the attractions, tourist areas, hotels, restaurants, Kurdish cuisine, as well as shopping centers and access routes of this region in Iran. Whether you intend to travel to this province or simply want to familiarize yourself with it, stay with us for the rest of the Kurdistan travel guide.

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What You Will Read in the Kurdistan Travel Guide:


Access to Kurdistan | Best Time to Travel | Accommodation at the Destination | Culinary Exploration | Tourist Areas in Kurdistan | Shopping Centers


Geographical Location of Kurdistan


Geographically, the Kurdistan province extends from the northwest of the Zagros Mountains to the east of the Taurus Mountains, covering an area of approximately 500,000 square kilometers. According to prominent websites, there are about 30 million Kurds in the world, and a significant population of Kurds resides outside the Kurdish regions in cities such as Istanbul, Tehran, Ankara, Karaj, Urmia, and countries like Germany, Sweden, and Norway.


Access to Kurdistan- Kurdistan Travel guide


To reach Kurdistan, you can travel by both land and air. If you choose to go by land, the distance from Tehran to Sanandaj, the center of Kurdistan, is approximately 500 kilometers. You can travel this route by bus or by car.


Traveling to Kurdistan

Distances between Kurdistan and other Iranian provinces


– Distance from Sanandaj to Tehran: 494 kilometers

– Distance from Sanandaj to Isfahan: 701 kilometers

– Distance from Sanandaj to Shiraz: 1,185 kilometers

– Distance from Sanandaj to Tabriz: 451 kilometers

– Distance from Sanandaj to Mashhad: 1,376 kilometers

– Distance from Sanandaj to Zahedan: 1,806 kilometers

– Distance from Sanandaj to Bandar Abbas: 1,605 kilometers

– Distance from Sanandaj to Ahvaz: 616 kilometers


A Brief History of Kurdistan


In this part of our Kurdistan travel guide, we will briefly discuss the history of the Kurdish people. The Kurds are descendants of the Medes and have always risen against non-Kurdish empires that ruled over Kurdistan after the fall of the Median Empire. An interesting fact about Kurdish-inhabited areas is that until 1514 AD, all Kurdish-inhabited lands were part of Iran.


The Kurds have an intertwined history with other Iranians and speak different dialects and accents of the Kurdish language.


When the Seljuks of Turkmenistan came to power in 1118, Sultan Ahmed Sanjar established the first state called Kurdistan in the region of Jebal with Kermanshah as its center. That is where the name Kurdistan was first used.


The term “Kurdistan” has been used since 1151 AD in historical sources to refer to a region in the western Middle East at that time.


A significant part of Kurdistan, which was considered a province of Iran, came under the control of the Ottoman Empire as a result of the Chaldiran War in 1514. Currently, it is referred to as Turkish Kurdistan, Iraqi Kurdistan, and Syrian Kurdistan.



Weather and the Best Time to Travel


Kurdistan is located in a mountainous region and is one of the highest provinces in Iran. Its center, Sanandaj, is located 512 kilometers away from Tehran. Sanandaj is a cool city situated in the foothills of the Abidar Mountains. Therefore, it has a cold and semi-arid climate.


Considering the climatic conditions of the province, this Kurdistan Travel guide suggests you that if you are not a fan of winter adventures, the best time to visit is from mid-April to mid-October. However, for nature enthusiasts who enjoy rainy landscapes, the best time to visit is in April and May due to the abundant rainfall and lushness of the region. Skiing enthusiasts can plan their trips to Kurdistan during the winter season.



Accommodation in Kurdistan and Suitable Hotels


Regarding accommodation in Kurdistan, it can vary depending on which city within the province you choose to stay in. However, in this Kurdistan Travel guide, we should add that the people in this region of Iran are very kind, hospitable, and warm-hearted, and it is rare for a traveler to feel lonely in this city.


Shadi Hotel Sanandaj


Shadi Hotel Sanandaj is one of the four-star hotels located in Kurdistan Province and the city of Sanandaj. It is a six-story hotel with a total of 74 rooms. The hotel features a café, restaurant, and conference hall. There are various types of rooms available in this hotel, and guests can enjoy amenities such as a swimming pool, sauna, gym, and laundry service.


Address: Iran, Kurdistan Province, Sanandaj, Pasdaran Street, across from the Medical Sciences University, Shadi 4-star Hotel.

Haleh Baneh Hotel

One of the five-star hotels in Kurdistan that will provide you with an extraordinary accommodation experience is Haleh Hotel in Baneh. This 5-star hotel is built on 13 floors and has 91 rooms and suites. The hotel is located near shopping centers, allowing you easy access to various shopping venues in Baneh.


Address: Baneh, Motahari Street, Farmandari Square



Zariwar Hotel


Zariwar Hotel is one of the three-star hotels in Kurdistan Province, located in Zariwar. Due to its proximity to the lake, by staying in any of the rooms of this hotel, you can enjoy the breathtaking view of Zariwar Lake. The hotel is built on six floors and has 30 rooms and 12 suites. Additionally, the hotel offers amenities such as a prayer room, elevator, swimming pool, sauna, jacuzzi, safety deposit box, and a café. You can also take a leisurely 10-minute walk to the lake from the hotel.


Address: Iran, Kurdistan Province, Mariwan City, Zariwar Lake Boulevard, Zariwar Hotel.



Kurdish cuisine- Kurdistan Travel Guide

In our Kurdistan travel guide, we have talked about its springs, rivers, lakes, caves, and waterfalls as natural and divine attractions, we may have heard less about the foods of this historical province! These are special foods with a unique taste made from the natural ingredients of this mountainous province, and they have a distinct aroma. These foods are all prepared with fresh ingredients and herbal vegetables and are very nutritious without any additives.


Most popular Kurdish foods:


Shelkineh: It is a local dish that many people seek during their travels to buy as a souvenir and bring for their friends and acquaintances.


Kulaneh: It is a food similar to pizza that you will enjoy if you like fast food! This dish is prepared with vegetables and spring onions.


Rivas Stew: The mountainous nature of Kurdistan has led to a wide variety of fresh edible herbs and plants.


Qayermeh: It has an exotic appearance! To make Qayermeh, after peeling and chopping(Kangar) the celery, they are dipped in a thick sauce similar to yogurt and then fried. The sauce for this dish is made with eggs, water, saffron-infused water, butter, and flour.


Other Kurdish dishes include Lentil soup, Doogheva, Ghazsne Ash, Kurdish kebab, grilled fish, noodles pilaf, Dolma Barge Mo, Hatimcheh, and Savar.


Tourist attractions of Kurdistan province


Hawraman or Uraman


One of the attractions of Kurdistan that has been talked about in recent years is Hawraman or Uraman. This incredibly beautiful mountainous region is located between Iran and Iraq borders, and every year many travelers come to visit this area. When you travel to Hawraman or Uraman, you will be amazed by the splendor and grandeur of nature. The towering mountains, winding valleys, abundant rivers, and clouds that are closest to you have turned the Hawraman region into one of the best natural attractions in Kurdistan.


This area is also called Awran; in fact, the word Hawraman is formed from two words: “Hawr” meaning “sun” and “Aman” meaning “coming,” which can be translated as “the coming of the sun.” But gradually, in the pronunciation of the people, this word has turned into “HAwraman.”



Sirvan River


One of the most important rivers that flows in Kurdistan and has a very familiar name is the Sirvan River. This river, which follows a long and winding path, is located in the western and northwestern parts of Hawraman and divides the Hawraman region into two parts. The largest section of this river is located in the city of Paveh. This river originates from the Rozhawa and Mariwan regions in Kurdistan and after passing through the northwestern parts of Awraman, Doab, and the north of Harte, it joins the Jadrud, Qeshlaghrud, Lileh, Lusheh, Zamkan, Dasht-e Har, and then enters Iraq.





Mariwan is one of the beautiful border cities located in Kurdistan Province. Its proximity to Zerivar and Hawraman Lakes has created a very pristine and extraordinary natural environment. There are various narratives regarding the naming of this county as Mariwan. Some believe that “Maravi” in Kurdish means “a place for waterfowl,” and this region gained its fame as Mariwan due to the presence of the marshy lake called Zerivar, which is home to various types of waterfowl.


Zerivar Lake in Mariwan


Zerivar Lake is undoubtedly one of the most famous and beautiful tourist attractions in Kurdistan that we must add to the Kurdistan Travel guide. This lake is located three kilometers west of Mariwan, and there are numerous stories and legends about its origin. One unique feature of Zerivar Lake is that it has no specific water source and is formed through rainfall and springs. That’s why the people of Kurdistan and Mariwan consider this lake mysterious.


You can go boating on Zerivar Lake and then enjoy the famous grilled fish of the region for lunch. In addition to grilled fish, various local soups and breads are also available for sale, and you can try them as well. Zerivar Lake has its special beauty in both summer and winter and in winter, when the lake freezes, it adds a unique charm to this lake.


Address: Zerivar Lake, 3 kilometers west of Mariwan, Kurdistan Province




Sanandaj is one of the most beautiful and tourist-friendly cities in western Iran. With the beginning of summer and the warmer weather, traveling to this city becomes more popular. It is the capital of Kurdistan Province and the second-largest Kurdish-populated city in the country. It encompasses many historical and natural attractions. Pleasant weather during the summer season, numerous tourist attractions, and the unique hospitality of Kurdish men and women have made Sanandaj one of the best tourist destinations in summer.


Bijar, the Roof of Kurdistan


If you happen to visit Bijar, be sure to try the traditional ice cream of this city. The ice creams have a refreshing and special taste of rosewater and freshness. Bijar is one of the highest cities in Iran and has been given the title of “Roof of Iran.” Historical sites such as the traditional bazaar, Qamchay Castle, and the Nesar Ski Resort are places you can include in your itinerary for a visit.




Ziviyeh, an ancient hill that was once the residence of the Mana’i people in the distant past, is one of the most important historical attractions in the city of Saqqez. This city also offers other attractions within its heart, which are worth visiting. The historical mosque, dating back to the Afsharid period, and Haj Saleh Bath, located in the historical fabric of the city and a remnant of the Safavid era, are among the valuable artifacts of Saqqez.




Surely you have heard the name Baneh, especially if you are fond of shopping. The main reputation of this border city lies in its shopping centers, and every year, many domestic trips are made to Baneh for this purpose. So as a Kurdistan travel guide, we suggest that if you intend to shop in this city, it is better to visit it on non-holidays.




Kamyaran is one of the beautiful cities located 65 kilometers south of Sanandaj. This city has 130 historical buildings, 74 of which have been nationally registered. One of the most beautiful tourist areas in this city is a village called Palangan, which is considered one of the most visited tourist destinations in Kurdistan due to its high potential for attracting tourists.


Palangan village

Palangan Village with its stepped houses, staircase architecture, traditional texture, beautiful waterfalls and springs, and the narrow Tangiur River flowing beside it, along with its very hospitable people, has turned this place into an attractive region for tourists. This village is located in the beautiful city of Kamyaran in Kurdistan.


To reach the city of Kamyaran, it is good to know that it is exactly in the middle of the Sanandaj-Kurdistan route. From Kamyaran to Palangan, you have about 57 kilometers of mountainous road, but you will have asphalt ahead. You won’t find a hotel or guesthouse in Palangan, so if you plan to stay overnight, it is advisable to bring a tent.


Ancient Ceremony of Pirshaliar in Kurdistan



One of the special ceremonies in the Hawraman region of Kurdistan is the Pirshaliar ceremony, which the local people refer to as the wedding of Pirshaliar. It is an ancient ritual that dates back thousands of years. This ceremony is held twice a year, once on the 15th of Bahman (February) and the other on the 15th of Ordibehesht (May) in Kurdistan.


However, the Komsay ceremony, also known as the Holy Stone Breaking ceremony, is slightly different. The Komsay ceremony takes place on the last Friday before the mid-Ordibehesht (May) in the morning at the tomb of Pirshaliar in Hawraman. It involves the recitation of prayers, drum playing, and the performance of traditional Telileh chants. At the end of each ceremony, they break a stone that, according to people’s beliefs, will grow again until the next year. This ceremony attracts many tourists to Hawraman every spring, including visitors from different countries.


Markets and Shopping Centers in Kurdistan


Sanandaj Bazaar:

Address: Kurdistan, Sanandaj, City Center, on both sides of Enghelab Street (Baharmast, Former Cyrus)

Kurdistan Commercial Complex Kurdistan

Address: Sanandaj, Kurdistan Commercial Complex

Covered Bazaar of Sanandaj

Address: Kurdistan, Sanandaj, Enghelab Square, the beginning of Ferdowsi Street

Sadaf Shopping Center

Address: Kurdistan, Sanandaj, Pasdaran Boulevard

Pasargad Passage

Address: Saqez Boulevard, below Tohid Boulevard

Tannin Shopping Center

Address; Varzesh Boulevard, above Azizi Passage, behind Golestan Passage

SaqqezBazaar Kurdistan

Address: Saqqez, City Center

Border Market of Mariwan

Address: Kurdistan, 15 kilometers from Mariwan


Final words of Kurdistan Travel guide


this Kurdistan travel guide is the gateway to a remarkable journey through a land of wonders. From the majestic mountains to the vibrant bazaars, this guide has unveiled the captivating beauty and cultural richness of Kurdistan. Immerse yourself in ancient history, indulge in the flavors of Kurdish cuisine, and embrace the warm hospitality of the locals. So embark on your journey with this Kurdistan travel guide in hand, and let the enchanting spirit of Kurdistan captivate your heart and create lifelong memories.

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