Kurdistan Province or Kordestan Province or Kurdestan Province is one of the 31 provinces of Iran , not to be confused with the greater geographical area of Iranian Kurdistan . The province of Kurdistan is 28,817 km² in area which encompasses just one-fourth of the Kurdish inhabited areas of Iran or Iranian Kurdistan . It is located in the west of Iran , in Region 3 , and bound by Iraq on the west , the province of West Azerbaijan to its north , Zanjan to the northeast , Hamedan to the east and Kermanshah to the south . The capital of Kurdistan Province is the city of Sanandaj (Kurdish : Sinne) . Other counties with their major cities are Marivan , Baneh , Saqqez , Qorveh , Bijar , Kamyaran , Dehgolan , Diwandarreh and Sarvabad .
The mountainous lands of this area first encouraged Aryan tribes to settle in this region after their immigration to Iran . It was from here where the first plan to overthrow the Assyrian Empire began , leading to their defeat in 612 BCE , and setting the stage for the commence of the Median empire .
When the Islamic Arabs attacked the Sassanid empire in 634 CE , many Kurds resisted their invasion , but were eventually brought under Muslim rule . In 835 CE , one of the Kurdish leaders revolted against Al-Mu'tasim , but was eventually suppressed . The Kurds revolted against the Arab Caliphs several times but were defeated .
During the next few hundred years , Kurdistan became the arena of conflict between various invaders , including the Mongols and Timurids . Its steady decline began in the 16th century , when sea traffic replaced the famous Silk Road .
Upon the order of Sultan Muhammad Khodabandeh (Öljaitü) , a small town by the name of Soltanabad Chamchal was constructed in Bisutun region to function as the official and political center of Kurdistan in the Middle Ages . It remained the capital for nearly one-and-a-half centuries , until , in 1372 CE , the government moved to Hassanabad fort , 6 km south of Sanandaj (Sinne) . Around 14th century , people from Ardalan tribe established themselves in Sinne (Sanandaj) as the rulers of this region .
According to Sharafnama written by Sharaf-al-Din Bitlisi , the earliest known leader of the tribe , Bawa Ardalan , was a descendant of "Ahmad b. Marwan" , who ruled in Diyarbakır . He settled down among the Gorani people in Kurdistan and toward the end of the Mongol period took over the "Şare Zor" (Sharazor) region , where he established himself as an absolute ruler . He is considered to be the founder of the Ardalan principality . The territories of Zardiawa (Karadagh) , Khanaqin , Kirkuk , and Kifri , which were already the homelands of the Goran-Kurds , all belonged to this principality . The capital city of the principality was first in Sharazor , but was moved to Sinne later on . During the reign of Shah Ismail I , the founder of Safavid dynasty , Sunni Kurds (among them the Ardalans) were supported by Ottoman against the Shi'ite government of the Safavids . When Soleiman Khan Ardalan came to power in 1630 CE , the throne was transferred to Sanandaj (Sinne) , and , from then on , the rulers contributed to the flourishing and development of the area .
The Ardalan Dynasty continued to rule the region until the Qajar monarch Nasser-al-Din Shah (1848-1896) ended their rule in 1867 CE .
Kurdistan Province is a mountainous region that can be topographically divided into a western and an eastern section at Sanandaj . As a result of its elevation and mountains , Kurdistan province has many rivers , lakes , glaciers and caves , which render it rather picturesque . Consequently , Kurdistan has always attracted a large number of tourists and fans of mountaineering , ski and water-sports .
The Zarrineh River , 302 km long , is one of the longest rivers of this province . Its banks offer great opportunities for recreation and the river's plentiful water renders itself ideal for water sports . This river runs northwards and ultimately pours into Lake Urmia . The Sirvan River is another prominent river in this province . It runs over a long distance , eventually to join the Tigris in Iraq . The banks of this river are remarkably attractive . The Simineh River is also an important river in this province . A large number of marine species and birds live on the banks of the province's numerous rivers which they seem to find ideal habitats .
Lake Zarivar is the most beautiful water-way of the province , which lies at the feet to high mountains , providing a delightfully picturesque sight . Its water is sparklingly fresh . The lake has a maximum depth of 50 m and an average depth of 3 m . It is surrounded by thick forests . The lake , the mountains and the forests create a scenic panorama . This lake , which has a length of 5 km and a maximum which width of 1.7 km , lies to the west of Marivan . Lake Vahdat's dam , to the north of Sanandaj (Sinne) , provides excellent opportunities for fishing and water-sports .
Kurdistan benefits from many resourceful mineral water springs . The most outstanding of these are : Govaz to the northwest of Kamyaran , Abetalkh close to Bijar and Baba Gorgor to the north of Qorveh .
Cave Kereftoo , close to Divandarreh , is a unique natural and at the same time archeological site . Inside the cave there are a number of ancient buildings known as the Temple of Heraclius , because the name of this Greek god is carved on the ceiling of one of the halls . Cave Shoovi , 267 m long , is another prominent cave , which lies near the city of Baneh .
Mount Charkhaln 3,330 m high , mount Chehelcheshmeh , 3,173 m , Mount Hossein Bak , 3,091 m , and Mount Masjede Mirza , 3,059 m , are the other large mountains of Kurdistan .
Kurdistan has vast forests and refuges , where many animals and birds live , safely from the harms of the human beings : the leopard , ram , wild goat , hyena , jackal , wolf , fox , sable , weasel and such birds as the partridge , wild duck , stork , parrot and eagle .
Kurdistan is one of the most mountainous (hilly) regions in Iran and has a generally mild and quite pleasant climate throughout the spring and summer . Winters are long and can be very cold with heavy snowfalls .
People and culture
The population of the province in 1996 was 1,346,383 of which 52.42% were urban dwellers and 47.58% rural dwellers . According to National Census , in 2011 population of Kurdistan was 1,493,645 out of which 66% lived in urban area . The Kurdish people are the majority population in this province , and they speak Sorani-Kurdish which is a northwestern Iranian language . There is also a significant Azeri minority in Qorveh and Bijar . The region's historical name is Ardalan .
The Kurdish language is categorized under the Indo-European group of languages , with a distinctive grammatical form . This language has various branches in Iran , such as the Sorani , Hewrami , Feyli , Kalhuri and Kurmanji . Majority of the people in Kurdistan province speak variants of Sorani Kurdish , sometimes called as "Ardalani" dialect . Hewrami Kurdish is also spoken around Marivan , in a region called "Hewramanî Text"(The Flat Hawraman) . In eastern parts of the province including Bijar and Qorveh , the majority are Shiite Kurds . There also exists an Azeri minority in the villages around Qorveh .
Kurdistan Province (Kordestan Ostan) is sub-divided into 10 counties (shahrestan) , with populations as follows at the 2006 and 2011 Censuses . Each county is named after the city or town which is its administrative capital .
2006 population included in figure for Qorveh County , from which it was split off in 2007 .
The major activities of the inhabitants are agriculture and modern livestock farming . Wheat , barley , grains and fruits are the major agricultural products . The chemical , metal , textile , leather and food industries are the main industrial activities in this province .
Colleges and universities
· Kurdistan University of Medical Sciences
· Tohid Medical Center
· University of Kurdistan
· population of kurdistan university is about 5500
· Islamic Azad University of Sanandaj
Iran's Cultural Heritage Organization lists 211 sites of historical and cultural significance in Kordestan province . Some , such as Hajar Khatoon Mosque in Sanandaj or Ghal'eh Kohneh in Bijar date back to the Sassanid era . For more info , see the provincial Cultural Heritage Organization website linked at the bottom of this page .