The city of Kermanshah lies at an altitude of 1,319 m 525 km from Tehran. It has been inhabited by different people during the last 4,000 years. In the Sassanid era it was at its peak of glory and prosperity as can be seen from the remains of the period. But, upon the invasion of the Moslem army, Kermanshah, like most other Iranian cities, fell and was captured by the Moslem forces. In the 13th century, Kermanshah was badly ransacked and devastated at the hands of Mongols. Yet again, in the 15th century it was invaded by the ottoman army. The city began to grow and once again prosper from the beginning of the 18th century as the Qajar dynasty came to power. In the eight-year war that the Iraqis waged against Iran in 1980, many cities and towns were severely damaged, including Kermanshah which sustained air-attacks and damages caused by missiles.
Major natural features
Kermanshahan is one of the richest Iranian provinces in terms of archeological treasures and monuments, such as the stone carvings of Bisotoon. It also offers the visitor a wealth of natural beauty and visual marvels. Alvand River, 160 km long, passes through the cities of Qasre shirin and Eslamabad. It then crosses the Iraqi border and ultimately pours into the Tigris. The Zimkan (160 km), Jogiran, Ghayerneh, diyaleh and Absefid are among its other rivers. Almost everywhere along these rivers, the bank provides ideal conditions for recreation. Tang-hammam hot water spring, on the road from Qasr shirin to Sarepolzahab, and the Imam Hassan mineral water spring close to the city of Kermanshah, are the two major mineral water springs of this province. Because this mountainous region has large limestone formations, there are many astonishing caves in this province. Praw, to the north of Kermanshah city, is the world’s largest limestone cave in which 26 deep nature wells may be seen. The cave has many large “halls” with delightful stalagmites and stalactites, glittering when lit. In autumn and winter a river runs at the depths of the cave and pours into the cave’s permanent pond. Ghourighale, near the city of Paveh, is Asia’s largest water-containing cave. Many Iranian and foreign cave explorers have attempted to discover the cave entirely, but all in vain. So far 3,140 m of the cave and 12 km of tunnels have been explored and identified. It is indeed incomparable both in size and beauty. In Bisotoon cave, north of the city of Kermanshah, which is being explored by scientists from Philadelphia university, traces have been found of the époque when human beings collected and stored food, a remarkable era in the history of the development of civilization.
Other major caves of Kermanshah are Asangaran, Roteil and Kavat, all of which have both visual and archeological attractions in abundance. The highest peaks in this province are those of Sheikh Ali Khan (3,357 m), Dalakhani (3,350 m), Lujar (2,831 m) near Songhor, and hojeir (2,583 m) close to Kermanshah city. Most mountains in this province offer ideal ski slopes in winter. Kermanshahan has diverse wildlife, in its delightful forests and mountain slopes, most of which are declared as preserved regions. Bisotoon refuge with an area of 3,125 ha and the Bisotoon preserved area, 585 ha, are two natural sites where many wild animals can be observed: the leopard, bear, boar, wolf, ram, wild goat, fox… and such birds partridge, quail and ringdove.
Mo’aven-ol-MolkmTekieh Museum: This Monument is of great historic and religious value, and is presently a museum consisting of two parts: archeology and anthropology.
Name: Anahita Temple
Type: An ancient temple. Description: These are the remains of a great stone temple. The grand stone pillars are the only things which have been left from this temple. Anahita was believed to be the guardian angel water in pre-Islamic periods.
Name: Bisotoon area
Type: A complex of historic monuments. Description: This huge complex is located in the Bisotoon mountain, near the ancient Silk Road. A large part of the buildings date back to the Achaemenid and Sassanid eras. The complex is of great archeological and tourists importance, as regards its antiquity and the variety of historic periods. There is a good deal of inscriptions and carved reliefs. The main features are: Bisotoon Castle, the great inscription, numerous small inscription, Bisotoon Cave, Hercules’ statue, Stone lion, inscriptions related to Parthian and Sassanid eras, Khosravi Bridge, Chamchal Residential Complex, Mongol Caravanserai, Graveyard caravanserai and Bridge related to Safavid era and…Among these, a good number of inscriptions belongs to Darius.
Type: Arch and Stone reliefs and carvings. Description: One small and one large arch, with stone reliefs and carvings, dating back to Sassanid era. These carvings depict different scenes of feasts and hunting related to Sassanid kings. These monuments lie next to a spring, a pool and monuments and offer a fascinating sight.
Name: Husseiniyeh Moaven-ol-Molk
Type: Husseiniyeh. Description: The walls of this Husseiniyeh are covered with the exquisite tiles related to myths, religious events and pictures of statesmen and distinguished men of religion. The tile works, with their diverse colors, are considered to be some of Iran’s masterpieces.
Name: Emad-ol-Doleh Mosque
Type: Mosque. Description: This Mosque displays an exquisite wood door, in addition to its remarkable decoration.
Name: Chahar Ghapu Fire-Temple
Type: Fire-Temple. Description: This is one of the largest fire-temples left from the Sassanid era.
Eslamabade Gharb: Zardeh castle, Jiyan Castle, Yazdgerdi Castle, Safavid Caravanserai, Rijeab Mosque, Abu Dajajeh’s Tomb.
Kangavar: Brick Bridge, Jame Mosque, Imamzadeh Sayid Jamaledin, Imamzadeh Bagher
Kermanshah: Shahin Castle, Khamoush Castle, Jameh Mosque, Mahidasht Bridge
Sahneh: Khosravi Bridge, Keykavous’s Tomb, Hajir Castle, Nojivan Bridge, Takhte Teymour, Noorbakhsh’s Tomb
Sarepolzahab: Sassanid caravanserai, Manijeh Castle, Gabri Castle
Harsin: Bisotton Castle, Harsin Castle, shahpoor Palace, Chamchal Historic City, Khosrow Bridge.
Carpet, Kilim, Jajim and Giveh weaving, engraving, glass blowing, leather making and wood works are among major industries of this province.