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  • 4/13/2013

Rijaab (Part 1)


With an area of 40 square kilometers, this region is 120 km north-west of Kermanshah, western Iran. Located among the snow-covered mountain peaks, tree-covered mountain skirts beside Alvand River, Rijaab includes 15 villages.

The word Rijaab in Kurdish language is Rizhaav meaning flow of water; and in Kurdish literature it means a place where considerable amount of water flows. This nomination is because of the water abundance in the region since pure springs and Alavand River are the very unique attractions of the region.

These rich natural resources have turned Rijaab into a residential area for various Kurd clans such as Jaaf, Urami, and Guran. Historic monuments like Fortress of Yazdgerd III (the last king of the Sassanid dynasty), and Rijaab Fire Temple, on the remnants of which Abdollah-ebne Omar Mosque has been constructed, are evidence for the historic value of this region. Its historical significance becomes clear when we take into account that Rijaab is located on the old “Jadde Shahi”‌ or Royal Road that was the most important access road of Iran in the past.

From the viewpoint of unevenness, Rijaab is divided into two parts of mountainous and inter-mountain plains. Regional mountains are part of Zagros mountain range in a north-west to south east direction. The highest part of Rijaab is 2540 meters above the sea level, and its lowest point has an altitude of 500 meters.

Thanks to fine weather and fertile soil, during the growing season nearly most of this region gets covered with plants used for medicinal and industrial purposes and for eating. The forests of this region mainly consist of indigenous Iranian chestnut trees. Climatic diversity, special topographic conditions, various water resources, and appropriate flora in Rijaab's natural forests have paved the way for different species of mammals, migrating and indigenous birds, and aquatic creatures. Therefore, this region is one of the most appropriate hunting resorts in Kermanshah province. Among wild birds found in Dalahoo Mountains and groves, we can name partridge, dove, pigeon, owl, vulture, stork, duck and goose. Panther, bear, goat, ram, hedgehog, wolf, and jackal are also some of the animals living in the region.

The hospitable and amicable people of Rijaab wear local Kurdish clothes. Using bright and rich colors in women's clothes is a sign of their being impressed by natural bright colors of the environment. One of the most common jobs among the inhabitants of this region is gardening. Each family owns at least one garden and picks the fruits in spring or summer. The main fruits produced in Rijaab are walnut and fig which have especial value and are exported not only to other domestic markets but also to that of some neighboring countries; however other fruits such as grapes, apricot, nectarine, pomegranate, and olive are produced in the region too. Since gardening is a seasonal job, farming is also another main job of Rijaab people in some of its villages. In addition, some of them are active in the field of animal husbandry, and some others have taken up the newly-popularized fishing industry as their jobs in the recent years. In their spare time, Rijaab women are active in wool-spinning or weaving some handicrafts.

Let's now talk about Rijaab's civilization and cultural background. Religious and cultural signs in addition to poems, customs and traditions remained from the past are evidence of historical and cultural background in Rijaab. Kurdish language, a branch of Indo-European languages, and also one of the braches of ancient Persian language is spoken by the people of Rijaab with some varieties of dialects and some differences of expressions and idioms. Kurdish language itself has four main branches each of which have numerous dialects; these are named: Kormanji Shomal (the North Kormanji), Kormanji Surani, Kermanshahi Kurdish, and Urami Kurdish. The people of this region used to speak in Urami Kurdish, but some changes have taken place in Urami Kurdish language nowadays and most people speak in Jaafi Kurdish language. However some elderly inhabitants of Rijaab and also people of Zardeh village, near Iran-Iraq border, still speak in this dialect.

It is worth noting that Rijaab is a unique area regarding the number and variety of historic monuments. There exist several castles, old cemeteries, and lithographed pieces of stone some of which date back to Sassanid period. Moreover, the historical importance of the region increases when we take into account the Islamic monuments such as Baba Yadegar mausoleum and Rijaab mosque.

Although customs and traditions observed by the people of Rijaab have some common points with those of other regions in the country, there are some minute differences. Holding ceremonies on special religious days, welcoming Hajjis or Mecca pilgrims, mourning and wedding ceremonies, and some other local common ceremonies are especially considered as cultural attractions of this Iranian region.

Source: Iran English radio

Other links:

Caves, Kermanshah

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