Kermanshah is an ancient city in west of Iran. Some historians believe one of the first human civilizations has been centered in Kermanshah. The remains of Neanderthals have been found in Bistun cave. Recently in a region located in west of Kermanshah, called Sahne, a prehistoric village has been discovered dating back to 9800 BC.
This city has had different names in different eras, including
Based on findings, Kermanshah has experienced two main prosperous periods, Achaemenid and Sassanid eras. Dariush inscription which is found in Bistun dates back to 522 BC. There are many pre-Islamic heritages in Kermanshah.
Kermanshah was prospered in 4th AD in the Sassanid era, but has been destroyed in Arab invasion to Iran, and again prospered and developed in Safavid era.
In the Second and Third World Wars, this region was occupied, but evacuated after these war ended.
Once again, in the war of Iran-Iraq, Kermanshah province was heavily damaged, in a way that some villages of the province were almost completely destroyed.
Kermanshah is the capital of Kermanshah province, located in the western border of Iran. It has a joint border with Iraq. People of Kermanshah are mostly Kurds, but there are Laks and Persians too. Kermanshah is indeed the largest center f Kurds in Iran. It is the ninth most populated city of Iran.
The majority of People in Kermanshah are Shia Moslems, but there are Sunni and Yasani minorities too.
Kermanshah has a mountainous tempered climate, with cold winters and cool summers. The average temperature in hottest time of the year is around 22 Cᵒ. Kermanshah is located on the domains of Sefid Kooh.
Bistun is an ancient town located at the root of Bistun Mountain, located in 30 kilometers west of Kermanshah. Bistun (Bagastana in Old Persia) means “the Place of God”.
The heritage is actually an old inscription on a cliff, known as Bisotun or Dariush’s inscription. The inscription is15 meters high and 25 meters wide.
The inscription dates back to 522 BCE, and is registered as one of the world’s heritages by UNESCO.
The inscription is actually a written history mostly telling a brief autobiography of Dariush, the story of events in Persian Empire including the death of Cyrus the great. It is translated and carved in 3 languages: Old Persian, Elamite, Babylonian (a version of Akkadian).
On top of the inscription, there is a relief showing Dariush the Great standing in front of nine rebels, who have disobeyed him, with his foot on the chest of Gaumata. On th top of the relief, there is the statue of Farvahar carved giving Dariush its blessings.
For centuries the story of this inscription was not discovered and it was attributed to Khosrow II, a king of Sassanid era who lived about 1000 years after Dariush.
As it was mentioned earlier, the story was not decoded, so people fictionalized different stories for the site. One of the popular stories belongs to the eternal love story of Shirin and Farhad. This written tragedy of the poet, Nezami ganjavi, named as “khosro va shirin”. Farhad is a sculptor, a famous character in Persian literature who is in love with Shirin, the princess of Persian Armenia. But Shirin is in love with khorsow, the king of Persia and Farhad’s rival in love. Khosrow tricks Farhad to shape stairs in a mountain and tells him if he manages to do so, Khosrow will withdraw from Shirin. Farhad starts to build the stairs and he successfully shapes the mountain, but…..
The real story was not discovered until current century when the inscription was decoded and attributed to Dariush, the king of Achaemenid dynasty.
Taq-e Bostan (called Taq-e “veh san” in Kurdy language meaning “stone arch”) is located in the northeast of Kermanshah. Taq-e Bostan is actually a stone relief and two arches carved on a mountain with the same name of Taq-e Bostan, a spring of pure water starts from this mountain and gushes into a pool in front of the arches.
This site is attributed to Sassanid dynasty, dating back to the 3rd century.
There are two hypotheses regarding the date of Taq-e Bostan creation. One claims that it has been created by Pirooz the First (448-459); and the other claims that Taq-e Bostan has been created by Khosrow Parviz (590-628). Most historians believe in the second hypothesis. Sassanid kings first chose Persepolis region for their reliefs and inscriptions, but Ardeshir the Second, and other Sassanid kings following him, chose Taq-e Bostan as the place for locating their memorials, because it had a better climate and was located on the passage of the Silk Road.
Taq-e Bostan is actually composed of two arches, a big one and a smaller one.
The bigger Arch is 5.7 meters wide, about 9 meters high and 5.9 meters deep. The coronation of Khosrow Parviz is the most important event shown in the relief of Taq-e Bostan. In the bigger Arch, the statues of three figures are seen; Khosrow Parviz in the middle, Farvahar in his right side and Anahita the goddess of waters in his left. On the side wall, winged angles, tree of life, horses, elephants, scenes of hunting birds, fishes, boats are pictured which are reminders of happiness and banquet. Female musicians are also pictured playing music instruments.
In the smaller Arch the coronation of Shahpour the Secnd and Shahpour the Third are pictured. Here there are two reliefs on top of the arch and two inscriptions in Pahlavi language.
In 19th century, Mohammad Ali Mirza, the king of Qajar dynasty added another relief of his own statue to the smaller arch. This relief does not have the elegance and delicacy of the main reliefs. The inscription is a poem in his praise. These added reliefs are colored.
Archaeological evidences show that the site was first constructed during the Parthian period as a hunting site for lords, but later in the times of Khosrow Parviz kingdom, the Sassanid king, the arches and sculptures were carved.
It is said that on the floor of the cave, there has been a carpet made or ornamented with jewelries. After Arabs invaded Persia, they plundered it and divided it into pieces and gave it to their commanders as war booty.
Below is the list of historical and natural sites of Kermanshah. We list them merely for your knowledge. Surfing Persia selects the most important and outstanding ones and manages to cover them in its itinerary. However, if there is a site which you insist on visiting but not included in your tour, please let us know. We will consider adding this item to your tour or replacing it with another site included in your itinerary.