Kermanshah through the Passage of Time
The historical province of Kermanshah, like other parts of our ancient country, has preserved relics of the eras of greatness of Iran in the midst of its mountains and Plains.
Unlike other parts of Iran that have become provisional habitats, this province has always been occupied without interruption through different periods of the history. The archaeological evidence show that the region had been one of the first habitats of early humans and one of the most important centers of population in the Central Zagros Mountains. All human life stages and periods ranging from stone age to pre-historic civilizations and to large government formation have followed their course in these boundaries.
Such that the Bistoon Hunters Cave reveals interesting points about the history of human life in Paleolithic era in Iran. Thereafter, about 9 thousand years ago due to warming climate, humans left the cave and settled at one place and that development, resulted in agriculture, animal husbandry, and consequently, village life. Undoubtedly the first villages have formed in this province such as Ganjdare Hersin, Gakieh, and Tapesarab. Prehistoric men of Ganjdare, were among the first who invented pottery in Iran and were inclined towards industrial activities.
In the fourth millennium B.C., Kermanshah Province was one of the most important commercial centers and its merchants and businessmen traded and exchanged goods with Shush and Mesopotamia merchants.The presence of Bazaars in Kangavar’s Goodin and Islamabad’s Chghagavaneh that are reminder of those times, are proof of this claim.
Based on Babylonian / Assyrian tablets, inhabitants of Zagros were Lulube and Gothic tribes.
These vigilant and brave men, in order to protect this land, have always been at war with Mesopotamians and have been victorious too, and since then the Valleys of Zagros have been center of Iranian / Mesopotamian civilizations for centuries and eventually the Iranian element dominate the area with its civilization. The existence of reliefs by these tribes in Sarpolzahab affirms this, which is one of the oldest in the Middle East.
Kermanshah area, due to common borders with Assyria, was continuously exposed to invasion of powerful government of Assyria and kings such as Tiklat-Pal-Isri, Shalmaneser V, have invaded Kermanshah boundaries frequently. The tablets remaining from Assyrian times, mention realms like Parswa, Zakruti, Madiha, and Nishani. Nishani was a region covering modern Mahidasht and Kermanshah, which were famous for their horse breeding and keeping pastures. Assyrian Yearbooks mention a city called Elipee that historians have pinpointed it between Hamadan and Kermanshah and some other historians have located it in the current site of Kermanshah.
With the formation of the states, this realm had also become one of the Medians centers and valuable relics like Goodin Fortress has remained from that era.
In that period Kermanshah was one of the vital Iranian highways and the road from Ekbatan to Babylon passed through this province.
In Achaemenes period, a royal road that connected Ekbatan to Babylon, added to the prosperity of the region. After the extinction of Achaemenes, during Solouki era, parts of Kermanshah like Bistoon and Dinor accommodated Greek colonies but soon Parthians defeated them and settled in the region. Parthians’ reliefs in Bistoon are witness to this development. In that period, Bistoon was a major centers of Parthian age.
In the course of Sassanid period, Kermanshah Province was more prosperous than any of the other ages. This region has always been of interest to Sassanid kings and due to proximity to Tisfon, their capital; they spent the summer in summer resorts around the province. Islamic historians have frequently mentioned that Khosro I had built several palaces around Taq Bostan and had hosted kings like Chinese Emperor, Indian king, Roman Cesar, etc.
By construction of cities such as Halvan in this side, and the city building policies of Sassanid kings at the country’s west side that led to foundation of Kermanshah, this region gained more credit and Sassanid kings, by constructing bridges on the rivers and public places, brought about welfare and economic prosperity for the people of the region.
With the defeat of the Sassanid by Muslims, the people of this region, unlike some other areas, were among the first communities that accepted the holy religion of Islam and started to promote it.
Abdullah Bin Omar Mosque in Rijab is one of the oldest early Islamic mosques and its is a reminder of that era. Tombs of faithful companions of the Prophet that helped him in wars like Abudajane are in Rijab. In Abbasid regime, Kermanshah was one of the four major cities of Jebal States. Harunolrashid, the famous Abbasid Caliph was especially concerned about this, as a result, tourists have mentioned the beauty and prosperity of the city.
Ibn Hoghl and Estakhri describe Kermanshah as a beautiful township with abundant water and trees. Moghadasi included this city along with Hamadan, Ray, and Isfahan in the list of 4 famous cities of Jebal State.
In the third century Hegira, Kermanshah was inside Safarian government territory. In the 4th century, a small Kurdish dynasty called Hasnoyeh gained independence in western states. The founder of this dynasty was and its most famous figure, ruled for nearly fifty years, and choose the big Sarmaj Castle as the seat of his government. In 441, Sultan Toghrol The Seljuk, sent a 100 thousand strong army and after 4 years conquered the castle.
In the sixth century, Sultan Sanjar The Seljuk, put Kermanshah and its surroundings under the rule of his nephew, Sloeiman Shah aka. Yve.
In the seventh century, Kermanshah, like Khorasan and other areas of Iran, was heavily damaged by Mongol invasion of Iran, such that Holaco’s troops committed tragic murder and looting in this area, but at the end of Ilkhani era, in Abusaid government, this area is again a matter of concern such that during his reign, the city of Sultanieh Chamchamal was built near the Bistoon. At that time, as Hamdollah Mostoufi noted, Kermanshahan was one of the 16 states of Kurdistan.
In the 9th century and early 10th century, Ottoman Turks invaded Kermanshah. In that time, Hercin and Mahidasht were emirates but there is no sign of Kermanshahan.
At the time of the Saffavids, Kermanshahan enjoyed importance and prestige. In the period of the reign of Shah Tahmasb I, a government called Kalhor, and in Shah Safi’s period, a government called Songhor & Kalhor was established in the region and were transferred to Zangeneh Lords (Khans). In fact, this is the time of the re-organization of Kermanshah and the beginning of the formation of the current Kermanshah Province.
Concurrent with the Afghan attack and the fall of Isfahan, Kermanshahan faced Ottoman aggression again and once again started to become a ruin. In the Zand era, the Zangeneh Lords (Khans) and Kermanshah residents, did not accept the Karim Khan rule at first, therefore Kermanshah faced siege and destruction for a while. During the rule of Qajar dynasty, Kermanshah was deemed important. Fathali Shah, in 1221 Lunar Hegira Calendar, appointed one of his sons called Mohammad Ali Mirzaye Dolatshah to this position as Iraq borderline keeper and also annexed the Khuzestan State to his territory and in fact, in this time, Kermanshah became an equipped military base against the Ottoman State.
Introducing the Townships in Kermanshah Province