Ilam province is located in the southwestern part of Iran that with an area of about 20,133 square kilometers is the 22nd largest province of the country. It neighbors Kermanshah, Lorestan, and Khuzestan provinces, and Iraq country. Ilam has plenty of rivers because of high mountains and geographical location, giving the area three types of dry/semi-dry, mountainous temperate, and intermediate climates.
In the Ilam province including 10 counties and its center called Ilam as well, people are from various ethnic groups of Kurds, Lur, Laks (the mixture of Lur and Kurd), and Arabs. However, the most prevailing costume and language in the province referred to as the Kurdish residents who speak slightly different from Kurds in Kermanshah and Kurdistan provinces.
Historically, the Elam (Elamites) Empire’s (2700- 539 B.C.) territory contained the southwestern parts of Iran’s Plateau with Susa (roughly the areas of modern-day Khuzestan) province, as the center of their ruling. Besides, some parts of the southeastern area of Tigris and Euphrates rivers in Mesopotamia belonged to Elam though difficult to determine the precise border of the lands they ruled over. The Elamites called their homeland “Hatamti” meaning the land of God, while during the Akkadian Empire (the first ancient empire of Mesopotamia in 2334-2154 B.C.) it was referred to as Elamoto.
It seems that the name of Ilam city has originated from the word Elamoto. Assurbanipal, the king of Assyria reigned in a span of 669 to 631 B.C., defeated Elam and plundered Susa; after this, this area never again turned into an independent government. Upon the Achaemenid ruling (550-330 B.C.), the area became a tributary of the central government. Importantly, over the years, the name of this area changed several times, out of which include Sirvan (taken from a river with the same name) and Poshtkouh (because of its geographical location in the western Zagros range behind Lorestan) during the Qajar era (1796-1925).
The pristine and beautiful nature of the area is considered the most important natural attraction of Ilam. On the other hand, the historical and cultural attractions of the province include Vali Castle of Ilam, Falahati Palace, Taq-e Shirin and Farhad, Siahgel Fire Temple, and the remains of the Sassanid city of Sarab-e Kalan. In terms of handicrafts, the most prevailing ones in the region are carpet and kilim usually woven in a floral pattern. The wool used in creating the threads of this carpet is of high quality, while silk threads are also very common in this region.
The nomadic handicrafts of the province include Chit, Tough, Davar, Gouchan, and Douk. When it comes to eatable souvenirs, Kermanshahi oil, Tuff (made of milk and cheese), mountain honey, and chewing gum are known in Ilam. The main ingredients of the local foods are peas, beans, and meat.