Kurdistan province, with an area of 29,137 square kilometers and 10 counties including Sanandaj city as its center is the 30th largest province of the country. The province, completely surrounded by mountains, has a common border with West Azerbaijan, Zanjan, Kermanshah, and Hamedan provinces and Iraq country. Its residents are mostly Kurds who speak Kurdish with different dialects. Historically, the land of the current Kurdistan used to be a part of the Medes (678-549 B.C.) realm.
The Kurdish name was apparently given to the area during the Seljuk Dynasty (1037-1194), while Ardalan was the former name of the province attributing to the name of a clan that ruled over a large part of it since the eighth century. During the Safavid Dynasty (1501-1736), Iran successfully ruled a great part of the old Kurdistan which consisted of the entire eastern slopes of the Zagros Mountain. With the establishment and ruling of the Zand Dynasty (1751-1794), the region for the first time benefited from the rulers who were Kurds.
The attractions of Kurdistan are distributed all over the province including rich natural, historical, religious, and cultural resources. For example, the Uraman Takht district, located in two provinces of Kurdistan and Kermanshah, is known for the architecture of its villages since the roofs of the houses above are the yards of the houses below. The Pir Shalyar Tomb, Asef Building, Sanandaj Central Mosque, the historical Quran in the Negel village, Zrebar Lake, and Zhalaneh defile are just a part of other attractions of Kurdistan. Such, along with the local hospitality, attract a significant number of travelers to Kurdistan every year.
In terms of handicrafts, one can mention all types of Kurdish women’s and men’s clothing, Giveh, Nazok-Kari (woodwork art by delicate pieces), woodcarving, woolen fabrics, shawls, local jewels, mats, and basket weaving, wooden spoons, and forks, Poolakdoozi and Soozan Doozi (two forms of embroidery).
Finally, eatable souvenirs of the province are honey, walnuts, strawberries, rice bread, sugary sesame, date bread, Kak, and Nokhodchi bread (a sweet like chickpeas). Local foods which are mainly comprised of natural herbs (e.g., celery, mushrooms, and rhubarb) include Katepolow and Sholepolow with meat, Aush-e-dough (a kind of soup), Savar, Gerdool, Tarhana, Shole Ginim, Doughin (Nettle Aush), Kalaneh, Beryan (Kurdish Kebab), and Kufteh Shoor Dolma.