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City of Sanandaj

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A View of University
Welcome to the International Relations and Scientific Cooperation Office. This office was established in October 2010 to coordinate and implement University of Kurdistan’s international activities. The concept of higher education internationalization is an important one in this age of global knowledge economies and impacts society economically, socially and politically. Thus, the need for replacing traditional, information based teacher-directed rote learning with a new type of learning that emphasizes creating, applying, scrutinizing, and integrating knowledge and engaging in collaborative learning throughout the learning lifespan is crucial. The International Relations and Scientific Cooperation Office activities are therefore geared towards achieving this objective.


The City Of Sanandaj

The city of Sanandaj is the capital of Kurdistan Province and 512 kilometers west of Tehran. It is geographically located almost in the center of the province so that except for the cities of Saqez and Baneh, it has borders with the other cities in the province. Sanandaj has a population of 419,750 as per the last census taken in 2005 and is thus the province's most populous city. It is considered to be one of the most beautiful cities in Iran because of its scenic views and topography. The city is surrounded by mountains and hills, and has a mountainous climate where summers are relatively mild and winters cold. Some of these hills, such as Tapeh Tooshnawzar, Tapeh Roosi and Tapeh Sharaf-al-mulk, are of religious and historical importance. Two well-known mountain landmarks in the city are Abidar and Kochek Rash (black stone) which are situated at opposing ends of the city. 
The name Sanandaj is an Arabicized form of the compound word “Sna dezh” and the native Kurdish people of the city call the city “Sna”. Although many definitions exist for the term “Sna”, in the Avesta (primary collection of religious texts of Zoroastrianism)it is defined as “hawk” or “eagle” and the word “dezh” means fort.

 


Sanandaj: Historical and Cultural

It is obvious from historical records that the ruler, Shah Soleiman Khan Ardalan, transferred the centre of government from Hasanabad and Palangan forts in the south to the modern day city of Sanandaj in the year 1046 AH. Prior to that, Sanandaj was a small but ancient small village which was probably destroyed by an earthquake or Mongol invasions. This is evident in the ancient hill of Tooshnawzar running along the river and Hasanabad Fort which are of archaeological significance. Many graves have also been found in Sanandaj dating back to more than a thousand years.

Suleiman Khan Ardalan after the transfer of sovereignty to Sanandaj, built a castle on top of a hill establishing a government with full strength. Mansions, baths, mosques and markets were built outside of the castle building in the Safavid and Qajar eras and remains of which are still evident in the present era.

Sanandaj has a special place culturally, artistically and religiously in Kurdish populated regions. It has famous artists in the various cultural and artistic fields such as music, theater, visual / performing arts. The city is also famed for its mystical ceremonies and mysticism held in Takyas and Khanqahs (belonging to Dervish Orders) weekly. Mysticism is a deep-rooted tradition in Kurdistan province and since the third century Kurdish people have been followers of this tradition. Sanandaj boasts 60 Khanghahs which are a resort or refuge for congregation of dervishes or followers. There are two main branches of mysticism in Kurdistan province:

  • Ghaderieh Branch: Followers of this branch are the disciples of Sheikh Abdolghadere Gilani. They attempt to find truth through religious ceremonies in which they dance to the sound of the Daf till they are totally rapt in the mystically religious atmosphere of the ceremony.
  • Naghshbandi Branch: Followers of this branch are the disciples of Molana Bahaeddin Mohammad-e-Bokharayee. They try to find truth through silence and profound thinking.

Sanandaj is a city of mosques as it has over 141 mosques and is therefore has the highest ratio of Mosques to city population in the Islamic world.  It is also a city with many higher educational institutes (47 HEIs in Kurdistan Province including University of Kurdistan which not only the main state university but has the responsibility of overseeing all the other HEIs in the city and the province a high student population of 20,000 (total province student population is just under 60,000)

Tourist Attractions

 

  • Jame Mosque
 This mosque situated on Imam Khomeini Street dates back to the Qajar dynasty and was built by Amanollah Khan, the then Governor of the province in 1228 A.H. This mosque has two porches with a central courtyard surrounded by 12 chambers built specially for theology students. The main porch has 24 impressive columns with Quranic calligraphy written at their tops. Quranic verses are also skillfully and beautifully engraved on the porch walls. Colourful tiles (7 coloured tiles) have been used to decorate the walls of the mosque and the plinths are made of marble stone.
 
 
 

 

  • Abidar Recreational Center
As the name suggests, the recreational centre with panoramic views of the city, restaurants and coffee shops is located on Mount Abidar’s mountainside. This mountainside recreational area has natural springs and landscape designed gardens and sitting areas especially ideal for families. One of the biggest gardens of this center is called Amirieh Garden which also has the biggest outdoor cinema screen of the country that screens films in the spring and summer months. 
 
 
  • Sanandaj Bazaar
 This bazaar extends over the full length of Enghelab Street on both sides. It was built in 1046 A.H. when the Ardalan dynasty made Sanandaj the centre of government. The bazaar was designed in the form of a large rectangle which was divided in two parts during Pahlavi dynasty: the northern and southern parts are called Sanandaji Bazaar and Asef Bazaar, respectively. After nearly four centuries, the bazaar is still considered commercially valuable center.
 
  • House of Kurds (Asef Mansion)  
The House of Kurds is one of the biggest anthropological and ethnic museums in Iran housed in Asef Mansion which belonged to an aristocratic family. It is located on Imam – Khomeini Street in Sanandaj. This mansion was first built in the Safavid period and then completed in the Qajar and Pahlavi periods. It has great architectural importance because of its brickwork , plasterwork and colourful glass stained windows known as Oroosies. The private bath of this mansion is discerned as the most attractive one among the other old baths in Sanandaj.
 

 

  •  Sanandaj Museum
 It is located on Habibi Alley, Imam Khomeini Street. The exterior part of the Mulla Lotfollah Sheikhol Eslam Mansion houses the museum is. In this museum, archaeological objects excavated in the province or the other parts of Iran are exhibited. The Oroosie works (glass-stained windows) of this museum is one of the best in Sanandaj and were made by Sanandaji artists. The mansion belongs to the Qajar era.
 
 
  • Khosro–Abad Mansion 
This mansion is on Khosro – Abad Boulevard. It is a unique building which was once the center of Ardalani Governors, especially Khosro Khan Ardalan. The mansion with its garden has two main parts: the royal palace to the west of the building with a pillared entrance and the eastern part with a pillared porch which overlooks the outer area of the mansion. In addition to these two main parts, there are baths and servant quarters. The building has wonderfully designed brickwork, Oroosies and a cross – shaped pond.
 
 

 

  •  Vakil Mansion

This mansion is situated on Keshavarz Street. It consists of three courtyards with related buildings, a private bath inside the mansion and a public one outside. The main part of Vakil Mansion was built in the Zandiyeh period and other parts in the Qajar period. This mansion boasts decorations such as brickwork and Oroosies. The central part of the mansion has a pergola shaped gable roof.

 
 
  • Moshir Diwan Mansion 
This mansion was built by Mirza Yousef Moshir Diwan in Qajar period and is on Shohada Street. It consists of three courtyards with own related buildings and interior private baths. Each courtyard also has a fountain. The most beautiful porch in Sanandaj with an arch-shaped roof belongs to this mansion.
 
 
  • Khan Bath
This bath is located to the northern side of Sanandaj's old bazaar, on Enghelab Street. The interior decorations of this bath and the frescos drawn on the walls are really unique. This bath was built in 1220 A.H. under the order of Amannollah Khan Ardalan. This bath is the biggest old bath in Sanandaj. 

  • Hajar-e-Khatoon Shrine 

According to religious records, this revered offspring of an Imam ( Imam Zadeh) was the sister of Imam Reza, who passed away on her way to Khorasan and was then buried in this area.

In proximity to the shrine, a mosques and tombs of great leaders and Sheikhs are present. This shrine is in an old alley which is called Sartapollah on Salahedin Ayoobi Street. 
 
  • Pir-Omar Shrine 
This shrine is on the southern side of Imam Khomeini Street. It was built in 1046 A.H. It is believed that Pir Omar was the son of Hazrat-e- Ali. The shrine building has amazing brick decorations, plaster works, and glass stained windows. 
 
  • Pir-Mohammad Shrine 
This shrine is near Nabowat Square. It is located above a hill which was an old cemetery of Sanandaj. This shrine is the burial place of Mohammad-ebne- Yahya who was called Pir-Omar.
 
  •  Gheshlagh Dam

Gheshlagh Dam  is 20 Kilometers north of Sanandaj on the Sanandaj-Saghez Road. This dam was constructed over Gheshlagh River. It is 11 Kilometers long and covers an area of 934 hectares. This lake is a good resort for water sports and has greatly added to the natural attractions of the region.

 
  •   Negel Quran
This well-known Koran is kept in the village of Negel which is 65 kilometers from the west of Sanandaj on the Sanandaj – Mariwan Road. This holy book is handwritten and is believed to date back to time of the Islamic Third Caliphate and was one of Qurans sent out to different parts of the world to spread the message of Islam. It is a large sized text with leather binding and sheets made of thick parchment. This Quran is written in Kufi style which is punctuated. In some parts of this Quran, the numbers of the verses are gilded and decorated with plant designs.