Kermanshah, city, capital of Kermanshah province, western Iran. The city lies in the fertile valley of the Qareh Su River and is situated on the ancient caravan route between the Mediterranean Sea and Central Asia.
It was founded in the 4th century CE by Bahram IV of the Sasanian dynasty. Conquered by the Arabs in 640, the town was called Qirmasin (Qirmashin). Under Seljuq rule in the 11th century, it was the chief town of Kurdistan. The Safavids (ruled 1501–1736) fortified the town, and the Qajar’s repulsed an attack by the Turks during Fatḥ ʿAli Shah’s rule (1797–1834). Occupied by the Turkish army in 1915 during World War I, it was evacuated in 1917. The construction of a road in the 1950s over the age-old Khorasan track added considerably to the importance of the city.
The main industries in Kermanshah include textile manufacturing, food processing, oil refining, carpet making, sugar refining, and the production of electrical equipment and tools. It is connected by road to Tabriz, Hamadan, and Qazvin and has an airport.
The surrounding region is one of the richest agricultural areas of Iran; its agriculture is now mostly mechanized. Irrigation is largely used in the upland valleys. Wheat and barley, corn (maize), clover, beans, oilseeds, rice, fruit, and vegetables are the main crops, and the hills in the area provide good pasturage. The inhabitants are mainly Kurds of many different tribes, most of whom settled in urban areas after World War II. The history of the area extends back into antiquity, as many local monuments of Achaemenid and Sassanides origin demonstrate—e.g., the rock carvings at Bisotun and Tag-e Bostan. There are also many prehistoric remains in the form of mounds and formerly inhabited caves. Pop. (2006) 794,863.
Kermanshah has been always the link between the Iranian plateau and Mesopotamia throughout its history during the pre-Islam era. In the fourth millennium BC, the region currently known as Kermanshah province was one of the most important centers of trade and commerce with Mesopotamia.
There have also been many conflicts and wars between these two nations. Therefore, this region used to be the center of various Iranian and Mesopotamian civilizations and governments for centuries.
During the Buyid period, some minor Kurdish dynasties set up uprisings in the areas around Kermanshah. It had a military and economic importance in the Seljuq period. The reason was its location at the intersection of a great highway linking the city to major trade areas inside and outside of the Iranian Plateau. And, it was one of the major cities as well as one of the dynastic capitals in the Sassanid period. This glorious city was also the summer resort for Sassanid kings.
During the post-Islam era, a lot of significant incidents occurred in Kermanshah as well. In 640 A.D., after the Arabs’ invasion of Iran, Kermanshah was occupied and destroyed completely by Arabs. The population decreased, and its residents moved to other cities. About a decade later, people rebuilt the city along the Qarasu River banks.
During the reign of Abbasid caliphs, it was an important city because of its strategic location. In 1220 A.D., after the Mongol invasion of Iran, Kermanshah was badly damaged again.
In the early Safavid period, due to Iran’s conflicts with Ottoman, ruling Kermanshah was a complicated situation. At times, Ottomans could defeat Iranians and rule over the city. But some other times, they were defeated by Iranians and left its ruling to Iran. But from the reign of Shah Safi, the sixth king of the Safavid dynasty, to the end of the Safavid period, the city was enjoying a period of peace and prosperity.
Benefiting from artillery attributed to Nader Shah, the founder of the Afsharid dynasty, Kermanshah gained military significance. Such a condition made the city a battlefield between Nader Shah and Ottomans.
Because of its artillery, Kermanshah was the focus of attention after the death of Nader Shah. There were many conflicts over the takeover of the city among those who sought power, and it was Karim Khan Zand, the founder of Zand dynasty, who won.
In 1753 A.D., Karim Khan invaded Kermanshah, destroyed and evacuated it completely so that, for nearly 10 years, there was nothing called Kermanshah. Then, in 1762 A.D., the city was revived in the southwest of the former location, and Allahqoli Khan (from Zanganeh family, a local Kurdish tribe) ruled there as the governor.
Kermanshah enjoyed a short period of peace due to having Allahqoli Khan as its most powerful governor. But after the death of Karim Khan, he claimed the throne, and this led the city toward civil conflicts once again. Throughout the Zand period, Zanganeh family governed Kermanshah most of the time.
In the 19th century, Kermanshah experienced progress in terms of commercial and strategic significance. The city was flourishing. It also had political and social importance to the government.
The appointment of Mohammad Ali Mirza, the sixth king-to-be of the Qajar dynasty, as the governor of Kermanshah was one of the best things happened to the city. He started urban planning and caused the city to develop greatly. For instance, he constructed caravansaries and accommodations for merchants, and build a new fortress.
There were two major reasons which made Kermanshah a critical area for the Qajars. First, their relationship with Ottomans in Iraq. And second, making it secure for the pilgrims so that they could go to Iraq and visit the Shiite’s shrines there. Qajar kings managed to restore relative security in this region.
Kermanshah played an important role in the Constitutional Revolution in Iran. It was a movement from 1905-1911 for establishing a constitutional regime in which the people of this city were actively involved.
In the late World War, I, Kermanshah was seized by Ottoman Forces. Also, during World War II, Great Britain forces seized the city and it remained occupied until the end of the war.
Kermanshah played a major role in the Islamic Revolution of Iran in 1979 as well. It was one of the resistance centers against the Pahlavi regime. It was among the cities of Iran which underwent a lot of damage during the eight-year war of Iran and Iraq (1980-1988).
Taq-e Bostan National Park
It’s situated in the northeast of Kermanshah including Sassanid rock reliefs and an ancient site referred to as the private preserve of Khosrow II, the Sassanid king.