Ishaq Pasha Palace
Bazîd
Doğubayazıt
ISHAK PASHA PALACE Construction of Ishak Pasha Palace was initiated in 1685 by COLAK ABDI PASHA, Bazîd's Kurdish governor. The palace was finished in 1785. The palace combines elements of Kurdish, Ottoman, Persian, and Armenian architecture. EHMEDÊ XANÎ‎, a revered Kurdish polymath, was the court's poet. His tomb is located east of the palace. Old Bazîd, which lay at the foot of the palace, was destroyed by Turkish forces following the Kurdish Rebellion of 1927-1930. Many of the palace's moveable monuments, such as its gold-plated gates, were later looted by Russian and Turkish forces. close skip_next skip_previous
RECLAIMING KURDISH HERITAGE discover Kurdistan
THE TALE OF GULÊ AND EVDALÊ ZEYNIKÊ

A Kurdish folktale of two vying dengbêj (bards/voice performers), as told by Kurdish musician REWŞAN ÇELIKER.

In the background: Ishak Pasha Palace overlooking New Bazîd. Also featured in this video is the tomb of EHMEDÊ XANÎ‎, the previously mentioned 17th century Kurdish polymath and poet‎.
Amed City Walls
skip_previous skip_next Amed, Bakûr | Diyarbakir, Kurdistan
Amed
Diyarbakir
AMED: BLACK PEARL ON THE TIGRIS Amed (Diyarbakir) is considered the capital of "Greater Kurdistan". The city boasts the world's second largest continuous city walls–only second to the Great Wall of China. The walls stretch for nearly six kilometers. There are 83 towers and four main gates into the Old Town. The original walls date back to 1000 BCE and have gone through multiple periods of significant restoration, most notably during the Kurdish Marwanid- and Ayyubid Periods. In the 1930s, the Turkish State started demolishing the walls. Fortunately, French archaeologist ALBERT LOUIS GABRIEL was there to intervene and prevent the demolition's completion. close
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A KURDISH OPERA PERFORMANCE

"Dayê Welat Şêrîne" ("Mother, the Homeland is Sweet") as perfomed by PERVIN CHAKAR, a Kurdish opera singer from Mêrdîn, a historic region in Northern Kurdistan.

This was performed at the 12th century Delîlan Caravanserai in Amed's Old Town, which is pictured when you pause the video. ERTAN TEKIN plays the duduk ; ARI HERGEL plays the guitar.

CLICK FOR KURDISH LYRICS

Dayê welat şêrîn e, ez sond xarîme
Ger bi miraz neqewlî, çaw li rewî me
Ji bo me ew derd û kul gelek dikşîne
Bê welat ez sêwî me
Dayê welat şêrîn e, dayê welat şêrîn e
Welat şêrîn e

Wek dayika lewik bin, hemî kir zava
Te zar û zêçan pirr kir, xênî kir ava
Te gelek mal û hal kir, gelek pê eşiyayî
Dayê welat nebû azad,
Dayê welat şêrîne, Dayê welat şêrîne,
Welat şêrîn e.

Dayê sibe qet nayê ger min nehêlî,
Hinek êş bi canê min, tu min bixemlînî
Şev û roj li serê min hêstirk dibarînî
Car din wek wê nakşînin
Dayê welat şêrîne, Dayê welat şêrîne,
Welat şêrîn e.

TIGRIS BRIDGE FOLK DANCE

This video is a display of traditional Kurdish dress and folk dance typical for Kurdistan's Amed Region. The dance highlights the military origin of the Kurdish folk dance with its repetitive and ever-increasing sound of the dahol drum, the structured movements that represent the feigned retreat and assault of forces, and the eerie women's ululations that were meant to frighten and demoralize the enemy. These dances were often performed at night, like the Parthians (whom are among the ancestors of the Kurds) did before the Battle of Carrhae in 53 BCE.

The folk dance is performed on Pira Dehderî, which is Kurdish for "Ten Arches Bridge". The bridge is also known as Pira Belek and Tigris Bridge, for it crosses the ancient Tigris River on the city's outskirts, near the historic Hevsel Gardens. The bridge was built in 1065 AD by the Kurdish Marwanid Dynasty, whom ruled Upper Mesopotamia. The bridge is made of masonry volcanic basalt stone; the city's signature building block. Visit the website linked to below for 21 online exhibitions dedicated to Amed's incredibly rich culture and history.

A CITY AT THE CROSSROADS OF HISTORY

Kirmasan, Kermanshah
FARHĀD's WALL Bêstûn, Kirmaşan | Bisotun, Kermanshah
Bêstûn
Bisotun
SACRED MT. BÊSTÛN (BISOTUN) Kurds consider Mount Bêstûn (Bisotun) sacred because of its historic and cultural significance; it is the site of historic and ancient UNESCO-listed monuments, such as the pictured 16th century Shah Abbassi Caravanserai on the old Silk Road, the 2500-year-old Bisotun Inscription (the world's oldest multilingual cuneiform inscription and the world's oldest Declaration of Human Rights), and FARHĀD TARĀSH's 200-meter-long smoothed rock surface. World-renowned Kurdish tenor SHAHRAM NAZERI is from Kirmaşan (Kermanshah), which is the city and province where these monuments are located. close
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MYSTICAL, MYTHICAL BÊSTÛN

This short clip captures the magnificent of Kirmaşan perfectly, an ancient land sowed with so many myths and legends that it had no choice but to give birth to legendary heroes, poets, and musicians.

It embodies the mythical essence of this land with the beautiful architecture of the centuries-old caravanserai, sacred Mount Bêstûn covered in fog, FARHAD's smoothed rock-surface (testimony to an ancient love tragedy which inspired the legendary poet GANJAVI NIZAMI, an ethnic Kurd), and, above all, the sound of the Kurdish Tembûr: a sound passed on and preserved for thousands of years.

Pause the video for a poster of the ancient Taq-e Bostan ("Arch Made of Stone") monument during winter time. It was hewn by the Sassanians in the fourth century. The monument is located within the Khosrow Parviz Hunting Grounds, summer retreat of kings long gone.
Bidlîs, Bitlis
ŞEREFNAME: "THE BOOK OF HONOR"

"Şerefname" is considered one of the most important pre-modern books on Kurdish history. It was written in 1597 by SHARAFKHAN BIDLISI, a Kurdish historian, poet, and Prince of the Principality of Bidlîs. The book, written in Persian, primarily deals with Kurdish tribes and dynasties, such as SULTAN SALADIN's Ayyubid Dynasty, the famous Kurdish sultan who defeated the Crusader States in the 12th century. The book also deals with the Kurdish language and the various religions practiced by Kurds.

There are 39 known manuscripts of the book; the oldest copy is held at St. Petersburg, Russia. SACHA ALSANCAKLI and MUSTAFA DEHQAN are currently (2021) realizing a critical and much-needed English-language edition of the book, which will be published by the Austrian Academy of Sciences. For now, you can download the full Persian edition below.
picture_as_pdf SHARAFKHAN BIDLISI Bidlîs, Bakûr | Bitlis, Kurdistan
Bidlîs
Bitlis
BIDLÎS: CITY OF PRINCES Bidlîs was the capital of the Principality of Bidlîs between 1182 and 1847. It was one of the longest-lasting independent Kurdish states. Arts and culture were held in high regard; Kurds and Armenians co-existed in peace and prosperity. Many travelers who visited Bidlîs, such as JEAN-BAPTISTE TAVERNIER and EVLIYA ÇELEBI were impressed by the city and its rulers–in particular by SHARAFKHAN BIDLISI, who penned the "Şerefname", the most important pre-modern book on Kurdish history and the Kurdish tribes. Click on the PDF button to learn more! close
RECLAIMING KURDISH HERITAGE discover Kurdistan Panorama of Bidlîs / Bitlis, KurdistanIllustrion of Sharaf Khan Bidlisi
Riha, Urfa
Riha
Urfa
Riha, Bakûr | Urfa, KurdistanRIHA: CITY OF PROPHETS Riha is one of the world’s oldest cities. As such, it is and has been known by many other names, including Riha (Kurdish), Ruha (Arabic), and Edessa (Greek). Presently, it is internationally known as "Urfa". Riha is an ethnically diverse city where Kurds form a majority (57%) and Arabs a significant minority (39%) population. The city was conquered by the Kurdish SULTAN SALADIN in the 12th century. Halil-ur-Rahman Mosque, the city’s most famous landmark and a fine example of Kurdish-influenced Islamic Architecture, was built in 1211 by Aleppo’s Kurdish Ayyubid Prince AZ-ZAHIR GHAZI. close
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THE ROAD TO DIYARBAKIR

This music video was recorded in one of Riha's historic Armenian mansions. The song is about the road to Amed, a musical display of the deep cultural connection between these two Kurdish cities. The people in this clip are Kurds dressed in traditional Kurdish clothes, playing traditional Kurdish instruments, and singing a song about two Kurdish cities–but they are singing in Turkish.

Why? Because for nearly a century, the Kurdish language was outlawed by the Turkish State. In fact, Turkey denied the existence of Kurds altogether. In an effort to at least preserve their culture, Kurds began writing new songs in- and translating old Kurdish songs to Turkish. Over 80% of Turkey's traditional folk songs are originally Kurdish, which is just one of incalculable examples of Turkey's appropriation (theft) of Kurdish culture, history, and heritage.

Pause the video for a photo of the "Pool of Sacred Fish", surrounded by the previously mentioned 13th century Halil-ur-Rahman Mosque, an iconic example of Kurdish architecture.
Sine, Sanandaj
Sine, Rojhilat | Sanandaj, Kurdistan
Sine
Sanandaj
SINE: CAPITAL OF KURDISH CULTURE Sine, also known as Sanandaj, is the cultural capital of Eastern Kurdistan. The Kurdish Principality of Ardalan (1169 - 1867) was centered around this city. Ardalan's state religion was Yarsanism, an ancient Kurdish religion in which poetry and music stand central.

Ardalan's court language was the Kurdish Gorani dialect. Because of this dialect's musical and rhythmic nature, Gorani became synonymous for "songs". Unsurprisingly, Sine is still one of Kurdistan's most important musical centers, reflected in its designation as a UNESCO Creative City of Music.
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"QASIMXAN" BY THE KAMKARS

THE KAMKARS are a Kurdish family consisting of seven brothers, a sister, and a daughter. They are native to the city of Sine in Eastern Kurdistan and form a musical group. They have written hundreds of original musical pieces in various dialects of Kurdish and in Persian, greatly influencing folkloric Kurdish music.

In 2003, they performed "QASIMXAN" at the Nobel Peace Prize Concert in Oslo in honor of Iranian Nobel laureate SHIRIN EBADI.

Pause the video for a photo of the historic Qeshlaq Bridge, which is located on Sine's outskirts. Kurdistan is where the timeless Tigris and Euphrates rivers originate. Kurdistan is on the crossroads of East- and West; a vast country of countless rivers and streams. A land of literal bridges–but also of figurative bridges, having connected cultures and continents for millennia.

PHOTO GALLERY: THE OLD TOWN OF SINE



Erbil Citadel
Hewlêr, Basûr | Erbil, Kurdistan
Hewlêr
Erbil
THE OLDEST CONTINUOUSLY INHABITED CITY Erbil is the capital city of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), an autonomous administration in Northern Iraq. It corresponds with historic Southern Kurdistan. The city's ancient citadel is the city's oldest part and has been occupied uninterruptedly for over 7000 years, making it the world’s oldest continuously inhabited site.

The famous Battle of Gaugamela in 331 BCE was fought at the outskirts of Erbil. This famous battle was ALEXANDER THE GREAT's decisive victory over the Achaemenid Empire.
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URBILUM, ARBELA, ERBIL, HEWLÊR ...

Erbil has experienced many periods of growth and regression. Mudhafaria Minaret, or Choli Minaret, is evidence of these growth spurts and subsequent regressions. Choli Minaret means “Minaret in the Emptiness”. It got this name after the city's destruction by the Mongols. Today, the minaret is once again part of the city's inner core.

Erbil has grown rapidly in the past decade and is now a city of stark contrasts; a city where modern meets ancient – real ancient. SUMERIANS, AKKADIANS, GUTIANS (Kurds), ASSYRIANS, MEDES (Kurds), ACHAEMENIDS, GREEKS, PARTHIANS (Kurds), SASSANIANS, ROMANS, MONGOLS, AYYUBIDS (Kurds yet again) ... they all left their trace in Erbil. Today, the Kurdish flag rises above the city center.

What will eternal Erbil look like in another 7000 years?
Will the citadel still be standing in 9019?
Lalishskip_next skip_previous
Laliş, Basûr | Lalish, Kurdistan
Laliş‎
Lalish
LALIŞA NÛRANÎ: SACRED LALISH Lalişa Nûranî (or "Laliş", "Lalish") is the location of the holiest temple in the Yazidi faith. Yazidis are expected to make a six-day pilgrimage to this temple at least once in their lifetime.

Yazidism is a pre-Abrahamic monotheistic Kurdish religion. It is over 4000 years old and still widely practiced by Kurds. The religion is based on the belief of one God who created the world and entrusted it into the care of seven angels, the most important being TAWÛSE MELEK (the “Peacock Angel”).
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A PRAYER AT SUNSET

This is a rare recording of a Yazidi Priest praying towards the sun at sunset. Prayers have been conducted in the Kurdish language for centuries. Yazidism pre-dates most religions on earth and is the last ancient Mesopotamian religion surviving to this date.

The existence and perseverance of Yazidis and Yazidism is evidence of the indomitable Kurdish nation's antiquity and endurance.

YAZIDI SYMBOLISM AND ARCHITECTURE

In Yazidism, the sun is considered the sacred source of life. Worshipers turn their face towards it during prayer. The sun, with its 21 rays, is on the flag of Kurdistan. The rays symbolize March 21st, the date of Newroz, the Kurdish New Year. Newroz means "New Day".

The Yazidis have suffered at least 72 genocides. The most recent genocide was committed in 2014 by Turkish-backed so-called "Islamic State" terrorists. Over 5,000 Yazidi Kurds were murdered by these thugs and many women and children were sold into slavery. The Yazidis were saved from extermination thanks to the internationally-recognized efforts of the Kurdish YPG and HPG forces.

Turkish-backed ISIS terrorists also destroyed many ancient monuments, in particular Yazidi temples and shrines. These unique temples are an important staple of Kurdish architecture.

LEARN MORE ABOUT YAZIDI ARCHITECTURE

Mêrdîn, MardinMêrdîn, Bakûr | Mardin, Kurdistan
Mêrdîn
Mardin
MÊRDÎN: A MOSAIC OF CULTURES The history of Mêrdîn (Mardin) dates back to the Bronze Age. It was originally part of the Mitanni Kingdom; the Mitanni were the Hurrian Empire's ruling Indo-Aryan class. Both the Mitanni and Hurrians are considered to be among the ancestors of the heterogeneous Kurdish nation. Today, Mêrdîn is an ethnic and religious mosaic and home to Yazidi Kurds, Muslim Kurds, Syriac Christians (Assyrians), and Arabs. The region is famous for its wine, unique historic limestone architecture, and ancient archaeological sites. close

THE CROWN OF MESOPOTAMIA

Mêrdîn is the capital city of Mêrdîn Province. This ancient city is over 5000 years old and has housed countless of civilizations. The ethnic and religious diversity of this mesmerizing Upper Mesopotamian city is unique and a reflection of its rich past.

Mêrdîn is one of few cities in the world where the Islamic call for prayer can be heard along with the sound of church bells; where Yazidi Kurds, Syriac Christians, and Kurdish and Arab muslims live in the same narrow alleyways that climb the rocky hill the city is built against. Besides its architecture, the region is also famous for its Syriac wine–fermented by Assyrian monks according to ancient tradition. Qasimiye Madrasa houses some reproductions of the 12th century Kurdish polymath ÎSMAÎLÊ CIZÎRÎ (aka AL-JAZARI), the "Father of Robotics".

Mêrdîn is a patriotic Kurdish stronghold. During past elections, the pro-Kurdish HD political party won both the capital city and province with an astonishing majority vote.
Slemani, SulaymaniyahSilêmanî, Basûr | Sulaymaniyah, Kurdistan
Silêmanî
Sulaymaniyah
SLEMANI: A PATRIOTIC STRONGHOLD The city of Slemani was founded on 14 November 1784 and declared capital of the Kurdish Baban Principality (1649 - 1850). The city grew rapidly, numbering over 10,000 inhabitants within a few decades. Slemani attracted intellectuals and tradesmen from all parts of Kurdistan, especially from Amed (Diyarbakir) and Sine (Sanandaj). Because of this, Slemani quickly gained a reputation for itself as a strong cultural and patriotic Kurdish center. The city has preserved this legacy and its people take great pride in it. Watch the next videos to learn more about Slemani–and about the Kurdish origins of Flamenco! close
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ZIRYAB: THE KURDISH "BLACK BIRD" OF ANDALUSIA

A group of Kurdish and Spanish musicians got together for a performance that was a musical dialogue between traditional Kurdish music and Flamenco rhythms. The performance "From Kurdistan's Sulaimani to Spain’s Seville" features Kurdistan’s BEJAN JAZA and Spain's INMA LA CARBONERA.

The performance can be interpreted as an ode to ZIRYAB, a 9th century Kurdish polymath who single-handedly influenced Europe's culture. ZIRYAB was born in 789 AD in Mosul. His father was a Kurd; his mother probably a freed African slave. Ziryab was known as the Kurdish "Black Bird" because of his dark complexion and sublime voice.

ZIRYAB originally served in the Abbasid Court of CALIPH AL-RASHID, but he was such a good musician that others grew jealous of him and had him exiled. ZIRYAB was invited to the Umayyad Court of
AL-HAKAM in Cordoba, al-Andalus (Andalusia, present-day Spain).

CLICK TO CONTINUE READING

There, ZIRYAB made his break and changed Europe's culture forever. Many of the things we assume to be "Western" in origin were actually invented by this relatively unknown Kurd.

ZIRYAB was a polymath and had a vast knowledge of astronomy, geography, meteorology, botanic, cosmetics, culinary art, and fashion. He introduced the Ud to Europe, which evolved to become today's unmissable guitar. Some of ZIRYAB's other introductions and inventions include:

  • Flamenco and maluf music; this musical style laid the foundation for modern Rock 'n Roll!
  • Seasonal fashion and the three-course meal; ZIRYAB started a vogue by changing clothes according to weather and season.
  • Early variants of toothpaste, shampoo, and deodorant, as well as early beauty parlors for women.

A large part of our daily routine has in one way or another been shaped by a Kurd who lived over 1200 years ago.
REMEMBER ZIRYAB!

UNESCO CITY OF LITERATURE

Literature was one of Slemani's important pillars of foundation. Because of the city's rich literary history, Slemani was added to UNESCO's Network of Creative Cities in 2019.

Slemani was initially a frontier town of the Kurdish Baban Principality. The city became a refuge for Kurdish elite and royalty whom were exiled because of the Ottoman-Safavid Wars. This fueled the city's rapid growth as political and economic hub.

The city's population was highly educated and therefore desirable in other parts of the Middle-East. Many people from this city occupied key diplomatic positions in the Ottoman Empire, while others became leaders and authorities in the fields of warfare, theology, and poetry.

Curious to learn what the Kurdish connection to flamenco is?
Ever wondered who invented the three-course-meal, seasonal fashion, and beauty parlors? Ever wondered who introduced chess and the to-be-guitar to Europe? Watch the next video to find out!
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Youtube KURDISTAN: GROUND ZERO OF HISTORY A KURDISH-HERITAGE.ORG PRESENTATION

Provinces and Important Cities

Provinces and Important Cities
Sivas / SêwasZara / Qocgiri (Town)Erzincan / ErzînganErzurum / ErzîromArdahan / ErdêxanKars / QersMalatya / MeletîMaraş / MereşAdiyaman / SemsûrAntep / DîlokKilisDersimDersim (City)Elazığ / XarpêtDiyarbakir / AmedDiyarbakir / Amed (Capital City)Urfa / RihaUrfa / Riha (City)Bingöl / ÇewlîgMardin / MêrdînMuş / MûşAgri / AgirîAgiri (City)Igdir / ÎdirBatman / ElîhBidlîs / BitlisBitlis / Bidlîs (City)Van / WanVan / Wan (City)Lake Van / WanSiirt / SêrtŞırnak / ŞirnexCizîr Botan (City)Hakkari / ColemêrgUrmia / UrmiyêUrmia / Urmiyê (City)Lake Urmia / UrmiyêMahabad / Mehabad (City)Kurdistan (Province)Sanandaj / Sine (City)Hamadan / HemedanKermanshah / KirmaşanKermanshah / Kirmaşan (City)LakestanIlam / ÎlamDuhok / DihokEzidxanSinjar / Şengal‎ (City)Erbil / HewlêrErbil / Hewlêr (City)Sulaymaniyah / SilêmanîSulaymaniyah / Silêmanî (City)Halabja / Helebce (City)Kirkuk / KerkûkKirkuk / Kerkûk (City)Saladin / SelahedînAfrin / EfrînAfrin / Efrîn (City)Manbij / MinbicKobanîKobanî (City)Ayn Issa / Bozanê (City)Deir ez-Zor / Dêra ZorJazira / CizîrQamishli / Qamişlo (City)Hasakah / Hesekê (City)Bazîd (City)Mardin / Mêrdîn (City)Göbekli Tepe / Girê Mirazan, Xirabreşkê (Ground Zero of History)Mount Nemrut / Çiyayê Nemrûdê‎ (Archaeological Site)Qandil Mountains / Çiyayên Qendîl (Resistance Center)Amadiya / Amedî (City)Sacred Lalish / Lalişa Nûranî (Sacred Town)Hasankeyf / Heskîf (City)Hakkari / Hekarî‎ (City)Hawraman (Region)Bijar / Bîcar (City)Bisotun / Bestûn (Sacred and Archaeological Site)Garah Ban (Sacred Town)Hamadan / Hemedan (City)

Sivas / Sêwas

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Zara / Qocgiri (Town)

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Erzincan / Erzîngan

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Erzurum / Erzîrom

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Ardahan / Erdêxan

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Kars / Qers

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Malatya / Meletî

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Maraş / Mereş

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Adiyaman / Semsûr

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Antep / Dîlok

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Kilis

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Dersim

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Dersim (City)

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Elazığ / Xarpêt

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Diyarbakir / Amed

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Diyarbakir / Amed (Capital City)

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Urfa / Riha

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Urfa / Riha (City)

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Bingöl / Çewlîg

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Mardin / Mêrdîn

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Muş / Mûş

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Agri / Agirî

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Agiri (City)

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Igdir / Îdir

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Batman / Elîh

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Bidlîs / Bitlis

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Bitlis / Bidlîs (City)

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Van / Wan

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Van / Wan (City)

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Lake Van / Wan

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Siirt / Sêrt

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Şırnak / Şirnex

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Cizîr Botan (City)

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Hakkari / Colemêrg

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Urmia / Urmiyê

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Urmia / Urmiyê (City)

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Lake Urmia / Urmiyê

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Mahabad / Mehabad (City)

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Kurdistan (Province)

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Sanandaj / Sine (City)

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Hamadan / Hemedan

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Kermanshah / Kirmaşan

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Kermanshah / Kirmaşan (City)

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Lakestan

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Ilam / Îlam

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Duhok / Dihok

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Ezidxan

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Sinjar / Şengal‎ (City)

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Erbil / Hewlêr

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Erbil / Hewlêr (City)

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Sulaymaniyah / Silêmanî

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Sulaymaniyah / Silêmanî (City)

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Halabja / Helebce (City)

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Kirkuk / Kerkûk

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Kirkuk / Kerkûk (City)

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Saladin / Selahedîn

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Afrin / Efrîn

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Afrin / Efrîn (City)

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Manbij / Minbic

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Kobanî

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Kobanî (City)

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Ayn Issa / Bozanê (City)

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Deir ez-Zor / Dêra Zor

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Jazira / Cizîr

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Qamishli / Qamişlo (City)

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Hasakah / Hesekê (City)

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Bazîd (City)

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Mardin / Mêrdîn (City)

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Göbekli Tepe / Girê Mirazan, Xirabreşkê (Ground Zero of History)

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Mount Nemrut / Çiyayê Nemrûdê‎ (Archaeological Site)

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Qandil Mountains / Çiyayên Qendîl (Resistance Center)

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Amadiya / Amedî (City)

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Sacred Lalish / Lalişa Nûranî (Sacred Town)

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Hasankeyf / Heskîf (City)

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Hakkari / Hekarî‎ (City)

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Hawraman (Region)

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Bijar / Bîcar (City)

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Bisotun / Bestûn (Sacred and Archaeological Site)

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Garah Ban (Sacred Town)

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Hamadan / Hemedan (City)

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