Thousand hills city
The capital of Kurdistan Province, Sanandaj is a city surrounded by Abidar Mountain in the west, Sheikh Maroof Mountain in the north and Serajoldin Mountain in the south. Because of its geographical location the city has hot summers and severely cold winters.
Archeologists believe the city dates back to the fourth millennia BC and is 6,000 years old. Several Iron Age cemeteries have been found around the city which have yielded evidence of fetal burials and other unique funerary rites along with artifacts from (1200 -800 BC).
Hassanabad Fortress, which is located 5 kilometers outside of Sanandaj, has been identified as a Parthian (247 BC–224 CE) and Sassanid (226-651 CE) structure. It is believed that this fortress was the center of command and an important Persian stronghold during the Roman-Persian wars (92 BC – 629 CE).
Based on historical accounts and its mentions in Aryan heroic legends, this ancient city known as Senna was most likely a sacred Zoroastrian site which was devastated in an earthquake and fell into ruin after the Mongol invasion of the 13th century. For four centuries, this city along with the rest of Kurdistan was controlled by Ardalan Vassals (1169–1867), who traced their lineage back to the Sassanids.
The current city was founded in the 17th century during the Safavid era upon the order of Shah Safi (1611 –1642) who tasked the Vassal of Kurdistan, Soleiman Khan Ardalan, to rebuild the Sinne-Dij fortress in the village of Senna and move the center of the province from Palangan to this fortress. He built a series of houses, a mosque, a public bath and a bazaar around this new fortress. Over time and through repetition the name Sinne-Dij became Sanandaj.
In the Pahlavi era (1925-1979) the city became the political center and the largest and most important city of Kurdistan Province.
Sanandaj is a center of poetry and music. Some of the famous personalities to hail from Sanandaj include poet and writer Mastoureh Ardalan (1805 –1848), legendary Kurdish singer Seyyed Ali Asghar Kordestani (1871-1932), composer Hossein Yousefzamani (1933-2013), folk singer Mazhar Khaleqi (1938), singer, songwriter, poet, writer, painter and film director Abbas Kamandi (1952 –2014) and the famous Kamkars ensemble.
Top things to do:
Top foods to try:
- Ash-e Kashk or Whey Soup - This soup is made of rice, chickpea, coriander, parsley, savory, walnuts and whey. It is usually decorated with meatballs and fried mint.
- Shirini Konjedi or Sesame Cookies – A cookie made of Oak syrup and roasted sesame seeds cut into thin rectangular sheets.
- Nan Berenji - Delicious rice cookies made of confectioner sugar, cardamom and rosewater sprinkled with poppy seeds. These cookies are a must try with Persian black tea.