Ilam Province

Ilam Province (Persian: استان ایلام‎, Kurdish: Parêzgeha Îlamê ,پارێزگای ئیلام[9][10]) is one of the 31 provinces of Iran. It is located in the western part of the country, sharing 425 kilometers of border with Iraq, and also bordering on the provinces of Kermanshah, Lorestan, and Khuzestan. The provincial capital is the city of Ilam. As of 2016 census, the population of the province is 580,158 people and is the least populous province in Iran.[11]

Ilam Province

استان ایلام
Etymology: The ancient pre-Iranic civilization of Elam
عروس زاگرس (The Bride of Zagros)
Counties of Ilam Province
Counties of Ilam Province
Location of Ilam Province in Iran
Location of Ilam Province in Iran
Coordinates: 33°38′18″N 46°25′21″E / 33.6384°N 46.4226°E / 33.6384; 46.4226Coordinates: 33°38′18″N 46°25′21″E / 33.6384°N 46.4226°E / 33.6384; 46.4226
Country Iran
RegionRegion 4
 • BodyProvincial Government
 • GovernorQasem Soleimani Dashtaki
 • Total19,086 km2 (7,369 sq mi)
Highest elevation
[3] (Kan Seifi Peak)
3,050 m (10,010 ft)
Lowest elevation36 m (118 ft)
 • Total557,599
 • Density29/km2 (76/sq mi)
Time zoneUTC+03:30 (IRST)
 • Summer (DST)UTC+04:30 (IRST)
Postal code
Area code(s)+98 84
Vehicle registrationIran 98[7]
HDI (2017)0.815[8]
very high · 8th
WebsiteIlam Portal

Covering an area of 19,086 km2 (7,369 sq mi), Ilam Province includes the cities of Ilam, Mehran, Dehloran, Darreh Shahr, Sarable, Eyvan, Abdanan and Arkwaz. When the regions of Iran were created in 2014, the province was placed in Region 4.[12]



Ilam province covers an area of 20,150 km2 (7,780 sq mi), about 4.1 percent of the country.[13] It is bounded by Lorestan Province by east, Khuzestan by southeast, Kermanshah by North and Iraq by west. Ilam Province, with 425 km (264 mi), has the longest border with Iraq among the provinces of Iran.

Ilam Province has a geological northwest-southeast axis as the result the Zagros Mountains. Being located in the westernmost part of the Zagros Mountains gives the province its special landscape. It is composed of two distinct type of terrains:

  • About 70% of the province is mountainous with parallel mountain ranges, highlands and folds, which are composed of sedimentary rocks, mostly in form of lime and gypsum.
  • The rest of the province, such as the western areas of Mehran, Dehloran are low-lying deserts.

Prominent heightsEdit

The most prominent mountains and mountain ranges of Ilam are:


Due to the geography of Ilam, specifically the Kabir Kouh ranges with its northwest-southeast axis, the rivers of Ilam province either flow, toward west into the plains of Mehran and Dehloran and eventually Iraq, or toward east into Seymareh or Karkheh.

  • Westerly rivers:
    • Gangir River
    • Kanjan-Cham River
    • Changouleh
    • Doirich
    • Meymeh
    • Chiqāb
    • Ghodar-Khosh
  • Easterly rivers:
    • Seekan
    • Sheikh Makan
    • Darreh Shahr
    • Chazman
    • Chenareh


The geography of the province gives it its varied climate. The deserts in the south are extremely dry and hot with low annual precipitations. The mountainous regions of east like Abdanan and Darreh Shahr are milder and receive higher precipitations, mostly in form of rain, although snow is not rare.

The northern region of Ilam and Eyvan, experiences cold winters and mild summers and receive the highest amount of precipitation in the province. The variety of land is one of the main reasons nomads are prevalent in the area.[13]

The variety of climate and amount of annual precipitation in the province.


Administrative divisionsEdit

Ilam Province is divided into 10 counties:

Counties of Ilam Province.

People and cultureEdit

Ilam is inhabited by various people, with Kurds in the majority with 79.6%, followed by Lurs with 10.7%, Laks (6.1%), Persians (1.8%) and Arabs (1.8%).[14] In Abdanan, Dehloran, and Mehran the majority of residents speak in Kurdish and Luri respectively. In Darreh Shahr, the majority of residents speak in Laki and Lurish, and there are also some tribes of Lurs such as Shuhans, Seleyverzis and Kaydkhordeh living in the southern and eastern parts of the province. The north is mostly inhabited by Kurdish tribes who speak two dialects: Kalhuri and Feyli.[15] The majority are Feyli, such as those of Malekshahi Kurds, Khezel, Arkawâzi, Beyrey and (Ali Sherwan).[15] Most residents in Ilam province are Shi'a Muslims.



Elam civilization

The name "Ilam" comes from "Elam", the pre-historic civilization that ruled the area in modern southwest Iran from 2700 BC to 539 BC. Archaeological findings dates human settlement of the area to around 5000 BC.

Ashurbanipal, the then king of Assyria, invaded Elam in 639 BC and totally destroyed it. Although not as united as before, the Elamites survived and continued to live in the area after the invasion. Between 612 and 546 BC, Elam was incorporated into the Median Empire and later into the Achaemenid Empire in 539 BC. During the Achaemenid Empire, Elam lost its independence forever and became the third province of the empire after Persis and Media.[16]

During the reign of the Medes, Achaemenids, Seleucids and Parthians, owing to its proximity to the districts of Hamadan, Kurdistan, Kermanshah, Lorestan and, most notably, Susa, the area and its settlements took on importance.

During the Sassanid era, the present-day Ilam was composed of two states: Mehrjanqazaq in the east, which was the modern day Darreh Shahr and Masbasan in the west.[17]

The remnants of Seymareh, also known as Madaktu and Mehrjaqazaq.

The ArabsEdit

After the Muslims conquest of Mesopotamia in 640 AD, the Arabs named the area the "Land of the Mountains," or "Jibal". During the Arabs' rule, the kingdom of Jibal, whose capital was Seymareh, was one of the territories under the control of Baghdad and Basra, and lasted until 961 CE.

The Rashidun Caliphate conquered Mesopotamia by 640 CE and later the whole Sasanid Empire by 643 CE and kept the control until their collapse in 661 CE. Prior to the their collapse, civil war had taken over the caliphate, after which Muawiyah faction won and thus established the Umayyad Caliphate. The Umayyad controlled the area until their own collapse in 750 AD, after which the Abbasid Caliphate took over and reigned for around two hundred years until 945 CE. After conquering the western Iran in 945 CE, the Buyid Dynasty ruled over this area until 1055.

The KurdsEdit

From 961 to 1015, the Ḥasanwayhid dynasty ruled over western Iran under the influence of the Buyid Dynasty. Centerd at Dinawar, near present-day Kermanshah, Hasanwyhids, Kurdish Muslims with ties to the Kurdish Barzikani tribe, controlled central areas of Zagros Mountains. At its greatest extent, the dynasty included the modern-day areas around Khorramabad, Borujerd, Nahavand, Asadabad, Borujerd, Ahwaz, Ilam, Kermanshah, Hulwan and Kirkuk. The Ḥasanwayhid dynasty was overthrown by the Annazids, who, with help of the Buyid dynasty, controlled the area until their collapse in 1116 CE.[18] It is probable that the Kakuyids were in control of the area until 1140.

The LorsEdit

Little and Big Lorestan

For 270 years, between 1155 to 1424, the Hazaraspids reigned the Zagros Mountains, especially areas around Lorestan. Hazaraspids who are also known as Luristan Atabegs were composed of two groups, the Little Lor, who were mostly of Lor decent and Big Lor Atabegs who were of Kurdish decent. The former controlled parts of present-day provinces of Markazi, Hamedan, Kermanshah, Lorestan, Khuzestan and Ilam.

The capital of Little Lor was Shapourkhwast or the modern-day Khorramabad, especially the Falak-ol-Aflak Castle. The Little Lor Atabegs or the Khorshidi dynasty ruled over the area for over 412 years, from 1184 to 1597 CE, after which Shah Abbas the Great executed the last ruler, Shahverdi Khan, and replaced Shahverdi's nephew, Hossein Beyg/Khan, thus ending the rule of Little Lor and beginning of the Vali/Wali dynasty also known as Fili Vali.[19]

During the Qajar era, Lorestan was divided into two regions: Poshtkouh (present-day Ilam province) with the center of Ilam city and Pishkouh (present-day Lorestan) with the center of Khorramabad. Poshtkhouh literally means “back of mountain” and it was due to the fact that Ilam was situated at the western most parts of the Zagros Mountains and to the rest of the country it was plainly considered at the back of mountains.[20]

From that point on, Ilam was ruled independently from Lorestan, and the governor reported directly to the central government, thereby ending Lorestan control of Ilam and Poshtkouh. The two districts were later renamed "Deh Bala" and "Deh Pa'een", which basically means the upper and lower villages.[20][21]

When Hossein Qoli Khan came to power, the present-day city of Ilam was renamed to "Hosseinabad Poshtkuh" since it was the governor's summer residence.

The Wali Castle of Ilam was built by the next Wali, Gholamreza Khan Fili, in 1908. The castle is now a nationally registered heritage and also the Ilam Museum of Anthropology.

20th centuryEdit

Following the establishment of the Pahlavi dynasty in 1925, Reza Shah suppressed the local governments to consolidate his dominance. In 1930, the government forces took over Poshtkouh and Gholamreza Khan Fili, the last governor fled to Iraq thus abolishing the rule of the Filis in Ilam after 332 years.[21]

On November 7, 1937, the parliament passed a law on the political division of the country under the title of "Act of Division of the Country and the Duties of the Governors", thereby dividing the country into 6 provinces and 50 counties.[22] Poshtkouh, being a county, was part of the "West Province".

The 1937 political division law did not last long and a while later on January 9, 1938, an amendment was passed which divided the country into 10 province and 49 counties. Based on the new division, "Ilam" was a county of the "Fifth Province".

In 1964, Darreh Shahr, Abdanan and Dehloran from Lorestan province and Mousian from Khuzestan were annexed to Ilam, thus upping its status to "general governorate" as part of the Kermanshah Province.[23] Ilam subsequently became a province in March 1974.

Ilam todayEdit

Bowli area of Ilam Province, 2014

During the Iran–Iraq War, Ilam province suffered heavily and Iraq's intense bombings left no economic infrastructure for the province. Ilam thus remains one of Iran's more undeveloped provinces. Ilam's unemployment rate was 19.9% in 2003.

Only in recent years has the central government began investing in advanced industries like Petrochemical facilities, with Japanese help, in Ilam. Ilam also has a bright future in the tourist sector, with 174 historical sites listed under Iran's Cultural Heritage Organization, though it also remains undeveloped.

Colleges and universitiesEdit

Ilam province contains the following universities:


  • Imamzadehs: These are shrines mostly from the Middle Ages: Imamzadeh Ali Saleh, Imamzadeh Seyd mammad Abed, Imamzadeh Seyd Akbar, Imamzadeh Seyd Fakhreddin, Imamzadeh Seyd Nasereddin, Imamzadeh Ibrahim, Imamzadeh Abbas, Imamzadeh Abdullah, Imamzadeh Pir Muhammad, Imamzadeh Baba Seifuddin, Imamzadeh Mehdi Saleh, Imamzadeh Ibrahim Qetal, Imamzadeh Seyd Hasan, Imamzadeh Seyd Salaheddin Muhammad, Imamzadeh Haji Bakhtiar, Imamzadeh Haji Hazer, Imamzadeh Jabir.
  • Fire Temples (10 in total): These are Zoroastrian shrines from the Sassanid era, now in ruins: Siyahgol Iwan, Chahar Taghi in Darreh Shahr.
  • Mansions, forts, and castles (90 in total): Ghal'eh Vali (Qajar era), Posht Ghal'eh Chowar, Ghal'eh Paghela Chekarbuli, Ghal'eh Falahati (Qajar era),Ghal'eh Ghiran (Achaemenid era), Shiagh castle in Dehloran (Sassanid era), Ismail Khan fort, Sam castle (late Parthian era), Pur Ashraf castle, Mir Gholam Hashemi ghal'eh, Posht Ghal'eh Abdanan (Sassanid), Konjancham fort, Shirin and Farhad Iwan in Mehran (Parthian era), Hezar Dar Castle (Sassanid), Sheikh Makan Fort (Sassanid), Zeinal Fort.
  • Bridges from Sassanid era (5 in total).
  • Numerous archeological sites (Teppes) and ruins from Sassanid era and earlier (224 in total).
  • Ancient reliefs scattered across the province (8 in total).
  • Ancient urban settlement ruins (22 in total).
  • Springs, caves (like the cave of Zinegan), siahgave Abdanan twin lakes, Ilam dam lake , 3 protected natural habitats, and provincial parks.
  • Tar Spring, in Dehloran.

Tar Spring, Dragon BloodEdit

One of the most interesting things to be found near the city Dehloran is a natural liquid tar spring.[24] Iranians used to use this tar to render ships and roofs waterproof about 3000 years ago. This black spring is located in a natural protected area named Abgarm. Interesting things around this area include mineral water springs, native trees, and bat caves with rare species of bats.

The road to the Black Spring is near city Dehloran and leads to the Abgarm natural protected area. A sign guides visitors to the spring via a narrow road. The last few hundred meters of the road is not suitable for vehicles and requires a short walk to reach to the spring. Visitors will notice the smell of tar as they approach. The spring’s diameter is about 9 meters and hot water full of liquid tar particles flows out of it. There is a fence to protect animals from going nearby and get trapped in the tar.

According to myths told by the native people, this tar spring was the blood of a dragon that was killed by the Iranian hero, Esfandiar.[24]

Notable peopleEdit

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ تاریخچه استان ایلام. تبیان (in Persian). موسسه فرهنگی و اطلاع رسانی تبیان. 14 January 2004. Retrieved 18 September 2015.
  2. ^ اقلیم استان ایلام. پورتال سازمان هواشناسی کشور (in Persian). سازمان هواشناسی کشور. Retrieved 17 September 2015.
  3. ^ قله "کان صیفی" ایلام در هوای برفی فتح شد (in Persian). Ilam Press. Ilam Press. January 10, 2015. Retrieved 17 September 2015.
  4. ^ Google Earth Pro V Mehran County, Iran. 32° 58’ 53.80”N, 46° 05’ 47.61”E, Eye alt 1760 meters: US Dept of State Geographer. Google 2015. Cnes/Spot Image 2015. December 22, 2002. Archived from the original on September 8, 2010. Retrieved September 18, 2015.CS1 maint: location (link)
  5. ^ Selected Findings of National Population and Housing Census 2011 Archived 2013-05-31 at the Wayback Machine
  6. ^ کدپستی ۵ رقمی مناطق استان ایلام. سامانه پیامک برتر (in Persian). سامانه پیامک برتر. Archived from the original on 31 August 2015. Retrieved 18 September 2015.
  7. ^ راهنمای کامل شماره پلاک خودرو به تفکیک شهر و استان. Setareh (in Persian). مجله اینترنتی ستاره. May 17, 2015. Retrieved 17 September 2015.
  8. ^ "Sub-national HDI - Area Database - Global Data Lab". Retrieved 2018-09-13.
  9. ^ "کوردستان میدیا: نوێنەری شارەکانی دێهلوڕان، ئابدانان و دەڕەشار لە مەجلیسی رێژیمی ئێران گوتی، هەنووکە لە پارێزگای ئیلام زۆربەی پڕۆژەکان بە نیوەچڵی ماونەتەوە" (in Kurdish). Retrieved 18 March 2020.
  10. ^ "Ji sedî 2ê xelkê Îlamê madeyên hişber bi kar tînin". Rûdaw (in Kurdish). 1 September 2019. Retrieved 18 March 2020.
  11. ^ "درگاه ملی آمار > سرشماری عمومی نفوس و مسکن > نتایج سرشماری > جمعیت به تفکیک تقسیمات کشوری سال 1395". Retrieved 2019-07-09.
  12. ^ "همشهری آنلاین-استان‌های کشور به ۵ منطقه تقسیم شدند (Provinces were divided into five regions)". Hamshahri Online (in Persian). 22 June 2014. Archived from the original on 23 June 2014.
  13. ^ a b "اقلیم استان ایلام". Iran Meteorological Organization.
  14. ^ Aliakbari, Mohammad; Gheitasi, Mojtaba; Anonby, Erik (2015). "On Language Distribution in Ilam Province, Iran". Iranian Studies. 48 (6): 835–850. doi:10.1080/00210862.2014.913423.
  15. ^ a b Aliakbari, Mohammad; Gheitasi, Mojtaba; Anonby, Erik (2015). "On Language Distribution in Ilam Province, Iran". Iranian Studies. 48 (6): 835–850. doi:10.1080/00210862.2014.913423.
  16. ^ "ELAM i. The history of Elam – Encyclopaedia Iranica". Retrieved 2020-05-22.
  17. ^ "History". Retrieved 2020-05-23.
  18. ^ "Ḥasanwayhid dynasty | Kurdish dynasty". Encyclopedia Britannica. Retrieved 2020-05-22.
  19. ^ Moradimoghadam, Morad (2006). "The political and social history of Poshtkuh during the time of the Fili governors". National Studies (in Persian). 25.
  20. ^ a b "شركت آب و فاضلاب استان ايلام". Retrieved 2020-05-23.
  21. ^ a b "کُردهای پهلەای (پالەای) ایلام در گذر تاریخ - خبرگزاری کردپرس -". خبرگزاری کردپرس - فارسی (in Persian). Retrieved 2020-05-24.
  22. ^ "مرکز پژوهشها - قانون تقسیمات کشور و وظایف فرمانداران و بخشداران". Retrieved 2020-05-24.
  23. ^ ".:: درباره ایلام :: ::". Retrieved 2020-05-24.
  24. ^ a b "Ilam". Retrieved 26 June 2013.

External linksEdit