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Ilam Province

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Ilam Province (Persian: استان ایلام‎) 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, Lurestan, 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.[9]

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.[10]



Ilam province covers an area of 20,150 km2 (7,780 sq mi), about 4.1 percent of the country.[11] 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.[11]

The variety of climate and amount of annual precipitation in the 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%)[12]. 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.[13] The majority are Feyli, such as those of Malekshahi Kurds, Khezel, Arkawâzi, Beyrey and (Ali Sherwan).[13] Most residents in Ilam province are Shi'a Muslims.


Limited archaeological studies and discoveries indicate 6,000 years of tribal residence in Ilam. Historical evidence indicates that Ilam province was part of the ancient Elamite Empire. In some of the epigraphs left from Sumerian history, this territory was called Alam, Alamo, or Alamto meaning the high lands where the sun rises. In October 2018, officials announced that dozens of historical objects dating back to 1,200 years ago have been discovered during archaeological excavations in the village of Sarab-e Kalan.[14]

The name "Pahla" was also used for the area include Ilam province by the early Muslim geographer until the 13th century,). Arabic texts recorded the name as "Fahla" or "Bahla", (note: the Arabic language lacks the phoneme /p/). Subsequently, "Fahla" evolved to 'Faila' and 'Faili' -- the modern name of the Pahli Kurds. It is worthy to note that still a small town called 'Pahla' exist in the south of the major city of Ilam, Iran and occupied by Pahli Kurds. It was also part of the Achaemenid Empire. Existence of numerous historical vestiges in Ilam province belonging to the Sassanid period indicates the specific importance of the region in that time. In this period Ilam province was divided into two regions, Mehrjankadak in the eastern part and Mâsabazân at the western part.Kurdish tribes governed the region from the late 11th century till the early 13th century.[citation needed]. When Iran was divided into provinces in 1930, Ilam became a part of Lorestan, Kermanshah and Khuzestan provinces, only later becoming a province by itself.[citation needed]

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.[15] 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.[15]

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.
  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. ^ "درگاه ملی آمار > سرشماری عمومی نفوس و مسکن > نتایج سرشماری > جمعیت به تفکیک تقسیمات کشوری سال 1395". Retrieved 2019-07-09.
  10. ^ "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.
  11. ^ a b "اقلیم استان ایلام". Iran Meteorological Organization.
  12. ^ 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.
  13. ^ 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.
  14. ^
  15. ^ a b "Ilam". Retrieved 26 June 2013.

External linksEdit