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Introducing Western Iran

From paddy fields to blizzards to the original Garden of Eden, this region will shatter your preconceptions of Iran. Standing at the frontiers with Mesopotamia and Turkey, western Iran has witnessed many of civilisation’s great empires, with fortunes oscillating between trading glories and military decimation. The deeply hospitable region lacks the iconic gem-city sites of central Iran so it’s often skipped by first-time Western visitors. But that makes it all the more appealing for those who relish delving a little deeper.

Western Iran is a linguistic and cultural patchwork: Kurds predominate in Kordistan and Kermanshah provinces; Lors in Ilam and Lorestan; Arabs inhabit southern Khuzestan; Talesh and Gilaki are the traditional languages of Gilan (the southwest Caspian hinterland); and Azaris whose language is more Turkish than Persian, predominate in the rest of the northwest. In remote regions, and in Kurdish towns, traditional dress is still worn.