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In the Land of Stones

“Upon whom Alexander wished wrath / Hawraman was their dungeon”

Some attribute these lines depicting the harsh geography of Hawraman, with a reference to Alexander the Great, to Ferdowsi. In fact, before Alexander the Great, the Ten Thousand of
Xenophon had tried to cross the Zagros Mountains, where Hawraman lays its back. It is said that
seventy years later, when Alexander the Great tried doing the same, he gave the Zagros Mountains
and the Corduene, who would later be called ‘Kurds’, the credit they deserved by saying “I have lost half of my troops in those mountains”.
Hawraman, primed for its geography and identity throughout history, is also named after these
characteristics: Land of the Sun, Land of Fire, Land of Stones, Sacred-Clean Place, Land of the
Before I share my observations on the Land of Stones, let me share some more information…
It is believed that the name Hawraman is rooted completely in Mesopotamia and originates from the
Assyrian word ‘Oromon’. There is a consensus around the fact that Hawraman or Oromon means
Land of the Median (Media)….
Media was founded following the fall of the Assyrian Empire in 612 BC by the Medes Confederation. Its borders at the time correspond to contemporary Kurdistan. Hawraman is a distinctive region that has preserved its name for centuries - just like it did its originality.
Hawraman is located within the borders of contemporary Iraq and Iran with a population of around
one and a half million. Geographically, it is divided into Eastern and Southern Kurdistan. The region that falls within the borders of the Islamic Republic of Iran is a mountainous region comprising
Hawramana Text (Sewlawa, with its center in Sinê), Hawramana Lihon (Pawe, with its center in
Kermanshah) and Hawramana Jawero (villages of Sinê, Merîwan and Kamyaran). Hawraman in
Kurdistan Region of the Federal State of Iraq comprises three districts, namely Tewêle, Bîyara and
Xurmal, and more than twenty villages.
In ancient times, Hawrami people used to practice Mithra religion. Then, they accepted
Zoroastrianism and Yarsanism until converting to Muslim faith with the rise of Islam in the region.
An important part of Kurdish language and culture, the Hawrami dialect (also known as Gorani
dialect), was the official language of the last Kurdish Principality Ardalan and the believers of Yarsan
faith. Mastoureh Ardalan, who was the first female historian in the Middle East, and the great
thinker, Baba Taher Oryan, penned their works in this language.

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