Kermanshah (Capital of Kermanshah Province) is the 9th most populous city in Iran, which is located in the western part of the country. It is known as the largest city in the west of Iran with a population about one million people. Kermanshah is located along the Qarahsoo River and leads to Farokhshad and Paraw Mountains to the north, Taq-e Bostan Mountain to the northwest and Sefidkuh Mountain to the south. In addition, its neighboring provinces are Kurdistan (north), Ilam and Lorestan (south), Hamedan (east) and the Republic of Iraq (west).
People of this city are warm and friendly and speak different Kurdish varieties (e.g., Kalhori, Sanjabi, Laki, Hawrami, and Jafi) and Persian. Kermanshah is also considered as a paradise of religions and beliefs, with a long history of peaceful cohabitation of the disciples of different divine religions and Islamic denominations.
Being located in a mountainous area, Kermanshah enjoys a temperate climate with the average temperature of 14 °C with 435.6 mm of annual rainfall.
2. Cultural and historical sites
Kermanshah contains many historical, cultural, and religious monuments annually attracting a large number of domestic and international tourists. Some of the most famous tourist attractions are introduced below:
Taq-e Bostan, which has been one of the most famous tourist places in Kermanshah, is a unique collection of lithographs of the Sassanid period in the northwest of this city. This complex was built in the third century AD and has a great artistic and historical value with two large and small arches and several lithographs (inscriptions) in Pahlavi script. The historical scenes of the coronations of Khosrow Parviz, Ardeshir II, Shahpour II, and Shahpour III are carved on these lithographs as well. The presence of mountains and springs in this site has turned it into an enjoyable place from ancient times until today. Moreover, there is an area near Taq-e Bostan called Khosrow Parviz Hunting Ground, which was used for recreational hunting during Khosrow Parviz's time, and these hunts are depicted on the reliefs of Taq-e Bostan. This monument has been registered in the list of national works of Iran and is going to be on the UNESCO World Heritage List in future.
Bisotun (or Behistun)
Bisotun Historical Site is located in the northeast of Kermanshah. The greatness of Mount Bisotun, favorable weather conditions, and the site's location on important roads, such as the Silk Road, encouraged many kings and rulers to pay attention to this area at different periods. This historical site includes the Bisotun inscription, the magnificent Statue of Hercules, the relief of Mehrdad Ashkani, Farhad Tarash, the Sassanid Bridge, the Safavid Bridge, the Ilkhani Caravanserai, and the Shah Abbasi Caravanserai.
Bisotun cuneiform, the largest inscription in the world and the first known Iranian text, is one of the most famous attractions of this place and dates back to the Achaemenian period. This inscription, which was registered on the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2006, shows the victory of Great Darius over Gaumata magus and the rebels. The Statue of Hercules with 147 cm height carved on the slope of the Bisotun Mountain is another distinguished historical work. In addition, a well-known part of this monument refers to the Shah Abbasi Caravanserai complex, which was built in front of Bisotun Mountain with a four-porch style. In recent years, this caravanserai has been renovated and turned into a five-star hotel.
Tekyeh Moaven Al-Molk
Tekyeh Moaven Al-Molk is the most famous site from the Qajar period in Kermanshah. This monument used to host the people of Kermanshah in public Shia mourning ceremonies. This complex consists of three main parts: Hosseinieh, Zeinabieh, and Abbasiyah. The natural colors used in the tile works are so magnificent that makes this place unique in the world. The gorgeous paintings on the tiles entail religious themes as well as historical events.
Nowadays, the complex accommodates the Anthropology, Clothes, and Jewelry museum. Ancient farm tools, hunting gear, writing instruments, traditional Kurdish costumes, and Giveh weaving process are among the antiquities and themes exhibited in the museum.
Tekyeh Biglar Beigi
Tekyeh Biglar Beigi is another historical and religious site from Qajar period, located in the old neighborhood of Kermanshah. This place is decorated with brilliant mirrors and, similar to Tekyeh Moaven Al-Molk, used to host Muslim religious ceremonies. It nowadays houses the museums of Calligraphy and Manuscripts.
Zagros Paleolithic Museum
Among the museums of Kermanshah, Zagros Paleolithic Museum, established in 2008, is the first and only specialized Paleolithic museum in Iran. It displays a lot of stone tools and animal fossils and bones from the Paleolithic and Neolithic era.
3. Natural Attractions
Wonderful caves, mountains, lakes, and pleasant nature have turned Kermanshah into a good destination for adventurists. It is especially recommended to those who prefer to experience the real adventure in the heart of an ancient land with a rich culture. Some of the most popular natural attractions in Kermanshah are as follows.
Kuhestan Park, which literally means mountainous park, is located near the historical site of Taq-e Bostan in the north of Kermanshah. Gorgeous lighting as well as two artificial waterfalls have given a special beauty to this place. Moreover, Do-Ashkaft Cave, the oldest human settlement in Kermanshah, is located in this park as well. Kuhestan Park is located on the foothills of Taq-e Bostan Mountains with a picturesque view of the city.
Quri Qale Cave:
One of the most exciting and prominent places in Kermanshah is Quri Qale Cave. It is the 7th Natural Heritage of Kermanshah Province, dating back to 65 million years ago. It is located 85 kilometers from the city of Kermanshah with a depth of 3140 meters and is the longest and the largest water cave in Asia. It includes very beautiful waterfalls, stalactites, and stalagmites, and is the habitat of the mouse-eared bat. This cave consists of two parts: the first part can be viewed by normal tourists and the second part, with many natural barriers, is only explored by professional cavers or spelunkers.
Paraw Cave, located in Paraw Mountain, is in northeast of Kermanshah between Taq-e Bostan and Bisotun Mountains. In the local language, Paraw means full of water. This cave is known as the largest vertical cave in the world with an altitude of 3,000 meters above sea level, which consists of 36 wells at different depths. The entire collection is designated the Everest Caves of the world.
Sarab-e Niloofar is another spectacular place to visit in spring and summer. It is a small lagoon covered with Lotus flowers located in the west of Kermanshah. This lake is in the list of natural heritages of Iran since 2009.
Another place that is worth visiting by nature lovers is the Flowers Garden of Kermanshah, consisting of Persian, Japanese, French, and Italian gardens. It is one of the best examples of the flowers garden in Iran including 4000 plant species. This five-hectare garden encompasses the pond, the cactus exhibition, seasonal plants section, shrubs, and different kinds of flowers.
4. Cuisine and Shopping
Kermanshah has a wide range of delicious eating options. Some of the most well-known foods in this city include Dandeh Kebab, Khalal Stew, and Tarkhineh.
Souvenirs and treats:
Kermanshah is one of the ancient cities in Iran with many famous souvenirs such as traditional cookies (e.g., Kaak, Naan Berenji, Naan Khormaei, Naan Roqani, and Beji), Kermanshahi Animal Oil, and different varieties of handicrafts (Gelim, Jajim, Giveh, and Namad).
The most traditional shopping center in Kermanshah is Tarike Bazaar, dating back to Qajar dynasty. At this bazaar, there are many attractions such as mosques and traditional stores selling souvenirs, local costumes, leather, cooper, and gold.
Modern shopping centers are Arg, Pelaza, Pardis, and Lilium located at different parts of the city.