Sulaymaniyah: Wikis


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Sulaimaniyah is located in Iraq
Sulaimaniyah's location inside Iraq
Coordinates: 35°33′0″N 45°26′0″E / 35.55°N 45.433333°E / 35.55; 45.433333
Governorate As Sulaymaniyah Governorate
Elevation 2,895 ft (882 m)
 - Total 759.508
Twin Cities
 - Tucson, Arizona  United States

Sulaimaniyah (Kurdish: سلێمانی / Silêmanî; Arabic: السليمانية / Sulaimānīyah‎, Turkish: Süleymaniye) is a city in the east of Iraqi Kurdistan. It is situated in the northeast of Iraq, and is the capital of As Sulaymaniyah Governorate. Sulaimaniyah is surrounded by the Azmar Range (1700m), Goizja Range (1525m) and the Qaiwan Range in the north east, Baranan Mountain (1373m) in the south and the Tasluje Hills in the west. The plain of Sharazor lies to the east stretching up to 45 km in length and 15 km in width. The city is 853m above sea level, and has a semi-arid climate which is very hot at summer and very cold at winter. Sulaymaniya served as the historic capital of the Kurdish principality of Baban from 1784 to 1850. The modern city of Sulaimaniyah was founded in 1784 by the Kurdish prince Ibrahim Pashay Baban who named it after his father Sulaiman Pasha. Because it was founded as the capital of a powerful Kurdish principality, Sulaimaniyah has developed into a large city with a population of about 759,508 people. It is the cultural centre of the Sorani-speaking Kurds and an important economic centre for Kurdistan.



Azadi park is Sulaimaniyah's largest park, it used to be a security facility during the rule of Saddam Hussein. Many Kurdish men were executed here for opposing the Baathists.
Men rally at Sulaymaniyah at the day of Newroz of 1959, the Kurdish new year. Events like this gained Sulaimaniyah its reputation of being the centre for Kurdish patriotism.

The region of Sulaimaniyah was known as Zamwa prior to its founding in 1784. The capital of the Kurdish Baban principality (1649–1850), before Sulaymaniyah was a territory named "Qelachwalan". At the time of the Babani's rule there were major conflicts between the Safavid dynasty and the Ottoman empire, so Qelachuwalan became a battle ground for the two rivals.Being of strategic importance and lying deep inside Safavid territory, there was major concern that Qelachwalan would be attacked and captured if the Babanies did not give the Safavids military support, as both Sultan Mahmud II and Nadir Shah were trying to gain the support of the disparsed Kurdish Emirates[1].This obliged Mahmud Pashah of Baban in 1781 to think about moving the center of its Emirate to another safer place. He chose Melkandi,then a village, to construct a number of Serahs for his political and armed units[1]. In 1783 Ibrahim pashah of Baban undertook the rule of the Emirate and began the construction of a new city which would become the capital of the Baban Emirate. In 1784 he finished erecting a number of palaces for trade called Qaiseries and bazars, which were used as baths as well, and began inviting people from the surrounding villages and even Emirates to move over to the newly established city,soon Malkandi which was originally intended to be the city itself instead became one of its quarters and still is today[1]. During the post-World War I-British occupation of the newly created state of Iraq, Sulaimaniyah was the center of nascent Kurdish nationalism, and it was from here that Shaykh Mahmud Barzanji sparked the first rebellion against the British occupation in 1919 and declared an independent Kurdistan in May. On the 10 October 1921, a statement was issued in Sulaimaniyah, then the capital of Kurdistan, to establish the kingdom of Kurdistan[1].Sheikh Mahmud Barzanji, now backed by the British, declared himself as the King of the Kingdom of Kurdistan.[3]

The British occupation declared Sheikh Mahmud as king in order to silence the residents of Sulaimaniyah and stop their rebellion, but Sheikh acted and ruled independently from the British, and wanted them out of the kingdom. As a result, in the same year, he was exiled for several years to the Andaman islands in India by the British occupation, only to return and raise another unsuccessful rebellion centered in Sulaimaniyah in 1923. The Kingdom of Kurdistan with Republic of Ararat and Republic of Mahabad are the only Independent kurdish states in history. With Kurdistan's subsequent inclusion in Arab Iraq, Sulaimaniyah enjoyed a few further years of greater autonomy than the western Kurdish cities like Arbil and Mosul.

In 1925 mass revolts broke out against British occupation. Winston Churchill argued ‘in favour of using poisoned gas against uncivilised tribes’ but contrary to recent claims, there is no evidence that it was ever used (see "British and Poison Gas" for a discussion of sources and inaccuracies). [1]

Since liberation in 1991, it has been administered by Autonomous Kurdish Government and serves as one of the metropolises of Iraqi Kurdistan (KRG). The city is rapidly becoming a tourist attraction for Iraqis and other Middle Easterners due to its relative prosperity, security, and natural beauty.


Statues of the poets Salim and Kurdi in front of the public library of Sulaimaniyah
The pop band "Zanko" from Sulaymaniyah in the 70s.

Sulaimaniyah is considered the center of the Sorani Kurdish culture in Kurdistan. It is recognized officially as the cultural capital of Iraqi Kurdistan. Development of Sorani as a modern literary language started in this city in the early 19th century, when many Kurdish poets and philosophers like Nalî, Piramerd, Muhamed Amin Zaki, Abdulla Goran, Muhamad Salih Dilan, Ahmad Hardi, Ibrahim Ahmad, Sherko Bekas and Bachtyar Ali were born, lived or published their works here. The museum of Sulaimaniyah is located at Salim avenue, the most popular street of Sulaymaniyah city. It contains many valuable Mesopotamian artifacts. Zamoa Gallery, open all year round, displays the works of the artists of the city[1]. It is run by Rostem Aghella, a well-known modern kurdish artist. Aram Gallery is another place for various artistic activities. It intiated the night cinema project where people can go to watch Kurdish and foreign films. The Hall of Art and the Hall of Culture are the locations of the main occasional artistic displays, such as the concert on 21 February 2009, which featured well-known performers from America, Iran, Greece, Afghanistan and Kurdistan. More than 3000 people attended. The music culture in Sulaymaniyah was highly influenced by the pop culture from the 60s and 70s,notable groups include "Zanko" which was established in the 70s and the more recent pop group "Sehand" which organises the majority of concerts in Suleymaniyah and performs with numerous well known artists from Sulaymaniyah and other places and are known for their modernization of traditional Kurdish songs.[citation needed] The recently-formed National Youth Orchestra of Iraq held their initial concert in Sulaymaniyah city, with over 30 Iraqi musicians forming the orchestra. Their work included European and Iraqi orchestral works: Beethoven, Haydn and "Kurdish Dances" symphony. The residents of Sulaimaniyah celebrate the Iranian new year[2], Newroz, every year with traditions that are unique to the city. Thousands gather on Salim street, dancing to Kurdish folk songs. Sulaymaniyah is the only city in Iraq that celebrates Fête de la Musique, or world music day. Sulaymaniyah is known for its open, relatively liberal and tolerant society when compared to other cities of Kurdistan and Iraq. The only two independent newspapers Hawlati[3] and Awena[4] and the only independent political magazine Lvin, are published and distributed in Sulaymaniyah.


Education is free from primary school until graduation from university. The University of Sulaimani opened in 1968 with instruction in Kurdish, Arabic, and English. It has faculties in engineering, agriculture, the arts, science, and medicine. The University was moved during the 1980s to Arbil, and is now known as the University of Salahadin.

A new University of Sulaimany was established in 1991, teaching in Kurdish, English and Arabic.

In 2007 the American University of Sulaimani, The American University of Iraq – Sulaimani (AUI-S) was a new addition to the American universities in the Middle East, holding its first classes in October 2007. Instruction is in English only.

In 2008 the University of Human Development was opened in Qaradax with three colleges and four departments. Its first year courses include law, politics, computer engineering and English language. More than 400 students have enrolled.


Construction of new hotels and mosques. Since 2003, Sulaymaniyah and other cities of Iraqi Kurdistan have seen an economic boom.

Sulaymaniyah governorate has much fertile land such as the Sharazor and Bitwen plains which are considered two of the most fertile plains in the Middle East. Historically, Sulaymaniyah was mainly agricultural and one of Iraq's major suppliers of wheat and other agricultural products. Its role declined due to the policies of Saddam Hussein aimed at reducing the city's economical potential as it was a center of the Kurdish revolution. Saddam once stated that the "head of the serpent lies in Sulaymaniyah".[citation needed] Sulaymaniyah's economy today also relies on tourism and a number of small factories, most involved in the building trade. The city is known for its strong economic ties with Iran. The Chinese telecoms company Huawei has its Iraq office in Sulaimaniyah. The city is the headquarter of Asia cell the leading mobile operator in the country that covers the entire country.

Sulaymaniyah Free Trade Zone

The Kurdistan Regional Government, is entitled to creating free trade zones for economic development. The Sulaymaniya FTZ was set up in particular to foster trade with Iran, benefitting the area with the creation of industrial mobility in the regional economy including manufacturing, business, civil, prosperity, exports, imports, increasing national income, employment generation.[citation needed]


In the absence of any railway connecting Sulaimaniyah with other Iraqi cities, the city is dependent on road transport. 20 July 2005 Sulaimaniyah International Airport opened, with regular flights to various eastern and European destinations such as Vienna, Frankfurt, Stockholm, Athens and Düsseldorf as well as Middle Eastern cities like Dubai, Amman, Beirut, Damascus, Istanbul. A flight from Sulaymaniyah to Baghdad costs about 100.000 ID[5].

Notable people

Mahmud Barzanji


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  2. ^ The UN's General Assembly in 2010 recognized the International Day of Nowruz, describing it a spring festival of Persian origin which has been celebrated for over 3,000 years. Source:
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External links

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