Lorestān, also spelled Luristan, means Land of the Lurs, is a province of western Iran in the Zagros Mountains. It is bounded to the north by the cities of Khomeyn and Arak in Central province and by Malayer and Nahavand in Hamadan province, to the south by Khuzestan province, to the east by the cities of Faridan and Golpayegan in Isfahan province and to the west by Kermanshah and Ilam provinces.
Luristan includes eleven counties (Shahrestans): Aligudarz County, Azna County, Borujerd County, Delfan County, Dorud County, Dowreh County, Khorramabad County, Kuhdasht County, Selseleh County, Poldokhtar County, and Rumeshkhan County.
History of Luristan
Lorestan is one of the oldest regions of Iran. In the third and fourth millennium B.C., migrant tribes settled down in the mountainous area of the Zagros Mountains. The Kassites, an ancient people who spoke neither an Indo-European nor a Semitic language, originated in Lorestan.
Lorestan was invaded and settled by the Iranian Medes in the second millennium B.C. The Medes absorbed the indigenous inhabitants of the region, primarily the Elamites and Kassites, by the time the area was conquered by the Persians in the first millennium B.C.
Lorestan was successfully integrated into the Achamenid, Parthian and Sassanian empires. Parts of Lorestan managed to stay independent during the Arab, Seljuk and Mongol invasions.
Lorestan owns 263 sites of historical and cultural significances.
The Lurs of Iran
The Lur or Lor are an Iranian people living mainly in southwest and south Iran. The Lor are a nomadic tribe of shepherds who live in the Zagros Mountains of southwestern Iran. Many believe that they were, in fact, the original inhabitants of this area. Their exact population is not known, but they number over two million. The territories occupied by Lurs include three provinces: Luristan (the land of Lors), Bakhtiari and Kuh-Gilu-Boir Ahmed. In addition, Lurs constitute a significant proportion of the population in several provinces including Khuzistan, Fars, Ilam, Hamadan and Bushehr.
About half of the Lors are shepherds. They live as nomads, traveling six to eight months out of the year and living in black goat-hair tents. They only live in permanent dwellings for a few months during the winter. From October to April they live in low-lying pastures; but in the dry season, they move their flocks to high mountain pastures. The Lors believe that a shepherd’s success is determined by his personal qualities and good luck.
Some of the Lors prefer farming over shepherding. They live in permanent villages all year round, as opposed to moving from place to place, and raise wheat and barley as their principal crops.
The Lors are known for their rich folklore. Their tales glorify the history of each tribal group and describe the adventures of their heroes. They also emphasize such characteristics as loyalty, generosity, and, most importantly, bravery in battle.
Khoramabad (Khorramabad) is the capital of Luristan province. The city was founded in the Sassanid period and was first known as Shapur Khast meaning “as desired by Shapur”. The name was later changed to Dezh-e Siyah meaning “Black Palace”.
In the center of the city on a rocky hilltop are the ruins of a Sassanid palace known as Falak Al-Aflak (“the sky of skies”) since the Qajar period. Various reconstructions and improvements were carried out in the following centuries.
The walls, constructed with both fired and unfired bricks, once stood at 22m in height. The castle is nearly 23km in circumference and once had a single courtyard. Subsequent constructions divided this huge compound into two sections.Numerous chambers connected with galleries remain as does an underground passage that allowed occupants to escape secretly. The palace was once used as a prison and is now a museum with many archaeological and anthropological exhibits.
Other points of interest are the 900-year-old brick tower, the Manar-e Ajon, a former beacon for travelling caravans and the Tavasuli mosque on Shakaster Street.