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City in Iran
Mahabad is located in Iran
Country  Iran
Province West Azerbaijan
County Mahabad
Bakhsh Central
 • Parliament Osman Ahmadi [1]
Population (2012)
 • Total 215,529
Time zone IRST (UTC+3:30)
 • Summer (DST) IRDT (UTC+4:30)
Area code(s) 0444

Mahabad (Persian: مهاباد‎‎, Kurdish: مەھاباد‎; also Romanized as Mahābād and Mehābād; formerly known as Sāūjbulākh or Sawcheblakh)[2] is a city in and the capital of Mahabad County, West Azerbaijan Province, Iran. At the 2006 census, its population was 133,324, in 31,000 families.[3]

The city's population is Kurdish, with the city lying south of Lake Urmia in a narrow valley 1,300 metres above sea level in Iranian Kurdistan, a part of northwestern Iran.[4][5]


  • Etymology 1
  • History 2
    • Modern Kurdish State in Mahabad 2.1
    • Islamic Republic of Iran 2.2
  • References 3
  • External links 4


The town was founded in the Safavid period, and its first name was Savoujbolagh. Savoujbolagh is a Turkic word meaning cold spring. Later, in the Qajarid period, the town was called Savoujbolagh Mokri, meaning Savoujbolagh of the Mukri tribe, due to the residence of the Mukri tribe in the town. This was the name of the town until 1936, when the town was named Mahabad by Rashid Yasemi from the Academy of Persian Language and Literature.[6][7]


Mahabad is situated in a region that was the center of the Mannaeans, who flourished in 10th to 7th centuries BC. Mannaeans "after suffering several defeats at the hands of both Scythians and Assyrians, the remnants of the Mannaean populace were absorbed by an Iranian people known as the Matieni and the area became known as Matiene. It was then annexed by the Medes in about 609 BC.

In the medieval period, the Kurdish dynasty of Hasanwâyhids (959-1015) was ruling the region. After destruction under the Mongols, Ilkhanate, and Timurid dynasty, the region was controlled by Kara Koyunlu (1375–1468) and Aq Qoyunlu (1378–1501)(both Oghuz Turkic tribes). As Muhamed Amin Zaki in his book, A Short History of the Kurds and Kurdistan, during regional conflicts between Kara Koyunlu and Aq Qoyunlu, the Mukri Kurds gained power in the fertile valleys of south of Lake Urmia.

Murki Kurds participated in several wars between Safavid dynasty and Ottoman Empire, and gained more predominance. In 17th century AD, Mahabad became the seat of Mukri principality (known as Murkriyān in Kurdish and Morkriyān in Persian). Many believe Budaq Sultan Murki, who built Mahabad's Jameh Mosque is the founder of the current city.

Modern Kurdish State in Mahabad

Mahabad was the capital of the short-lived Republic of Mahabad, which was declared independent on January 1, 1946 under the leadership of Kurdish nationalist Qazi Muhammad.

The republic received strong support from the Soviet Union, which occupied Iran during the same era. It included the Kurdish towns of Bukan, Piranshahr, Sardasht and Oshnavieh.[8]

After an agreement brokered by the United States, the Soviets agreed to leave Iran, and sovereignty was restored to the Shah in 1947. The Shah ordered an invasion of the Republic of Mahabad shortly afterwards, the leaders of the republic including Qazi Muhammad were arrested and executed.[9][10][11] Qazi Muhammad was hanged on 31 March 1947.

Islamic Republic of Iran

On 7 May 2015, ethnic Kurds rioted following the unexplained death on 4 May 2015 of Farinaz Khosravani, a Kurdish hotel chambermaid. Khosravani fell to her death from a fourth-floor window of the Tara, the hotel where she worked. Anger mounted following reports that Khosravani died attempting to escape an Iranian official who was threatening to rape her. The rioters reportedly set fire to the hotel where Khosravani worked.[12]


  1. ^ "Account Suspended". Retrieved 2012-11-18. 
  2. ^ Mahabad can be found at GEOnet Names Server, at this link, by opening the Advanced Search box, entering "-3073397" in the "Unique Feature Id" form, and clicking on "Search Database".
  3. ^ "Census of the Islamic Republic of Iran, 1385 (2006)".  
  4. ^ S. J. Laizer, Martyrs, Traitors, and Patriots: Kurdistan after the Gulf War, Zed Books, 1996, ISBN 978-1-85649-396-3, p. 56.
  5. ^ Marion Farouk-Sluglett, Peter Sluglett, Iraq Since 1958: From Revolution to Dictatorship, .B.Tauris, 2001, ISBN 978-1-86064-622-5, p. 28.
  6. ^ Seebauer, Renate. Mosaik Europa: Diskussionsbeiträge zur ethnischen und sprachlichen Vielfalt. LIT Verlag Münster, 2006 (87)
  7. ^ The Supreme Muslim Council: Islam Under the British Mandate for Palestine - Uri M. Kupferschmidt - Google Books. Retrieved 2012-11-18. 
  8. ^ McDowall, David (2004). . I.B. Tauris.A modern history of the Kurds pp. 244–245.  
  9. ^ McDowall, David, A Modern History of the Kurds, I. B. Tauris, 1996 (Current revision at May 14, 2004). ISBN 1-86064-185-7.
  10. ^ [4]
  11. ^ [5]
  12. ^ "Riot Erupts in Iran’s Kurdish Capital Over Woman’s Death". The New York Times. 7 May 2015. 

External links

  • Mahabad City
  • Hemin Mukriani (iranica)
  • Short Biography and works of Zabihi
  • Zabihi, Abdal Rahman, Qamusi zimanî Kurdî (Dictionary of Kurdish Language),Korî Zaniyarî Kurd Press, Baghdad Vol. I 1977. 244 pp. Vol. II 1979. 230 + 7 p (through letter b).
  • Mukriyani, Giw, Ferhengî mehabad (Mahabad Dictionary),Kurdish-Arabic dictionary, Kurdistan Press, Hawlir (Arbil), 1961, 795 pp.
  • Sharafkandi, Abdurrahman (Hejar or Hajar), Henbane Borîne, Ferhengî Kurdî-Kurdî-Farsî (Kurdish-Kurdish-Persian Dictionary) Tehran : Sorush Press, 1991, 1032 pp., [6]
  • Article of the Monde Diplo on Mahabad (in French)
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