World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article


Article Id: WHEBN0004437178
Reproduction Date:

Title: Sulaimaniyah  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Kurdish people, List of airports by IATA code: I, Chinatowns in the Middle East, Air Berlin destinations, List of airports by ICAO code: O, Armota, Quds Force, Mahmud Barzanji, Baban, Asia Cell
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia


Sulaymaniyah / Slêmanî‬

Coordinates: 35°33′N 45°26′E / 35.550°N 45.433°E / 35.550; 45.433

Region Iraqi Kurdistan Iraqi Kurdistan
 • Type Council–manager
 • Governor Bahroz Muhammed Salih
Elevation 882 m (2,895 ft)
Population (2012)
 • Total 1,6 million
Time zone Arabia Standard Time (UTC+3)

Sulaymaniyah or Slemani,[2] (Kurdish: سلێمانی / Silêmanî), Arabic: السليمانية) is a city in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq and the capital of Sulaymaniyah Governorate. Sulaymaniyah is surrounded by the Azmer Range, Goyija Range and the Qaiwan Range in the northeast, Baranan Mountain in the south and the Tasluja Hills in the west. The city has a semi-arid climate with very hot and dry summers and very cold winters. Sulaymaniyah served as the historic capital of the Kurdish principality of Baban from 1784 to 1850.

The modern city of Sulaymaniyah was founded on 14 November 1784 by the Kurdish prince Ibrahim Pasha Baban who named it after his father Sulaiman Pasha. Because it was founded as the capital of a powerful Kurdish principality, Sulaymaniyah has developed into a large city with a population of about 1,500,000 people. It is an important economic center for north Iraq and the cultural center for Sorani-speaking Kurds. It has been named cultural capital of north Iraq continuously since 1992.


The region of Sulaymaniyah was known as Zamwa prior to the foundation of the modern city in 1784. The capital of the Kurdish Baban principality (1649–1850), before Sulaymaniyah was a territory named "Qelaçiwalan". At the time of the Babani's rule there were major conflicts between the Safavid dynasty and the Ottoman Empire. Qelaçiwalan became a battle ground for the two rivals.[3]

Being of strategic importance and lying deep inside Safavid territory, there was major concern that Qelaçiwalan 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 dispersed Kurdish Emirates.[3] This obliged Mahmud Pasha of Baban in 1781 to think about moving the center of its Emirate to another safer place. He chose Melkendî, then a village but now a district in central Silêmanî, to construct a number of Serahs for his political and armed units.[3]

In 1783, Ibrahim Pasha 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 Qeyserî's 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 Melkendî, which was originally intended to be the city itself, instead became one of its quarters and still is today.[3]

Sulaymaniyah has since its foundation been the center of Kurdish nationalism, and it was from here that Mahmud Barzanji sparked the first rebellion against the British occupation on May 22, 1919 with the arrest of British officials in Sulaymaniyah and attempted to declare an independent Kingdom of Kurdistan that same year. On 10 October 1921, a statement was issued in Sulaymaniyah, then the capital of Kurdistan, to establish the Kingdom of Kurdistan.[3] Sheikh Mahmud Barzanji, now backed by the British, declared himself as the King of the Kingdom of Kurdistan

The British occupation declared Sheikh Hama Tahmas as king in order to silence the residents of Sulaymaniyah and stop their rebellion, but Sheikh Mahmud 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 Sulaymaniyah in 1923.

In January 1926 the League of Nations gave the mandate over the territory to Iraq, with the provision for special rights for Kurds. In 1930-1931, Sheikh Mahmud Barzanji made his last unsuccessful attempt to free Kurdistan, he retreated into the mountains, and later signed a peace accord with the Iraqi government and settled in the new Iraq in 1932.

The first and oldest neighborhood in the city is called "Goizha" (kurdish: Goyija), which was named after the mountain overlooking the city. "Sabûnkaran" was of the cities first neighborhoods, its name means "those who make soap" in Kurdish, its residents were mainly involved in the soap industry. "Cûlekan" or the Jews neighborhood where it was mainly inhabited by Kurdish Jews. In the fifties and after the establishment of the state Israel, most of its inhabitants migrated to the newly created state.

In 23 April 1982, during the Iran-Iraq War, a demonstration broke out in the city against the arrests and torture of the city's youths who were accused of planning revolt against the ruling Arab Ba'ath regime.

Following the Gulf War, a series of nationwide uprisings broke out across Iraq against the Ba'athist rule, including the 1991 uprising in Sulaymaniyah, led by the Kurdish separatists KDP and PUK. Since the successful liberation in 1991, the has been administered by Kurdish Government and serves as one of the metropolises of north Iraq.


In 1820 and after only 26 years of the creation of the city, a British man named Rech had visited the city and estimated that the number of its residents is more than ten thousand, containing 2,144 families of which 2,000 were Muslim, 130 Jewish, and 14 Christian families.[4] Ottoman documents dating back to 1907 suggest that there were 8,702 Muslim and 360 non-Muslim residents living in the city. According to "Peshkawtin" newspaper which was distributed in Slemani in 1920 estimated its population to be around ten thousand. According to Iraqi government documents, by 1947 the number of residents had increased to 23,475; by 1998 to 548,747, and in 2009 to 1,000,000.[4]

Geography and climate

The city is located in the northern Iraq and although the weather in the summer is rather warm, with temperatures ranging from 15 °C (59 °F) to 40 °C (104 °F) and some times up to 45 °C (113 °F).[5] In the winters, there are a significant amount of snow and the Sulaymania temperatures are both dense in the summer and dry and windy in the winter. The city is actually known as the "windy-city" in the region among Kurds. One of the reasons for that is the mountains that surround the city. From north, there are mountain Goizha and to the south Chwarta, forcing the air in the city to be condensed and compacted and often quite rainy.

Snow is not frequent in winter, but it has fallen in January 2008,[6] January 2010,[7] February 2010, February 2011, March 2012,[8] and January 2013.[9]

Climate data for Sulaymaniyah, South Kurdistan (1950-2000)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 7.9
Daily mean °C (°F) 3.9
Average low °C (°F) −0.2
Precipitation mm (inches) 129
Source: WorldClim Global Climate Data[10][the data is inaccessible]


Sulaymaniyah governorate has much fertile land such as the Sharazur and Bitwen plains which are considered two of the most fertile plains in the Middle East. Historically, Sulaymaniyah was mainly agricultural and one of the 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.

Since 2003 Iraq has seen a huge economic boom. Sulaymaniyah's economy today relies on tourism, agriculture[11] and a number of small factories, most involved in the building trade.

In 2004 the Comprehensive Food Security and Vulnerability Analysis in Iraq released in-depth survey of Sulaymaniyah Governorate in which they surveyed each city. In this survey one can see the economic boom of 2003 mentioned earlier.[12]


It was home to more than 60,000 tourists in 2009.[13] Sulaymaniyah attracted more than 15,000 Iranian tourists in the first quarter of 2010, many drawn by the fact it is not subject to strict laws faced at home. Newroz 2010 drew an exodus of Iranian tourists choosing to celebrate the event in the region.[14] There are many modern hotels in Sulaymaniyah like High Crest Hotel,Ramada Hotel, Areen Hotel which overlooks the Azadi park and mountain of Azmar and Sulaymaniyah Palace Hotel.

  • Sulaimani Museum: It is the second biggest museum after the national museum in Baghdad. It is home to many Kurdish and ancient Persian artifacts dating back to 1792–1750 BC.[15]
  • Amna Suraka Museum (Kurdish:"Red Intelligence Museum"): Located in a former Ba'ath intelligence headquarters and prison, it draws particular attention to the Ba'ath regime's brutal treatment of local Kurds. Visitors are guided through the prisons and interrogation rooms. The museum features many Soviet-era armored fighting vehicles.
  • Zamwa Gallery:[16] Open year-round, it displays the works of the artists of the city.
  • Aram Gallery: Another place for artistic activities. It started the night cinema project where people can go to watch Kurdish and foreign films.
  • Chavy Tourism City
  • Newroz amusement park and zoo
  • Bowling Center
  • City Star games center
  • City Cinema
  • Serchinar
  • Daiyk park


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

A new University of Sulaymaniyah[17] was established in 1991, teaching in Kurdish, English and Arabic.

In 2007 The American University of Iraq – Sulaimani,[18] (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.

Kurdistan University of Science and Technology (KUST) - Sulaymani was established and licensed by the Ministry of High Education and Scientific Research in Kurdistan Region Government, by the official letter no. 17867/7 on October 18, 2009. KUST is a private university governed by a Board of Trustees and run by an Administration Council. Its main campus is located in the city of Sulaymani, in Kurdistan.

KUST offered its first teaching classes in 2010 with an English language summer course (levels 1 and 3).[19]


Sulaymaniyah is considered the center of the Sorani Kurdish culture in Kurdistan. It is recognized officially as the cultural capital of South Kurdistan. Development of Sorani as a modern literary language started in this city in the early 19th century, when many Kurdish poets such as Nalî, Piramerd, Muhamed Amin Zaki, Abdulla Goran, Muhamad Salih Dilan, Ahmad Hardi, Ibrahim Ahmad, Sherko Bekas, and Bachtyar Ali published their works.

The city is known for its open, relatively liberal and tolerant society when compared to other cities of Kurdistan.. In 2006 the Movement for Change started in Sulaymaniyah and challenged what it called the "corrupt" and "nepotistic" Kurdish Government. The movement gained massive support from the city.

The two independent newspapers Hawlati[20] and Awena[21] and the two independent political magazines Lvin and Shock, are published and distributed in Slemani city.

Sulaymaniyah assumes its own style of music which have borrowed from traditions of the city, Muhamad Salih Dilan is widely considered to be the greatest singer from the city and had the greatest role in developing Kurdish maqam.The city is also considered to be the birthplace of modern Kurdish music, There are a number of musical groups formed since 1950, including band Mawlawi and supervised by the artist Qadir Dylan and the Band Sulaymaniyah and band Sulaimaniyah University and the band of Girls Sulaymaniyah and Orchestra Sulaymaniyah artist Anwar qaradaghi was leadership of them and after the uprising 1991 formed more music teams of multi-purpose, which supported the musical movement in the city It is the only city in South Kurdistan that regularly celebrates world music day or Fête de la Musique. In one trip to the city a journalist working for BBC writes about Sulaymaniyah's distinct culture: "Culture is hugely important to Kurdish people, especially in Sulaymaniyah, but there is a strong pull to the west – the modernisation and consumerism – driven perhaps by the satellite televisions they have had access to since they started running their own affairs."[22]

"And at the university, students mill around the campus, chattering with each other and doing some last minute cramming for their exams. the war only stopped lectures for a few weeks. "[22] There are probably more women than men and they are happy to air their views to anyone who asks."


The city is dependent on road transport. 0n 20 July 2005 Sulaimaniyah International Airport opened, with regular flights to various European destinations such as Frankfurt, Stockholm, Malmö, Munich, Eindhoven and Düsseldorf as well as Middle Eastern cities like Dubai, Amman, Doha, Beirut, Damascus, Istanbul and Ankara.

2011 Sulaymaniyah protests

Main article: 2011 Kurdish protests in Iraq

In February 2011 multiple demonstrations took place in Sulaymaniyah against corruption and lack of services. The protest escalated and lasted for more than 40 days causing clashes between security forces and demonstrators until an eventual crackdown on the demonstrators left 10 dead and several hundred wounded.

Notable people

  • Hadhrat Mawlânâ Khâlid-i Baghdâdî (1779–1827), sufist and Islamic thinker
  • Nalî (1800–1873), Poet.
  • Salim (1800–1866), Poet.
  • Kurdi, Mustafa Bag Mahmood Bag Ahmed Bagi Saheb-Qran (1809-1849) Poet.
  • Mahwi (1830–1906), Poet.
  • Hamdi, Poet.
  • Said Pasha Kurd, (1834-1907) Ottoman Statesman.
  • Mustafa Zihni Pasha (1838–1911) Ottoman official, Kurdish nationalist.
  • Şerif Pasha, (1865-1951) Ottoman Diplomat, Ambassador and Statesmwn.
  • Haji Mala Saeed Kirkukli Zada (1866–1937), Minister of Justice in the Kingdom of Kurdistan.
  • Mustafa Yamulki (25 January 1866 - 25 May 1936), Minister of education in the Kingdom of Kurdistan.
  • Piramerd (1867–1950), poet and journalist.
  • Mahmud Barzanji (1878 – 9 October 1956), king of Kurdistan(1922–1924)
  • Muhamed Amin Zaki (1880–1948), historian, statesman and politician.
  • Kak Ahmedi Shekh (1887-1792), Islamic Religious Figure.
  • Taufiq Wahby (1891–1984), linguist, politician and poet.
  • Ahmed Bag Tofiq Bag, (1898-1963) First Governor of Slemani.
  • Sheikh Nuri Sheikh Salih Sheikh Ghani Barzinji (1896–1958) journalist and poet.
  • Ahmad Mukhtar Baban (1900–1976), Prime Minister of Iraq 1958.
  • Abdulla Goran (1904–1962), founder of modern Kurdish poetry
  • Fayaq Bekas (1905-1948), Poet.
  • Ibrahim Ahmad (1914–2000), novelist, poet and translator.
  • Mohammad Qudsi ( 1919–1947 ) An officer in the army of Republic of Kurdistan.
  • Ahmad Hardi (1922—2006), poet.
  • Muhamad Salih Dilan (1927–1990), a prominent musician and poet.
  • Shahab Sheikh Nuri (1932–1976) Kurdish freedom movement activist in Iraq.
  • Jamal Nebez (born 1933), linguist.
  • Mahmoud Othman (born 1938), Politician.
  • Sherko Bekas (born 1940), a prominent contemporary poet.
  • Nawshirwan Mustafa (born 1944), politician and media proprietor.[23]
  • Dilshad Meriwani, (1947-1989) Actor, Poet, Writer, Songwriter, Film Director, Historian, Activist and Journalist.
  • Rizgar Mohammed Amin (born 1958), chief judge.
  • Bachtyar Ali (1960) intellectual, novelist
  • Barham Salih (born 1960) politician, former PM of South Kurdistan.
  • Mariwan Kanie (born 1966), intellectual.
  • Xalîd Reşîd (born 1968), Musician

Notable landmarks

  • Copthorne Hotel Baranan Millennium & Copthorne Hotels, Sarchinar Main Street
  • Jaff Towers, Sarchinar Rd
  • Azadi Park (Freedom Park), Khak St/Azadi Park St
  • Kurdistan Central Bank and Stock Exchange, Khak St
  • Grand Millennium & Copthorne Hotels, Zargata St
  • Qaiwan Towers, Salem St
  • Chavi Land
  • City Star
  • Range Gallery

Notable companies

Asia oil company


Sulaymaniyah is the partial setting in the young adult novel Kiss the Dust.

Diplomatic missions

Sister cities

Photo gallery

See also


External links


This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.