Silêmanî (Sulaymaniyah)

Silêmanî, (Officially: Sulaymaniyah) is a Kurdish city in Southern Kurdistan, Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) in Iraq with a population of approximately 725,000 as of 2011.Most of the residents are of Kurdish ethnicity. Silêmanî 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 dry summers and cool wet winters. Silêmanî served as the capital of the historic Kurdish principality of Baban from 1784 to 1850.


The modern city of Silêmanî 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, Silêmanî has developed into a large city with a population of more than 1,500,000 people. It is an important economic center for northern Iraq and has been named the cultural center for Kurds speaking the Soranî dialect of Kurdish continuously since 1992.


Silêmanî is considered the center of the Sorani Kurdish culture and the cultural capital in Southern 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 KRG. In 2006 the Movement for Change started in Silêmanî and challenged what it called the "corrupt" and "nepotistic" Kurdish Government. The movement gained massive support from the city.



[i] Wikipedia, Thee Free Encyclopedia


[ii] City Population - Iraq. City Population. Retrieved on 2014-04-03.

There are different types of amazing kurdish dishes. One of the most famous dishes is Yaprax, which you may not find easily in city restaurants, but in some restaurants you can find Kofta which also tastes great. You can go to Sara Restaurant near Xasraw xal bridge, where you can find Kebab, Goshty brzhaw (grilled meat) Brnj ("rice") shla and other types of food. Sara Restaurant is very good and clean. If you're looking for more international dishes you can have Pizza and Italian food at Roma restaurant at Tooy Malik.

There are two kinds of places to eat in the old part of the city: sit down places and sandwich type places. There are tons of sandwich type places. They cost about 1,000 dinars for a sandwich of chicken, meat, or falafel on a little white bun or else wrapped up in a flatbread. (1,000 dinars is roughly equal to a dollar or a euro)
From its foundation Silêmanî was always a center of great poets, writers, historians, politicians, scholars and singers, such as Nalî, Mahwi, Piramerd, Muhammed Emin Zeki Bey, Taufiq Wahby, Sherko Bekas, Bachtyar Ali, Mahmud Barzanji, Mawlawi, Mawlânâ Khâlid and Mustafa Zihni Pasha.

The city is located in northern Iraq. Of the main population centers in the country, it is characterized by its cooler summer temperatures and its rainier winters. Average temperatures range from 0 °C (32 °F) to 39 °C (102 °F). In the winters, there can be a significant amount of snow. The city is actually known as the "windy city" in the region, due to the mountains that surround it. To the north, there are Goizha mountains and to the south the Chwarta, forcing the air in the city to be condensed and compacted and often quite rainy.

The city was visited by more than 60,000 tourists in 2009. Silêmanî 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.

Goyija Mountains - 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 city's first neighborhoods; its name means "those who make soap" in Kurdish and its residents were mainly involved in the soap industry. Cûlekan, the Jewish neighborhood, was mainly inhabited by Kurdish Jews. In the 1950s, after the establishment of the state of Israel, most of its inhabitants migrated to the newly created state.

Azadi Park - the public garden in the city centre features statues of poets and writers.

Haji Umran - boarderline to Iran. Kurdistan Region’s highest mountains, the spa water is renowned locally for treating ailments and the highlands usually remain green through summer. 

Dokan & Derbendikan lakes - About 70 kilometres from Silêmanî, lined with cabins for visitors to enjoy boating or swimming. The lakes are a result of hydroelectric power dams built decades ago. The lakes are lined up with fishermen and is known for the many fish restaurants.

Ahmadawa (mountan and waterfall) - east of Silêmanî, springs form several waterfalls surrounded by walnut, pomegranate and fig trees, attracting visitors to their cool shade. One of the most beautiful waterfalls, located on the top of the mountain. The most extradinary is the means of transportation up the mountain, very old range rovers.

Sarchinar – a beautiful waterfall, which attracts a lot of people during the summertime that come there on picnic. There are also a lot of Cafes and restaurants.

Suleymani antiquities museum, statues and remains from the Region. This is the second biggest museum after the national museum in Baghdad. It is home to many Kurdish and ancient Persian artifacts dating back as far as 1792-1750 BC.

Amna Suraka Museum (Red Intelligence Museum) - Located in a former Ba'ath intelligence headquarters and prison. This museum showcases the horrific terror the Ba'ath regime inflicted upon the local Kurdish population. Visitors are guided through the prisons and interrogation rooms. The museum features many Soviet-era armored fighting vehicles. In the museum you may visit the beautiful Hall of mirrors and the Amna Suraka Cells.

Zamoa Gallery - Open all year round, displays the works of the artists of the city. It is run by "Rostam Aghala", a well-known modern Kurdish artist.

Aram Gallery - Another place for various artistic activities. It initiated the night cinema project where people can go to watch Kurdish and foreign films.
In Silêmanî you are surrounded by a variety of business venues and tourist attractions that bring delegates and tourists to this region every year. Combined with the comforts and convenience of the Millennium & Copthorne Hotels and you have yourself an exhilarating package of choosing among three fascinating hotels: Grand Millennium Sulaimani a 5 star deluxe hotel; Millennium Kurdistan Hotel and Spa a 5 star hotel; Copthorne Hotel Baranan a 4 star hotel. There are many modern hotels in Silêmanî such as the High Crest Hotel, the Ramada Hotel, the Areen Hotel which overlooks the Azadi park and the mountain of Azmar, and the Silêmanî Palace Hotel. The city is dependent on road transport. On 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.