Mahābād, Iran

Reading Time: 5 minutes

Mahābād, Iran

Region: Mahabad

Geographic Coordinates: 36.767800, 45.733900
Climate: Cold winters, mild springs and autumns, and hot summers with occasional dust storms.
Population: 168393
Language: Kurdish

Mahābād, Located in the West Azerbaijan Province of Iran, Is a city with a population of approximately 150, 000 people. It is renowned for its rich history and cultural significance that dates back to ancient times. The city has been inhabited since the Bronze Age. One of Mahābād’s most famous landmarks is Qaleh Jangal, A historic castle built during the Ilkhanate period in the 13th century. It served as a military stronghold for many centuries and stands as a testament to Mahābād’s long history today. Another significant site in Mahābād is Imamzadeh Ibrahim Shrine dating back to the Safavid era.

This beautiful complex features stunning architecture and intricate tile work that dominates Mahābād’s skyline. It is one of Iran’s most important religious sites. Apart from historical landmarks, Mahabad also boasts natural beauty in abundance with nearby mountains offering hiking opportunities for adventurous travelers looking to explore this rugged region. Several hot springs located outside town are popular among locals and visitors alike. Kurdish culture adds another unique aspect to life in Mahabad; many residents speak Kurdish as their primary language which adds charm to this vibrant city.

Visitors can experience traditional Kurdish music, Dance performances or cuisine at local markets throughout town. Overall, Mahabad offers an authentic Iranian experience steeped in history, Culture, And natural beauty. Its fascinating landmarks, The castle, Qaleh Jangal, And Imamzadeh Ibrahim Shrine are must-visit locations for anyone interested in exploring Iran’s past. The vibrant Kurdish culture adds another layer to this charming city, Making it a must-see destination for travelers looking to experience the diversity of Iran.’

Important Landmarks

  1. Mahabad Dam
  2. Qala Bazi – an ancient city
  3. Mausoleum of Sheikh Ali Khan Zangeneh
  4. Traditional market of Mahabad
  5. Saint Mary Armenian Church
  6. Chalabi Oghlu Mansion
  7. Kani Shivan Cave
  8. Sarshiv Waterfall

Primary Industries

  1. Mahābād, Iran is a small city with limited industries and businesses.
  2. However, there are still several major industries and businesses that contribute to the local economy. These include:
    1. Agriculture
    2. Handicrafts
    3. Retail
    4. Services
    5. Construction
    6. Mining
  3. The city is known for its fertile land which has enabled it to become a hub for agricultural production of crops such as:
    1. Wheat
    2. Barley
    3. Fruits
    4. Vegetables
  4. Additionally, Mahābād has a rich tradition of handicrafts including:
    1. Carpet weaving
    2. Embroidery
    3. Pottery making
    4. Woodcarving
  5. There are several small retail shops in Mahābād selling goods ranging from clothing to household items.
  6. The city also provides various services such as:
    1. Healthcare facilities
    2. Educational institutions (schools and universities)
    3. Transportation services like taxis
    4. Banking services (ATMs)
  7. Due to the growing population in the region there has been an increase in construction activity with many new buildings being constructed.
  8. Mahābād is also home to some mining activities such as copper mining which provides employment opportunities for locals.

Noteable History

  1. The Mahabad Republic: In 1946, Mahabad became the capital of the Kurdish Republic of Mahabad, which was established by Qazi Muhammad and his followers. The republic lasted for only 11 months before being crushed by Iranian forces.
  2. Mulla Mustafa Barzani: Mulla Mustafa Barzani was a prominent Kurdish leader who fought for Kurdish rights in Iran, Iraq, and Turkey. He spent several years in exile in Mahabad during the 1940s.
  3. Sheikh Ezzedin Hosseini: Sheikh Ezzedin Hosseini was an influential religious figure who lived in Mahabad during the early 20th century. He played an important role in promoting education and social welfare programs for the local community.
  4. The Iran-Iraq War: During the Iran-Iraq War (1980-1988), Mahabad was heavily bombed by Iraqi forces due to its proximity to the border.
  5. The Uprising of June 2005: In June 2005, there were widespread protests in Mahabad against government plans to change the official language from Kurdish to Persian.
  6. Sharafkandi Assassination: In September 1992, Sadeq Sharafkandi along with three other party members were assassinated at Mykonos restaurant on Berlin’s Uhlandstraße street; two years later German courts found that senior officials within Iranian government had ordered their assassination.
  7. Adela Khanum: Adela Khanum or Agha Nouryeh (1883 – March 1979) was an Iranian Azerbaijani politician who served as Minister of Education from August until November 1952 under Prime Minister Hossein Ala’. She was the first woman to hold a cabinet position in Iran.
  8. Nader Shah: Nader Shah (1688 – 1747) was one of the most powerful Iranian rulers in history. He was born in Mahabad and rose to power as a military commander before becoming king of Iran. He is known for his military conquests, particularly his campaigns against the Ottoman Empire and Mughal India.
  9. Yaqub Khan: Yaqub Khan (1857 – November 15, 1923) also known as Yakub Beg or Ya’qūb-i Ḥān, was a Tajik adventurer who ruled Xinjiang from 1865 to 1877. He later fled China and sought refuge in Mahabad where he died on November 15, 1923.
  10. Omar Khayyam: Omar Khayyam (1048 – December 4,1131) was a Persian mathematician, astronomer, philosopher and poet who lived during the Seljuk Empire era. Although he did not live in Mahabad but he has been associated with this city because it is believed that he spent some time there while traveling through Persia.

Museums and Things To See

  1. Mahabad Museum: This museum showcases the history and culture of the Kurdish people in the region.
  2. Quri Qaleh Castle: This castle is a historical monument located on a hill overlooking Mahabad city.
  3. Imamzadeh Ibrahim Shrine: This shrine is dedicated to Imamzadeh Ibrahim, a descendant of Prophet Muhammad.
  4. Mahabad Dam: This dam is located on the Zarrineh River and provides water for irrigation and electricity generation.
  5. Gahvareh Cave: This cave is located near Mahabad and has beautiful stalactites and stalagmites.
  6. Kani Shilan Waterfall: This waterfall is located in the mountains near Mahabad and offers breathtaking views of nature.
  7. Pahlavanpour Garden: This garden was built during the Qajar dynasty and has beautiful architecture, fountains, and ponds.
  8. Nane Maryam Church: This church was built during the Safavid dynasty and is one of the oldest churches in Iran.
  9. Bazaar-e-Mahabadi Market: The market offers traditional Kurdish handicrafts such as rugs, pottery, textiles, jewelry etc.
  10. Tange Sarw Village: A picturesque village with stunning natural scenery including waterfalls, mountains, rivers.

Cultural Events

  1. Iranian New Year (Nowruz) – celebrated on the first day of spring (usually March 21st).
  2. Fajr International Film Festival – a popular film festival held annually in Tehran.
  3. Tehran Book Fair – one of the largest book fairs in the Middle East.
  4. Qashqai Nomad Festival – a celebration of nomadic culture and traditions held annually in Fars province.
  5. Rose Water Festival – celebrated during May-June every year in Kashan city, where rose petals are harvested and used to make rose water.

It is recommended to check with local authorities or tourism boards for information on specific events and festivals happening in Mahābād or any other region of Iran.


  • Kebabs: Grilled meat skewers served with rice and salad.
  • Ash Reshteh: A hearty soup made with beans, noodles, herbs, and spices.
  • Kabab-e-Joojeh: Grilled chicken marinated in saffron and lemon juice.
  • Mirza Ghasemi: A dish made with grilled eggplant, tomato sauce, garlic, and eggs.
  • Baghali Polo ba Mahicheh: Rice cooked with dill weed and served with lamb shank.

Some popular restaurants in Mahābād are:

  • Shandiz Restaurant
  • Haji Baba Restaurant
  • Derafsh-e-Kaviani Restaurant
  • Darband Restaurant
  • Zarrin Koochak Restaurant

  • Parks and Recreation

    1. Mahabad Park: This is a large park located in the center of the city with walking paths, benches, and green spaces.
    2. Quri Qaleh Park: This park is situated on a hill that overlooks the city and provides panoramic views of the surrounding mountains.
    3. Shahrak-e-Mehr Park: This park is located in a residential area of Mahābād and features playgrounds, sports fields, and picnic areas.
    4. Hiking trails: There are several hiking trails in the nearby mountains that offer beautiful views of the region.
    5. Skiing: The nearby Zagros Mountains provide skiing opportunities during winter months.
    6. Water sports: The nearby Lake Urmia offers opportunities for swimming, boating, and fishing.
    7. Cultural activities: Mahābād has several museums showcasing Kurdish culture and history as well as traditional music performances throughout the year.


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