Sunday, September 25, 2011

Touring the capital of Kurdistan, Sanandaj - Kurdistan

Dar Al Ihsan Mosque, Sanandaj
On 17/5/2011 I was walking on the streets of Sanandaj, exactly a month after the city had two bomb blasts near the downtown ATM machine and Azadi Square. Generally and relatively, this is a safe city where you won't find robbery or theft a frequent happening. 

However, the clashes between the security forces and Kurdish rebel groups have been going on for a long time and the recent blast was not the only incident. I read carefully the travel advice issued by the Australian, British and American Embassy to their citizens….that’s how I keep myself informed of what’s happening anywhere I traveled. “We strongly advise you not to travel to areas near the border with Iraq, particularly Kurdistan, West Azerbaijan and Ilam provinces and Khorramshahr in Khuzestan province, because of the dangerous security situation” (Australian Embassy Advice).  It is always sensible to take all precautionary advice on how to keep safe when traveling. Anyone can be a random target!

In one occasion, we weren’t comfortable at the Hotel in Sanandaj when all our passports were taken from us during the stay. I insisted they returned it to us but the hotel manager told us they need to bring the original to the police station and the photocopies weren’t sufficient. I felt restless because my passport is the most important document that I would protect fervently when traveling. Ok... I had to compromise! 

While in Sanandaj, we visited the old mosque, Dar al Ihsan and Asef Mansion (museum) to have a glimpse of the Kudish culture. Dar al Ihsan mosque was built in 1227AH by the Governor of Kurdistan and is still a working mosque today. The visit to Asef Mansion was interesting, looking at the Kurdish historical and cultural exhibits from the past. 95% of Kurdish are Sunnis from the Mazhab of Shafiees and their population in Iran is about 12 million. Discovering the warm hospitality of the Kurdish people and their desire to share their cultural identity have been the highlights of my visit to Kurdistan. Just walk through the streets of Sanandaj and you'll understand what I mean!
Dar Al Ihsan
New extension of the old mosque
Interior of the mosque
Tile work on the dome
Natural spring pool for ablution and the entrance
Old Hamam exhibit in Asef Mansion
Kurdish architecture
Part of the musuem in Asef Mansion
Internal Garden in Asef Mansion
Asef mansion
Beautiful intricate window carving
Entrance to the museum
The streets of Sanandaj at night

No comments:

Post a Comment