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Chahar Mahal Bakhtiari

CHAHARMAHAL & BAKHTIARI Province The Stone Lions Darreh-ye Eshgh (Valley of Love) Zamankhan Bridge Bakhtiari Nomads Qashqai Nomads


Chahar-Mahal & Bakhtiari Province is one of the 31 provinces of Iran. It is in the south western part of the country. Its capital is Shahr-e Kord. The province has an area of 16,332 square km. The history of the province is tied to that of the Bakhtiari tribe. The Bakhtiari Tribe is the main speakers of Lurish language. As the name of the province comes with the combining grammatical feature of “-o-" which is Persian for “and"; the other group of peoples in this ancient province are the ChahSr- Mahali's. These peoples and the Luis live side by side and share almost similar customs. They have a history of having a simple living and being a capable people who are determined, effective warriors and fighters whenever circumstances made it necessary. They have gained such a reputation as being excellent, if not the best, horsemen in Iran. The people of this province has Pahlevani wrestling/combat style of the deep rooted traditional Zourkhaneh, which exists everywhere in all provinces, also they have their own style.

The Stone Lions

One of the rituals of Bakhtiari nomads is to put up a stone lion on top of the tombstone of everlasting eminent people of the tribe. Bakhtiari people erected this lion stone which was the symbol of bravery, valor, and characteristics like adroitness at hunting and shooting in war as well as horseback riding on top of the gravestone of people. In fact, the lion stones are statues that were made by stonemasons and put on top of the tombstone of brave and courageous people in the past, in Bakhtiari dialect these statues are called “Bard Shir"- Bard Shirs are the symbol of courage, bravery, modesty and manhood protected and defended perspicacity, culture, and humane ethics of Bakhtiari tribe. The magnificence of this statue reminds the men who ornamented the history of their tribe in a mythical form by their names and departed this life. The sides of the Bard Shirs are adorned with sword, horse, gun, and rosary designs. The personal information of the deceased is carved on the back of the stone lions.

Darreh-ye Eshgh (Valley of Love)

Darreh-ye Eshgh (Valley of Love) is one of the wonderful and unique areas in the province, which annually allures a large number of travellers and tourists to wild nature, alongside the wonderful natural scenery. The beautiful waterfall of the Valley is another spectacular attraction in the village of Darreh-ye Eshgh. In fact, this waterfall can be called the main attraction of ecotourism and another great blessing of God in the area, which has created spectacular landscapes for nature lovers in the heart of the protected area of Helen and the Mashayekh. The waterfalls of the Valley, with a height of more than 100 meters, flush out from the depths of the mountain at a very fast pace.

Zamankhan Bridge

Zamankhan Bridge is located in Saman, Chaharmahal va Bakhtiari province. It has two arcs with 30 meters long and 12 meters high and with a rocky foundation. Before Qashqai and Bakhtiari nomads used to use this bride but now lots of visitor come to this area in the summer because of cold weather. The bridge surrounded with lots of gardens with variety of trees besides of Zayandeh Rood River.

Bakhtiari Nomads

The Bakhtian are a southwestern Iranian tribe, and a subgroup of the Lurs. They speak the Bakhtiari dialect, a southwestern Iranian dialect, belonging to the Lurish language. Their race returns to the Achaemenid and Aryan peoples. Bakhtiaris primarily inhabit Chahar-Mahal and Bakhtiari and eastern Khuzestan, Lorestan, Bushehr, and Isfahan provinces. In Khuzestan, Bakhtiari tribes are concentrated primarily in the eastern part of the province in the cities of Masjed Soleyman and Andekah. A small percentage of Bakhtiari are still nomadic pastoralists, migrating between summer quarters (sardsir or yaylaq) and winter quarters (garmsir or qishlaq). Numerical estimates of their total population vary widely. In Iranian mythology, the Bakhtiaris are considered to be descendants of Fereydun, a legendary hero from the Iranian national epic, Shahnameh. They are also considered to be directly descended from Cyrus the Great. The Bakhtiari people are mainly from two tribal divisions, Chahar lang (English: Four Shares) and Haft Lang (English: Seven Shares). Lang word in Bakhtiari dialect means “share of tax or inheritance”. Due to the harsh nature of their life style, Bakhtiaris have been able to keep their blood lines intact, largely marrying within their own tribe. Migration is the term that explains thousands of years of Lurs traditional life in the mountain-sides of Zagros. “Malkanon” is the most important life matter of the nomads. In addition, Malkanon reminds the most significant Bakhtiari tribe’s piece of music. Malkanon is the ancient historical ritual of Bakhtiari nomads. It is the beginning of the nomads’ migration. In Bakhtiari culture, “migration” is associated with hardship and effort, and Bakhtiari men and women take the plunge by travelling through maintains and rushing rivers. All year round, the nomads migrate twice to reach the green pastures in Yaylak and Kishlak. Yaylak spring migration from Khuzestan to Chahar-Mahal and Bakhtiari is always pleasing because the nomads get to green pastures and flowing water. The nomads set a time to head off and pack their luggage. They proceed towards Yaylak in the spring. Those who are responsible for driving lambs and goats sing some poems in Luri so that they can spread the joy and excitement of the travel and the movement of lambs and goats among all of the nomads. Bakhtiari nomads migrate twice a year. In the spring, they move from hot areas (cities of Khuzestan Province) to cold places in Chahar-Mahal and Bakhtiari Province and the northern mountainsides of Zagros Mountain Range between April and May, and return from the same path between September and November. 3800 kilometers of first, second, and third class roads have already been identified in Chaharmahal and Bakhtiari Province. Some of those roads are more than 300 years old. The most important road is Dez-Part which starts from “Rokh Col" and connects to “Dehdez” district in Khuzestan Province.

Qashqai Nomads

Qashqai also spelled Qashqa’i, ‘Qashqay,’ Kashkai, gashkay, Qashqayi, Gashgai, Gashgay, is a conglomeration of clans in Iran consisting of mostly Turkic peoples but also Lurs, Kurds, and Arabs. Almost all of them speak a Western Oghuz Turkic dialect that they call Turki, as well as Persian (the national language of Iran) in formal use. The Qashqai mainly live in the provinces of Fars, Khuzestan, Kohgilouyeh and Boyer-Ahmad, Chahar-Mahal and Bakhtiari, Bushehr, and southern Isfahan, especially around the cities of Shiraz and Firouz-Abad in Fare. The majority of Qashqai people were originally nomadic pastoralists and some remain so today. The traditional nomadic Qashqai travelled with their flocks twice yearly to and from the summer highland pastures north of Shiraz roughly 480 km or 300 miles south to the winter pastures on lower (and warmer) lands near the Persian Gulf, to the southwest of Shiraz. The majority, however, have now become partially or wholly sedentary. The trend towards settlement has been increasing markedly since the 1960s. The Qashqai were a significant political force in Iran during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. During World War I they were influenced by the German consular official Wilhelm Wassmuss and sided with the Germans. During World War II the Qashgais attempted to organize resistance against the British and Soviet occupation forces and received some ineffectual help from the Germans in 1943 by the means of Operation ANTON, which (along with Operation FRANZ) proved a complete failure. In 1945-1946 there was a major rebellion of a number of tribal confederacies, including the Qashgais, who fought valiantly until the invading Russians were repelled. The Qashgais revolted during 1962—1964 due to the land reforms of the White Revolution. The revolt was put down and within a few years many Qashqais had settled. Most of the tribal leaders were sent to exile. After the Islamic Revolution of 1979 the living leader, Khosrow Khan Qashqai, returned to Iran from exile in the United States and Germany.