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Sulaymaniyah ?

Sulaymaniyah Definition

(Wikipedia) - Sulaymaniyah "Sulaimani" redirects here. For places in Iran, see Soleymani. Sulaymaniyah Silêmanî Country Autonomous region Governorate Government  • Type  • Governor Elevation Population (2012)  • Total   Website
Sulaymaniyah Silêmanî
Coordinates: 35°33′N 45°26′E / 35.550°N 45.433°E / 35.550; 45.433
Sulaymaniyah Governorate
Bahroz Muhammed Salih Kashany
882 m (2,895 ft)

Sulaymaniyah or Slemani, (Kurdish: سلێمانی / Silêmanî) is a city in 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 dry summers and cool wet winters. Sulaymaniyah served as the capital of the historic 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 more than 1,500,000 people. It is an important economic center for northern Iraq and has been named the cultural center for Sorani-speaking Kurds continuously since 1992.

From its foundation Sulaymaniyah 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.

  • 1 History
  • 2 Demographics
  • 3 Geography and climate
  • 4 Economy
    • 4.1 Tourism
  • 5 Education
  • 6 Culture
  • 7 Transportation
  • 8 2011 Sulaymaniyah protests
  • 9 Notable people
  • 10 Notable landmarks
  • 11 Notable companies
  • 12 Sites
  • 13 Literature
  • 14 Diplomatic missions
  • 15 Twin towns – Sister cities
  • 16 Photo gallery
  • 17 See also
  • 18 References
  • 19 External links


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 battleground for the two rivals.

Being of strategic importance and lying deep inside Safavid territory, there was 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. 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 Sulaymaniyah, to construct a number of Serahs for his political and armed units.

In 1783, Ibrahim Pasha of Baban became ruler 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 Qeyserîs and bazaars, which were also used as baths, and began inviting people from the surrounding villages and Emirates to move 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.

Mahmud Barzanji was the self-declared king of the Kingdom of Kurdistan from 1922–1924.

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. He attempted to declare an independent Kingdom of Kurdistan on 10 October 1921, issuing a statement in Sulaymaniyah, then the capital of Kurdistan, to establish the Kingdom of Kurdistan. Sheikh Mahmud Barzanji, now backed by the British, declared himself King of the Kingdom of Kurdistan.

The British occupation declared Sheikh Mahmud king in order to persuade the residents of Sulaymaniyah to stop their rebellion, but Sheikh Mahmud 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, only to return and raise another unsuccessful rebellion in 1923, centered in Sulaymaniyah.

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 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.

On 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 a 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 separatist parties KDP and PUK. Since its successful liberation in 1991, Sulaymaniyah has been administered by the Kurdish Government(KRG) and serves as a principal metropolis of northern Iraq.


In 1820, only 26 years after the creation of the city, a British man named Rech visited the city and estimated that its population was more than ten thousand, containing 2,144 families of which 2,000 were Muslim, 130 Jewish, and 14 Christian. Ottoman documents from 1907 suggest that there were 8,702 Muslim and 360 non-Muslim residents living in the city at that time. The Peshkawtin newspaper which was distributed in Sulaymaniyah 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 2,000,000.

The Assyrian community in the city is relatively new and has been small; there are several Assyrian churches in the city.

Geography and climate

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.

Snow is not frequent in winter, but snow has fallen in Sulaymaniyah in January 2008, January 2010, February 2010, February 2011, March 2012, and January 2013.

Köppen-Geiger climate classification system classifies its climate as dry-summer subtropical (Csa).

Climate data for Sulaymaniyah Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year Average high °C (°F) Daily mean °C (°F) Average low °C (°F) Precipitation mm (inches)
7.8 (46) 10.3 (50.5) 15.5 (59.9) 20.8 (69.4) 28.4 (83.1) 35 (95) 38.8 (101.8) 38.8 (101.8) 34.7 (94.5) 28.2 (82.8) 18.7 (65.7) 11.1 (52) 24.01 (75.21)
3.8 (38.8) 5.6 (42.1) 10.4 (50.7) 15.2 (59.4) 21.4 (70.5) 27.6 (81.7) 31.3 (88.3) 31.4 (88.5) 27.2 (81) 21.1 (70) 13.7 (56.7) 6.7 (44.1) 17.95 (64.32)
−0.2 (31.6) 1 (34) 5.3 (41.5) 9.7 (49.5) 14.5 (58.1) 20.3 (68.5) 23.9 (75) 24.1 (75.4) 19.7 (67.5) 14.1 (57.4) 7.6 (45.7) 2.3 (36.1) 11.86 (53.36)
129 (5.08) 146 (5.75) 132 (5.2) 100 (3.94) 41 (1.61) 0 (0) 0 (0) 0 (0) 0 (0) 13 (0.51) 74 (2.91) 110 (4.33) 745 (29.33)
Source: (altitude: 849m)
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) Daily mean °C (°F) Average low °C (°F) Precipitation mm (inches)
7.9 (46.2) 10.3 (50.5) 15.4 (59.7) 20.8 (69.4) 28.3 (82.9) 35.1 (95.2) 38.7 (101.7) 38.9 (102) 34.7 (94.5) 28.1 (82.6) 18.7 (65.7) 11.1 (52) 24 (75.2)
3.9 (39) 5.7 (42.3) 10.3 (50.5) 15.3 (59.5) 21.4 (70.5) 27.7 (81.9) 31.3 (88.3) 31.5 (88.7) 27.2 (81) 21.1 (70) 13.2 (55.8) 6.7 (44.1) 17.9 (64.2)
−0.2 (31.6) 1.1 (34) 5.1 (41.2) 9.7 (49.5) 14.5 (58.1) 20.3 (68.5) 23.8 (74.8) 24.1 (75.4) 19.1 (66.4) 14 (57) 7.6 (45.7) 2.3 (36.1) 11.78 (53.19)
129 (5.08) 146 (5.75) 132 (5.2) 100 (3.94) 41 (1.61) 0 (0) 0 (0) 0 (0) 0 (0) 13 (0.51) 75 (2.95) 111 (4.37) 747 (29.41)
Source: WorldClim Global Climate Data

The 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 economic 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 and a number of small factories, most of which are involved in the building trade.

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

TourismKurdish artist Tara Jaff playing the Harp during a cultural gathering at Aram Gallery

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

In Sulaymaniyah 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 Sulaymaniyah such as the High Crest Hotel, the Ramada Hotel, the Areen Hotel which overlooks the Azadi park and the mountain of Azmar, and the 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.
  • 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.

Public 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.

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

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

The Kurdistan University of Science and Technology (KUST) - Sulaymaniyah 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 Sulaymaniyah. KUST offered its first teaching classes in 2010 with an English language summer course (levels 1 and 3).

CultureAdnan Karim in a joint concert with the Iraqi National Symphony Orchestra conducted by the renowned Kurdish composer A.J. Sagerma performing classical Kurdish music

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 and Awena and the two independent political magazines Lvin and Shock, are published and distributed in Sulaymaniyah 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 (supervised by the artist Qadir Dylan), the band Sulaymaniyah, the band Sulaymaniyah University, the band Sulaymaniyah Girls, led by the Sulaymaniyah Orchestra artist Anwar qaradaghi after the 1991 uprising.

Sulaymaniyah 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 the BBC wrote about Sulaymaniyah''s distinct culture: "Culture is hugely important to the Kurdish people, especially in Sulaymaniyah, but there is a strong pull to the west--modernisation and consumerism--driven perhaps by the satellite televisions they have had access to since they started running their own affairs...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. 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. 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.

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 peopleVictims of one of Saddam Hussein''s campaigns are represented by broken glass and tiny lights at the Amna Suraka Museum (Kurdish: "Red Intelligence Museum") in Sulaymaniyah.
  • Hadhrat Mawlânâ Khâlid-i Baghdâdî (1779–1827), sufist and Islamic thinker
  • Salim (1800–1866), poet.
  • Nalî (1800–1873), 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 statesman.
  • Mustafa Yamulki (1866-1936), Minister of Education in the Kingdom of Kurdistan.
  • Haji Mala Saeed Kirkukli Zada (1866–1937), Minister of Justice in the Kingdom of Kurdistan.
  • Piramerd (1867–1950), poet and journalist.
  • Mahmud Barzanji (1878–1956), king of Kurdistan (1922–1924)
  • Muhamed Amin Zaki (1880–1948), historian, statesman and politician.
  • Hapsa Xan (ku) (1881-1953), started the enlightenment movement for Kurdish women
  • Kak Ahmedi Shekh (1887-1792), Islamic religious figure.
  • Taufiq Wahby (1891–1984), linguist, politician and poet.
  • Sheikh Nuri Sheikh Salih Sheikh Ghani Barzinji (1896–1958), journalist and poet.
  • Ahmed Bag Tofiq Bag, (1898-1963), first Governor of Sulaymaniyah.
  • 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), officer in the army of Republic of Kurdistan.
  • Ahmad Hardi (1922—2006), poet.
  • Muhamad Salih Dilan (1927–1990), 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.
  • Jalal Dabagh (born 1939), politician and writer.
  • Sherko Bekas (born 1940), prominent contemporary poet.
  • Nawshirwan Mustafa (born 1944), politician and media proprietor.
  • Bahram Resul (born 1945), medical chemist and inventor
  • Dilshad Meriwani, (1947-1989), actor, poet, writer, songwriter, film director, historian, activist and journalist.
  • Rizgar Mohammed Amin (born 1958), chief judge.
  • Bachtyar Ali (born 1960) intellectual, novelist
  • Barham Salih (born 1960) politician, former PM of South Kurdistan.
  • Mariwan Kanie (born 1966), intellectual.
  • Xalîd Reşîd (born 1968), musician
  • Kakay Falah (1928-1990), poet, writer, politician, journalist and editor of Zhin Newspaper.
Notable landmarks
  • Azadi Park (Freedom Park), Khak St/Azadi Park St
  • Chavi Land
  • City Center
  • City Star
  • Copthorne Hotel Baranan Millennium & Copthorne Hotels, Sarchinar Main Street
  • Grand Millennium Sulaimani Millennium & Copthorne Hotels, Bakhtiary Street
  • Millennium Kurdistan Hotel and Spa Millennium & Copthorne Hotels, Malik Mahmoud Ring Road
  • Hama''s house
  • Jaff Towers, Sarchinar Rd
  • Kurdistan Central Bank and Stock Exchange, Khak St
  • Qaiwan Towers, Salem St
  • Rand Gallery
  • Salar''s House
Notable companies
  • Asia cell
  • Asia oil company
  • Boss Group Companies
  • Faruk Holding Group
  • Hiwa Rauf for Investment & Development
  • Zozik Group

Tomb of Emperor Cyaxares, Qyzqapan


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

Diplomatic missions Twin towns – Sister cities
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Photo gallery
  • A view of Dukan in near Sulaymaniyah City

  • Men rally at the day of the Kurdish new year Newroz; Events like this gained the city its reputation of being the centre for Kurdish patriotism

  • Kurdistan flag in Azadi park of Sulaymaniyah.

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