Circle of Ancient Iranian Studies
The City of
Paveh is a city
in Kermanshah Province in western Iran. It is believed that the name of
the city has something to do with the past religion of the city, namely
Zoroasterianism. The language of the people of Paveh is Hourami which is
said to be a remnant of the Pahlavi and Avesta languages. The people of Paveh
are mainly engaged in agriculture and fruit gardening. The city has many
interesting and tourist sites, including a number of caves and a fire temple.
The unrivaled staged (stair shaped) city of Paveh is located some 112 kilometers
northwest of Kermanshah. The path to this city is filled with winding and curvy
mountainous (Zagros chain) roads.
The route is filled with hills, springs and fountains, forests and farmlands
located in the foothills, etc., which is quite beautiful and invigorating. Due
to these wonderful natural sceneries as well as various caves, waterfalls and
streams, Paveh has been nicknamed the "Bakhtaran (western) Paradise".
As soon as one enters the historically ancient city of Paveh that dates back to
three thousand years ago, the person is awestruck and amazed at how the people
who live in this area, have managed to so skillfully and orderly build their
homes in the shape of many long and wide stairs within the foothills of the
mountain. These structures have been built in such a way, that in most
instances, the roof of a house that is built in a lower altitude is actually the
patio (balcony) of the house built just a few meters above it.
Because of the similarities in the type of city construction and housing between
Paveh and the city of Massouleh in northern Iran, Paveh is also known as the
City of Thousand Maasoulehs. The thousand is meant to refer to the fact that
Paveh is many times larger than Massouleh.
As to why the city is named Paveh, there are a number of tales and stories.
However, the probable accurate account is that the city's name is inspired by
the Zoroaster religion. The evidence pointing to this fact is that the second
largest Zoroaster fire-temple is located in this city.
Moreover, Pierre Shaliar, one of the most distinguished, eminent and virtuous
personalities of the religion lived in this area. His influence on the culture
of the region was so deep and impact-full that even now some people in the Paveh
area praise and admire him. Considering the above brief introduction, it can be
concluded that the name of the city is somehow related to purity and that one of
the principal pillars of that religion was virtue.
Based on another
legend, the Sassanid era Emperor, Shahpour, had a son named "Pav". The
famous Sasanid Emperor Ardeshir was Shahpour's uncle. As the story goes, Emperor
Yazdgerd III sent Pav to this area to renew his religious Zoroastrian faith.
Therefore, it is possible that the name of Paveh is derived from Pav.
The third theory that exists about the name of Paveh is on the account of its
Hourami, a branch of the Kordi (Kurdish) language, meaning of the word, which is
"standing on its own feet". Indeed Paveh is just the type of town that
can be described as standing on its own, from feet, the style of its dwelling
and city construction to the inner-strength of people.
Paveh with several
water-flowing rivers named Sirvan, Leyleh, Markhil and Paveh-Rood is one of the
most water-rich areas in western Iran.
however, these water resources are not being properly utilized or benefited
from. These rivers form a 24 kilometer water-border with Iraq and enter that
country without the slightest benefit to our own country even though a large
number of farms and cultivated areas in the region are currently facing water
For instance, construction of a dam on the Sirvan River could play an important
role in improving the agricultural situation, supply of cheap electricity and
establishment of fish breeding farms in the region. Additional dams on the other
rivers of the region would also be quite useful and beneficial but lamentably no
concrete step or action has been taken toward this important endeavor.
In addition to the aforementioned rivers, the mountainous area of Paveh has
several large and small waterfalls. The most famous of these waterfalls are
named Boll and Ghahlooz. The Boll Waterfall is reported to have a mineral type
of water with special medicinal characteristics and benefits. It is named after
one of the Babylonian gods.
One only wishes that a water bottling facility could be opened next to the
waterfall so not only this healing and therapeutic water could be enjoyed by the
people of the world but also become a source of much-needed income for the
people of the region.
The presence of water in the Paveh region is not limited to rivers, waterfalls
and springs. The stone nature and penetrative waters of the area have created
the largest water cave in Asia. The Ghoori Ghal'a cave is a remarkably deep cave
and up to now some 3700 meters of its length has been identified and 500 meters
of it is open to tourist visitors. Due to this cave being relatively unknown and
obscure for both local and foreign tourists, it has not only prevented this
attractive and wondrous natural marvel to produce a notable amount of revenue
for the area but also has left the development of the cave incomplete.
Paveh has many other natural, historical and religious tourist attractions other
than the Ghoori Ghal'a cave, which are briefly described hereunder:
Kavat Cave: Another beautiful water cave which supplies the drinking water needs
for the city of Javanroud.
Located in Nodshe
Khaloo-Hussein Stone Cave: This cave is located to the south east of Paveh near
the village of Baneh-Var. A one-legged person named Hussein armed with only a
pick axe has built several rooms on the stone and therefore he is nicknamed
overlooking the Fire-Temple Mount (height of 2464 meters): According to
historians, this fire-temple had been lit some 750 years before Islam and is the
second largest of its kind in Iran after the Azargashb Fire-Temple.
Mardouk: One of
Assyrian and Babylonian gods. Its gigantic body trunk watched-over the Mardouk
mountain. Unfortunately, due to dereliction, some profit-seeking and avaricious
individuals destroyed this statue.
Seyed Abdullah (Kouseh Hajij) and Pir (Old) Ismaiel Memorial Shrines: These
exalted individuals were brothers of the Eight Shia Imam, Imam Reza. Their
shrines are located in the Hajij and Spreez villages.
Dokhan Mosque: A rare and exquisite hand-written copy of the Koran created in
the 15th century is in this mosque. A person named "Maryam" apparently
wrote this copy of the Quran.
Soltan Es-hagh Memorial: The tribe called "The Righteous" pray in this
monument located in a majestic spot on the shores of the Sirvan River. The
structure dates back to 8 centuries ago.
From the other notable attractions of Paveh, the Boll Waterfall, Key-Khosro
Fortress, Ghal'a Fortress, Manav Fortress, the Seyed Mahmood Isfahani (a
relative of Imam Mousa Kazem) Memorial can be specified.
The language spoken by the people of Paveh is called Hourami (Gooran), which is
one of the most ancient and noble languages of Iran. It is a remnant of the
Pahlavi and Avestaie languages, which is enhanced and complemented with
different Hourami and Jafi dialects.
Everything in Paveh
has an air of authenticity, including the people's clothing and costumes. The
residents of this region are attired with exotic named clothing such as
Chookheh-Varanak, Mizeh-Rah or Sarband, Ghagheeleh or hat and their footwear
includes a foreleg-strap and Giveh (light cotton summer shoe).
Furthermore, they make all of their own clothing and footwear. Women also
hand-make whatever clothing they wear. Their attire includes Fis (a kind of
hat), Latte, Sakhme, Kova, Gaji, Cheh-Taghe, Lah-Chak, and Havadi.
Agriculture in Paveh
mostly consists of fruit-gardens. The reason being that there are not enough
land for cultivation due to the high-altitude and mountainous terrain. Most of
the fruit-gardens of the area consist of mulberry, pomegranate, figs, grapes,
walnut and peanut gardens. In addition, a tree-grown fruit called Van (from the
pistachio family of fruits) grows in the majority of the forest areas of Paveh.
Van is not as lucrative or in demand like pistachios but Persian turpentine is
produced from its tree-sap.
agricultural experts, Van trees could be grafted for pistachio gardening. It is
said that engrafted pistachio trees are one of the highest-quality pistachios.
Regrettably Van-pistachio grafting has not yet been implemented or tried in the
Paveh area. If undertaken it can stimulate and grow the economy of the region.
At the present time, only some women and girls of the area extract Persian
turpentine from Van tree-roots as a side-job.
is the Light on the Path to Future"
British Institute of Persian Studies