Iran-Trotter: Hawraman

Javad Gharaei is a young tourist who travels across Iran to explore the country's most exotic places. In this episode, he visits the mysterious region of Hawraman in Kurdistan Province.

TIME CODE: 00:00_05:00

SOUNDBITE [Persian] Javad Gharaee, Host: “Hi. I’m Javad Gharaee. I’m an Iran-trotter. And I’m taking you on a journey to the most pristine areas of my beloved country and showing you their many beauties.”

Narration: This time I’ve travelled to one of my country’s most beautiful provinces; the northwestern province of Kurdistan ….And this is one of the province’s most beautiful areas. It is called the Uramanat region of Kurdistan. The magnificent height behind me is Mount Shahoo, one of the most important summits of Kurdistan province. April is in my opinion the best time to travel to Uramanat. That’s when this whole area is covered with vegetation and lush with flowers of all kinds. But unfortunately it looks different this spring.Because of the dust carried to this region by winds from neighboring Iraq, the skies are clouded by dust most of the time. And rain has been very scarce so far this spring. As a result, you don’t see the characteristic luxuriant vegetation at the moment. That said, Kurdistan is beautiful all year round, and a must-visit for any traveler in any season.

Kurdistan has a cold climate; a beautiful environment perched in the Middle Zagros. The climate of this province is influenced by the warm and humid Mediterranean air mass; a phenomenon that causes sporadic rains in the spring and snow in the winter. Weather patterns influenced by the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea are the main determinants of the atmospheric currents in Iran that lose most of their humidity in the form of rain and snow while floating past the Kurdistan region and colliding with Mount Zagros. The vegetation in Kurdistan is considered a relatively good one. It’s made up of oak forests and other species of trees.

I’d missed the environment in Kurdistan very much. But more beautiful than the environment in this land are the people living on it. They are paragons of kindness and decency. Add to that, the unique architecture of this area which has rendered this province ever more spectacular.

Uramanat is a historical area…Humans have lived here for thousands of years. There are many villages scattered around in this vast mountainous region linked to each other by a single dirt road.

In the words of many, Uraman or Hooraman means a long land. This area has also been referred to as the land or Ooor. And before that, areas located on the banks of lakes or rivers were called oor. The Seervaan river flowing on the bottom of this long valley must have had something to do with the naming of this area. Of course, there are also those who believe Uraman means the land of Ahoura or the Land of the Sun.

TIME CODE: 05:00_10:00

SOUNDBITE [Persian] Javad Gharaee, Host: “And this is the Sirvan river. The beautiful Sirvan River of Kurdistan. After four or five hours of hiking at the foot of Mount Zagros in the Uramanat area, I’m approaching the amazing village of DeevAznaav, which is the main destination on my journey this time. One of the most scenic beauties of the Kurdistan region is the area located along the Sirvan River.

I’m about to arrive in Div-Aznav village…It’s bit farther ahead as you can see clearly from here. It’s one of the most ancient settlements in the Uramanat region. At some point in the past, you could say it was one of the biggest cities of this region. But today, it is only a small village and not many people live in it. But it continues to be just as beautiful and intact.”

Narration: After a relatively long walk, I arrived in the exotic village of Div-Aznav. Upon arrival, my good friend Mamoosta Lot-fullah, invited me to his house.

CONVERSATION [Persian] Javad Gharaee & local people: “- We are both farmers and gardeners.

- So you do both farming and gardening.”

Narration: Mamoosta Lotfullahis the village clergyman and elder. Just like all the other households in Divaznav, he too had a very friendly and close-knit family. Fortunately, the people of Kurdistan are very well-read. That evening, Mamoosta shared with me some great information about the area. He also talked to me about the drought of the recent years in Iran and its impact on the lives of the population living in the Uramanat region.

CONVERSATION [Persian] Javad Gharaee & Local People: “- Looks like it’s warmed up prematurely this year Mamoosta. Why is that? Did you get any rain?

- Rainfall….In the words of scientists, the dry spell is going to last until 2025.

Javad: Right.

- So we didn’t get much snow this year, nor have we had much rain. Three or four times is all the rain we’ve had.”

Narration: Because of the efficient way the people of Divaznav use the water from a gushing spring that pours into Sirvan, they have fewer water-related problems. The village is home to one of the biggest fresh-water fish-farms in the region. The farm has brought economic prosperity to the village; creating many jobs for the men and women living in it. There are no trances of unemployment in the village. Everybody is busy doing their jobs.

TIME CODE: 10:00_15:00

CONVERSATION [Persian] Javad Gharaee & Farmer: “- Oh-huh-huh! They’ll bite you if you aren’t careful. Do you think I can catch one with my bare hands?

- You can try and catch one. I’ll reward you if you do.

- I did it! Hu-huh-huh! It’s so beautiful! Hu-huh-huh! And very slippery! It was so taut and firm!

- Yes, they are tight.

- That must be the work of the cold water from the spring. Want to try? Mehdi! Go ahead! Way to go!

- [Indistinct]

- More! Mehdi here has learned from his dad how to take care of the fish. I’m guessing his going to…Your son is going to grow up to be a fish farmer like you, right?

- Only God knows.

- Only God knows. Feed them some more. Well done!”

Narration: The quality of farmed fish flesh depends on many factors. But one of the most important factors is the water in which the fish grow up. And the water from the Divaznav spring is perfect for farming fish.

I spent that day with Mamoosta and his kind family to recharge my batteries for exploring the areas surrounding the village the next day.

In addition to farming fish, the people of Divazanav, are also livestock and produce farmers. Every morning, you see the women of the village taking the livestock out for grazing on the grasslands.

SOUNDBITE [Persian] Javad Gharaee, Host: “I’m trekking on an almost impassable and uphill trail along with Mamoosta Lot-Fullah to the mountains of the Divaznav area. That’s because the origins of the Divaznav village can be found on top of these heights. And that’s a sight to see if you ask me. Let’s go Mamoosta.”

Narration: Mamoosta has encyclopedic knowledge of the village. On the first leg our tour, he showed me the remains of one of the castles, which was in fact a watch-tower overlooking the village. The spot offered an even more beautiful view of the valley and the village. Mamoosta, gave me a wealth of valuable information about the history and inhabitants of Divaznav.

CONVERSATION [Persian] Javad Gharaee & Local People: “- They brought the water all the way up here.

- Right. Actually, I was going to ask you about that…

- Right.

- Because, look where we are….

- You want to know where the people living up here got their water.

- Yes, where did the people living up here get their water?

- Right.

- Because it’s a long way from here to the Sirvan River down there.

- You are right. It’s a long way away. Now if we looked at it from a plumb bob standpoint…

- Right.

- From a vertical standpoint, that is…

- OK.

- We are about a kilometer from where the river or spring….

- Yes, a thousand meters. Exactly.

- And that’s our vertical distance.

- Vertical, yes.

- We are not talking about our slope distance.

- Not the slope distance…because that’s longer than the vertical distance…

- Yes. There’s another spring over on that side. OK?

- In the mountains over there you mean.

- The elevation on the other side.

- Yes! Right! Back there.

- Back in the day, people used the pipes they had….

- Onesmade of stone.

- Made of stone and sarooj…

- Correct.

- So they laid a pipeline the way they knew, carrying the water from the spring all the way here.

- How interesting.””

TIME CODE: 15:00_20:00

CONVERSATION [Persian] Javad Gharaee & Local People: “-The walls of these ancient castles are really special. They built most of their castles with rocks, sarooj, limestone or the kind of mortar available at the time. But the castle that used to be here…One of its walls is still standing after hundreds or should I say more than a thousand years without any mortar or anything like that to keep the rocks together. Mamoosta, could you tell me about wall-building in the old times, and I mean the dry-stone technique. How has this wall managed to stand for so long?

- Our ancestors used various techniques for building walls.

- Correct.

- Some used sarooj.

- Right

- They made saroojwith goat milk. They’d add a few more things and the result would be sarooj. Sarooj was only used for certain watch towers. The walls of castles were constructed using the dry-stack method.

- Correct.

- Take this wall for example. They say it was built seven millennia ago. It goes back to the time of Prophet Abraham.

- I see.

- So that’s the method they used to build it seven thousand years back. And it is still standing. How did that happen? Because they used the rules of geometry. They really knew what they were doing. Not everybody can do something like that.

- Correct.

- One of the advantages of the dry-stack method was that….they used flat pieces of stone as you know…. Stones that had lumps in them or had uneven surfaces and didn’t stack up well, they wouldn’t use them.

- Right, they wouldn’t.

- The slabs had to be flat.

- Flat, yes.

- Once they found the flattish stones, they’d need tie-stones at intervals.

- Right.

- Which had the effect of bonding the stones together.

- Uhuh.

Mamoosta: So the result would look like one big boulder…

- I see.

- All in one piece…Not everybody was capable of something like that.

- You are right. It was arduous work.

- Not everybody could do it. You see, to see a wall built thousands of years ago that’s still standing and can’t be knocked down with a sledgehammer…That’s something.

- In terms of the castles, there were six of them. One was the one up there that you just saw, another is across from here.

- I see

- Another is over there…See those rocks there?

- Yes.

- It has water, too.

- That cave up there.

- That cave over there. They call it the Gabr Castle.

- The Gabr Castle.

- And it has two gates. There was one on the other side of the village…The village of today which is in fact an ancient city. So another one was there. And yet another one…You see that valley there?

- Yes.

- You see that smaller valley in the middle of it?

- You are right. I can see the dry-stone walls from here.

- That one belongs to areas like Paveh, and the other side of the Uramanat region…Javan Rood, Paveh and Iraq that is.

- I see.

- And that one falls smack in areas such as Nosood, [indistinct], all the way to Iraq.

- The view of the Sirvan River must have been stunning for those living in the castle up here, am I right?

- It was stunning indeed. The view from here is spectacular.

- Let’s go. It’s amazing. It’s a beautiful trail. The river must have had more water in it in the distant past.

- I would say so, yes.

- Much more because of all the precipitation back then.

- That’s right.”

Narration: Many scientists and researchers have studied the big Kurdish tribe and its history, and the dwelling place of this ancient tribe’s ancestors. Their studies have yielded different results. But what most researchers agree on is that the Kurds are among the original tribes living in Iran, and that before the advent of Islam into the country, they lived in the Zagros region and its vicinity. Of course there are some who believe that thousands of years ago, the Kurds relocated from the east of Iran to where they live now. At any rate, today Kurdistan is the cradle of an ancient civilization, and the people of this major tribe are one of culture and civilization.

Among the characteristics of the Kurds is their decency and kindness. Kurds are very kind and hospitable…Ahonorable and peaceful people who used to be nomadic in the old days. But today, you don’t hear much about nomadic Kurds living in tents in Kurdistan Province any more. There was a time when Uramanat was home to a large community of nomads.

TIME CODE: 20:00_25:00

Narration: Kurdish society and economy was based on a lifestyle that was both nomadic and sedentary. But now almost all of them have become sedentary and permanently live in villages. But the Uramis have preserved the traits of their nomadic ancestors. Traits that are rooted in the beautiful environment of the Zagros region. The Uramis are very hardworking people. And their biggest assets are their generosity and kindness.

Uramanat enjoys indescribable peace and quiet: the region’s pristine environment, the terraced architecture of the villages, the immediate and extended family members all living together, and the rich Urami culture. The people of this region are as pure as the water of the Sirvan spring…White as snow, and as beautiful as the flowers at the foot of the surrounding mountains.

Kurds have forever been a source of pride for Iran and Iranians. I too pride myself on the presence of this tribe in my country.

CONVERSATION [Persian] Javad Gharaee & Local People: “- So you are 50 years old. How old are you?

- I’m 65.

- Impressive. I hope to God you’ll always be healthy.

- I’m 65 years old.

- Do you work from morning till evening?

- Well, yes we do.

- What do you do?

-[Speaks in the local dialect]

- I see. You, too?”

Narration: The communities living in this region, speak the Urami accent, which is one of the accents of the Goorani dialect, itself a variation of the Kurdish language. The Uramis here still use words from the Pahlavi language of the Sassanid era.

SOUNDBITE [Persian] Javad Gharaee, Host: “I get fired up walking through the alleyways of Div-Aznaav. In some places, the alleys become very narrow and in others very wide. The architecture here is simply beautiful.”

CONVERSATION [Persian] Javad Gharaee & Local People: “- Sister, did you make this dough yesterday evening?

- No, sir.

- When do you usually do it then?

- 5:30 in the morning.

- You wake at 5:30 in the morning.

- Yes.

- Make the dough…

- Yes.

- And now, at seven o’clock, you start baking bread.

- Yes.

- Do you make bread every day?

- Once every two or three days.

- Every two or three days.

- Yes.

- The bread made in Kurdistan’sUramanat region, is so very thin. It’s so crisp it’s breaking into pieces as I hold it but it softens up when you leave it alone for a while. Uh, it’s so well-baked. Take a look. Uh, it looks just like a sheet of paper. It’s so thin I can see the camera on the other side through it. [Laughs] It’s paper-thin.

- Sister! What do you call this bread?

- We call it….

- “Traditional bread.”

- The good old bread?

- Yes.

- What do you call it in the Urami dialect?

- Local bread.

- You call it “local bread” in your local dialect.

- Yes.”

TIME CODE: 25:00_30:00

CONVERSATION [Persian] Javad Gharaee & Local People: “- This lady rocked a churnfor about an hour and extracted this great butter from the milk taken from their cow. Once the butter is creamed off, they drink the remaining doogh to refresh themselves.

- Here you are.

- Thanks a lot, ma’am. How about you, sir? Would you like a sip, sir?

- No, thank you.

- Enjoy.

- It smells great. This is yummy. I say, it’s still fatty although you churned all that butter from it. It’s still fatty, am I right?

- Yes! Yes! Yes!

- [Indistinct] That’s what it tastes like?

- It’s very delicious. It’s scrumptious.

- There’s plenty more if you want.”

Narration: Many households have their own traditional beehives. Beehives that are among the handicrafts made by the people of this land. The fact of the matter is, as much as it is possible for the Kurds of this region, they try to be independent as villagers. And the people of Deevaznav have done a very good job of that.

SOUNDBITE [Persian] Javad Gharaee, Host: “This beehive fitted into this wall is one of those made from vines taken from trees native to this region. They weave them into baskets, fit them into walls and cover the entrance with cow manure to have the honeybees go in and out of the basket through this hole only. Roundabout fall, the farmers here take fresh high-quality honey out of baskets like this for domestic consumption.”

Narration: The spirit of cooperation and unity is evident among family members and fellow villagers. Kurdish men and women work side by side, take care of their families and keep them together. The daily chores are distributed fairly among the members of this noble community. The Uramis know each other’s worth…The value of love and being together... the value of loving each other and of unpretentiousness…the value of honesty and truthfulness…Kurds are a pure and simple people. People whose biggest asset is honesty. They are brimming with love of and respect for their fellow man. These noble nature-dwellers of Iran are a rare breed. At a time when science and industrial advancements continue to gnaw at the spirit of nature and of man-kind, not many communities would open their doors to a total stranger like me and give him the red carpet treatment. They pay you utmost respect and treat you as one of their own. This is Iran, and the Kurdish tribe, just like all the other original tribes of this land, are very generous and hospitable. After a tour of the village, Mamoosta Lot-Fullah invited me to a yummy treat on the outskirts of Sirvaan.

CONVERSATION [Persian] Javad Gharaee & Local People: “- I hear there are lots of fish in the Sirvan River itself.

- That’s right. The Sirvan River is home to seven or eight species of fish.

- Seven or eight species!

- Yes. Among them is the brown trout.

- Right now it’s their spawning time.

- The brown trout is one of the best species of trout.

- Some of them grow up to be 11 or 12 kilos right in our river.

- Trout that are 11 or 12 kilos?

- Yes. 12 kilogram ones can be found here.

- Eating like this is only fun when you do it as a group.

- Yes.

- Dig in. Go ahead! Mohammad, pick some!

- From the other side.

- Got any bones?

- Nothing but the big bone in the middle.

- Oh, you mean the backbone.

- Exactly, the backbone.

- Yum-yum! The man who barbecued it!

- Thanks a lot.

- Thank you.

- Go ahead and eat. I hope you’ll like it.”

SOUNDBITE [Persian] Javad Gharaee, Host: “Your turn now. I’m really grateful to you all. Here, buddy. Hmm! It’s out of this world. The trout of Divaznav is one of the most delicious fish I’ve ever eaten.”

Narration: During all the moments that I spent with the people of the village, I was filled with a loved of life, of natural freshness. The freshness and peace I wouldn’t have experienced if I hadn’t spent time with these amazing community. Travel constitutes the biggest part of my life. But I couldn’t stay there much longer. The time had come for me to part with the wonderful people of Divaznav.

TIME CODE: 30:00_35:00

Narration: I had to move on so I could traverse the beautiful valley of Uramanat along the course of the Sirvan River. I continued my journey surrounded by the beautiful natural environment of Sirvaan. The Sirvaan River is the biggest reason behind the emergence of human settlements and civilizations in Uramanat.

Humans around the world have benefited immensely from dam construction. Preserving water to drink and to irrigate farm lands and producing electricity. And now it was time for a damnamed Daryoon to be constructed on the course of the Sirvan River. Construction of the dam was scheduled to be completed within a few months. But think of rives and gardens that would be inundated, the natural environment that would die forever because of it, a culture that would submerge in a sea of water. Those are things that we humans have spelt the deaths of, only to bring more comfort to our own lives.

At this point, my next destination, a village named Naav, was thirty kilometers away. The road there was so breathtakingly beautiful. I treasured every moment of the walk there. It made the journey to the village very easy for me. Fortunately, the natural environment in the area was unspoiled and picturesque. There were no traces of damage to the environment or of human waste. The most important reason behind it is the lack of paved roads in Uramanat. With paved roads, the people of Uramanat would see an influx of tourists flocking to the area. Irresponsible tourists will do harm to the environment, culture and beliefs of the local population. Reckless construction will get underway. Ill-placed stores and luxurious villas will pop up everywhere….Tar, cement, steel and plastic….all of which will destroy the beautiful landscape here once and for all. Over time, this place too will become unbearable just like many of the existing cities.

After a long walk, I arrived at my next destination, the village of Naav. Naav was a completely original village. It had a genuine architecture and environment. The culture of its people was very rich and original. The main occupation of the people here is animal husbandry and gardening. But in addition to those two occupations, there’s something else they do that’s considered a very valuable art. Handicrafts have a special standing among the people of Uramanat; one of the most important of which is the art of making a hand-woven top-shoe by the name ofGiveh. Givehs are traditional shoes donned by Kurdish people. They are an indispensable item of Kurdish men’s attire. They are in love with these shoes.

TIME CODE: 35:00_40:00

Narration: The climate and environment of Kurdistan has no doubt played an important role in determining what the people living in this part of Iran wear, and are a result of personal taste and of environmental conditions. The making and application of these items of clothing varies depending on the season, the type of work, livelihood, ceremonies and celebrations. But they have one thing in common: they all cover the body from top to toe. The Givehs of Naav are among the best kind in Kurdistan. You could say that almost all of the girls and women of Naav, sit down to makeGivehs after they have done their house chores. That way they make a good contribution to the family income. At the same time, they preserve a cultural heritage and handicraft of Kurdistan.

The female artists of Naav work with passion for the sake of their families. Mothers whose whole life revolves around the love of their husbands and family. They are a perfect example of decency and unpretentiousness. Kurdish women are great artists. And their art is manifest in the artifacts they made. Of course Kurdish men too have their own role to play in making artifacts.

CONVERSATION [Persian] Javad Gharaee & Local People:-“ Do all the women living in this village know how to make givehs?

- Yes, most of them.

- Most of them do?

- Yes, most of them do.

- How long does it take for a pair of givehs to be made, I mean to be ready for sale?

- One week or ten days.

- Just the top of it?

- No, the whole thing.

-The whole thing takes up to ten days to make then.

- Yes.

- What do you call Givehs in your local dialect?

- Umm, Kelashes.

- Kelashes?

- Yes.

- Kelashes! If you ever come to Kurdistan and hear the word kelash, remember it means giveh.”

Narration: Normally, the men of the village make the soles for the givehs and the women make the tops of these comfortable shoes. In the end, the two parts are attached to make a pair of kelashes or givehs. Making them is not an easy task.

Ancient and traditional occupations have almost been forgotten in cities. But it’s not the case in villages. Traditional professions in every area speaks of the survival and importance of the past in those areas. Traditional professions are disappearing by the day thanks to industrial advancements and the change in the preferences of people around the world. You don’t receive the same vibe from modern-day jobs as you would from traditional and ancient ones. Traditional jobs were intertwined with the natural environment and rooted in the positive energy found in the natural world.

Master Mohammad was using time-honored skills and techniques to make tools needed in the village of Naav. What was interesting was that Master Mohammad loved his job. He had every reason to be concerned about ancient professions fading away. People like Master Mohammad pay no attention to the exterior of things, they are concerned with their internal value.

CONVERSATION [Persian] Javad Gharaee & Local People: “- Master Mohammad!

- Yes.

- What did your father do? I’d like to know whom you learned the skills of a blacksmith from.

- My father did the same thing. He was a blacksmith, too.

- He was a blacksmith?

- My grandfather was a blacksmith, too.

-Your grandfather, too. How about your great grandfather?

- Yes. He too was a blacksmith.

- He was a blacksmith, too?

- Yes, he, too. My father was a blacksmith, too. He had the same job. Of course, my father was famous in the Uramanat region.

- Your father was famous.

- Yes, very. He did the same thing.”

Narration: The older generation knows that it doesn’t all come down one or two ancient professions.

SOUNDBITE [Persian] Javad Gharaee, Host: “He’s telling me that several generations before him were all blacksmiths….”

CONVERSATION [Persian] Javad Gharaee & Local People: “-Yes.

- And the family trade has been handed down to him. How about your son? Does your son have any of your skills?

- Not really.

- You mean this job will be forgotten when you are gone?

- For now, it’s just me and my brother.”

TIME CODE: 40:00_45:00

Narration: The change in ancient professions has also led to a change in culture, dialect and mentality; a change in the nature and lifestyle if humans. Up to know, these changes have done mankind and planet earth more harm than good. But what can people like Master Mohammad and his generation do about it?

These changes are very powerful and will continue to a point where no one can do anything to reverse them. The women of the village didn’t like those changes and prefer the traditional lifestyle and the peace and quiet of the village to anything else. The peace and quiet that will be destroyed by industrial advancements, paved roads and non-indigenous architecture. The kind of energy you’d feel among the villagers defies description. A feeling of life….of true life in progress…a feeling only found in humans born into the natural world and brought up in such an uncontaminated environment. The mountain dwellers of Uramanat are as rough and steadfast as Mount Zagros but at the same time they have souls as soft and gentle as mountain tulips. They pay each other utmost respect and have deep trust in each other. Uramanis are a truthful, genuine people. People who are no doubt a beautiful constituent of their natural surroundings. I drew a lot of energy spending time with such noble pure souls…People you do not see many of in cities. Living in the heart of the natural world means peace; that peace has a great positive impact on the words and deeds of anyone, and eventually it gets passed on to others.

Architecture that conforms to the environment and climate of Kurdistan and is part of the cultural heritage of this land. In the absence of flat land in the mountains, the houses in the villages of Uramanat are built in close proximity or even on top of each other…Hence the terraced architecture of buildings in these villages. The roof of a lower-laying house constitutes the yard of the house above it; one of the interesting features of the villages in this area. One of the great characteristics of the people of Naavis that they don’t allow anyone to build anything that would use non-indigenous architecture. A ban that has gone a lot way in preserving the original architecture of the village. If a house were to be built in this village, it has to be done the traditional way and using natural building material so it won’t threaten the beauty of the village.

CONVERSATION [Persian] Javad Gharaee & Local People: -Mortar is used between these slabs of stone in the buildings here now.

- Correct.

- But before mortar came along, the dry-stacking technique was used, right? Just like what you have done here.

- That’s right. Just like this one here.

- How do you do this? How do you bind them together to look so straight? How do you cut the slabs so clean? This obviously is work done by hand not by some machine.

- That’s right.

- Also what do you do to make sure your walls don’t topple? How do you make such beautiful straight walls?

- Well, you need a master of the dry stone technique. And these slabs, we dig them out of the ground. In some places we find layers of rockin the ground. We dig them out. These are in fact the work of God almighty who placed them in the ground in this shape. We dig them out and transport them here on the backs of mules or in pickup trucks. Then we stack them up with the help of a master dry stone layer.

- So you made this for tourists to stay in if they happen to come here, right?

- Actually, I have a few ideas. Hopefully, if things go OK and I pull them off, I’d like to do things to introduce the culture of this region and people living in it not only to all of Iran but also to the whole world.

- Introduce them.

- Exactly.

- This shack is truly stunning. What you’ve built is one of the most beautiful structures I’ve seen in this region.”

Narration: The people of this land are a united, egalitarian community. And their egalitarianism is vivid in the architecture of the village. The view of Naav from inside the village is very beautiful and offers many a detail about the village to the spectator. Viewed from a distance, Naav is even more beautiful. When I looked at Naav from a distance, I saw a united, committed people standing up against the vicissitudesof life and backed by mountains of love.

TIME CODE: 45:00_52:10

SOUNDBITE [Persian] Javad Gharaee, Host: “It’s sundown and it’s time for the herds of sheep and goats to return to the village. What the herders do is they round up their herds grazing in the mountains and return them to the pens built right next to their homes.

I can’t tell you how well I slept last night. It’s been one of the best slumbers I’ve ever had in the natural world. The air is so clean. I woke up to the chirps of crickets and howls of jackals. The air here is so clean. I’m sure today is going to be one of the best days of my life because Naav is a village with many, many beauties.”

Narration: The next day, I was exploring the village surroundings when the voice of an old woman caught my attention. The oldest woman in the village sending thanks to God with her a melodious singing voice.

Arts, poems and songs run in the blood of all the Kurds and are not confined to a certain age. Music is one of the main features of Kurdish culture. Kurdish music is rooted in the historical and epic realities of this great tribe. It’s been part and parcel of Kurdish life from the distant past. Many consider Kurdistan a cradle of music and mysticism. Kurdish music is very much similar to the ancient Persian music.

SOUNDBITE [Persian] Javad Gharaee, Host: “Good job, ma’am. She’s singing an old song about the SirvanRiver that sounds more like a lullaby.”

Narration: Kurds are a merry people. And to maintain that lively and cheerful disposition, members of the tribe get together during certain seasons in what looks like a party on a very large scale. More than anything, the ceremony allows relatives to meet each other all in one place and consolidates unity and friendship among the people of the village. In a show of unity, men hold hands in the ceremony and do a traditional dance to Kurdish music; an indication of fervor, dynamism, and love among the Kurds.

SOUNDBITE [Persian] Javad Gharaee, Host: “This unique contraption you see here, I never thought it would be a mouse-trap. A very, very old mouse-trap. Before the modern-day mouse-traps arrived, they made their own traps out of wood here, which should’ve been a very difficult thing to do. Inside these, they’d place walnuts. When the naughty mice of Kurdistan got into the houses, they would get in here to steal the walnuts. Once they went down there to take the walnuts, these heavy wooden cylinders, would fall onto them and do away with them once and for all.

Huh! It rained for five minutes. Rained poured down on this whole area for five minutes. And it came after two months. Before that, they’d only had rain a couple of times. A drought is reigning supreme in this area. The weather is just so fresh after only five minutes of rain. It’s fragrant with the scent of rain, of these trees and of soil. It’s an absolutely amazing moment. Sand and dust had been hoveringover this area for a whole week….Over the Zagros mountain range, inside the valleys of Kurdistan….But all it took was five minutes of rain to rid the area of the dust and bring about such great weather. I wish you were all here. The weather is just great. You are looking at a beautiful view of Naav village.”

CONVERSATION [Persian] Javad Gharaee & Local People: “- Thank you very much. You’ve been very kind to me.

- It was our pleasure.

- Very kind of you. I’m going to miss you my friend.

- You, too. Don’t mention it. God be with you. Here’s something for you to remember us by. Here you are.

- Thank you so much. Kelashes, right!

- Yes, Kelashes.

- Kelashes! A pair of Kelashes. Thank you very much indeed.”

Narration: What I observed during my trip to Uramanatwere people of honor and lovers of nature. Nature that’s a manifestation of God on earth. A region with a rich art, history and culture. All I wished for forthis ancient land was for its valuable assets to be preserved for future generations without us leaving any trace of ourselves on them. 

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