Introduction Geography & Climate History Ilam today

1.1. Introduction

ILAM province is in the south-west of the country, bordering Iraq to the west. Its provincial center is the city of Ilam, covering an area of 19,086 square kilometers. There are 8 counties of Ilam, Mehran, Dehloran, Dareh Shahr, Sarable, Eywan, Abdanan and Arkwaz together with 16 cities in the province. It neighbors Khuzestan province in the south, Lurestan province to the east, Kermanshah province to the north and Iraq to the west with 425 kilometers of common border. The population of the province is approximately 600,000 people.
Ilam central coordination locates in 33.6384N 46.4226E.
Ilam is the capital of Ilam Province in western Iran. The Kabir Kuh mountain range lies east of the city. From the west it borders Iraq.
It has an estimated population of 180,000 and is predominantly inhabited by Feyli Kurds.

1.2. Geography and Climate

Ilam province is among the warmest regions of Iran, although the mountainous areas of north and north eastern Ilam are relatively cold. The average annual rainfall province is 578 mm. Ilam's highest point is the peak Kabir Kuh at 2790 m, part of the Zagros mountains.
In 1996, the absolute maximum temperature was 38 C in August and the minimum temperature was 0.4 C in February. The number of freezing days in winter was 27 days.

Tar Spring, Dragon Blood:

One of the most interesting things to be found near the city Dehloran is a natural liquid tar spring. Iranians used to use this tar to render ships and roofs waterproof about 3000 years ago. This black spring is located in a natural protected area named Abgarm. Interesting things around this area include mineral water springs, native trees, and bat caves with rare species of bats.
The road to the Black Spring is near city Dehloran and leads to the Abgarm natural protected area. A sign guides visitors to the spring via a narrow road. The last few hundred meters of the road is not suitable for vehicles and requires a short walk to reach to the spring. Visitors will notice the smell of tar as they approach. The springs diameter is about 9 meters and hot water full of liquid tar particles flows out of it. There is a fence to protect animals from going nearby and get trapped in the tar.
According to myths told by the native people, this tar spring was the blood of a dragon that was killed by the Iranian hero, Esfandiar.
Ilam is situated in the cold mountainous region of Iran at a height of 1319 m above the mean sea level. Although this city is surrounded by mountains, its climate is also affected by deserts from the west and the south. This region presents a highly variable annual weather profile. Heavy showers or heavy snow in the winter and dusty, hot, dry weather in the summer are normal for this region.

1.3. History

Limited archaeological studies and discoveries indicate 6,000 years of tribal residence in Ilam. Historical evidence indicates that Ilam province was part of the ancient Elamite Empire. The Ilamians named their territory Hetamiti, meaning the land of god. In some of the epigraphs left from Sumerian history, this territory was called Alam, Alamo, or Alamto meaning the high lands where the sun rises.
By immigration of Aryans and establishment of Aryan kingdoms, Ilam became a part of their territory. It was also part of the Achaemenid Empire. Existence of numerous historical vestiges in Lurestan and Ilam provinces belonging to the Sassanid period indicates the specific importance of the region in that time. In this period Ilam province was divided into two regions, Mehrjankadak in the eastern part and Masabazan at the western part.
Kurdish tribes governed the region from the late 11th century till the early 13th century.
In the 1930 division of Iran, Ilam became a part of Kermanshah province, only later to become a province by itself. Ilam is still a tribal province in many ways, but in recent years the tribal relations have changed drastically.
Bridges from Sassanid era (5 in total), numerous archeological sites (Teppes) and ruins from Sassanid era and earlier (224 in total), Ancient reliefs scattered across the province (8 in total) and ancient urban settlement ruins (22 in total).
Springs, caves (like the cave of Zinegan), 3 protected natural habitats, and provincial parks.
Ilam is a part of the region which created the Elamite Civilization as one of the earliest civilizations. Based on archaeological discoveries, this city was an active centre for different periods of Iranian civilization. In term of architecture there are some historical sites and some dispersed ruined buildings that give evidence of civilizations in this region. The considerable buildings that could be used to study climatic design aspects are mostly referred to the last few centuries.
The settlements of people were built by cheaper materials therefore only weak evidences of these types of settlements are visible today. The Governor Castle, Falahaty Mansion and The Mirgholam Castle are examples of some surviving traditional buildings in Ilam. The courtyard dwelling is the main type of the buildings of this period. This type of building was accepted as the main building type over all Iran for both climatic and cultural reasons. Brick is the main constructional material in these buildings. The passive thermal techniques indicated for the Iranian traditional buildings are commonly used in these buildings. The Governor Castle of Ilam was built in type of courtyard. The Mirgholam Castle of Ilam presents a classic Iranian courtyard. The garden and the pound were the main elements of this type of buildings. The Falahaty Mansion used a pitched roof as it was regular beside the flat roofs in the traditional buildings in Ilam earlier.

1.4. Ilam today

During the Iran-Iraq war, Ilam province suffered heavily and Iraq's intense bombings left no economic infrastructure for the province.
The government has begun investing in advanced industries like Petrochemical facilities, with Japanese help, in Ilam. Ilam also has a bright future in the tourist sector, with 174 historical sites listed under Iran's Cultural Heritage Organization, though it also remains undeveloped.
Major academic centers of the province include:

Ilam province has plenty sources of oil and gas. In early 2008, 7 industrial towns including 450 factories were stirring in the province, employing over 55 thousands people. Another petrochemical plant is under construction in the province. In addition, the cement factory produces the national highest quality cement.
The provincial meadow is estimated over 1.16 million hectares of which, half is considered among poor organic covering and the other middle or strong.
Main economic activities in the province are focused on animal husbandry and agriculture together with potential fields for honey bee cultivating. The industry share, comparing to cultivating and service share, is estimated unimportant.
Concerning opening the border with Iraq in the county of Mehran, brilliant vision is forecasted for trading development and overseas tourism together with the passenger and goods transit. As per mine resources, non metal minerals are majority.
The province owned 753 villages, in terms of 40 village complexes, of which, 562 are dwelled. 470 villages are equipped with drinking water and only 92 villages, fewer than 20 families, do not enjoy drinking water.
Major products exported from the province include packed cement, colostrum cement and wheat, while major products imported to the province includes bricks types, plaster and urea.