Bījār (or Bijar) is a city and the capital of Bijar County in the Kurdistan Province of Iran. The population of the city was tallied at over 47,000 in 2011. At nearly 2,000 meters in elevation, Bijar is often called “the Roof of Iran.” The city and region are internationally known for their ancient carpet and rug designs.
The oldest structure in Bijar is Qam Cheqay, a castle dating back to the ancient Iranian period — to the Medes and Sassanids who existed between 200 BC and 500 AD. Qam Cheqay is famous because it’s one of a few remaining examples of ancient Kurdish architecture.
Modern reference to Bijar was made in the 1500’s when the region was annexed by the Safavid empire, and Kurdish presence in the area has risen and fallen with the occupying empires. As previously mentioned, a consistent part of the Bijar culture, mentioned throughout history, is its tradition of rug weaving, which dates back thousands of years.
Bijar rugs have been hand woven in the region for hundreds, if not thousands of years. The region’s famous rug style is also known as the “Iron Rug” or the “Man’s Rug.” Many Kurdish tribes have produced these styles that are popular and well-known among rug collectors in the West and worldwide.
Influences from Persia, Russia and the East can be seen in the region’s traditional and ancient rug patterns. Any given rug may include European rosaries as well as arabesque script. Bijar rugs are known for their thick pile and extreme durability, hence the name “Iron Rugs.”