Sanandaj

© Wikimedia

© Wikimedia

Sanandaj, or Sine, is the capital of Kordestan province in Northwestern Iran, and is 95 miles (153km) from the Iran-Iraq border. The population of Sanandaj is mainly comprised of ethnic Kurds, with Armenian, Jewish and Arab minorities.[1]

While the modern city of Sanandaj is around 300 years old, the surrounding villages are over 2000 years old, and the area has been a center of Kurdish and Iranian culture since well before the Persian empire.

Sanandaj is known for its natural beauty, and its freshwater springs and mountainous geography attract many tourists every year. Art and architecture also important component of the local tourist attractions.[2]

Over the years, and as recently as 2014, Kurdish Sunnis in Sanandaj have been subjected to religious suppression by the Iranian government, which is majority Shiite.[3] In 2012, the independent group, Human Rights Watch addressed these suppressions in a statement, and requested that Iran lift these religious restrictions.[4]

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