Sulaymaniyah (Slemani)

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© Michelle May

Sulaymaniyah, also known in Kurdish as Slemani or Silêmani, is a Kurdish city in Iraqi Kurdistan and the capital of the Sulaymaniyah Governorate of the Kurdish Regional Government.

Slemani Economy

Slemani is known for its fertile land, and is surrounded by large plains that have historically produced the majority of wheat for Iraq. During the Ba’athist regime, targeted economic policies sought to reduce Sulaymaniyah’s economic viability because the city was a hub for Kurdish nationalism. After Saddam Hussein was removed from power in 2003, Slemani has seen a huge economic boom.

History of Sulaymaniyah

While economic and cultural activity in the Sulaymaniyah region can be traced back hundreds of years, the modern city of Sulaymaniyah was founded by a Kurdish prince in 1784.[1] The city has since grown to accommodate a population of over 1.5 million, and has a burgeoning economy that relies mainly on agriculture and tourism.[2] It is an important economic center for northern Iraq and has been named the cultural center for Sorani-speaking Kurds continuously since 1992.

A Creative Hub

Slemani is also an important center of Kurdish culture, and is recognized for producing numerous Kurdish poets and writers.[3] The University of Sulaymaniyah was opened in 1968 with instruction in English, Arabic and Kurdish. It has schools for medicine, agriculture, engineering and the arts. It is the largest university in Iraqi Kurdistan.

Sulaymaniyah is also known for its Newroz celebrations. Many Iranians come to Sulaymaniyah to celebrate the holiday, because of strict laws at home in Iran.

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