The name Lorestān means "land of the Lurs", and in the wider sense consists of that part of western Iran bounded by ilam and extending for about 400 miles on a northwest to southeast axis from Kermanshah to Fars, with a breadth of 100 to 140 miles. The terrain consists chiefly of mountains, with numerous ranges, part of the Zagros chain, running northwest to southeast. The central range has many summits which almost reach the line of perpetual snow, rising to 13,000 feet and more, and it feeds the headwaters of Iran's most important rivers, such as the Zayandeh rud, Jarahi, Karun, Dix, Abi, Karkheh. Between the higher ranges lie many fertile plains and low hilly, well-watered districts.
The highest point of the province is Oshtoran Kooh peak at 4,050 m. The low-lying areas being in the southern most sector of the province, are approximately 500 m above sea level.
The climate is generally sub-humid continental with winter precipitation, a lot of which falls as snow (Köppen Csa). Because it lies on the westernmost slopes of the Zagros Mountains, annual precipitation in Lorestān is among the highest anywhere in Iran south of the Alborz Mountains. At Khorramabad, the average annual precipitation totals 530 millimetres (21 inches) of rainfall equivalent, whilst up to 1270 millimetres (50 inches) may fall on the highest mountains. The months June to September are usually absolutely dry, but Khorramabad can expect 4 inches of rainfall equivalent in December and January.
Temperatures vary widely with the seasons and between day and night. At Khorramabad, summer temperatures typically range from a minimum of 12°C (54°F) to a hot maximum of 32°C (90°F). In winter, they range from a minimum of -2°C (28°F) to a chilly maximum of 8°C (46°F).
Lorestān is one of the oldest regions of Iran. In the third and fourth millennium B.C., migrant tribes settled down in the mountainous area of the Zagros Mountains. The Kassites, an ancient people who spoke neither an Indo-European nor a Semitic language, originated in Lorestān.
Lorestān was invaded and settled by the Iranian Medes in the second millennium B.C. The Medes absorbed the indigenous inhabitants of the region, primarily the Elamites and Kassites, by the time the area was conquered by the Persians in the first millennium B.C.
According to the Encyclopaedia of Islam, the Lurs, previously open adherents of the Ahl-e-Haqq faith, revere bread and fire like the Zoroastrians. "Being split up into numerous tribes and sections, they migrate to their summer pastures as separate bands without overall command. In 1936, Reza Shah's army conquered them, with much bloodshed and starvation, forcing many of the survivors to settle in villages under landlords."
Prior to the 20th century the majority of Lurs were nomadic herders, with an urban minority residing in the city of Khorramabad. There were several attempts by the Pahlavi governments to forcibly settle the nomadic segment of the Lur population. Under Reza Shah, these campaigns tended to be unsuccessful. The last Shah of Iran, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, used less forceful methods along with economic incentives, which met with greater, though not complete, success. By the mid-1980s the vast majority of Lurs had been settled in towns and villages throughout the province, or had migrated to the major urban centres.
A number of nomadic Lur tribes continue to exist in the province. Amongst the settled urban populace the authority of tribal elders still remains a strong influence, though not as dominant as it is amongst the nomads. As in Bakhtiari and Kurdish societies, Lur women have had much greater freedoms than women in other Iranian groups.
In the northern part of Lorestān, formerly known as Lesser Lorestān ("Lur-e-Kuchik"), live the Feili Lurs, divided into the Pishkuh Lurs in the east and Pushtkuh Lurs in the adjoining Iraqi territory in the west.
Lesser Lorestān maintained its independence under a succession of princes of the Khorshidi dynasty, known as Atabegs, from A.D. 55 to the beginning of the 17th century. Shah Abbas I then removed the last Atabeg, Shah Verdi Khan, and entrusted the government of the province to Hossein Khan Shamlu, the chief of the rival tribe of Shamlu , with the title of Vali in exchange for that of Atabeg. The descendants of Hossein Khan retained the title as governors of the Pushtkuh Lurs, to whom only the denomination of Feili now applies.
Lorestān has 263 sites of historical and cultural significance according to Iran's Cultural Heritage Organization.
Some of the more popular attractions are:
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