Download GPX file for this article
3743Full screen dynamic map

From Wikivoyage
Asia > Middle East > Kurdistan


Jump to navigation Jump to search

Kurdistan is a region named after the Kurdish people in the Middle East, divided between Turkey, Syria, Iraq, and Iran. The Yazidis are an offshoot of the Kurds, speaking Kurdish but still practising a version of the pre-Islamic Persian religion.


  • Northern Kurdistan or Turkish Kurdistan — parts of Southeastern Anatolia and Eastern Anatolia in Turkey. The Kurdish population also spills across the border into a small part of Armenia, even though the Kurdish-majority part of Armenia is not usually considered a part of Kurdistan.
  • Western Kurdistan, Syrian Kurdistan or Rojava — as of 2017, the area is de facto autonomous from the other contestant forces in Syria. Rojava is consisted of two disjointed areas along the Turkish border in the northern Syrian Desert and Northwestern Syria, but its borders are very much in flux due to the ongoing war in Syria.
  • Southern Kurdistan or Iraqi Kurdistan — an autonomous part of Iraq. In a referendum held in 2017, an overwhelming majority of the voters opted for the independence of the region, but this has not led to any moves so far. Some of the traditionally Kurdish areas, such as the area around Kirkuk, are not part of the autonomous region.
  • Eastern Kurdistan or Iranian Kurdistan — parts of Iranian Azerbaijan and Western Iran (Kurdistan, Kermanshah, and Ilam Provinces)


Kurdish is an Indo-European language closely related to Persian. It has three major dialects: Kurmanji or Northern Kurdish, spoken mostly in Turkey, Syria and Armenia, Sorani or Central Kurdish, spoken in most of Iraqi Kurdistan and parts of Iranian Kurdistan, and Pehlewani or Southern Kurdish spoken mostly in Iran. These dialects are not immediately mutually intelligible with each other. The script of choice for written Kurdish also differs according to the country — the Roman alphabet is in use in Turkey, Syria and Armenia while the Kurds of Iraq and Iran use the Arabic script.

Zaza or Zazaki is a related language spoken in parts of Eastern Anatolia in Turkey. While from a linguistic standpoint, Kurdish and Zaza are distinct languages, many native Zaza speakers identify with the Kurds.

Most of the locals are bilingual in the national language of the country they live in: Turkish, Arabic, or Persian. The Kurds of Armenia are usually trilingual in Kurdish, Armenian and Russian. There are also minorities with different native languages in the region, such as the Syriac.

Stay safe[edit]

Much of the region is prone to ethnic strife, political conflict or is a war zone: do your research well before attempting any visit.

This region article is an extra-hierarchical region, describing a region that does not fit into the hierarchy Wikivoyage uses to organise most articles. These extra articles usually provide only basic information and links to articles in the hierarchy. This article can be expanded if the information is specific to the page; otherwise new text should generally go in the appropriate region or city article.