Khuzestan -15
Khuzestan Region      | ♦ Capital: Ahvaz   | ♦ Surface: 63 213 km²  | ♦ Inhabitants: +4 192 598
History and CultureFeaturesSouvenirs and handicraftsWhere to eat and sleepWhere to eat and sleep

Geographic context

The region of Khuzestan is one of the most important and precious of Iran, located in the south-west of the country, north of the Persian Gulf. From a naturalistic, historical, architectural, social and cultural point of view, this region presents many tourist attractions. The beautiful beaches of the Persian Gulf, the high snowy peaks and the warm plains have created different types of climate and a variety of landscapes to make the Khuzestan region one of the most interesting naturalistic areas of Iran. The capital of the region is the city of Ahvaz and the major population centers are: Abadan, Andimeshk, Bandar-e Mah Shahr, Dezful, Shush (the ancient Susa) and Masjed Soleyman.


In the Khuzestan region there are two types of climate: semi desert and steppe heat. These climatic conditions are influenced by three types of winds: the first is a current of cold air coming from the mountain regions, while the second is a hot-humid wind that blows from the Persian Gulf towards the plains of the region, while the third comes from the Arabian peninsula and always carries with it a quantity of sand, dust and moisture.

History and culture

The Khuzestan region is one of the oldest areas in the world and is considered to be the cradle of civilization. Each of the cities of this region possesses historical constructions and marvelous architectures that show the civilization and the art of a distant past of the populations of this territory. Unique buildings from different historical periods, have been preserved in this area and represent the most precious and ancient legacies of Iran and the world. The Susa plain in Khuzestan was inhabited at least from the Neolithic era onwards. According to research conducted in the Khuzestan region, it appears that the first human settlements date back to 9600 years ago and these signs can be found in the layers of the aceramic age of the Ali Kash, Chogha Sefid and Chogha Banut sites. The oldest ceramic traces in Susiana belong to 8000 years ago and were found in Choghamish. In the Achaemenid era, this territory was divided into two regions: one located to the north-northeast and the other to the south. In the mountainous region of the north, called 'Anshan' or 'Anzan', there were many woods, while the one in the south, called 'Elam', had fertile and flat expanses. The Elamites called their territory 'Haltami', the Sumerians referred to it as 'Elam', in the Accadas it was known as 'Elamitu' and also in the Torah it is referred to as 'Elam'. The land of the Elamites was known primarily by the name of its capital, namely Susa, and by some ancient geographers, such as Batlemio, it was mentioned by the term 'Susiana'. In the beginning, the Elamite civilization took shape in Khuzestan and then spread to Persia. Khuzestan's current name derives from the ancient Persian 'Hujiya', a term used to refer to Elam, which in the Middle Persian became 'Huzh', a term used to designate the Susiana Valley, and in the contemporary Persian took the form of 'Khuz 'to which was added the suffix' -estan 'becoming' Khuzestan 'which means' the land of the Khuz'. The ancient geographer Strabo believed that the Khuzestan region was the most fertile plain in the world. The conditions necessary for agriculture and urbanization were made easy thanks to the presence of numerous rivers. For this reason, this territory was also called with the name of 'Hand' or 'And' which gave the sense of 'a place full of water'. The word 'Khuz' has also been interpreted with the meaning of 'sugar' or 'sugar cane', since the fertile land of Khuzestan was suitable for its cultivation and growth. In fact, the best products derived from sugar cane were obtained in this area. The Khuzestan region, from the 31 Shahrivar 1359 of the solar ego to the end of the Iran-Iraq war, or the imposed war, was the scene of several Iranian military operations to free the areas occupied by the Iraqi army.

Souvenirs and handicrafts

The ethnic and cultural variety of the population of the Khuzestan region reflects the vast assortment of its craft production. The traditional artifacts and souvenirs typical of this region are: jajim, kapu, objects and straw baskets, objects made with the traditional lathe, prayer mats, cages, kilims, carpets, felt fabrics and hats, dates, the Haft spice Rang, fibers obtained from the date palm, traditional male clothes, and several local sweets such as Halva Arde, Halva Shekari, Halva Konjedi, Shir Arde and various types of traditional Koluche.

Local cuisine

Since ancient times one of the tastiest spring dishes of the inhabitants of the cities of Arvandkenar, Abadan and Khorramshahr is the Sabur Mabi fish. Among the traditional dishes of the cuisine of the region can be mentioned: Avpeyvazi (Eshkane), Beruni (Sandali Saltun), Bereshk, Hamis Tule, Bengu (yogurt and cucumber), Masuva, the soup of Arde, Baqele Tuhe, Harise (Halim) and Shurba.

The ritual of coffee among the Arabs of Khuzestân

The ritual of coffee among the Arabs since ancient times has enjoyed particular uses and traditions. Coffee is the first thing that the Arabs, both rich and poor, offer their guests.
The tools to prepare this drink are numerous and all together they are called "al-maâ'mil": "al-mahmas", it is a cylindrical container that has a cavity inside and is used to toast and change the shape of coffee beans . “Hâvan”, the mortar or “al-majr” is a kind of cylindrical instrument with a deep cavity and is usually made of a strong alloy. It has a handle called "ghezib" which is used to beat and ground roasted coffee beans. The noise of the mortar takes on a particular significance among the Arabs. Two types of special containers called “gam gam e delleh” are used to prepare the coffee. The largest container used to prepare the first part of the coffee and boil it for as long as necessary has been given the name of "al-gam gam" while the smaller container, which is used to rest the coffee for a while pre-established, keep it warm and offer it to guests, is called “delleh”. The cup used to offer coffee to guests has no handle with a particular geometric shape. As is the custom of drinking coffee among the Arabs, the sâghi [1] must offer the guest the cup with his right hand and he too must take it with the same hand and drink the coffee without placing the cup on the ground. Another custom is this: the sâghi in front of the guest, when offering the coffee, bends as a sign of respect and the sound that he creates from the contact between the leh and the cup, causes the guest to hear that sound understands that the coffee has been poured for him and the sâghi without saying a word offers it to him. If the guest wants more coffee, he hands the cup without any movement to the sâghi, otherwise he moves the empty cup left and right and hands it out. Sound and movement serve to create a particular atmosphere between the sâghi and the host. To offer coffee there are special names such as: “al-heif” and “al-zeif”, “al-keif” and “al-seif”.
First cup: "al-heif" is consumed by the sâghi and in the presence and sight of the host also to ensure that the drink is healthy.
Second cup: "al-zeif" is the second cup that is offered to the guest who is obliged to consume it, unless he has a request to make to the sheykh (senior of the house) or to the sāghi, in this case takes the cup from the hand of the sâghi and then laying it on the ground, otherwise it must consume it.
Third cup: “al-keif” is served if the guest does not move the cup and also for its particular taste and the way the coffee is prepared or for the long journey that the guest has traveled.
Fourth cup: "al-seif": this is also offered to the guest if he does not move the cup and is usually consumed by special people and is offered to a few also because the guest, after consuming the fourth cup, communicates to the sheykh or to the sâghi who shares with them all the joys and sadnesses and is ready to defend them physically and spiritually, thus establishing a bond of mutual brotherhood. Among the other rituals of offering coffee among the Arabs the following can be mentioned:
- take the dih with the left hand and the cup with the right hand
- the cup must be offered standing and inclined
- to respect the right of precedence among those present
- start from right to serve coffee
- the host can not move the dih
- in case there are children, the father must not offer coffee
- the elder brother has to offer coffee

[1] He who pours wine, or any other drink, is a famous figure in Persian poetry. In this context it is the one who offers the coffee.
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