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Ranya is located in Iraq
Location within Iraq
Coordinates: 36°15′18″N 44°53′01″E / 36.25500°N 44.88361°E / 36.25500; 44.88361Coordinates: 36°15′18″N 44°53′01″E / 36.25500°N 44.88361°E / 36.25500; 44.88361
Country  Iraq
Autonomous region  Kurdistan
Governorate Sulaymaniyah
District Ranya
Elevation 2,895 ft (882 m)
Population (2008)
 • Total 200.836

Ranya (رانیه; Ra:nya) is a town located in Iraqi Kurdistan, 130 kilometres (81 mi) northwest of Sulaymaniyah. The population of this city was involved in the revolutionary movement of Kurdish people from the war against the British Empire invasion during Şêx Mehmud's government, the Eylûl revolution, and the uprising which broke out in this city on 5 March 1991.[clarification needed] Consequently it acquired the name of 'the gate of uprising'. The city includes a number of tourist sites, notably the shore of the Derbendi, the area around the Reşemêrg spring, the Kwerakani spring which runs from the Central mosque through Ranyae's main bazaar Girdedême hill and Bêtwate, the villages in the Dola Raqa valley. Ranya is surrounded by three mountain ranges, the Kewarash, the Hajila and the Asos. Lake Dukan, created by the construction of a hydro-electric dam, is near the town. Ranya neighbourhoods include Qelat, Reşemêrg, Gilîincan, Sera, Rizgarî, Raperîn, Andazyaran, Azadî 1, Azadî 2, Kêwereş, Qule،Mamostayan, Nawroz, and Fermanberan. The first known newspaper published in Ranya appeared in 1942 under the name of Blêse (flame).

Origin of the name[edit]

It is controversial where the name “Ranya” came from. For example, it is narrated that the name derived from rank w choxa, which is an ancient Kurdish uniform. It is said that a shepherd on the high mountains of Qandil fall his rank into the water, and then in the Qula Water Source, which is located in the center of Ranya, the shepherd found his rank. From that time on, the place was called Ranya, which is a shortened name of rank.

Many other people think that the name came from an ancient king whose name was Rahansha. According to Mullah Rauf Sleman Hawezi, Ranya is derived from Rondiat. Jamal Baban thinks that the name is come from Rah Niah, which means guider. Shakr Fatah thinks that the name belongs to Ran, which means a flock of sheep. And that is because the place was a suitable for raising sheep. Mahmud Qadir Faraj thinks that the name is come from Run. Ibrahim Bag, who was an elderly figure of Ranya and died, thought that the name is come from Rê Nîye, which means there is no way. He thought that the place, at that time, was a treacherous land and full of forests that was difficult to pass through.

In an article of Kurdistani Nwe Newspaper (NO. 2476), an idea is set out about the name: It says that the name is derived from Orania, which is a Greek word which means the sky. Lots of other opinions are available, which their approval needs a lot of time.

Geographical location[edit]

Ranya City is located in the Northeast of the South Kurdistan, and Northwest of Slemani City. It is located in the North of Qandil Mountain, the South of Koya City, East of Pshdar, and West of Shaqlawa. Besides having a fertile land, the city is surrounded by mountains; Kewarash Mountain, which is 1200 meters high, is on the North, Hajila and Makok Mountains are on the Southwest, between Ranya and Chwarqurna, there is a small mountain, where the main road passes through, called Kilkey Kollîn. Also, between Ranya and Qaladze, there is a small mountain called Darband. That is beside a lake that has taken another border of the city. Ranya District is surrounded by Kosrat Mountain and the Lake in the South, and by Asos and Kolara Mountains in the West of Harir Mountain. The administrational area of Ranya is 8 kilometers square. The Bitwen Land is one of the famous lands in Kurdistan. It’s counted as a wide land. Its length is 30 kilometers from east to west, and the width is 20-30 kilometers. Its area is 800 kilometer square, and its height is between 500 – 600 kilometers. Ranya is 146 kilometers away from Sulaimani.


Lake Dukan, created by the construction of a hydro-electric dam

In the middle of seventeenth century, Ranya was under the control of Baban Empire. Later on, it was ruled under the control of Mir Muhammad Rwanduzi. And then, the ottomans overtook it.

Within establishing Iraq, Ranya was a district under Hawler province. In 1957, it is moved to the province of Sulaimani. In the center of Ranya, there is a square to the east which is called Qalat. The Qalat is the oldest square of the city, and it is counted as the base part of the city. The history of life in that square goes back to thousands of years. In an interview with Mamosta Abdul Raqib Yosif to the Ranya Magazine, he said that the history of life in Qalat returns to 9000 years ago. Ali Said Gawrani, who is a writer, in 1930 in his book La Ammanawa bo Amedi, he wrote that “Ranya has an ancient hill, which is thought that, it is established by the Persian Army, and now it has houses upon each other just like the Castle of Hawler.”

Beside Qelat, the city of Ranya also has another hill which is called Girde Dêma. Also, there are many other historical remains in that district like Shimshara, which is investigated in 1957 - 1959 by a Danish archaeological team with the cooperation of an Iraqi team. It is counted as one of the oldest hills in the history of the human beings. More than 247 ancient remains have been found in that hill with a temple. Besides, there are many other hills in the place like Bazmusian, Boskin, Dwgradan, Kamarian, Qurashina, and Dema. And, there are a lot of other remains like rock carvings that are located in the right part of Darband to the east of Ranya. That carving is a structure of a man, which is thought to be a king of Goths or Lolos. The width of this historical carving is about a meter and 60 centimeters, and with the height of 20 meters. In the lately years, Ranya also has a special history. During Shex Mahmud’s government, the famous fight of Ranya’s Darband on August 23, 1922 is counted as one of the most prominent events in that century. Ranya has got lots of national achievements and victories, like the uprising of 1982, and the great uprising of March 5, 1991. For the first time in 1991, the people of Ranya stood against Saddam’s bloodshed Regime and forced them to leave the city in few hours. And the uprising burst in the other cities and caused the free Kurdistan and having a parliament. From that time on, Ranya is known as the Uprising Gate.

In addition, a group of Danish and Dutch archaeologists have recently been in South-Kurdistan / Northern Iraq to dig for past, including areas in Ranya district Ranya, between Hewlêr and Silêmanî.

"Our goal is to investigate the Ranya disctrict. The place has an intense story which covers the time from earliest farming cultures until recent times, "says Tim Skuldbøl from the Department of Cross-Cultural and Regional Studies at the University of Copenhagen.[1]

Educational status[edit]

During the 1980s, there was only one educational group whose members were only a handful. The members performed their artistic and educational tasks in Malbandi Roshnbinri. They worked enthusiastically, but above them, there was another group, whose work was to spy upon that team and was working for the Saddam’s Regime. That group censored all the educational and artistic activities. After the great uprising, educational status has been improved drastically. In Ranya, there are three magazines, two newspapers, five TV channels, six radio channels, an educational organization, and forty two social and civil organizations. Annually, they do their literary and artistic festivals with lots of other sport competitions. More than fifty people in Ranya are vigorous members of Writers Association. Also, there are four groups of drama, many other musical groups, and six private libraries except for the Public Library of Ranya. In a sole center, such as the Ranya Youths Center, there have been more than 187 educational presentations and talks. Furthermore, there are many women’s organizations. Ranya also has an Olympic team with 106 soccer teams. There are three colleges, three institutes, and 155 units of studying. During the Great Uprising in 1991, there were only 25000 residents inside Ranya. The population raised drastically from that time on, and there are more than 100,000 residents inside Ranya. This is beside the four towns and 126 villages that are connected to Ranya in governing.


  1. ^ "Danske arkæologer udgraver tidligt bysamfund i Irak". Videnskab.dk. Retrieved 2014-06-03. 

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