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For the ancient Scandinavian musical instrument, see Lur. For the commune in France, see Lurs, Alpes-de-Haute-Provence. For the original group, see Persian people and Iranian peoples.
لر Lur
Total population
Regions with significant populations
 Iraq 517,000[3]
 Kuwait 50,000[citation needed]
Lurish languages` dialects including: Bakhtiari, Laki & Feyli
Shi'a Islam, Yarsanism
Related ethnic groups
Persians and Kurds

Lurs (also Lors, Lurish: لورَل, Persian:لُرها) are an Iranian people living mainly in western and south-western Iran. Their population is estimated at around five million. They occupy Lorestan, Kohgiluyeh and Boyer-Ahmad, Khuzestan and Fars (especially Lamerd, Mamasani and Rostam), Bushehr, Chaharmahal and Bakhtiari, Hamadan, Ilam and Isfahan provinces.[4] The Lur people mostly speak the Lurish language (sometimes called "Luri"), a Southwestern Iranian language related to Persian and Kurdish. According to the Encyclopaedia of Islam, the Lurish language is the closest living language to Archaic and Middle Persian.[5] According to the linguist Don Still, Lori-Bakhtiari like Persian is derived directly from Old Persian.[6] Michael M. Gunter states that Lurs people are closely related to the Kurds but that they "apparently began to be distinguished from the Kurds 1,000 years ago."[7]

Lurs are the demographic majority of the provinces of Kohgiluyeh and Boyer-Ahmad, Ilam, Lorestan and Chaharmahal and Bakhtiari. Half of Khuzestan's population is Lurs and 30% of Bushehr's population is Lurs.[8]


Lurish is a Western Iranian language continuum spoken by the Lurs in Western Asia. Lurish language forms five language groups known as Feyli lurish,[9][10][11][12] Central Lurish , Bakhtiari,[13][14] Laki[15][16][17][18] and the Southern Lurish.[13][14]

Luri language map

This language is spoken mainly by the Feyli Lurs (including khorramAbadi, Maleki and Laks), Bakhtiaries and Southern Lurs (Kohgiluyeh and Boyer-Ahmad, Mamasani, Sepidan, Bandar Ganaveh, Deylam).[19] Richard N. Frye wrote that "the Lurs and their dialects are closely related to the Persians of Fars province, and naturally belong to the southwestern branch of the Iranian peoples...".[20] The Lurish language is divided into two main groups:

  • The dialect spoken in Luri-i buzurg (Greater Lur) which is closely related to Persian. This dialect is spoken by the inhabitants of Bakhtiari, Kuh-Gilu-Boir Ahmed, in the north and east of Khuzistan, in the Mamasani district of Fars, and in some areas of Bushehr province.
  • The dialect spoken in Lur-i-Kuchek (Lesser Lor) which is closely related to southern Kurdish, with has some similarities to Persian. This dialect is spoken in Luristan, several districts of Hamadan (Malayer, Nahavand, Towisarkan) and by the inhabitants of south and southwest Ilam and northern part of Khuzestan province.
  • There is a third group of Luri people who speak northen Lurish; they are ethnically part of Lur-e- kuchak but dialectically part of Lur-e-bozorg.


Karim Khan, the Lurish ruler of the Zand Dynasty

Lurs are a mixture of aboriginal Iranian tribes, originating from Central Asia and the pre-Iranic tribes of western Iran, such as the Kassites (whose homeland appears to have been in what is now Lorestan) and Gutians. Michael M. Gunter states that they are closely related to the Kurds but that they "apparently began to be distinguished from the Kurds 1,000 years ago." He adds that the Sharafnama of Sharaf Khan Bidlisi "mentioned two Lur dynasties among the five Kurdish dynasties that had in the past enjoyed royalty or the highest form of sovereignty or independence."[7] In the Mu'jam Al-Buldan of Yaqut al-Hamawi mention is made of the Lurs as a Kurdish tribe living in the mountains between Khuzestan and Isfahan. The term Kurd according to Richard Frye was used for all Iranian nomads (including the population of Luristan as well as tribes in Kuhistan and Baluchis in Kirman) for all nomads, whether they were linguistically connected to the Kurds or not.[21]

Queen Soraya Esfandiary-Bakhtiari the second wife of Mohammad Reza Pahlavi


Considering their NRY variation, the Lurs are distinguished from other Iranian groups by their relatively elevated frequency of Y-DNA Haplogroup R1b (specifically, of subclade R1b1a2a-L23).[22] Together with its other clades, the R1 group comprises the single most common haplogroup among the Lurs.[22][23] Haplogroup J2a (subclades J2a3a-M47, J2a3b-M67, J2a3h-M530, more specifically) is the second most commonly occurring patrilineage in the Lurs and is associated with the diffusion of agriculturalists from the Neolithic Near East c. 8000-4000 BCE.[23][24][25][26] Another haplogroup reaching a frequency above 10% is that of G2a, with subclade G2a3b accounting for most of this.[27] Also significant is haplogroup E1b1b1a1b, for which the Lurs display the highest frequency in Iran.[27] Lineages Q1b1 and Q1a3 present at 6%, and T at 4%.[27]


The authority of tribal elders remains a strong influence among the nomadic population. It is not as dominant among the settled urban population. As is true in Bakhtiari and Kurdish societies, Lur women have much greater freedom than women in other groups within the region.[28]


The Lur peoples are diverse and individualistic in their religious views and practices. Religious views can differ immensely, even within a family group. While the overwhelming majority of Lurs are Shia Muslims, some practice an ancient Iranian religion known as Yaresan which has roots in Zoroastrianism, Mithraism and Manicheism. Traditionally the Lur people outwardly profess Shia Islam, and the religion of some is a mixture of Ahl-e Haqq involving a belief in successive incarnations combined with ancient rites.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Iran". The World Factbook. Retrieved 26 August 2013. 
  2. ^ "Iran" (PDF). New America Foundation. June 12, 2009. Retrieved 26 August 2013. 
  3. ^ "Luri". Retrieved 2015-09-21. 
  4. ^ "The Lurs of Iran". Cultural Survival. Retrieved 2015-09-21. 
  5. ^ C.S. Coon, "Iran:Demography and Ethnography" in Encyclopaedia of Islam, Volume IV, E.J. Brill, pp 10,8.
  6. ^ Don Stillo, "Isfahan-Provincial Dialects" in Encyclopedia Iranica, Excerpt: "While the modern SWI languages, for instance, Persian, Lori-Bak_tia-ri and others, are derived directly from Old Persian through Middle Persian/Pahlavi"
  7. ^ a b Gunter, Michael M. (2011). Historical Dictionary of the Kurds (2nd ed.). Scarecrow Press. p. 203. ISBN 978-0810867512. 
  8. ^ "History and cultural relations - Lur". Retrieved 2015-09-21. 
  9. ^ Najm S. Mehdi, al-Fayli, Stockholm 2001.
  10. ^
  11. ^ Black-Michaud, J.. (1974). An Ethnographic and Ecological Survey of Luristan, Western Persia: Modernization in a Nomadic Pastoral Society. Middle Eastern Studies, 10(2), 210–228. Retrieved from
  12. ^ Shoup, J.A.2011.Ethnic Groups of Africa and the Middle East: An Encyclopedia.ABC-CLIO, Incorporated. p.177
  13. ^ a b Erik John Anonby (2003). Update on Luri: How many languages?. Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society (Third Series), 13, pp 171-197. doi:10.1017/S1356186303003067.
  14. ^ a b G. R. Fazel, ‘Lur’, in Muslim Peoples: A World Ethnographic Survey, ed. R. V. Weekes (Westport, 1984), pp. 446–447
  15. ^ B. Grimes (ed.), ‘Luri’, in Ethnologue (13th edition) (Dallas, 1996), p. 677; M. Ruhlen, A Guide to the World's Languages (Stanford, 1991), p. 327.
  16. ^ H. Izadpan¯ah, Farhang-e Laki [Lexicon of Laki]: in Persian, (Tehran, 1978).
  17. ^ Sengupta et al. Polarity and Temporality of High-Resolution Y-Chromosome Distributions in India Identify Both Indigenous and Exogenous Expansions and Reveal Minor Genetic Influence of Central Asian Pastoralists. AJHG 78; 2. 2006
  18. ^ H. Izadpan¯ah, Farhang-e Lori [Lexicon of Luri] (Tehran, 1964).
  19. ^ John Limbert، The Origin and Appearance of The Kurds In Pre-Islamic Iran. Iranian Studies.
  20. ^ Frye, Richard N. (1983). Handbuch der Altertumswissenschaft, Part 3, Volume 7. Beck. p. 29. ISBN 978-3406093975. 
  21. ^ Richard Frye,"The Golden age of Persia", Phoneix Press, 1975. Second Impression December 2003. pp 111: "Tribes always have been a feature of Persian history, but the sources are extremely scant in reference to them since they did not 'make' history. The general designation 'Kurd' is found in many Arabic sources, as well as in Pahlavi book on the deeds of Ardashir the first Sassanian ruler, for all nomads no matter whether they were linguistically connected to the Kurds of today or not. The population of Luristan, for example, was considered to be Kurdish, as were tribes in Kuhistan and Baluchis in Kirman"
  22. ^ a b Grugni, V; Battaglia, V; Hooshiar Kashani, B; Parolo, S; Al-Zahery, N; et al. (2012). "Ancient Migratory Events in the Middle East: New Clues from the Y-Chromosome Variation of Modern Iranians". PLoS ONE. 7 (7): e41252. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0041252. PMC 3399854free to read. PMID 22815981. 
  23. ^ a b Wells, R. Spencer; et al. (2001). "The Eurasian Heartland: A continental perspective on Y-chromosome diversity". Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 98 (18): 10244–9. doi:10.1073/pnas.171305098. PMC 56946free to read. PMID 11526236. 
  24. ^ Semino O, Passarino G, Oefner P J, Lin A A, Arbuzova S, Beckman L E, de Benedictis G, Francalacci P, Kouvatsi A, Limborska S, et al. (2000) Science 290:1155–1159
  25. ^ Underhill P A, Passarino G, Lin A A, Shen P, Foley R A, Mirazon-Lahr M, Oefner P J, Cavalli-Sforza L L (2001) Ann Hum Genet 65:43–62
  26. ^ Semino, Ornella; Magri, Chiara; Benuzzi, Giorgia; Lin, Alice A.; Al-Zahery, Nadia; Battaglia, Vincenza; MacCioni, Liliana; Triantaphyllidis, Costas; et al. (2004). "Origin, Diffusion, and Differentiation of Y-Chromosome Haplogroups E and J: Inferences on the Neolithization of Europe and Later Migratory Events in the Mediterranean Area". The American Journal of Human Genetics. 74 (5): 1023–34. doi:10.1086/386295. PMC 1181965free to read. PMID 15069642. 
  27. ^ a b c Grugni, V; Battaglia, V; Hooshiar Kashani, B; Parolo, S; Al-Zahery, N; et al. (2012). "Ancient Migratory Events in the Middle East: New Clues from the Y-Chromosome Variation of Modern Iranians". PLoS ONE. 7 (7): e41252. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0041252. PMC 3399854free to read. PMID 22815981. 
  28. ^ Edmonds, Cecil (2010). East and West of Zagros: Travel, War and Politics in Persia and Iraq 1913-1921. p. 188. ISBN 9789004173446. 
  29. ^ "luri". JOZAN. Retrieved 2015-09-21.