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Shahmaran image

Shahmaran (Persian: شاهماران Şahmaran, lit. 'Shah (king) of the Snakes'; Kurdish: Şahmaran/Şamaran, Turkish: Şahmeran, Tatar: Şahmara or Zilant, Зилант or Aq Yılan, Chuvash: Вĕреçĕлен, lit. 'Fire snake', ਸੱਪ ਦੇ ਸ਼ਾਹ Punjabi; Sapa dē Shaha',), is a mythical creature, half woman and half snake, found with different variations in the folklore of Iran, Anatolia, Iraq, and of the Kurds.

The name of Shahmaran comes from Persian words "Shah" and "Maran".[1] "Shah" is a title used for Persian kings, "mar" means snake, but in plural "mar-an" means snakes.


In Turkey, Shahmaran is believed to live in the Mediterranean town of Tarsus and a similar legend is told in the Mardin region. In this region her legend is commonly evoked, with her image still depicted in embroidery, fabrics, and jewelry.

Popular culture[edit]

Many of the versions of the story of Shahmaran are found in fictional books including the J.C. Mardrus translation of Arabian Night Tales as the story of "Jemlia - the Sultan of Underground" and The Ring of Shah Maran, A Story from the Mountains of Turkey.[2][3][better source needed] The 1944 fairy tale book called The Ring of Shah Maran, A Story from the Mountains of Kurdistan by Raphael Emmanuel tells the folk story of a boy that shares bread with animals and earns the respect of Shahmaran.[3]

Dutch singer of Iranian descent, Sevdaliza, included a song titled "Shahmaran" on her debut studio album ISON.[4]

Historical references[edit]

The Shah Maran–Daulatabad basin is an ancient irrigation system from the Iron Age, found in the 1960s and 1970s near Tepe Yahya in southwestern Iran.[5][6]

In Adana in southeast Turkey, the Yılankale (Snake Castle) is locally known as the home of Shahmaran.[7][8]

Shahmeran Hamam a historical hamam (Turkish bath) in Tarsus, Turkey, associated with Shahmaran.[9]

See also[edit]

Mythological dragons, serpents, and snakes[edit]


  1. ^ Russell, James R. (1987). Zoroastrianism in Armenia. Harvard University Press. p. 422. ISBN 978-0674968509. (...) called Šahmaran (NP. šāh-i mārān 'king of the snakes' (...)
  2. ^ Mardrus, Joseph Charles (1992). 7. pp. 68–131. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  3. ^ a b Emmanuel, Raphael (1944). The Ring of Shah Maran: A Story from the Mountains of Kurdistan. Danville, Illinois: Interstate Printers and Publishers.
  4. ^ "Sevdaliza's Painful 'Shahmaran' Visual Is A Silent Liberation For Voices Of The Oppressed". Retrieved 2019-08-20.
  5. ^ Adrianov, Boris V.; Mantellini, Simone (2013). Ancient Irrigation Systems of the Aral Sea Area: Ancient Irrigation Systems. Oxbow Books. p. 35. ISBN 9781782971672.
  6. ^ Wight Beale, Thomas; Lamberg-Karlovsky, C. C. (2004). Excavations at Tepe Yahya, Iran, 1967-1975, Volume I: The Early Periods. American School of Prehistoric Research Bulletins 38. Peabody Museum Press. ISBN 978-0873655415.
  7. ^ Murray, J. (1837). "A General Statement of the Labours and Proceedings of the Expedition to Euphrates, Under the Command of Colonel Chesney". The Journal of the Royal Geographical Society of London. 7: 420 – via Google Books.
  8. ^ "Snake Castle restored to welcome visitors". DailySabah. 2018-05-17. Retrieved 2019-08-20.
  9. ^ "Tarsus Belediyesi - Turistik Yerler". (in Turkish). Retrieved 2019-08-21.