sistan and baluchestan

Sistan and Baluchestan Province is one of the 31 provinces of Iran. It is in the southeast of the country, bordering Pakistan and Afghanistan and its capital is Zahedan. The province is the second largest province in Iran (after Kerman province).The population comprises the Baluch who form a majority in the province, followed by the relatively large minority, the Sistani Persians. Smaller communities of Kurds (in the eastern highlands and near Iranshahr), the expatriate Brahui (on the borders between Iran and Pakistan), and other resident and itinerant ethnic groups such as the Gypsies are also found in the province.

The province comprises two sections, Sistan in the north and Baluchestan in the south. The province is subject to seasonal winds from different directions, the most important of which are the 120-day wind of Sistan known as Levar, the Qousse wind, the seventh (Gav-kosh) wind, the Nambi or south wind, the Hooshak wind, the humid and seasonal winds of the Indian Ocean, the North or (Gurich) wind and the western (Gard) wind.

In the south, east and west of Sistān and Balūchestān, the people are mostly Balōch and speak the Baluchi language. In the far north of Sistān and Balūchestān, the people are mostly Persians and speak a dialect of the Persian language known as Sistani/Seestani, similar to the Dari Persian language in Afghanistan. The name Balūchestān means “Land of the Balōch” and is used to represent the majority Baloch peoples inhabiting the province, Sistan was added to the name to represent the minority Persian peoples who speak the Sistani dialect of Persian.

Many scholars, orators, and literary personalities have sprung up from this part of Iran, amongst which are Farrukhi Sistani, Ya’qub bin Laith al-Saffar and Rostam. Ayatollah Sistani is also from Sistān; though he currently resides in Najaf, Iraq . Baluchis are predominantly Sunni Muslims. Sistanis, however, are predominantly Shia Muslims.

In the epigraphs of Bistoon and Persepolis, Sistan is mentioned as one of the eastern territories of Darius the Great. The name Sistan, as mentioned above, is derived from Saka (also sometimes Saga, or Sagastan), a Central Asian tribe that had taken control over this area in the year 128 BCE.

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