From Jatland Wiki
Author:Laxman Burdak, IFS (R)

Map of Iran showing the location of the Kermanshah Province in western country
Map of Iran showing the location of the Kermanshah Province in western country
For village in Mathura district see Hulwana

Hulwan (Persian: حلوان) was an ancient town on the Zagros Mountains in western Iran, located on the entrance of the Paytak Pass, nowadays identified with the town of Sarpol-e Zahab.


Jat Gotras Namesake

Jat Places Namesake

Sarpol-e Zahab

Sarpol-e Zahab is a city and capital of Sarpol-e Zahab County, Kermanshah Province, Iran, close to the Iraqi border.

Reliefs: The area of Sar-e Pol-e Zahab has several more or less well preserved reliefs of the Lullubi kingdom, as well as a Parthian relief.

Lullubian reliefs: The most famous of these reliefs is the Anubanini rock relief. Another relief named Sar-e Pol-e Zohab I is about 200 meters away, in a style similar to the Anubanini relief, but this time with a beardless ruler.[1] The attribution to a specific ruler remains uncertain.[2] There are also other Lullubian relief in the same area of Sar-e Pol-e Zahab.[3]

Parthian relief: Another relief is located below the Anubanini relief, lower on the cliff. This relief was created during the Parthian Empire in the name of Gotarzes, possibly Gotarzes I, but more probably the Parthian king Gotarzes II, who ruled from 39 to 51 CE and is known to have made other reliefs, such as the equestrian relief at Behistun.[4][5]


Later Arab tradition, as recorded by al-Tabari, considered the town a Sasanian foundation dating to Kavadh I (reigned 488–496, 498–531), but it is far more ancient: it was known since Assyrian times as Khalmanu, when it lay on the border between Babylonia and Media.[6] To the Seleucids, it was known as Chala (Greek: Χάλα) and was the capital of the district of Chalonitis (Χαλωνῖτις).[7][8][9] According to Diodorus Siculus, the name derives from the settlement of Greek captives from Boeotia by Xerxes, who founded the town of Celonae or Kelonai (Κέλωναι).[10]

Under the Sasanian Empire, the district of Hulwan was called (Khusraw) Shad Peroz ("the joy of Khusraw the victorious"), and the city itself probably Peroz Kavad ("victorious Kavad"). After the Muslim conquest of Persia, the words were Arabicized and became known as: [Khusraw] Shadh Firuz and Firuz Qubadh. Although like the rest of Media it belonged to the quarter (kust) of the North, under Khosrau II (r. 590–628) it was included in the quarter of the West, along with Mesopotamia, as the Sasanian rulers began to use the Zagros Mountains as a summer retreat away from the capital of Ctesiphon on the Mesopotamian plain.[11]

After the Battle of Qadisiyya in 636, the last Sasanian ruler, Yazdegerd III (r. 632–651), took refuge in Hulwan for a while during his flight from Ctesiphon.[12][13] After another heavy defeat at the Battle of Jalula in 637, Yazdegerd left Hulwan for the eastern provinces of his realm,[14][15]and the town fell into the hands of the pursuing Arabs under Jarir ibn Abdallah Bajali in 640.[16] In the early 640s, the town was of strategic importance as a frontier post between the Mesopotamian lowlands and the still Sasanian-controlled Iranian plateau, and was garrisoned by troops, including Persian defectors (the Khamra), who were settled there under the Rashidun caliphs.[17]

In the early Islamic period, until the 10th century, the town is described "as a flourishing town in a fertile district producing much fruit" (L. Lockhart).[18] It was situated on the Khurasan Road, and was the first town of the Jibal province to be met travelling eastwards from Baghdad.[19] Nevertheless, as in Sasanian times, it was fiscally tied to the Mesopotamian lowlands (the Sawad). Under Mu'awiya I (r. 661–680) it became the capital of western Jibal (Mah al-Kufa).[20]

According to the 10th-century traveller Ibn Hawqal, the town was half the size of Dinavar, and its houses were built of both stone and bricks. Though the climate was hot, dates, pomegranates and figs grew abundantly. According to the 10th-century hudud al-'alam the town's figs were dried and widely exported, while al-Muqaddasi adds that the town was surrounded by a wall with eight gates, and included, alongside a mosque, a Jewish synagogue.[21]

The town was also a metropolitan province of the Church of the East between the 8th and 12th centuries.

Around the turn of the 11th century, the town was governed by the semi-independent Annazid dynasty, until they were expelled by the Kakuyids.[22] It was taken and burned by the Seljuq Turks in 1046, while an earthquake in 1049 completed the town's destruction. Although rebuilt, it never recovered its former prosperity, and is now the town of Sarpol-e Zahab.[23]

Mention by Pliny

Pliny[24] mentions....The Parthi again, in its turn, founded Ctesiphon21, for the purpose of drawing away the population of Seleucia, at a distance of nearly three miles, and in the district of Chalonitis; Ctesiphon is now the capital of all the Parthian kingdoms. Finding, however, that this city did not answer the intended purpose, king Vologesus22 has of late years founded another city in its vicinity, Vologesocerta23 by name.

21 Ammianus, like Pliny, has ascribed its foundation to the Parthians under Varanes, or Vardanes, of whom, however, nothing is known. It stood in the south of Assyria, on the eastern or left bank of the Tigris. Strabo speaks of it as being the winter residence of the Parthian kings, who lived there at that season, owing to the mildness of the climate. In modern times the site of this place has been identified with that called by the Arabs Al Madain, or the "two cities."

22 Or Vologeses. This was the name of five kings of Parthia, of the race of the Arsacidæ, Arsaces xxiii., xxvii., xxviii., xxix., xxx. It was the first of these monarchs who founded the place here mentioned by Pliny.

23 Or the "City of Vologesus;" certa being the Armenian for "city."

Mention by Pliny

Pliny[25] mentions The Tigris....The country on the banks of the Tigris is called Parapotamia19; we have already made mention of Mesene, one of its districts. Dabithac20 is a town there, adjoining to which is the district of Chalonitis, with the city of Ctesiphon21, famous, not only for its palm-groves, but for its olives, fruits, and other shrubs. Mount Zagrus22 reaches as far as this district, and extends from Armenia between the Medi and the Adiabeni, above Parætacene and Persis. Chalonitis23 is distant from Persis three hundred and eighty miles; some writers say that by the shortest route it is the same distance from Assyria and the Caspian Sea.

19 Or the country "by the river."

20 Pliny is the only writer who makes mention of this place. Parisot is of opinion that it is represented by the modern Digil-Ab, on the Tigris, and suggests that Digilath may be the correct reading.

21 Mentioned in the last Chapter.

22 Now called the Mountains of Luristan.

23 The name of the district of Chalonitis is supposed to be still preserved in that of the river of Holwan. Pliny is thought, however, to have been mistaken in placing the district on the river Tigris, as it lay to the east of it, and close to the mountains.


  1. Osborne, James F. (2014). Approaching Monumentality in Archaeology. SUNY Press. pp. 123–124. ISBN 9781438453255.
  2. Osborne, James F. (2014). Approaching Monumentality in Archaeology. SUNY Press. pp. 123–124. ISBN 9781438453255.
  3. Vanden Berghe, Louis. Relief Sculptures de Iran Ancien. pp. 19-21.
  4. Vanden Berghe, Louis. Relief Sculptures de Iran Ancien. p. 45.
  5. Deuren, Greet van (2017). Iran (in Dutch). Gottmer Uitgevers Groep b.v. ISBN 9789025763961.
  6. Lockhart, L. (1986). "Ḥulwān". The Encyclopedia of Islam, New Edition, Volume III: H–Iram. Leiden, and New York: BRILL. pp. 571–572. ISBN 90-04-08118-6.
  7. Lockhart, L. (1986). "Ḥulwān". The Encyclopedia of Islam, New Edition, Volume III: H–Iram. Leiden, and New York: BRILL. pp. 571–572. ISBN 90-04-08118-6.
  8. Huart, Clément (2013) [1927]. Ancient Persia and Iranian Civilization. Routledge. ISBN 978-1136199806.p.10
  9. Smith, William, ed. (1854–1857). "Chala". Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography. London: John Murray.
  10. Smith, William, ed. (1854–1857). "Chala". Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography. London: John Murray.
  11. Morony, Michael G. (2005). Iraq After the Muslim Conquest. Gorgias Press LLC. ISBN 1593333153.p. 141.
  12. Lockhart 1986, pp. 571–572.
  13. Zarrinkub, Abd al-Husain (1975). "The Arab conquest of Iran and its aftermath". In Frye, R. N.; Fisher, William Bayne; Gershevitch, Ilya; et al. (eds.). The Cambridge History of Iran, Volume 4: From the Arab Invasion to the Saljuqs. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. pp. 1–56. ISBN 0-521-20093-8.pp.12-13
  14. Zarrinkub 1975, p. 13.
  15. Morony 2005, pp. 192–193.
  16. Zarrinkub 1975, p. 19
  17. Morony 2005, p. 141.
  18. Lockhart 1986, pp. 571–572.
  19. Le Strange, Guy (1905). The Lands of the Eastern Caliphate: Mesopotamia, Persia, and Central Asia, from the Moslem Conquest to the Time of Timur. New York: Barnes & Noble, Inc. OCLC 1044046. pp. 62–63, 191, 227–228.
  20. Morony 2005, p. 142.
  21. Le Strange 1905, p. 191.
  22. Busse 1975, pp. 297–298.
  23. Lockhart 1986, pp. 571–572.
  24. Natural History by Pliny Book VI/Chapter 30
  25. Natural History by Pliny Book VI/Chapter 31

Back to Jat Places in Iran