The name Ilam usually conjures up images of war, destruction and poverty. A province in western Iran on the Iraqi border, Ilam bore the brunt of the Iraqi attacks during the eight years of the Iran-Iraq war. But if you visit Ilam, what attracts your attention more than the scars of war and depravation is its unspoilt natural scenery and a profusion of historical remains which are scattered all over the province.
These were mostly built during the Sassanian era, third to seventh centuries A.D. They include the remnants of a vast historical city spread over 200 hectares, numerous fortresses of various size as well as several bridges, shrines and fire temples.
The splendid natural scenery of Ilam, located in the heart of the majestic Zagros Mountains, varies from imposing cliffs to slopes covered in a thick canopy of varied trees, as well as valleys, passes made through the mountain gaps, meadows, and grazing lands.
The majority of the population are nomadic tribes whose livelihood depends on rearing sheep. Whichever part of the province you cross and whatever route you take, there are always flocks of grazing sheep, with tribesmen in colourful clothes tending them.
All these striking scenes and stunning views are captured in this photo gallery by Farshid Samani who recently visited Ilam province.