Sara building, cultural center in slemani holding many historical events

Interviews 01:12 PM - 2021-09-23

Cameraman: Julia Zimmermann

Sara building is one of the historical sights and the cultural center of Slemani city that witnessed many historical events.

Slemani, also called Sulaymaniyah, is a city in the east of the Kurdistan Region of Iraq, not far from the Iran–Iraq border. 

Slemani is surrounded by the Azmar, Goyzha, and Qaywan Mountains in the northeast, Baranan Mountain in the south, and the Tasluja Hills in the west.

The modern city of Slemani was founded in 1784 by the Kurdish prince Ibrahim Pasha Baban, who named it after his father, Sulaiman Pasha. 

When the Baban dynasty came to the city, they moved their capital from Qalachwalan to Slemani. From 1784 to 1850, it was the capital of the historic principality of Baban.

The first thing the Baban did was building a place for the government, so they built the Sara building.

Regarding Sara building, we interviewed Mr. Muhammad Baqi Saeed, a veteran teacher, and co-founder of the Kurdistan Teachers Union.

The history of Sara building during Baban era

"In the beginning, Sara was a simple one-floor building," Baqi stated.

"Time went by, Ottoman Empire came intending to wipe every emirate of the Baban dynasty and began attacking the area with their army and destroyed the Baban in around 1850 and the Turkish ruling began in Slemani," Baqi added.

While speaking about the Ottoman era, Mr. Baqi revealed that the Ottomans committed many horrible atrocities and began Turkification of the Slemani regions and their names until the First World War.

What happened to Sara Building after WW1?

Mr. Baqi explained that after the First World War, the English occupied Slemani, and they reconstructed the Sara Building and turned it into the city’s Administration Base.

"They renovated the whole city and brought printing houses," he continued.

Slemani's Sara building during the foundation of Iraq

Mr. Baqi stated, "During the times of the foundation of Iraqi country, Iraq was three parts, and none of the parts were related to each other, but in an agreement, they combined the parts and built the country Iraq. After that, Slemani became a governorate."

"Back then, Slemani was so small, and all the government institutions were in the Sara building. It only had a gate, and tall trees were surrounding the road that led to the building," he added.

During the last years, the authorities of Slemani renovated the building, and it has been a cultural center of Slemani since then.

Article by Besha Jawhar 

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