The Nomads of Iran

The history of human beings on this planet is marked by striking developments in lifestyle. The early humans would travel on foot from one place to another in search of safety and food. With new inventions and the development of social needs, they started to settle down in villages. While this new lifestyle offered a lot of benefits, with the passage of time the villages were expanded resulting in the formation of cities. Although cities enjoy a great amount of popularity today, the time has not excluded other forms of life in different parts of the world.

The Iranian Plateau has been the cradle of civilization and home to human beings for millennia. Three types of communal life exist in Iran, i.e. in the villages, cities and as pastoralist nomads. Nomadic Pastoralism as a form of adapting to the living conditions and the environment has existed in the highlands of Zagros in Iran for about 10,000 years. Nomads are living in 15 regions of Iran with a lifestyle that is mainly based on animal husbandry and dryland farming.

The unit for pastoralist communities is the family. The related families or those who benefit from the communal life with other families live together in specific areas as clans or tribes, with the leadership of one of the members. They travel between different regions to adapt to the climate, to gain security from other tribes and villagers, or to find fresh natural resources.

For a form of life depending strongly on nature, the three important elements of this lifestyle are the human, the livestock and the pastures. The nomadic tribes use the dairy products produced by their herds at the same time that they gain money by selling the superfluous amounts. In addition to food, these tribes also produce handicrafts such as tents, clothes, qilims, shoes, dolls etc. for their daily use but the originality and life woven into their works has provided the chance of trading as well.

The nomads of Iran have played an influential role in the history of the country. Especially at critical times of war and regional dispute, these tribes have been able to help defend the country or unify the people, using their strength and mobility.

As one of the earliest and most indigenous forms of communal life in the world, there is a lot to learn about the early human beings and early history with the nomadic life. The metaphor “life is a journey” materializes for the nomads, as they have their lives on route They sing songs of the journey, of what has come, of happiness and grief, of overcoming and fear. The life of the nomads is one of friendship, trust, codependence, and solidarity in the name of survival. The nomads’ journey is a sight worth seeing, imbued with colors of both culture and clothing, unique tents, tools and food that tastes like life itself.