Tuesday, 29 January, 3.00-5 pm: Sima Zolfaghari

Bakhtiaris: Their language and culture

The Bakhtiaris are among the most ancient inhabitants of Iran and for centuries they have lived in the same region of approximately 75,000 km² in the south-western part of the country, on both sides of the Zagros mountain range. At present, the majority of Bakhtiaris live in towns and villages. A number of Bakhtiaris still follow the nomadic life style of their ancestors, migrating twice a year across the Zagros Mountains in search of fresh pastures for their herds of sheep and goats and also to escape the unbearable heat and cold of their summer and winter campsites, respectively.

In this talk, I will present some general aspects of the Bakhtiari language and culture and how these two have been interwoven through ages and are reflected into their vocabulary, proverbs and different genres of their songs and literature.

In addition, to give you a glimpse of their world, a documentary film, made by a German documentary filmmaker for ARTE, will be shown afterwards. I collaborated on this project as an interpreter and anthropological consultant.


Kinder der Glücklichen. Nomaden im Iran

Documentary (Germany, 2011) of Dorothe Dörholt about the yearly travel of the Bachtiari nomads from the southwest of Iran.