A Kurdish town once named ‘Eggplant’
Bardaqaraman suffered dearly under the former Iraqi regime of Saddam Hussein. The regime created the small town between Kirkuk and Sulaimani and named it “Eggplant”.
“Saddam’s regime brought Kurdish people here to make them suffer,” said Ali Bazyani, a local historian in Erbil. “This name was just to insult, belittle, and mock Kurdish people.”
The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) later renamed the town Bardaqaraman, which literally means “Rock of the Hero”. It is now within the district of Bazyan, 35 kilometers west of Sulaimani city on the highway to Kirkuk.
“Rock of the Hero refers to the victory and bravery of the army of the King of Kurdistan Sheikh Mahmoud,” noted Bazyani. “The king’s soldiers defended Kurdistan behind a huge rock in this area in a bloody battle against their enemies.”
The KRG has developed this small town into a tourist area, building a big park and a monument, which includes carved pictures depicting the bravery of Sheikh Mahmoud’s army.
The battle was on June 19, 1919, against the invading British Army. After that battle, the King of Kurdistan was injured, arrested, and banished to India. The battle’s name was Bardaqaraman.
“Bardaqaraman is a symbol of heroism and pride in Kurdish history,” said Akram Khalid, a town resident. “The Kurdish fighters have so many such victories in history, which makes us a strong nation in the world.”
The park, historical stone, and the carved wall depicting the soldiers that fought there over 100 years ago have turned this small Kurdish town into an ideal place for local and international tourists.
“When I look at the pictures carved on the wall, I understand how they fought with few weapons and ammunition,” said Azzam Duleimi, a tourist from Baghdad. “This place is hidden from the world, and I only knew about it by chance when I returned from Sulaimani to Erbil.”
Local residents think that the government can still do more to promote their small town.
“If the government promotes this place, it will be a number one historical site,” said Shad Rahim, a Bardaqaraman resident. “I hope that the government could invest more in our town. It is good for the government, us, and the tourists.”