Iran has one of the largest nomadic populations in the World, an estimated 1.5 million in a country of about 70 million, representing a 1.25% of the total population. But the number of nomads living in Iran is in decline and had accelerated in recent years. Experts say it's a way of life that is slowly disappearing. Few grazing lands and water resources are left for nomadic life and, if this trend continues, there will be no more nomads living in Iran in the next 20 years.

The government pays little attention to nomadic groups. Although it does not directly encourage nomads to settle down, many of its industrial projects use up their pasture lands. The attractions of urban life draw some away from nomadism, and the construction of factories, roads and the growth of cities as well as oil and gas exploration activities have taken their toll on lands where nomads' goats and sheep once grazed.

The nomadic population of Iran is classified into different groups and tribes. The Bakhtiaris, who speak a Persian dialect known as Luri, are one of two main nomadic groups in Iran, along with the ethnic Turkic Qashqai group.

This a long term project which aim to document the unique lifestyle of the Bakhitiari tribe, one of the main nomadic groups in Iran, and to show their rich culture, traditions, and simply how they live their everyday life.

This first part of the project focus on the daily life of three nomads families during summer, when they are not migrating. The Bakhitiari can be found during the summer months in the high grounds of the Zagros Mountain, while in winter they resides in Khuzestan. When they don’t migrate the Bakhitiari settled in the mountains for months, mostly in isolated parts, which are quite difficult to reach. They live a basic life: eating what they produce and sleeping in tents, without electricity, running water or any other facilities.

In the second part of this on-going project I will focus on the documentation of the annual migration of the tribe. During the month of April the nomads leave their winter pasture and cross the Zagros Mountains on foot, walking for about 30 days, with all their families, animals and belongings in order to reach their summer pastures.

This type of migration, called vertical migration, is something very unique that not many nomads still do in the traditional way. While migration is still an important part of the nomads life, nowadays most tribes move from one place to another using trucks, bikes and other transportation. The Bakhitiari tribe is one of the few nomadic tribe left that still practise the migration in the traditional way, by crossing the mountains on foot. It is a tradition that many families have lost and a lifestyle that will soon disappear.

My aim and wish, by continuing this project, is to document it before it will be forgotten.

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