Aras Press of Kurdistan’s Hawler City (Erbil) is the beacon of light for Kurdish printing. Housed in a three-storey building and equipped with a modern printing press, it is now considered the largest publishing house in Iraqi Kurdistan. Aras Press has published over 850 books so far with nearly 3000 copies of each in circulation. All titles are available in electronic format free of charge on the Aras Press website.
Aras Press has been named after the Aras River which, according to historians, loosely defines the borders of Kurdistan. In the Kurdish language and culture, “Aras” also means “a passageway to dignity”, and the river symbolizes the resistance and steadfastness of the Kurds. The crossing of the Aras by legendary Kurdish leader Mustafa Barzani is remembered fondly by Kurdish people to this day. After a long, brave fight against the Iraqi and Iranian armies, Mustafa Barzani led 500 Kurdish fighters (Peshmargas) across the Aras River and into the former Soviet Union, where they could finally be safe from persecution.
With the Kurdish uprising of 1991 and the ensuing emergence of a self-governing Iraqi Kurdistan came an opportunity to freely endorse national culture and promote the Kurdish language without suppression by the former Iraqi regime. Despite the international and national economic sanctions imposed on both Iraq and the Kurdistan region from 1991 to 2003, dozens of cultural institutions, printing centers, and media outlets were established, and the language and culture of Kurdistan continued to flourish.
The primary objectives of Aras Press are twofold: the revival of Kurdish texts of classic literature, lexicography, linguistics, and history, as well as the renewal of research in these fields and others such as geography, economics, and social sciences; and the translation of international books into Kurdish. Aras Press employs a number of proficient translators to undertake the task of translating texts from English, French, German, Russian, Swedish, Arabic, Turkish and Persian.
While the Sorani dialect is used in the majority of books published by Aras Press, a smaller number of books are also published in other Kurdish dialects such as Kirmanji, Kelhuri, and Gorani. In so doing, Aras Press endeavors to create opportunities for all Kurdish people to read in their own dialects and learn about other cultures despite the absence of a standard language and unified alphabet for the people of Kurdistan. While distinguished by their artistic design and high quality materials, Aras Press books are also very affordable.
Most of our printed books are distributed in the Kurdish regions of Iraq and Iran, but a number of them also reach the Kurdish areas of Syria and Turkey. To extend our reach globally for the benefit of Kurdish readers worldwide, our printed books are all available for free in electronic format on ArasPublishers.com.