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Southwest Asia

Southwest Asia is geographically widely recognized as the Middle East or Near East by international organizations and public. For the purposes of this project we prefer to name this region Southwest Asia. In this context the countries and cultures within Southwest Asia include Armenia, Georgia, Azerbaijan in the Caucasus; Turkey, Iran, and Kurds within several countries. Zoroastrians in Iran and Ezidis in Iraq and Turkey as well as various minority cultures such as Baluchis, Kashais, Lori, Azerbaijanis, Turkomans, Bahais, Bahtiyaris, Ismailis commemorate and celebrate the Nowruz in their own way and at specific times and places.

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by Rena Effendi

Tongal (traditional Novruz fire) on the streets of Mahalla

Newroz of the Kurds in Turkey
by Delal Aydın

Newroz is the celebration of spring Equinox, March 21, which is considered as the beginning of the New Year. It is known that, this day, which is the symbol of arrival of spring, is a widely celebrated festival in agrarian societies of ancient Mesopotamia, including Babylonians, Assyrians, and Hittites. Yet, Newroz with its Iranian characteristics is deeply rooted in the rituals and traditions of Zoroastrian belief system.

by İhsan Kaçar

Amed Newroz Square

Rena Effendi

Born in 1977 in Baku, Azerbaijan, Rena Effendi has been photographing since 2001. From the outset, Effendi has focused her documentary work on the oil industry’s effects on people’s lives in her own country. As a result, she followed a 1,700 km oil pipeline through Georgia and Turkey, collecting stories along the way. This work of six years was published in 2009 in her first book “Pipe Dreams: A Chronicle of Lives along the Pipeline”.