Shahmaran is a mythical creature from the folklore of southern, central and eastern Anatolia, Iran and Iraq. The name of Shahmaran comes from words "Shah" and "Maran". "Shah" is the Iranian title for a king, primarily the leader of the Iranians and their land and "Mar" means snake in Kurdish. In plural "Mar-an" means "snakes". A Shahmaran is often depicted as a wise and benign woman with the features of a woman above the waist and those of a serpent below the waist. She is held to be queen of the snakes. When a Shahmaran dies, her spirit passes to her daughter. The legend is that she was in love with a man named Tasmsp, and he was in love with her and he would listen to her stories, but when she had no more stories to tell he went back to his country, and Shahmaran accepted his choice. When Tasmsp came back to his land the king there became very ill and one of the kings helpers told him that the only way to get better is to eat Shahmaran. So they took people one by one into the hamam to see if snake scales would come up and when Tasmsp went he was forced to tell where Shahmaran was hiding when they found her she said that whoever takes a bite from my snake scales will gain the secrets of the world but whoever takes a bite of my head will die at the moment. Tasmsp took a bite of the head and the evil helper took a bite of the scales, but the helper died and Tasmsp was not affected at all. Shahmaran helped her lover and killed her enemy.
In Turkey, Shahmaran is believed to live in the Mediterranean town of Tarsus. A similar legend is told in the Mardin region. In this region she is depicted with famous Shahmaran pictures.