East Azerbaijan

This article is about the Iranian province. For other uses, see Azerbaijan (disambiguation).
East Azerbaijan Province
استان آذربایجان شرقی

Location of East Azerbaijan within Iran

East Azerbaijan counties

Coordinates: 38°04′36″N 46°16′48″E / 38.0766°N 46.2800°E / 38.0766; 46.2800Coordinates: 38°04′36″N 46°16′48″E / 38.0766°N 46.2800°E / 38.0766; 46.2800

Country  Iran
Capital Tabriz
Counties 19
 • Governor Easmaeil Jabbarzadeh
 • Total 45,650 km2 (17,630 sq mi)
Population (2006)[1]
 • Total 3,603,456
 • Density 79/km2 (200/sq mi)
Time zone IRST (UTC+03:30)
 • Summer (DST) IRST (UTC+04:30)
Main language(s) Persian (official)
local languages:

East Azerbaijan Province (Persian: استان آذربایجان شرقی‎, Āzarbāijān-e Sharqi ) is one of the 31 provinces of Iran. It is in the northwest of the country, bordering Armenia and the Republic of Azerbaijan, and the provinces of Ardabil, West Azerbaijan, and Zanjan. Its capital is Tabriz.


The province covers an area of approximately 47,830 km², it has a population of around four million people. The historical city of Tabriz is the most important city of this province, culturally, politically, and commercially. The province has common borders with the current Republics of Azerbaijan, Armenia and Nakhchivan. A fine network of roads and railways connect East Azerbaijan to other parts of Iran and also to neighboring countries.

The highest peak of East Azerbaijan is Sahand Mountain at 3,722 m of elevation, lying south of Tabriz, whereas the lower lying areas are around Garmadooz (Ahar). The heights of the province may be classified into three sectors, namely: the Qara Daq Mountains, the Sahand and Bozqoosh Mountains, and the Qaflan Kooh Mountains.

Generally speaking, East Azerbaijan enjoys a cool, dry climate, being in the main a mountainous region. But the gentle breezes off the Caspian Sea have some influence on the climate of the low-lying areas. Temperatures run up to 8.9 °C in Tabriz, and 20 °C in Maraqeh, in the winter dropping to -10-15 °C at least (depending on how cold the overall year is). The ideal seasons to visit this province are in the spring and summer months.


East Azerbaijan is one of the most archaic territories in Iran. During the reign of Alexander of Macedon in Iran (331 BCE), a warrior known as Attorpat led a revolt in this area, then a territory of the Medes, and thereafter it was called Attorpatkan. Since then this vicinity has been known as Azarabadegan, Azarbadgan and Azarbayjan.

Islamic researchers proclaim that the birth of the prophet Zoroaster was in this area, in the vicinity of Lake Orumieh (Chichesht), Konzak City. Needless to say, this province was subject to numerous political and economical upheavals, attracting the interest of foreigners. The Russians in particular have tried to exert a lasting influence in the region over the past 300 years, occupying the area on numerous occasions. The constitutionalist movement of Iran began here in the late 19th century.

Ethnic tensions in Azerbaijan can visibly trace their origins back to the colonialist policies of the Soviet Union and Imperial Russia. In a cable sent on July 6, 1945 by the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, the local Soviet commander in Russian (northern) held Azerbaijan was instructed as such:

Begin preparatory work to form a national autonomous Azerbaijan district with broad powers within the Iranian state and simultaneously develop separatist movements in the provinces of Gilan, Mazandaran, Gorgan, and Khorasan".[2]

Administrative divisions

At the 1986 census there were twelve counties in East Azerbaijan Province. By the 1996 census two additional counties had been formed, Jolfa from part of Marand, and Malekan from part of Bonab. Between 1996 and 2002, five new counties were formed: Ajabshir, Azarshahr, Charoimaq, Osku, and Varzaqan.[3] In 2010 Kalibar was split in half with the northern part becoming Khoda Afarin, while the southern part kept the name Kalibar.

Counties at the 1986 census

Map Abbreviation in map County (Shahrestan)
A Ahar County
B Bonab County
BA Bostanabad County
H Heris County
HR Hashtrud County
K Kalibar County
Md Marand County
Mn Mianeh County
Mq Maragheh County
S Sarab County
Sh Shabestar County
T Tabriz County

Counties as of 2012


UNESCO World Heritage Site
Tabriz Historic Bazaar Complex
Name as inscribed on the World Heritage List
Type Cultural
Criteria ii, iii, iv
Reference UNESCO region Asia and Australasia
Inscription history
Inscription 2010 (34th Session)
UNESCO World Heritage Site
The Armenian Monastic Ensembles in Iran
Name as inscribed on the World Heritage List
Type Cultural
Criteria ii, iii, vi
Reference UNESCO region Asia-Pacific
Inscription history
Inscription 2008 (32nd Session)

The most outstanding features from a cultural point of view are the language, Azari/Azerice, and folklore of this region. According to Dehkhoda Dictionary, the language of Azerbaijan is originally "a branch of the Iranian languages known as Azari" (see Ancient Azari language).However the modern Azeri language is a Turkic language very closely related to the language of Republic of Azerbaijan and Turkey.[4] Apart from this, the province also boasts numerous learned scholars, gnostics, several national poets such as Mowlana Baba Mazeed, Khajeh Abdol Raheem Aj Abadi, Sheikh Hassan Bolqari, and Abdolqader Nakhjavani, to name a few, and the contemporary poet Ostad Mohammad Hossein Shahriyar. The current leader of Iran, Ali Khamenei, also originally comes from this region.


East Azerbaijan hails from a rich compendium of Azeri traditions. Many local dances and folk songs continue to survive among the various peoples of the province. As a longstanding province of Iran, Azerbaijan is mentioned favorably on many occasions in Persian literature by Iran's greatest authors and poets.

Notable people

East Azerbaijan today

East Azerbaijan province is an industrial centre of Iran. East Azerbaijan province has over 5000 manufacturing units, of which at least 800 are industrial (6% percent of national total). The value of product from these units in 1997 totalled US$374 million (373 billion rials = 4.07% of the national total). Total investments were valued at US$2.7 billion (2.4513 trillion rials) in 1997.[5]

Some of the major industries include Azerr glass industries, Maraqeh paper manufacturing, Ahar Sungun copper and nepheline syenite, the Tabriz Oil Refinery and Petrochemical Complex, Tabriz Tractor Manufacturing Co., Azerbaijan steel, foundry and auto-part manufacturing, food industries, leather and shoe industries, and the Tabriz Machine Manufacturing Co.

Tabriz also has an excellent position in the handicraft industry of Iran, having a large share in the exports of the province. Tabriz carpets are widely known around the world and in international markets for their vibrant designs and colors. Without exaggeration, Iranian rugs owe their fame to the creative minds of the designers and the deft hands of the carpet weavers of East Azerbaijan.

At present there are about 66,000 carpet production units in the province, employing some 200,000 people. The annual production of these carpets is roughly 792,000 m², which comprises more than 70% of Iran's carpet exports. 35% of all Iranian carpets are produced in East Azerbaijan.

East Azerbaijan province is also one of the richest regions of Iran in natural minerals, with 180 mines in 1997, of which 121 units are currently in operation, and the rest are being planned.

UNESCO has two Biosphere reserves in East Azerbaijan province. One in Lake Urmia and the other at Arasbaran.

Colleges and universities

East Azerbaijan also has some of Iran's best technical universities. The full list of major institutions are:

  • [3]
  • Tabriz University of Medical Sciences
  • [4]
  • Azerbaijan University of Tarbiat Moallem
  • Tabriz Islamic Arts University
  • University of Maragheh
  • [5]
  • Faculty of Engineering and Technology, Mianeh
  • Faculty of Engineering and Technology, Marand
  • Payameh noor University of Tabriz
  • Payameh noor University of Maragheh
  • Payameh noor University of Bonab
  • Payameh noor University of Marand
  • Payameh noor University of Mianeh
  • Payameh noor University of Shabestar
  • Payameh noor University of Azarshahr
  • Payameh noor University of Oskou
  • Payameh noor University of Ahar
  • Payameh noor University of hashtrood
  • Payameh noor University of Malekan
  • Islamic Azad University of Bonab
  • Islamic Azad University of Tabriz
  • Islamic Azad University of Shabestar
  • Islamic Azad University of Maragheh
  • Islamic Azad University of Miyaneh
  • Islamic Azad University of Ahar
  • Islamic Azad University of Malekan
  • Islamic Azad University of Hashtrood
  • Islamic Azad University of Azarshahr
  • Islamic Azad University of Marand
  • University College of Seraj, Tabriz
  • University College of Rabe Rashidi, Tabriz
  • University College of Nabi Akram , Tabriz
  • University College of Daneshvaran, Tabriz
  • University College of Seraj, Tabriz

Scientific Journal(s)

International Journal of Forest, Soil and Erosion has been published as a peer review journal in Shabestar City from November 2011.

See also


External links

  • Official website
  • Cultural Heritage Organization of East Azerbaijan
  • The Union for Handwoven Carpets of East Azerbaijan
  • Recent Photos from Azerbaijan
  • Arasbaran UNESCO Biosphere Reserve
  • Lake Urmia UNESCO Biosphere Reserve
  • East Azerbaijan Research Park net portal
  • Encyclopædia Iranica
  • Bahram Moshiri's brief talk on Azerbaijan. [6]