The Aras (also known as Araks, Arax, Araxi, Araxes, Araz, or Yeraskh; Armenian: Արաքս or Երասխ (Araqs or Erasx), Azerbaijani: Araz, Persian: ارس (Aras), Turkish: Aras, Kurdish: Aras or Erez; Russian: Аракс; Latin: Aboras), is a river located in and along the countries of Turkey, Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Iran. Its total length is 1,072 kilometers (666 mi). Given its length and a basin that covers an area of 102,000 km², it is one of the largest rivers of the Caucasus.
The Aras River highlighted on a map of the Kura River watershed.
Astronaut photograph of the Aras River.
The Aras River rises near Erzurum, Turkey. It meets with the Akhurian River southeast of Digor, flows along the Turkish-Armenian border, and then near a corridor that connects Turkey to Azerbaijan's Nakhchivan exclave. It then flows along the Iranian-Azerbaijan and the Iranian-Armenian border. The river then flows along the border between Iran and the main territory of the Azerbaijan to meet with the Kura River at the village of Sabirabad. It then directly flows into the Caspian Sea. About 101,937 km² of the Araz River basin is located in Azerbaijan.
The Zangmar, Sariso, Ghotour River, Hajilar River, Kalibar River, Ilghena River, Darreh River and Balha River are the major tributaries of the Aras from the south (right). In Turkey the Ghareso river flows in on the left side. The Akhurian, Metsamor, Hrazdan, Azat, Vedi, Arpa, Vorotan, Voghdji and Megri rivers flow in from the Armenian north side (left). The Khachin River, Okhchi River, Kuri River and Kandlan River flow in from the Azerbaijan north side (left).
Etymology and History 
Aras River in Persian (IRAN) Empire 1747 map.
In Armenian tradition, the river is named after Arast, a great-grandson of the legendary Armenian patriarch Haik. See Erasx for the etymology. The name was later Hellenized to Araxes and was applied to the Kura-Araxes culture, a prehistoric people which flourished in the valleys of the Kura and Aras. But many times it is the Volga River which is called Araxes especially in Herodotus' History 1.202. The river is also mentioned in the last chapter of the Aeneid VIII by Virgil, as "angry at the bridge", since the Romans built a bridge over it,so that it is thereby conquered. By some, the river Aras has been associated with the otherwise unidentified Gihon and Pishon rivers mentioned in the second chapter of the Bible.
In modern history, the Aras gained significance as a geographic political boundary. Under the terms of the Treaty of Gulistan and the Treaty of Turkmenchay, the river was chosen as the border limit between the Russian and Persian Empires. Iran and the Soviet Union later built the Aras Dam on the Aras in the Poldasht area creating the Aras Reservoir.
During the cold war some Iranian communists escaped to USSR using this river. Also Samad Behrangi, an Iranian author of children books, drowned in the River Aras.
See also 
- ^ (2001) "Chapter 8: Management of Water Resources and Quality" Environmental Performance Review of Armenia United Nations Economic Commission for Europe
- ^ Elisabeth Bauer. Armenia: Past and Present, p. 49. ISBN B0006EXQ9C
- ^ "Calumet, A. D. 1672–1757, Rosebmuller, 1768–1835, Kell, 1807–1888, and some other scholars believed the source river [for Eden] was a region of springs. The Pishon and Gihon were mountain streams. The former may have been the Phasis or Araxes, and the latter the Oxus." Duncan, George S. (October 1929) "The Birthplace of Man" The Scientific Monthly 29(4): pp. 359-362, p. 360
- ^ Hillman, Michael C. "Behrangī." Encyclopaedia Iranica. http://www.iranica.com/newsite/articles/unicode/v4f1/v4f1a067.html.
Coordinates: 40°01′06″N 48°27′13″E / 40.0184°N 48.4535°E