From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Sheikh-shahab tomb, Ahar, Iran
Sheikh-shahab tomb, Ahar, Iran
Ahar is located in Iran
Coordinates: 38°28′39″N 47°04′12″E / 38.47750°N 47.07000°E / 38.47750; 47.07000Coordinates: 38°28′39″N 47°04′12″E / 38.47750°N 47.07000°E / 38.47750; 47.07000
Country Iran
ProvinceEast Azerbaijan
 (2016 Census)
 • Urban
100,641 [1]
Time zoneUTC+3:30 (IRST)
 • Summer (DST)UTC+4:30 (IRDT)
Aqdash was the resting place of muleteers who carried charcoal to Ahar.
Mount Sabalan is in the proximity of Ahar
Balan Rug; An example of carpets which used to be sold in Ahar's bazar.

Ahar[2] (Persian: اهر‎, Azerbaijani: اهر) is a city and capital of Ahar County, East Azerbaijan Province, Iran. According to the 2016 census, Ahar was the fourth most populated city of the province with a population of 100,641 in 20,844 families.[3] Ahar was the capital of Karadag Khanate in 18th and 19th centuries.


In the wake of Russo-Persian War (1804–13) Ahar, with 3500 inhabitants, was the only city of Qaradağ.[4] Around the mid 1830s the population was estimated to be from five to six thousand inhabitants in about six hundred houses.[5] By 1956 the population had increased to 19816.[6] At the 2016 census, its population was 100,641, in 20,844 families.[3] Despite this population boom the city has been losing its former importance to the much smaller neighboring Kaleybar city as the later is gaining nationwide fame as a tourist destination.


Ahar is one of the ancient cities of Azerbaijan, its name before Islam was "meimad".[7] In the 12th-13th centuries, Ahar was a minor and short-lived, but prosperous emirate ruled by the Pishteginid dynasty of Georgian origin (1155—1231).[8] Yaqut al-Hamawi, writing in early thirteenth century, describes Ahar as very flourishing despite its small extent.[9]

The city lost most of its importance during the rule of Ilkhanate.[9] Hamdallah Mustawfi, writing in mid fourteenth century, describes Ahar as a little town. He estimates the tax revenue of the town to be comparable to that of Mardanaqom, which presently is a medium-sized village.[10]

Ahar was in the focus of Safavid dynasty's agenda for casting of Azerbaijan as a Safavid dominion. Thus, Shah Abbas rebuilt the mausoleum of Sheikh Sheikh Shihab-al-din in Ahar.[11]

Ahar suffered enormously during Russo-Persian War (1804–13) and Russo-Persian War (1826–28). Western travelers in 1837-1843 period had found Ahar, a city with around 700 households, in wretched condition. Their impression was that the Qajar princes, who were dispatched as the governors of Qaradagh hastened to collect as much wealth as possible before their removal.[12]

Ahar was one of the epicenters of Persian Constitutional Revolution due to the involvement of Arasbaran tribes in armed conflicts; the revolutionary and ati-revolutionary camps were headed, respectively, by Sattar Khan and Rahimkhan Chalabianloo, both from Qaradağ region. When in 1925 Rezā Shāh deposed Ahmad Shah Qajar and founded the Pahlavi dynasty, Ahar's gradual decline started. The new king insisted on ethnic nationalism and cultural unitarism and implemented his policies with forced detribalization and sedentarization. He renamed Qaradağ as Arasbaran to deny the Turkic identity of the inhabitants. This policy, in particular, resulted in suppression of ethnic Azeris.[13]

For further information on the history of Ahar and Arasbaran region one may consult the following scholarly books (all in Persian language):

  • H. Bayburdi "The history of Arasbaran",[14]
  • Ḥusayn Dūstī, "The history and geography of Arasbaran",[15]
  • N. Sedqi, "The contemporary political and social history of Arasbaran",[16]
  • S.R. Alemohammad, "The book of Arasbaran".[17]

Two concise English language articles are the following:

  • "The Tribes of Qarāca Dāġ: A Brief History" by P. Oberling.[18]
  • The entry "AHAR", in Encyclopædia Iranica.[19]


Until the early 1960s Ahar was the economic hub of Arasbaran region. Arasbaran nomadic tribes bartered their produce in Ahar's bazaar. The charcoal produced in villages adjacent to Arasbaran forests was carried by muleteers to Ahar and from there was transported to Tabriz. In addition, Ahar was a distribution center for the Arasbaran rug. The gradual settlement of nomads, widespread use of fossil fuels, changing life-styles, and establishment of new marketplaces such as Kaleybar through facilitated transportation, have diminished Ahar's economical importance.


The main tourist site in the city is the mausoleum of Sheikh Shaabe-deen, who was the teacher of Safi-ad-din Ardabili, the founder of the family of Safavid dynasty. The monument has been described by James Morier in early nineteenth century as the following, "The mausoleum is of brick, with a foundation of stone, and faced by an elevated portico, flanked by two minors or pillars encrusted with green tiles. A little wooden door was opened for us in the back of the building, which introduced us into the spot that contained the tomb of the Sheikh, which was enclosed by a stone railing, carved into open work, and surrounded by a sculptured arabesque ornament, of very good taste. The tomb is distinguished by a marble cover, on which is an Arabic inscription in relieve.".[20]

Notable people

All notable people from Arasbaran region would have counted Ahar as their home town. Here we list some prominent figures who have spent parts of their lives in Ahar or the neighboring villages:

  • Sattar Khan was originally from Qaradağ. He is considered as a national hero of Iran and is referred to as سردار ملی (meaning National Commander). He headed Constitutionalist rebels from the Amirkhiz district of Tabriz in early twentieth century.[21][22][23][24][25][26]
  • Amir Arshad, the headman of Haji-Alilu tribe, was a legendary military commander in early twentieth century. He is credited with fending off the communism from Iran.[27][28]
  • Qasem Ahari[29] was born in Ahar in 1884. He was the first European trained ophthalmologist of Iran. Qasem Ahari served four terms in National Consultative Assembly. He was the first representative of Azerbaijan in Senate of Iran.[30]
  • Abbas Eslami, known with his pen-name Barez, (1932-2011) was a great poet.[31] He described the melancholic demise of Qaradağ in a book titled mourning Sabalan ( ياسلي ساوالان).[32]
  • Houssein Rezapour a contemporary poet with the pen-name "Razi".[33]
  • Prof. Mahmoud Akhondi (محمود آخوندى) was born ii 1933. He is an eminent Swiss-trained law professor. His 10 volume book on criminal prosecution is a major textbook in Iranian law schools.[34]
  • Colonel Husein bayburdi ( حسين بايبوردي ) was borne in Ahar and retired from Army in 1959. He wrote and published a book on the history of Arasbaran.[14] This book is, perhaps, the only comprehensive original source on Arasbaran.
  • Ḥusayn Dūstī (حسین دوستی), was born in Ahar. He is a prolific writer of books dealing with Arasbaran.[35]


  1. ^ https://www.amar.org.ir/english
  2. ^ Ahar can be found at GEOnet Names Server, at this link, by opening the Advanced Search box, entering "-3051923" in the "Unique Feature Id" form, and clicking on "Search Database".
  3. ^ a b "Census of the Islamic Republic of Iran, 1385 (2006)". Islamic Republic of Iran. Archived from the original (Excel) on 2011-11-11.
  4. ^ Bibliothèque orientale Elzévirienne, Volume 52; Volume 55, 1887 p.224.
  5. ^ Robert Mignan, A Winter Journey Through Russia, the Caucasian Alps, and Georgia: Thence ..., Vol. 1, 1839, London
  6. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2014-02-21. Retrieved 2014-02-08.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  7. ^ http://www.e-ahar.ir/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=68&Itemid=201
  8. ^ Minorsky, Vladimir (1951), "The Georgian Maliks of Ahar." BSOAS vol. 13/4, pp. 868-77.
  9. ^ a b Yaqut ibn 'Abd Allah al-Rumi al-Hamawi, Charles Adrien Casimir Barbier de Meynard, Dictionnaire géographique, historique et littéraire de la Perse et des contrees adjacentes, 1851, Paris, p. 57
  10. ^ نزهةالقلوب ، حمداله مستوفی ، به کوشش محمد دبیر سیاقی ، انتشارات کتابخانه طهوری ، چاپ اول ، تهران ، ۱۳۳۶، ص. ۹۵.
  11. ^ Kishwar Rizvi , The Safavid Dynastic Shrine: Architecture, Religion and Power in Early ..., 2011, I.B.Tauris, p. 161
  12. ^ Richard Tappe, Frontier Nomads of Iran: A Political and Social History of the Shahsevan, 1997, Cambridge University Press, p. 171
  13. ^ Abrahamian, Ervand (1982). Iran Between Two Revolutions. Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press. pp. 123–163. ISBN 9780691053424. OCLC 7975938.
  14. ^ a b سرهنگ حسین بایبوردی، "تاریخ ارسباران"، ابن سینا، تهران ۱۳۴۱
  15. ^ حسین دوستی، تاریخ و جغرافیای ارسباران,انتشارات احرار,تبریز,1373
  16. ^ ناصر صدقی،تاریخ اجتماعى و سیاسى ارسباران (قره داغ) در دوره معاصر، ۱۳۸۸، تبریز، نشر اختر.
  17. ^ سیدرضا آل‌محمد، نامه ارسباران، ۱۳۹۱، تهران، کتابخانه موزه‌ و اسناد مجلس شورای اسلامی.
  18. ^ Oberling, Pierre. "The Tribes of Qarāca Dāġ: A Brief History." Oriens 17 (1964): 60-95
  19. ^ http://www.iranicaonline.org/articles/ahar-the-name-of-a-county-sahrestan-and-town-in-azerbaijan
  20. ^ James Morier, A second journey through Persia, Armenia, and Asia Minor, to Constantinople ..., 1818, p. 234
  21. ^ Ervand Abrahamian, Iran Between Two Revolutions, Princeton University Press, 1982 p.97
  22. ^ اسماعيل اميرخيزى، قيام آذربايجان و ستار خان، ۱۹۶۰، كتابفروشى تهران
  23. ^ حسین دوستى، "حماسه ها و حماسه سازان انقلاب مشروطيت: با تاءکید بر نقش مردم ارسباران (قره داغ)"، باران، ۲۰۰۶
  24. ^ نصرت الله فتحى،"ديدار همرزم ستارخان" ،گوتنبرگ ۱۹۷۳
  25. ^ پناهى سمنانى، "ستار خان: سردار ملى ونهضت مشروطه"، ۱۹۹۷، کتاب نمونه.
  26. ^ رحيم رئيسنيا، عبد الحسين ناهيد،"دو مبارز جنبش مشروطه: ستار خان، محمد خيابانى", ۱۹۷۰، انتشارات آگاه.
  27. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2014-03-09. Retrieved 2014-02-08.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  28. ^ Stephanie Cronin, 'The Making of Modern Iran: State and Society Under Riza Shah, 1921-1941', 2007, p. 207
  29. ^ "Ahar Register Office". Archived from the original on 2014-04-07. Retrieved 2014-04-01.
  30. ^ Mosavi, Mir Jalaladddin. "A short biography of Dr. Qasem Ahari". Archived from the original on 2014-02-20.
  31. ^ "Abbas Barez". Archived from the original on 2013-12-03. Retrieved 2014-04-01.
  32. ^ اسلامی, عباس (25 December 2000). یاسلی ساوالان. تبریز.
  33. ^ "List of books by H. Rezapour".
  34. ^ آخوندى, محمود (1997). آئين دادرسى کيفرى. سازمان چاپ و انتشارات، وزارت فرهنگ و ارشاد اسلامى.
  35. ^ "Ḥusayn Dūstī". Google Books.

Photo gallery