East Azerbaijan province

Coordinates: 38°05′N 46°46′E / 38.083°N 46.767°E / 38.083; 46.767
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East Azarbaijan Province
استان آذربایجان شرقی
Map of Iran with East Azerbaijan highlighted
Location of East Azerbaijan within Iran
Coordinates: 38°05′N 46°46′E / 38.083°N 46.767°E / 38.083; 46.767
RegionRegion 3
 • Governor-generalMalek Rahmati [1]
 • MPs of ParliamentEast Azerbaijan province parliamentary districts
 • MPs of Assembly of Experts1 Mohsen Mojtahed Shabestari
2 Mohammad Taghi Pourmohammadi
3 Ali Malakouti
4 Mohammad Feyz Sarabi
5 Hashem Hashemzadeh Herisi
 • Representative of the Supreme LeaderMohammad Ali Ale-Hashem
 • Total45,650 km2 (17,630 sq mi)
 (2016 Census)[2]
 • Total3,909,652
 • Density86/km2 (220/sq mi)
Time zoneUTC+03:30 (IRST)
ISO 3166 codeIR-03
Main language(s)Persian (official)
local languages:
HDI (2017)0.785[3]
high · 17th

East Azerbaijan Province (Persian: استان آذربایجان شرقی Āzarbāijān-e Sharqi; Azerbaijani: شرقی آذربایجان اوستانی) is one of the 31 provinces of Iran. It is located in Iranian Azerbaijan, bordering Armenia, Republic of Azerbaijan, Ardabil province, West Azerbaijan province, and Zanjan province. The capital of the province is Tabriz. East Azerbaijan province is in Region 3 of Iran, with its secretariat located in its capital city, Tabriz.[4]

At the 2006 census, East Azerbaijan province's population was 3,527,267 in 911,241 households.[5] The following census in 2011 counted 3,724,620 people in 1,085,455 households.[6] At the 2016 census, the province's population was 3,909,652 in 1,223,028 households.[2]


East Azerbaijan Province Historical Population

Religion in East Azerbaijan Province (2016)

  Muslim (99.68%)
  Christianity (.01%)
  Zoroastrian (.11%)
  Jewish (.00%)
  Other (.01%)
  Not Stated (.19%)

Demographic Breakdown by Sex in East Azerbaijan Province (2016)

  Male (50.88%)
  Female (49.12%)
East Azerbaijan State Capital
Arg-e Tabriz
Arasbaran Forests, a UNESCO reserved biosphere

The province covers an area of approximately 47,830 km², it has a population of around four million people. The province has common borders with the Republic of Azerbaijan, Armenia and Autonomous Nakhchivan in the north, West Azerbaijan in the west, Zanjan in the south, and Ardabil in the east. A fine network of roads and railways connects East Azerbaijan to other parts of Iran and neighboring countries.

The highest point in East Azerbaijan is the volcanic peak of Sahand Mountain at 3,707 m (12,162 ft) of elevation, lying south of Tabriz, whereas the lower-lying areas are around Garmadooz (Ahar). The hills and mountains of the province are divided into three ranges: the Qara Daq Mountains, the Sahand and Bozqoosh Mountains, and the Qaflan Kooh Mountains.

The climate of East Azerbaijan is affected by Mediterranean Continental as well as the cold semi-arid climate. 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 to −15 °C at least (depending on how cold the overall year is). The ideal seasons to visit this province are the spring and summer months.

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, Charuymaq, Osku, and Varzaqan.[7] In 2010 Kaleybar was split, with the northern part becoming Khoda Afarin, while the southern part retained the name Kaleybar.[6]

East Azerbaijan Province Population History
Administrative Divisions 2006[5] 2011[6] 2016[2]
Ahar County 147,781 150,111 154,530
Ajab Shir County 65,741 66,746 70,852
Azarshahr County 99,286 107,579 110,311
Bonab County 125,209 129,795 134,892
Bostanabad County 96,555 94,985 94,769
Charuymaq County 33,921 32,745 31,071
Hashtrud County 64,611 60,822 57,199
Heris County 67,626 67,820 69,093
Hurand County1
Jolfa County 52,176 55,166 61,358
Kaleybar County 87,259 48,837 46,125
Khoda Afarin County1 34,977 32,995
Malekan County 100,366 106,118 111,319
Maragheh County 227,635 247,681 262,604
Marand County 229,215 239,209 244,971
Mianeh County 187,870 185,806 182,848
Osku County 84,061 98,988 158,270
Sarab County 132,094 131,934 125,341
Shabestar County 121,787 124,499 135,421
Tabriz County 1,557,241 1,695,094 1,773,033
Varzaqan County 46,833 45,708 52,650
Total 3,527,267 3,724,620 3,909,652
1Separated from Ahar County


According to the 2016 census, 2,809,424 people (over 71% of the population of East Azerbaijan province) live in the following cities: Abish Ahmad 2,715, Achachi 3,647, Ahar 100,641, Ajab Shir 33,606, Aqkand 2,902, Azarshahr 44,887, Bakhshayesh 6,102, Basmenj 12,692, Benab-e Marand 4,311, Bonab 85,274, Bostanabad 21,734, Duzduzan 3,627, Gugan 11,742, Hadishahr 34,346, Hashtrud 20,572, Heris 10,515, Hurand 4,658, Ilkhchi 16,574, Javan Qaleh 700, Jolfa 8,810, Kaleybar 9,324, Khamaneh 3,056, Kharaju 1,824, Kharvana 3,353, Khomarlu 1,902, Khosrowshahr 21,972, Khvajeh 4,011, Kolvanaq 7,465, Koshksaray 8,060, Kuzeh Kanan 4,730, Leylan 6,356, Malekan 27,431, Mamqan 11,892, Maragheh 175,255, Marand 130,825, Mehraban 5,772, Mianeh 98,973, Mobarak Shahr 4,456, Nazarkahrizi 1,215, Osku 18,459, Qarah Aghaj 6,102, Sahand 82,494, Sarab 45,031, Sardrud 29,739, Shabestar 22,181, Sharabian 4,877, Sharafkhaneh 4,244, Shendabad 8,489, Siah Rud 1,548, Sis 6,106, Sufian 9,963, Tabriz 1,558,693, Tark 2,031, Tasuj 7,522, Tekmeh Dash 2,974, Teymurlu 5,375, Torkamanchay 7,443, Varzaqan 5,348, Vayqan 4,678, Yamchi 10,392, Zarnaq 5,343, and Zonuz 2,465.[2]


East Azerbaijan is one of the most archaic territories in Iran. During the reign of Alexander III 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 legally trace their origins back to the colonialist policies of Imperial Russia and later the Soviet Union. In a cable sent on 6 July 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".[8]

In 1945, the Soviet Union helped set up the Azerbaijan People's Government in what is now East Azerbaijan.


A sample of Tabriz rugs
Ghorabiye cookies of Tabriz

From a cultural point of view, the most outstanding features are the language, Azerbaijani, and folklore of this region. The language of Azerbaijan is originally "a branch of the Iranian languages known as Azari" (see Ancient Azari language).[9][10][11] However, the modern Azeri language is a Turkic language very closely related to the language of Republic of Azerbaijan and Turkey.[12] 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.

Iran's Cultural Heritage Organization has registered 936 sites of historical significance in the province. Some are contemporary, and some are from the antiquity of ancient Persia. "Zahak Citadel", for example, is the name of an ancient ruin in East Azerbaijan, which according to various experts, was inhabited from the second millennium BC until the Timurid era. First excavated in the 1800s by British archeologists, Iran's Cultural Heritage Organization has been studying the structure in 6 phases.[1]

East Azerbaijan enjoys 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.

East Azerbaijan today

Museum of Azerbaijan
Bank Sepah, Tabriz

East Azerbaijan province is an industrial centre of Iran. East Azerbaijan province has over 5000 manufacturing units (6% percent of national total). The value of product from these units in 1997 was 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.[13]

Some of the major industries in East Azerbaijan are glass industries, paper manufacturing, steel, copper and nepheline syenite, oil refinery, petrochemical processing facilities, chemical products, pharmaceutical processing, foundries, vehicle and auto-parts industries, industrial machines, agricultural machines, food industries, leather, and shoe industries.

East Azerbaijan has an excellent position in the handicraft industry of Iran, which has 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. 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 prestigious universities including:

Notable people

See also


  1. ^ https://en.irna.ir/news/85361225/Iran-appoints-new-governor-for-East-Azerbaijan-province [bare URL]
  2. ^ a b c d "Census of the Islamic Republic of Iran, 1395 (2016)". AMAR (in Persian). The Statistical Center of Iran. p. 03. Archived from the original (Excel) on 13 November 2020. Retrieved 19 December 2022.
  3. ^ "Sub-national HDI - Area Database - Global Data Lab". hdi.globaldatalab.org. Retrieved 2018-09-13.
  4. ^ "همشهری آنلاین-استان‌های کشور به ۵ منطقه تقسیم شدند (Provinces were divided into 5 regions) (1 Tir 1393, Jalaali)". Hamshahri Online (in Persian). 22 June 2014. Archived from the original on 23 June 2014.
  5. ^ a b "Census of the Islamic Republic of Iran, 1385 (2006)". AMAR (in Persian). The Statistical Center of Iran. p. 03. Archived from the original (Excel) on 20 September 2011. Retrieved 25 September 2022.
  6. ^ a b c "Census of the Islamic Republic of Iran, 1390 (2011)" (Excel). Iran Data Portal (in Persian). The Statistical Center of Iran. p. 03. Retrieved 19 December 2022.
  7. ^ "Iran Counties".
  8. ^ Decree of the CC CPSU Politburo to Mir Bagirov, CC Secretary of the Communist Party of Azerbaijan, on "measures to Organize a Separatist Movement in Southern Azerbaijan and Other Provinces of Northern Iran". Translation provided by The Cold War International History Project at The Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars.
  9. ^ Paul, Ludwig (1998a). "The position of Zazaki among West Iranian languages" in Melville (1999). Charles Melville (ed.). Proceedings of the Third European Conference of Iranian Studies: Mediaeval and modern Persian studies. Reichert. ISBN 978-3-89500-104-8.
  10. ^ Dalby, Andrew (1998). Dictionary of Languages: The Definitive Reference to More Than 400 Languages. Columbia University Press. p. 156. ISBN 978-0-231-11568-1., p. 496.
  11. ^ Yarshater, E. (1988). "Azerbaijan vii. The Iranian Language of Azerbaijan". Encyclopaedia Iranica, Vol. III, Fasc. 3. pp. 238–245.
  12. ^ See also Ahmad Kasravi, Azari or The Ancient Language of Azerbaijan (Āzari yā Zabān-e Bāstān-e Āzar'bāi'jān), in Persian, third edition (Tehran, 1325 AH/1946). This text can be downloaded free of charge from the bibliography section (Ketāb Shenāsi) of: Ahmad Kasravi, 1891-1946.
  13. ^ According to the information released by the office of the provincial governor.

External links