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For other places with the same name, see Karaj (disambiguation).
Clockwise from top: Skyline of Karaj at night, Taleghani Shopping Center, Milad Complex, Karaj Hyper Market, Amoot Complex, and Azadegan Bridge.
Clockwise from top: Skyline of Karaj at night, Taleghani Shopping Center, Milad Complex, Karaj Hyper Market, Amoot Complex, and Azadegan Bridge.
Official seal of Karaj
Karaj is located in Iran
Coordinates: 35°50′08″N 51°00′37″E / 35.83556°N 51.01028°E / 35.83556; 51.01028Coordinates: 35°50′08″N 51°00′37″E / 35.83556°N 51.01028°E / 35.83556; 51.01028
Country  Iran
Province Alborz
County Karaj
Bakhsh Central
 • Total 858 km2 (331 sq mi)
Elevation 1,312 m (4,304 ft)
Population (2011 Census)
 • Total 1,967,005
 • Density 2,300/km2 (5,900/sq mi)
 • Population Rank in Iran 5th
Time zone IRST (UTC+3:30)
 • Summer (DST) IRDT (UTC+4:30)
Area code(s) 026

Karaj (Persian: Karaj – کرج‎‎ About this sound pronunciation  pronounced [kæˈɾædʒ]) is the capital of Alborz Province, Iran. Hosting a population around 3.61 million, as recorded in the 2011 census, it is the fourth-largest city in Iran, after Tehran, Mashhad, and Isfahan.[1]

The earliest records of Karaj date back to 30th century BC. The city was developed under the rule of the Safavid and Qajar dynasties, and is home to historical buildings and memorials from those eras. Until the second half of the 20th century, it used to be known mainly as a summer resort. Today, it is a major industrial city, with factories producing sugar, textiles, wire, and alcohol.


Karaj has been hosting communities since 3000 years BC.[2][3] The Xurvin region of Karaj has been inhabited since the Bronze Age, and the Kelāk region on the left bank of Karaj River since the Iron Age.

The stone built Taxt e Rostam, located on a mount in the west of Šahriār County, was built in the Parthian era as a Zoroastrian fire temple.

Šāh-Abbāsi Caravansary

Until the late 20th century, the city was mainly crossed into by a stone bridge built in the Safavid era. The stone built Šāh-Abbāsi Caravansary, located at the southeast of Towhid Square, was built in the same era, under the rule of Šāh Esmāil.[3]

In the 1810s, the Palace of Soleymānie, which included four towers surrounded by gardens and walls, was built as a summer resort by the order of Šāhzāde Soleymān (Soleymān Mirzā), an old prince governor of Kermānšāh.[3] Granted in the Pahlavi era by Rezā Šāh Pahlavi, it is now housing the Faculty of Agriculture of the University of Tehran.

The Morvārid Palace was constructed in nearby Mehršahr district, during the Pahlavi era. It was designed by the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation (Taliesin Associated Architects) on instructions from Shams Pahlavi, elder sister of Mohammad Reza Pahlavi. Majority of the structure is now controlled by the Basij Organization, and some sections of it are open to public under the operation of Cultural Heritage Organization of Iran.

Other historical sites of the city include the Mausoleum of Šāhzāde Soleymān, Emāmzāde Rahmān, Emāmzāde Zeyd, and Palang Ābād e Eštehārd.[4]


Karaj is situated 20 kilometres (12 mi) west of Tehran, at the foothills of the Alborz mountains.

Built on a wide plain with some gentle hills, the city is located north of the agricultural plain of Šahriār and east of the plains of Sāvoj Bolāq and Haštgerd.


The downtown of Karaj is usually referred to Karaj Square, located hundred of meters to the west of Karaj River and the old Karaj Bridge. The villages Hesārak, Gowhar Dašt, and Šahrak e Azimie are located in the northern Greater Karaj. Mehršahr, an abortive residential luxury resort, and Šahrak e Fardis, a popular modern quarter close to the industrial facilities,[5] were designed by the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation in the late 1960s.

Meškin Dašt, a large agricultural area between Mehršahr and Fardis, lies outside the municipal limits of Karaj.

The following table includes the major districts of the city:

Gowhar Dašt Mehršahr Kiān-mehr Karaj e Now Hesārak Deraxti Azimie Ouj Šāhin Villā Bonyād Bāqestān Dowlat Ābād
Garm Darre Šahrak e Jahānšahr Mesbāh Mehr Villā Dehqān Villā Māhdašt Šahrak e Banafše Fardis Vahdat Kalāk o Hesār Eslām Ābād Golšahr
Golšahr Villā Zibā Dašt Zowb e Āhan Sāsāni Homāyun Villā Asārā Mohammadšahr Mehdi Ābād Šahrak e Xātam Miān Jādde Heydar Ābād Sāvoj Bolāq Bahārestān

Open space recreational areas of Karaj include Irānzamin Park, Pārk e Xānvāde, Tennis Park, Pārk e Mādar, Tāleqān Gardens, Kordān Gardens, Jahānšahr Gardens, Pardis e Golhā, and the Tulip Garden of Gačsār.


The climate of Karaj is a bit cooler than Tehran's, and it receives 260 mm of rain annually. The Köppen-Geiger climate classification system classifies the city's climate as cold semi-arid (BSk).[6]

Climate data for Karaj (1985–2010)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 18.2
Average high °C (°F) 6.1
Daily mean °C (°F) 1.8
Average low °C (°F) −2.5
Record low °C (°F) −18.0
Average precipitation mm (inches) 30.8
Average precipitation days (≥ 1.0 mm) 6.3 5.7 6.7 5.8 3.7 1.0 0.7 0.3 0.3 3.2 4.8 5.8 44.3
Average snowy days 5.4 3.7 1.9 0.1 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.5 2.7 14.3
Average relative humidity (%) 67 60 53 48 43 34 35 34 36 44 56 66 48
Mean monthly sunshine hours 166.3 169.7 197.4 218.1 280.7 335.2 341.5 340.1 304.2 250.1 187.2 156.8 2,947.3
Source: Iran Meteorological Organization (records),[7] (temperatures),[8] (precipitation),[9] (humidity),[10] (days with precipitation and snow),[11] (sunshine)[12]

Amir Kabir Dam and some other small lakes are based in Karaj. The city is a starting point for a drive along road forced north through the Alborz mountain to the Caspian Sea.[13]


Karaj is connected by railway and highways to Tehran 40 km east and Qazvin 100 km northwest, and by commuter rail to the subway system of Tehran.

Golshahr Metro Station

The city is served by an urban railway organization established on 21 December 2001.[14][15] It is also served by the Karaj Metro Station which was established on 7 March 1999, and is located in the southeastern Karaj, near Tehran-Qazvin Freeway.

The highway system of Karaj includes Tehran-Karaj Highway, Karaj Special Road, and the old road of Karaj (Fath Highway). Bākeri Expressway is one of the main north-to-south routes in west Tehran, which is connected to the Tehran-Karaj Highway.[16] Tehran-Karaj Highway is one of the busiest sections in Iran with AADT of 217084.[17] Karaj-Qazvin has an AADT of 79606.

The aerial transport of Karaj is served by the Payam International Airport, which was established in 1990, and was officially opened in 1997.

A view of the Karaj-Čālus Road and the Karaj River


Amoot Commercial Complex
Taleghani Mall

The economic base of Karaj is its proximity to Tehran. It is due to the transportation of products between Tehran and the Caspian Sea. Chemicals, fertilizers and processed agricultural goods are also produced in the city.

Karaj is a major industrial city, with factories producing sugar, textiles, wire, and alcohol. It has become a major area for middle class migrants from Tehran. This is due to the better environmental and cheaper housing conditions.

Zowb Āhan, the avenue leading to an industrial plant, is located at the south of Ostandar Square. Zowb e Āhan or Zowb Āhan, literally "steel mill", was a contract between the Pahlavi government and a consortium from Nazi Germany. The establishment of the factory Zowb Āhan e Karaj was halted by the beginning of the Second World War, and it was never launched.

Šahrak e Jahānšahr was the first modern private industrial and housing complex of Karaj, built in the 1960s. The factories Jahān Čit (textile factory), Rowqan Nabāti e Jahān (oil factory), and Čāy e Jahān (tea factory), were established at the complex. It is one of the largest industrial zones of the nation, with a 20% share of the national GDP.

The special economic zone of Payam, with an area about 3600 hectares within the territory of Payam International Airport, was established in Karaj for development of air cargo and postal transportation, cold store, and packing services, as well as perishable and time sensitive exports. It is the only SEZ in the region with the privilege of its own airline.


Educational and research centers of the city include:


See also: Sport in Iran
Dizin Ski Resort

Karaj is the hometown of several national players of a wide range of national teams, and is home to the team Saipa F.C., one of the IPL major football teams as of 2001. The team was originally registered in Tehran, and is known to have one of the best youth training programs in Iranian football.[18]

The Enqelāb Stadium, with capacity of 15,000 people, is a multi-purpose stadium in Karaj. It is currently used mostly for football matches. There is also a tennis court in Šahrak e Jahānšahr.

The ski resorts of Dizin and Xur are situated close to Karaj, in the Alborz mountains.

Along with skiing facilities in Dizin, there are tennis courtyards, a slope for skiing on turf, some altitudes for mountain climbing and walking as well as riding and some routes for cycling.[19]

The high altitude mountains have made it easy for people in Karaj to use them as mountain trail for hiking and mountain climbing.

There are also several private gyms and clubs being utilized.

Notable people[edit]

Ahmad Šāmlu is buried in Emāmzāde Tāher of Karaj

See also[edit]


  1. ^ CITY POPULATION: IRAN: Major Cities
  2. ^ L. van den Berghe, La nécropole de Khūrvīn, Istanbul, Nederlands Historisch-Archaeologisch Instituut in het Nabije Oosten, 1964.
  3. ^ a b c KARAJ i. Modern City
  4. ^ ITTO: Karaj
  5. ^ Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation's deteriorating masterpiece in Iran, Nima Kasraie - June 4, 2004
  6. ^ "Climate: Karaj - Climate graph, Temperature graph, Climate table". Climate-Data.org. Retrieved 9 September 2013. 
  7. ^
  8. ^
  9. ^
  10. ^
  11. ^
  12. ^
  13. ^ Iran. Ediz. Inglese by Andrew Burke, Mark Elliott, and Kamin Mohammadi, 2004
  14. ^ Karaj Urban Railway History
  15. ^ Iran Railways Map
  16. ^ Main Bridges on Tehran-Karaj Highway Commissioned
  17. ^ تردد بیش از یک میلیون خودرو از آزادراه تهران -کرج
  18. ^ Iran Goals: Saipa Karaj
  19. ^ ITTO: Dizin Ski Slope

External links[edit]