The regional name Zardab is mentioned in historical publication dating back to 16th century. As a raion, Zardab was established on February 5, 1935. Located in central Azerbaijan, the raion is 231 km to the west of capital Baku. It is a part of the larger Arran economic region which also includes Agjabadi, Agdash, Beylagan, Barda, Bilasuvar, Goychay, Hajigabul, Imishli, Kurdamir, Neftchala, Saatli, Sabirabad, Salyan, Ujar raions. The raion lies on a lowland area, in some areas below the sea level. The area is 860 km3. Zardab constitutes about 1% of the country and 4% of the Arran economic area.
As per 2008 data, population is 51,800 people. Main population of the raion is Azerbaijanis. There is also Russian, Ukrainian, Lezgi and Tatar minority living in the raion. 17% of the people live in the towns, 73% live in villages. First secondary school was opened in 1880's in Zardab by Azerbaijani publicist Hasan bey Zardabi.
Zardab is a Persian word (زردآب Zardab) meaning Yellow Water. There are several interpretations of the translation. Some interpret Yellow Water as "dirty water" referring to the dirty debris left after historic floods of the Kura River which goes through the Zardab raion. These floods do not take place any more since the construction of Mingachevir reservoir which prevented the Kura river from overflowing. Another version states the term "yellow" refers to the golden color. That is, after the floods, the overflown river used to deliver the water necessary for arrogation, therefore making it as precious as gold. And finally, third version states the reference is made to the secondary interpretation of the word "Zard" which also means "eatable bird" which in turn refers to the Zərd-əncirquşu birds which are in Zardab's habitat.