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 Azarbaijan, Armenia and Autonomous Nakhchivan in the north, West Azarbaijan in the west, Zanjan in the south, and Ardabil in east. A fine network of roads and railways connect East Azarbaijan to other parts of Islamic Republic of Iran and also to neighboring countries.
The highest point in East Azarbaijan 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.
Climate of East Azarbaijan is affected by Mediterranean Continental as well as 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–−15 °C at least (depending on how cold the overall year is). The ideal seasons to visit this province are in the spring and summer months.
East Azarbaijan is one of the most archaic territories in Islamic Republic of Iran. During the reign of Alexander of Macedon in Islamic Republic of 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 Islamic Republic of Iran began here in the late 19th century.
Ethnic tensions in Azarbaijan 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 Azarbaijan was instructed as such:
Begin preparatory work to form a national autonomous Azarbaijan district with broad powers within the Iranian state and simultaneously develop separatist movements in the provinces of Gilan, Mazandaran, Gorgan, and Khorasan".
In 1945, the Soviet Union helped set up the Azarbaijan People's Government in what is now East Azarbaijan.
At the 1986 census there were twelve counties in East Azarbaijan 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, Charoimaq, Osku, and Varzaqan. In 2010 Kalibar was split in half with the northern part becoming Khoda Afarin, while the southern part kept the name Kalibar.
The most outstanding features from a cultural point of view are the language, Azari/Azerice, and folklore of this region. According to Dehkhoda Dictionary, the language of Azarbaijan is originally "a branch of the Iranian languages known as Azari" (see Ancient Azari language). However the modern Azeri language is a Turkic language very closely related to the language of Republic of Azerbaijan and Turkey. 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.
Islamic Republic of 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 Azarbaijan, which according to various experts, was inhabited from the second millennium BC until the Timurid era. First excavated in the 1800s by British archeologists, Islamic Republic of Iran's Cultural Heritage Organization has been studying the structure in 6 phases.
East Azarbaijan 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 Islamic Republic of Iran, Azerbaijan is mentioned favorably on many occasions in Persian literature by Islamic Republic of Iran's greatest authors and poets.
East Azarbaijan today
East Azarbaijan province is an industrial centre of Islamic Republic of Iran. East Azarbaijan 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.
Some of the major industries in East Azarbaijan 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 machine, food industries, leather and shoe industries.
East Azarbaijan has an excellent position in the handicraft industry of Islamic Republic 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 Islamic Republic of Iran's carpet exports. 35% of all Iranian carpets are produced in East Azarbaijan. East Azarbaijan province is also one of the richest regions of Islamic Republic 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 Azarbaijan province. One in Lake Urmia and the other at Arasbaran.
Colleges and universities
East Azarbaijan also has some of Islamic Republic of Iran's prestigious universities including:
- Sahand University of Technology
- Tabriz University of Medical Sciences
- University of Tabriz
- Azarbaijan University of Tarbiat Moallem
- Tabriz Islamic Arts University
- University of Maragheh
- Engineering and Technical College of Bonab
- Faculty of Engineering and Technology, Mianeh
- Faculty of Engineering and Technology, Marand
- Payameh noor University of Tabriz
- Payameh noor University of Maragheh
- Payameh noor University of Bonab
- Payameh noor University of Marand
- Payameh noor University of Mianeh
- Payameh noor University of Shabestar
- Payameh noor University of Azarshahr
- Payameh noor University of Oskou
- Payameh noor University of Ahar
- Payameh noor University of hashtrood
- Payameh noor University of Malekan
- Islamic Azad University of Bonab
- Islamic Azad University of Tabriz
- Islamic Azad University of Shabestar
- Islamic Azad University of Maragheh
- Islamic Azad University of Miyaneh
- Islamic Azad University of Ahar
- Islamic Azad University of Malekan
- Islamic Azad University of Hashtrood
- Islamic Azad University of Azarshahr
- Islamic Azad University of Marand
- University College of Seraj, Tabriz
- University College of Rabe Rashidi, Tabriz
- University College of Nabi Akram , Tabriz
- University College of Daneshvaran, Tabriz
- University College of Seraj, Tabriz
Aras Free Zone
Aras Free Trade - Industrial Zone (abbreviated as AFZ) is located in the Northwest of Islamic Republic of Iran at the border point with neighboring Armenia, Azerbaijan and the Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic. According to the Decree No. 20708/T/530820, dated 28 June 2005 by the Board of Ministers, the area of the Aras Free Zone included 9,700 hectares of the lands of the region. This area was expanded on 4 December 2008 to 51,000 hectares based on the new decree of this Board, including some parts of the Jolfa and Kaleybar towns. This approved area in the attached part has increased the main district from 9,700 hectares to 20,500 hectares, and in three detached parts makes up totally 51,000 hectares of entire Aras Free Zone including a part of the Kaleibar city with the area of 24,000 hectares (called Gholi Beig Lou) and the vicinity of Khodafarin Dam with the area of 6,100 hectares as well as the district of Norduz Customs (Islamic Republic of Iran-Armenia border) with the area of 240 hectares.
This organization was established by the decree of the Islamic Consultative Assembly on 24 August 2003 in order to accelerate the economic development of this region.
East Azerbaijan Industry
More than 5000 active manufacturing and industrial units in all over the province.
More than 80 years of experience in textile and leather industries and manufacturing 30 percent of leather goods of Iran.
Holding the top rank in producing sweet and chocolate in Iran.
Holding the second rank in pharmaceutical industries in Iran.
Being heavy industries manufacturing machineries and equipment and parts manufacturing.
Being petroleum, steel and petrochemical downstream industries.
- Being processing industries.
East Azerbaijan Mines
The province top ranked in the mineral deposits & 3rd rank in number of mines.
The province has the 1st rank in silica deposits.
The province has the 1st rank in gold deposits.
The province has the 1st rank in industrial clays deposits.
The province has the 1st rank in kaolin deposits.
The province has the 1st rank in perlite deposits.
The province has the 1st rank in zeolite deposits.
The province has the 1st rank in gold deposits.
The province has the 2nd rank in copper deposits.
The province has the 2nd rank in diatomite deposits.
The province is the only holder of Nepheline Syenite in Iran.
East Azerbaijan Agriculture
Irrigated Lands: 414 thousand Ha
Dry Lands: 807 thousand Ha
Farming: 3.010 million tons
Garden: 1.247 million tons
Animal husbandry products: 694 thousand tons
Fishery: 4.452 thousand tons
The province has the 1st rank in product of Apricot.
The province has the 1st rank in product of Alfalfa.
The province has the 1st rank in product of Lentil.
The province has the 2nd rank in product of Apple.
The province has the 2nd rank in product of Honey.
The province has the 2nd rank in product of Red meat.
Capabilities & Advantages of East Azerbaijan
Accessibility to the consumption of CIS with 300 million population and other neighboring countries with having common borderlines with the Republic of Azerbaijan, Armenia and Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic.
Being located on the route of the Silk Road and having specific geographical status as the cross-road of Iran & Europe.
Having passenger and freight railway connected to the railways of the republics of Turkey, Armenia and Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic.
Being one of the biggest load and unload pole of export goods in Iran.
Being Aras Free Trade-Industrial zone.
Having 52 industrial parks and zones and one special industrial town for foreign investors.
Being special economic zones of Sahlan, Maragheh, Bostan-Abad, Sarab and science & technology special zone of Tabriz Rabe Rashidi.
Having 8.2 million tons of recognized mineral deposits.
Having refinery with the capacity of 110,000 bpd and Tabriz petrochemical complex.
Being Tabriz International Fair
Our province is the pioneer province in designing and operating investment single window in whole of Iran.
Having advanced hospital facilities and specialist physician in various fields of medical sciences.
Being as one of the tourism poles due to enjoying natural, historical and environmental attractions.
Having enormous universities and higher educational centers with capable human forces in training experts especially in technical-engineering and basic sciences.
East Azerbaijan Tourism
Having 1800 registered national monuments and two global registered monuments (Tabriz roofed traditional Bazaar, as the largest brick construction in the world by 100 Ha of area and Azerbaijan churches).
Receiving the global brand in Herris hand-woven carpet.
Receiving the global title as the “World Hand-woven Carpet City” in 2015.
The province is one of the three top provinces of Iran in “Health Tourism”.
East Azerbaijan Transportation
Tabriz Shahid Madani International Airport
Maragheh Sahand Airport