The South Azerbaijan is a 107.000 km square-region in the northwestern Iran, where majority of the Azerbaijani Turks live. This region is surrounded with the Caspian Sea in the east, Turkey in the West and the Transcaucasia in the north.

The South Azerbaijan is a half mountainous region. So, various brooks and rivers enrich the area. We can mention the followings as the major mountains: Sahand, Shahdag, Qaradag, Bozkush, Pekechin Kaflandag, Salanadag, Horuzlu, Sindandag, Demirli, Giydar and Herkandag. The highest mountain Salavan in the Southern Azerbaijan is 4811 m.

The Southern Azerbaijan is considered to be the one of the richest areas in water and underground resources. The mountainous structure of this region brings more rain there. As a matter of fact, due to the effect of the humid climate of the Caspian Sea, the Mediterranean and the Black Sea, it has always been rainy and wet. Therefore, it has plenty of water resources. The temperature is low in the South Azerbaijan because of the altitude. The agricultural crops ripen later than normal due the low temperature. They are fewer in kind. The portion of the arable lands has decreased because of the land reform and the rise in the population after the Islamic revolution. Since the industry is not much developed, the people, especially in the West Azerbaijan, Ardabil and Hamedan regions, mostly work in agricultural sector. Consequently, it is the region where the agricultural population density is the highest in Iran. The rivers with the highest hydroelectric potential are in the South Azerbaijan. Generally the primary economic activity is agriculture and stockbreeding.

The South Azerbaijan has three different climates: a) Cold weather especially affects the higher regions. b) Temperate climate affects the mountain foots and plains. c) The climate, hotter compared to the others, affects the regions lower in height.

Winters are long and cold. Temperature may fall to -20oC. Summers are hot and short. Temperature might be over 27oC. It generally snows in winters and may stay on earth for long. The annual temperature difference is 30oC.

The average temperature rises towards the south and east of the South Azerbaijan. Due to the increased effects of the terrestrial climate in the recent years, it receives the most rain in the summer and the least in winter. The annual average rain drop is 200 ? 400mm. Ardabil receives the most rain because it is in a higher place. Weather conditions are heavy in winters are due to the terrestrial effects. Other than the local winds, the South Azerbaijan is under effect of the wings blowing from the Mediterranean, the Black Sea, Northern Azerbaijan and the Caspian. The air is clean here because of the ever blowing winds. Especially Tabriz is deemed to be the most proper place for the wind energy production.

The natural plant cover in the South Azerbaijan is steppe. But because of the summer rains, it is in the form of meadows. There are oak tress and woodlands where the rain is much in the summer.

The agricultural activity is developed thanks to the relatively positive effect of the geographical and the climatic features. The woodland area in Sardasht that has existed for millions of years has very old trees. As a result of the wrong political applications of the state which reigned this region, these valuable kinds of trees were cut and used as firewood. Sardasht woods, which have rare plants and trees, have been taken under control in the recent years. The most important area for agriculture in the South Azerbaijan is the Moghan Desert with 100.000 acres of arable land. The other part of this desert is North Azerbaijan and is 20.000 acres.

The South Azerbaijan has both favorable and unfavorable conditions for stockbreeding. The large meadows and pastures are encouraging but the long and cold winters are limiting factors. The huge pastures that grow as a result of summers rains in Miyandoab and Zenjan Sector led to the development of cattle breeding.

Sheep breeding has gained importance in various plains of the South Azerbaijan. There are very important pastures for sheep breeding especially in the mountainous areas such as Maku, Khoy, Ardabil and Karadag. Milk, butter, cheese and wool obtained from live animals are the major means of subsistence of the people. Apiculture is developed in Urmia, Ardabil surroundings and Merend.


The rivers in the South Azerbaijani empty into two big water basins:

1) The Caspian Sea Basin

2) Urmia Water Basin

The common river of the North and South Azerbaijan is the River Araz and empties into the Caspian Sea. The rivers in the Southern Azerbaijan are as follows: K?zen, Siminerud, Tatut?, Sablachay, Baranduzchay, Shehrchay, Nazl? Zolachay, Miyanachay, Turmenchay, Aydoghmush, Karachay, Gotur, Derechay, Aharchay, Akchay, Garanguchay, Seriskenthchay, Acichay, Sufichay, Shahchay, Kivichay, Zencanchay, Abherchay, Hokanchay, Avecchay, Kelencinchay, Zengmar, Sarisu, Gharesu and Talvarchay.


The South Azerbaijan is rich in underground water resources. Therefore, the water resources are used through various methods. These water resources are obtained by the systems of deep well or half-deep digging. The South Azerbaijani region has numerous types of mineral water used in the treatment of various diseases. These waters are generally found in Ardabil, Salmas and Serab regions. We can enumerate the sources of the mineral waters as fallows: Sereyin, Serdaba, Gotursuyu, Biledere, Shabil, Eylandu, Khalhal Suyu, Bostanabad, Serab, Maraghe mineral waters, Kenduvan, Sofyan, Taptapan, Tufargan, Veneg, Erkovun, Abdal, Istisu, Shot and Salmas.

But, unfortunately, we cannot benefit from these resources sufficiently. If tourist facilities are built or planned investments are done on these water resources, certainly these resources will be the sources of material income. These waters can be supplied to the market in plastic bottles. But such an application has not still been materialized.

The major lake in the South Azerbaijan is the Lake Urmia. This lake has an area of 4000 ? 6000 m square. The altitude of this Lake from the open sea level is 1275 meters and is considered to be the one of the saltiest lakes after the Dead Sea. Navigation and voyages are conducted on the Lake, and highly good income is obtained from the salt and mud of it annually. There are two livings in the Lake Urmia. One of them is a moss called Oglena and the other is a zooplankton called Artemia. In fact, the mud of the Lake, which is considered to be curative, composes of the moss and the dead remains of small zooplanktons. Being an important source of income and imported abroad for years, Artemia is the reason of the birds, primarily flamingos, to come to the region. There are a few Islands called Kebudan, Sahahi, Aspir, Arezu and Ashk on the Lake Urmia. A highway passing across the Lake Urmia connects the eastern and western provinces of Azerbaijan. In the recent years, the water level of the Urmia Lake has been decreasing due to the dams constructed on the rivers that empty the Lake Urmia. The decreased water level, which is becoming conspicuous, suggests that the Lake Urmia will encounter an ecologic disaster in the near future.

After this Lake, it would be appropriate to mention about the Lakes Neur and Shorabil. Both water basins are near the town of Ardabil. Fish live in these Lakes, the waters of which are not salty. 45 km far from Tabriz, Kurugol is now a resort both for the people of Tabriz and other guests.

Although not any valuable water facilities and dams have been built in the South Azerbaijan in order to take the waters under control and put them into use, we can enumerate some dams as follows: Araz Dam, Hudaferin Dam, Suvukbulak Dam, Aydomus Dam, Alevian Dam, Sehercayi Earth Dam, Maku Baron Earth Dam?

The abundant water resources and frequent rains in Azerbaijan region require the planned construction of dams in the region. These dams can meet both the energy requirements of the region and the water needs of the vineyards and arable fields. Also, they can prevent the erosion.

It would be appropriate to separately address the towns and provinces of this beautiful country in order to study the South Azerbaijan more closely and in details.

(Our South Azerbaijan)