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Iranian Azerbaijan (Persian and Azerbaijani: آذربایجان) is in the extreme northwest of Iran, by the border with the country and former Soviet Republic of Azerbaijan.

Four provinces in Iranian Azerbaijanː West Azerbaijan (west), East Azerbaijan (middle north), Ardebil (east), and Zanjan (south).


Map of Iranian Azerbaijan

Provincial capitals[edit]

  • 1 Ardabil - capital of Ardabil province.
  • 2 Tabriz — the biggest economic hub of Northwestern Iran, the most populated city in Iranian Azerbaijan, and the capital of East Azerbaijan province.
  • 3 Urmia — capital of West Azerbaijan province.
  • 4 Zanjan - capital of Zanjan province.

Other major cities[edit]

  • Bukan
  • Jolfa - Border town with Nakhchivan exclave of Azerbaijan, but also a good base to visit the Armenian churches and the Aras Valley
  • 5 Kaleybar - A good base for seeing the spectacular Babak Castle, and the Aras River Valley

Other destinations[edit]

  • 11 Aras River Valley - A scenic valley on the northern border with stepped villages, mountain scenery, and ancient tombs
  • 12 Kandovan — A small village with houses carved in the rocks like in Cappadocia, Turkey


Iranian Azerbaijan is traditionally inhabited by Azeri people , an Iranian ethnic group that speaks a Turkic language , and Kurds, another group of Iranian peoples . The region's formation in its current borders dates back to Turkmanchay Treaty of 1828. By the treaty, Iran (Persia) ceded to Russia control of several Iranian Azerbaijani areas in the South Caucasus, which is now an independent country known as Azerbaijan Republic. The boundary between Russian Empire and Iran (Persia) was set at the Aras river.

This region, especially eastern parts of it, is probably one of the most beautiful places in Iran. The region is known for its friendly people, and also known for the great food.

Iranian Azerbaijan is comprised of four provinces: Ardabil, Zanjan, East Azerbaijan and West Azerbaijan.


Azeri people of Iran are mostly bilingual. They are fluent in their native language, Azeri, and also the official language of Iran, Persian. Kurds of this region, like most of Kurdish people in and out of Iran, can speak both Persian and Kurdish.

Get in[edit]

By plane[edit]

International airport[edit]

Tabriz International Airport.

Tabriz International Airport is the only international airport in Iranian Azerbaijan. It has flights to some Iranian cities and to neighboring countries.

  • 1 Tabriz International Airport (TBZ IATA) (10 km from the city center of Tabriz). A regional hub with domestic flights to Tehran, Mashad, and some other major cities of Iran, and flights to some neighboring countries.

Domestic Airports[edit]

By car[edit]

By the bridge over the Urmia lake Tabriz is reachable from Urmia in 1.5 hours.

By train[edit]

Tabriz Railway Station

Some of the Iranian Azerbaijan cities have access to the railway includingː Tabriz, Maraghe, Salmas, and Jolfa.

  • 6 Tabriz Railway Station, Rah-Aahn Sq., Tabriz (5 km W of the city center of Tabriz). Domestic trains: There are comfortable night trains from Tabriz to Tehran (12 hr travel, 152,500 rials for 1-way ) passing Maraghe (2 hr), Zanjan (9 hr) and Qazvin. There is a 2nd class sleeping train (6 people in one room) that leaves Tabriz at 20:30 and arrives to Tehran at 09:30. Price is 40,000 rials. The more comfortable choice is to take 1st class train for 170,000 rials. This train leaves at 17:30 and arrives to Tehran at 06:00. There are 4-bed rooms with TV and dinner is included in that price. To get the ticket you need to use some of travel agencies in the city or in the train station (this option only for recent day registration). There is a weekly train goes from Tehran to Istanbul which has a stop in Tabriz. For more info visit Iranian Passenger Railway or Seat61. International trains: Weekly train to/from Istanbul, twice a week to Van, see Turkish Railway's site [formerly dead link].

By bus[edit]

There are bus lines from Provincial Capitals: Tabriz, Ardabil, Urmia, and Zanjan to major Iranian cities. There are minibus lines for connecting the smaller cities to the provincial capitals of Iranian Azerbaijan.

Get around[edit]


St.Stepanos monastery
  • The UNESCO World Heritage site Armenian Monastic Ensembles of Iran. It consists of three 7th century Armenian Christian buildings in the region — the monasteries of St. Thaddeus, St. Stepanos and the Chapel of Dzordzor.



  • Bonanb Kabab, a big skewer kabab with ingredient of local spices, onion and beef. It is named after city Bonab in south of Tabriz.
  • Chelo-Kabab, a dish of rice with ground beef kabab.
  • Kofte-e-Tabrizi, a big meatball with ingredient of ground beef, rice, and herbs.
  • Lighvan cheese, a domestic feta cheese from Liqvan village in south east of Tabriz.


Stay safe[edit]

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This region travel guide to Iranian Azerbaijan is an outline and may need more content. It has a template, but there is not enough information present. If there are Cities and Other destinations listed, they may not all be at usable status or there may not be a valid regional structure and a "Get in" section describing all of the typical ways to get here. Please plunge forward and help it grow!