ID:5919 Section: Nature

Updated:Sunday 12th October 2014

Alborz Definition

Alborz Mountain is a chain of mountains stretching from NW (the borders of Armenia) to NE Iran (at the borders of Turkmenistan and Afghanistan). Mount Damavand, Iran's iconic tallest mountain is located in the Alborz mountain range. (Wikipedia) - Alborz For other uses, see Alborz (disambiguation).Mount Damavand, Iran''s highest mountain is located in the Alborz mountain range.

Alborz ( listen (help·info) Persian: البرز‎), also written as Alburz, Elburz or Elborz, is a mountain range in northern Iran that stretches from the border of Azerbaijan along the western and entire southern coast of the Caspian Sea and finally runs northeast and merges into the Aladagh Mountains in the northern parts of Khorasan. This mountain range is divided into Western, Central, and Eastern Alborz Mountains. The Western Alborz Range (usually called the Talish Mountains) runs south-southeastward almost along the western coast of the Caspian Sea. The Central Alborz (the Alborz Mountains in the strictest sense) runs from west to east along the entire southern coast of the Caspian Sea, while the Eastern Alborz runs in a northeasterly direction towards the northern parts of the Khorasan region southeast of the Caspian Sea. Mount Damavand, the highest mountain in Iran and the Middle East, is located in the Central Alorz Mountains.

  • 1 Etymology
  • 2 Mythology
  • 3 Geology
  • 4 Ecoregions, flora and fauna
  • 5 Ski resorts
  • 6 Mounts, summits, alpine lakes and attractions
  • 7 Sources
  • 8 References
  • 9 Cultural references
  • 10 External links

EtymologyAlborz Mountain range seen from Tehran

The name Elbrus is derived by metathesis from Alborz. The name Alborz is derived from that of Harā Barazaitī, a legendary mountain in the Avesta. Harā Barazaitī reflects Proto-Iranian *Harā Bṛzatī. *Bṛzatī is the feminine form of the adjective *bṛzant- "high", the ancestor of modern Persian boland (بلند) and Barz/Berazandeh, cognate with Sanskrit ''Brihat'' (बृहत्). Harā may be interpreted as "watch" or "guard", from an Indo-European root *ser- "protect". In Middle Persian, Harā Barazaitī became Harborz, Modern Persian Alborz, which is cognate with Elbrus.


Zoroastrians may identify the range with the dwelling place of the Peshyotan, and the Zoroastrian Ilm-e-Kshnoom sect identify Mount Davamand as the home of the Saheb-e-Dilan (''Masters of the Heart''). In his epic Shahnameh, the poet Ferdowsi speaks of the mountains "as though they lay in India." This could reflect older usage, for numerous high peaks were given the name and some even reflect it to this day, for example, Mount Elbrus in the Caucasus Mountains, and Mount Elbariz (Albariz, Jebal Barez) in the Kerman area above the Strait of Hormuz. As recently as the 19th century, a peak in the northernmost range in the Hindu Kush system, just south of Balkh, was recorded as Mount Elburz in British army maps. All these names reflect the same Iranian language compound, and share an identification as the legendary mountain Harā Bərəzaitī of the Avesta.


The Alborz mountain range forms a barrier between the south Caspian and the Iranian plateau. It is only 60–130 km wide and consists of sedimentary series dating from Upper Devonian to Oligocene, prevalently Jurassic limestone over a granite core. Continental conditions regarding sedimentation are reflected by thick Devonian sandstones and by Jurassic shales containing coal seams. Marine conditions are reflected by Carboniferous and Permian strata that are composed mainly of limestones. The far eastern section of the Alborz Mountains is formed by the Mesozoic (chiefly the Triassic and Jurassic) rocks, while the eastern part of the range is made primarily of the Paleozoic rocks. The Precambrian rocks can be found chiefly south of the city of Gorgan situated in the south east of the Caspian Sea. The central part of the Alborz Mountains is formed mainly of the Triassic and Jurassic rocks, while the northwestern section of the range is made mainly of the Jurassic rocks. Very thick beds of the Tertiary (mostly of the Eocene) green volcanic tuffs and lavas are found mainly in the southwestern and south-central parts of the range. Orogenic phases of importance date from the Miocene and the Pliocene epochs.

Ecoregions, flora and fauna

While the southern slopes of the Alborz Mountains are usually semiarid or arid with irregular and low precipitation, the northern slopes of the range are usually humid especially in the western parts of the Central Alborz. In the southern slopes or the Elburz Range forest steppe ecoregion, the higher elevations are arid with few trees. Juniper is the most common tree in the inaccessible areas and high elevations, while shrubs are pistachio, maple, and almond. But in the northern slopes, the Caspian Hyrcanian mixed forests ecoregion is lush and forested. The natural vegetation of this region grows in distinct zones: the Hyrcanian forests on the lowest levels; beech forests in the middle zone; and oak forests in higher regions. The wild cypress is the dominant form of vegetation in some valleys, while olive trees grow in the western valleys of the Central Alborz near the Sefidrud. The ibex, fox, deer, boar, bear, leopard, wolf, buzzard, goose, woodpecker, vulture, and eagle are among important animals and birds found in the Alborz Mountains.

Ski resorts

Due to the great snowy winters of the Alborz Mountains, there are several ski resorts in different places of the range. Some consider that a few of these are among the best in the world. Some of most important ones are Dizin, Shemshak, Tochal, and Darband.

Mounts, summits, alpine lakes and attractions Map of central Alborz
Peaks: 1 `Alam Kūh
  -25 to 500 m   500 to 1500 m   1500 to 2500 m   2500 to 3500 m   3500 to 4500 m   4500 to 5671 m 2 Āzād Kūh 3 Damāvand
4 Do Berar 5 Do Khaharan
6 Ghal`eh Gardan 7 Gorg
8 Kholeno 9 Mehr Chal
10 Mīšīneh Marg 11 Naz
12 Shah Alborz 13 Sīālān
14 Tochal 15 Varavašt
Rivers: 0
1 Alamūt 2 Chālūs
3 Do Hezār 4 Harāz
5 Jājrūd 6 Karaj
7 Kojūr 8 Lār
9 Nūr 10 Sardāb
11 Seh Hazār 12 Shāh Rūd
Cities: 1 Āmol
2 Chālūs 3 Karaj
Other: D Dīzīn
E Emāmzādeh Hāšem K Kandovān Tunnel
* Latīān Dam ** Lār Dam

  • North, S.J.R., Guide to Biblical Iran, Rome 1956, p. 50

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