| Region 3|
3.725 million (2011)
| University of Tabriz|
Tabriz, Maragheh, Marand, Mianeh - East Azerbaijan, Bonab
Amir Nezam House, Blue Mosque - Tabriz, Eynali, Azerbaijan Museum, Arg of Tabriz
East Azerbaijan Province (Persian: ? ?zarb?ij?n-e Sharqi; Azerbaijani: ?) is one of the 31 provinces of Iran. It is located in Iranian Azerbaijan, bordering with Armenia, Republic of Azerbaijan, Ardabil Province, West Azerbaijan Province, and Zanjan Province. The capital of East Azerbaijan is Tabriz. East Azerbaijan Province is in Regions 3 of Iran, with its secretariat located in its capital city, Tabriz.
The province covers an area of approximately 47,830 km², it has a population of around four million people. The historical city of Tabriz is the most important city of this province, culturally, politically, and commercially. The province has common borders with the current Republics of Azerbaijan, Armenia and Nakhchivan. A fine network of roads and railways connect East Azerbaijan to other parts of Iran and also to neighboring countries.
The highest peak of East Azerbaijan is Sahand Mountain at 3,722 m of elevation, lying south of Tabriz, whereas the lower lying areas are around Garmadooz (Ahar). The heights of the province may be classified into three sectors, namely: the Qara Daq Mountains, the Sahand and Bozqoosh Mountains, and the Qaflan Kooh Mountains.
Generally speaking, East Azerbaijan enjoys a cool, dry climate, being in the main a mountainous region. But the 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 Azerbaijan is one of the most archaic territories in Iran. During the reign of Alexander of Macedon in 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 Iran began here in the late 19th century.
Ethnic tensions in Azerbaijan can visibly trace their origins back to the colonialist policies of Imperial Russia & later the Soviet Union. In a cable sent on July 6, 1945 by the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, the local Soviet commander in Russian (northern) held Azerbaijan was instructed as such:
Begin preparatory work to form a national autonomous Azerbaijan 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 Azerbaijan Peoples Government in what is now East Azerbaijan.
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 Azerbaijan 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. The current leader of Iran, Ali Khamenei, also originally comes from this region.
Irans 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 Azerbaijan, which according to various experts, was inhabited from the second millennium BC until the Timurid era. First excavated in the 1800s by British archeologists, Irans Cultural Heritage Organization has been studying the structure in 6 phases.
East Azerbaijan hails from 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 Iran, Azerbaijan is mentioned favorably on many occasions in Persian literature by Irans greatest authors and poets.