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(Āḏarbāy[e]jān), historical region of northwestern Iran, east of Lake Urmia, since the Achaemenid era.

A version of this article is available in print

Volume III, Fascicle 2-3, pp. 205-257

AZERBAIJAN (Āḏarbāy[e]jān), historical region of northwestern Iran, east of Lake Urmia, since the Achaemenid era.

The name Azerbaijan was also adopted for Arrān, historically an Iranian region, by anti-Russian separatist forces of the area when, on 26 May 1918, they declared its independence and called it the Democratic Republic of Azerbaijan. To allay Iranian concerns, the Azerbaijan government used the term “Caucasian Azerbaijan” in the documents for circulation abroad. This new entity consisted of the former Iranian Khanates of Arrān, including Karabagh, Baku, Shirvan, Ganja, Talysh (Ṭāleš), Derbent (Darband), Kuba, and Nakhichevan (Naḵjavān), which had been annexed to Russia by the treaties of Golestān (1813) and Torkamānčāy (1828) under the rubric of Eastern Transcaucasia.

After the Russian Bolsheviks re-conquered the region in 1920-21, the newly formed Caucasian states (Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Georgia) were annexed to the Soviet Union and renamed, on 12 March 1922, The Transcaucasian Soviet Socialist Republic. Later they were granted separate political status among the Soviet Republics. Then, by the order of Joseph Stalin, the name of the formal language of Azerbaijan was changed from Turkish to Azeri. Both the adoption of Azerbaijan for the region and Azeri for the language of the new entity are historically and linguistically questionable (for detail discussion of these developments in the 19th and early 20th centuries, see Tadeusz Swietochowski, Russian and Azerbaijan: A Borderland in Transition, New York, 1995; Idem, Russian Azerbaijan 1905-1920: The Shaping of National Identity in a Muslim Community, Cambridge, 1985, Repr. 2005). This entry will be divided into the following sub-entries:

The opening statement of the Azerbaijan entries is an expanded version of the following Addenda and Corrigenda published in vol. XIV, p. viii:

Azerbaijan, p. 205b, ll. 12-15, for region of northwestern Iran, divided between the present-day territories of Iran and the Soviet Union since the treaties of Golestān (1813) and Torkamān⋲āy (1828) read: The historical region of northwestern Iran. The name Azerbaijan was also adopted by the anti-Russian separatist forces of the area for Arrān and Shirvan when in 1918 they declared its independence and called it for the first time Democratic Republic of Azerbaijan. Arrān and Shirvan had been annexed to Russia by the treaties of Golestān (1813) and Torkamānčāy (1828).

AZERBAIJAN i. Geography

I. The geographic concept of Azerbaijan.

A. The name of the country is derived from that of the Achaemenian satrap of Media Atropates (Strabo 11.523) who was retained by Alexander in the government of western Media and preserved it under his successors, thus founding a principality which maintained itself in a state of independence or at least semi-independence until the second century B.C., and was only definitively reunited with the Persian empire under the Sasanian king of kings Šāpūr I along with Armenia (cf. Markwart, Ērānšahr, pp. 111-12). From the name of this man comes the Greek forms (Atropatene, Atropatios Mēdia [Strabo, loc. cit.], Tropatene [Ptolemy 6.2], the Armenian form Atrpatakan (Movsēs Xorenacʿi, cf. Markwart, Ērānšahr, pp. 108-14), the Middle Persian form Āturpātakān (cf. Schwarz, Iran, p. 960), the New Persian forms Āḏarbāyjān and Āḏarbāygān. The medieval Arab geographers were already giving it different meanings, deriving it from the personal name Āḏarbāḏor forging popular etymologies, like “fire temple” or “guardian of the fire” (from āḏar, “fire” and bāykān, “guardian,” Yāqūt, I, p. 172).

B. From antiquity until the time of the Arab conquest the name of this country, an independent principality or province first under the Sasanians, then of the caliphate, was thus perceived as that of a political circumscription whose frontiers were always changing as a result of political occurrences. However, the heart of the area was always the mountainous country to the east of lake Urmia (Reżāʾīya). The ancient summer capital was located there at Ganzaca (Ganzak) (Strabo, loc. cit.), the present-day Taḵt-e Solaymān. At the time of the Arab conquest, the (summer) capital was located at Ardabīl. In the third century B.C., Atropatene had probably extended toward the north to the Pontic regions Phasia and Colchis (Markwart, op. cit., p. 108) but normally its boundaries were limited by the basin of the Araxes. In the Middle Ages, Masʿūdī (Morūj I, p. 100.18) indicates that Azerbaijan extended to the north of the river. To the northeast, the soil basins of Moḡān (the plain to the south of the Araxes) were included in Azerbaijan by Masʿūdī and by Ebn Ḵordāḏbeh, but were excluded by other geographers. Varṯān on the Araxes was the farthest locality attached to Azerbaijan to the northeast, according to Ebn al-Faqīh (p. 286). In the third century of our era, the western frontier bordering Armenia was moved by the union of the cantons of “Persian Armenia” with Azerbaijan to the west of the lake (Markwart, op. cit., pp. 109-10) and was subsequently localized in the mountainous countries between the two lakes Urmia and Van. To the south Azerbaijan extended at one period to Sīsar, present day Sanandaj. Subsequently, its main eastern boundary was situated at the bed of the Safīd-rūd, which separated it from the province of Jebāl and then at the mountain chain of the western Alborz which separated it from the humid, forested regions of Gīlān.

Thus, at the time of the early Arab geographers, Azerbaijan consisted essentially of a northwestern fragment of the high interior Iranian plateau within limits that did not differ much from the frontiers of present-day Iran and that, in any case, from the side of the lowlands of the Transcaucasia, scarcely exceeded the bed of the Araxes. The imprecise and sometimes contradictory information given by Yāqūt in the beginning of the 7th/13th century, occasionally extends Azerbaijan to the west to Erzinjan (Arzanjān). On the other hand in certain passages, he annexes to it, in addition to the steppes of Moḡān, all of the province of Arrān, bringing the frontier of the country up to Kor, indicating, however, that from this period the conception of Azerbaijan tended to be extended to the north and that its meaning was being rapidly transformed.

C. The Turkicization of Azerbaijan: an ethnic region. This country of crude mountain peoples, still poorly acculturated to the rest of the Iranian world (even if it is an exaggeration for Moqaddasī to affirm [p. 375.2] that in Sabalān seventy different dialects were spoken), underwent, as a result of the Turkish invasions, a profound ethno-linguistic transformation. The essential cause for this was the geographical situation of Azerbaijan, where the Turkish tribes newly arrived from Central Asia assembled for the holy war on the western frontiers of the Islamic domain. They had traveled the route of the steppes, overrun by the nomads and opposed by the Christians of the humid, wooded lowlands of Christian Georgia in western Transcaucasia and of the empire of Trebizond in the Pontic forest. Azerbaijan at the end of the major migration route of the nomad tribesmen—along the dry southern watershed of the Alborz to the south of the Caspian forest—was an area where the newcomers could collect and become dominant.

But the process was long and complex. Although isolated Turkish groups had doubtlessly appeared in Transcaucasia repeatedly from the beginning of the seventh century A.D., it was only in the 5th/11th and 6th/12th centuries that the first massive settlements occurred. This happened in particular in the semi-arid steppes of eastern Transcaucasia, north of present-day Azerbaijan, in the provinces of Arrān and of Moḡān, but outside the state of the Kesranids of Šervān, which remained relatively untouched. The Turkicization of these northern centers was rapid. Even before the Mongol invasion, the Turkmen “swarmed like ants” in Arrān and Moḡān (Nasavī, Sīrat al-Solṭān Jalāl-al-dīn, ed. Houdas, Paris, 1891, p. 225). Moḡān (Mūqān), still known as the name of a city by the first Arab geographers (Ebn al-Faqīh, p. 285; Eṣṭaḵrī, p. 182; Ebn Ḥawqal, p. 239; cf. Schwartz, Iran, pp. 1089-94), was in the beginning of the 7th/13th century according to Yāqūt (IV, p. 686) only a region where the villages alternated with pasturage and populated exclusively by Turkmen. In the second half of the thirteenth century, according to Qazvīnī (Kosmographie, ed. Wüstenfeld, Göttingen, 1848, II, p. 379.8) it was no more than a winter passage for Turkman nomads. In this period Turkmen were found to the west of Lake Urmia and some groups were found in the area of Kurdistan in the region of Šahrazūr, but, generally, there were few throughout the south of Azerbaijan, where the effect of the accumulation along the frontier did not have any effect.

At the time of the Mongol invasion, most of the first arrivals had passed on to Anatolia, but new groups of Turks or Turkicized Mongols are to be noted in numbers in southern Azerbaijan, in the regions of Marāḡa, Ḵoy, around Lake Urmia, as well as in the Jebāl in the regions of Qazvīn and Zanjān. In addition, after the death of Abū Saʿīd, the Turks who had moved to Anatolia began to return to Iran (Jalāyerī and Čūpānlū). This movement continued under the Qara Qoyunlū and the Āq Qoyunlū, and the linguistic Turkicization had by then certainly progressed to an advanced degree. But the decisive period no doubt occurred in the Safavid period with the adoption of Shiʿism as the state religion of Iran, while the Ottoman state remained faithful to Sunnism. Soon Shiʿite propaganda among the tribes located outside of the urban centers of orthodoxy, prompted the Anatolian nomad tribes to return to Iran. This migration began in 1500 when Shah Esmāʿīl assembled the Qezelbāš tribes in the region of Erzincan. The attraction made itself felt as far as the region of Antalya, whence came the Tekelū, who were to play an important role in Iran, in mass along with 15,000 camels. Nomads undoubtedly constituted the majority of the movement, though it also affected semi-nomads and even peasants. At the end of the 11th/16th century, Shah ʿAbbās I’s organization of the great confederation of the Šāhseven precipitated the massive entry of Turks into Azerbaijan, and the area became definitively Turkish in this period, with the exception of some isolated Tati-speaking communities. From the time of Shah ʿAbbās to that of Nāder Shah, many Azeris were moved eastward into Khorasan to guard the frontier against the Uzbeks. But this did not influence significantly the definitive settlement of the Turkish nomads. During this period the Azeri language came to be spoken as far east as Abhar, near Qazvīn (Chardin, Voyages…en Perse, ed. Langlès, Paris, 1830, IV, pp. 179-80; the observations date from 1665-77). At the time of Evlīā Čelebī, who traveled in Azerbaijan in 1645, Turkish, largely predominant in Tabrīz among the lower classes (Seyâhatnāmesī, ed. Z. Danişman, 15 vols., Istanbul, 1969-71, esp. III, p. 247), was spoken in Qazvīn along with Persian. The delimitation of the languages on the Iranian plateau has on the whole remained the same until the present time. Elsewhere, however, the progress of Azeri Turkish has continued until the present. In the course of the last two generations the entire southern part of Iranian Ṭāleš, the coastal fringe of the Caspian, has adopted Turkish as the common language of commerce and in some places it has become the mother tongue of the majority of the population. This was a consequence both of a return of Azeris to northern Azerbaijan after the Russian revolution and of a large present-day migration of Turks of the high leeward slope of the Alborz who have settled on the shore plain (M. Bazin, “Le Tâlech et les Tâlech: Ethnie et région dans le Nord-Ouest de l’Iran,” Bulletin de l’Association de géographes français, no. 417-418, May-June, 1974, pp. 161-70). The area of the Azeri language in Iran, even omitting the numerous Azeri minorities scattered in various provinces (especially Khorasan) and other Turkish-speaking minorities of Iran (Turkmen, Ḵalač, Qašqāʾī), thus goes well beyond the political boundaries of the provinces of Western Azerbaijan (center: Urmia [Reżāʾīya]) and Eastern Azerbaijan (center: Tabrīz). (Their respective populations, according to a 1976 census, were 1,408,875 and 3,194,543 inhabitants.) The linguistic area comprises, along with most of the province of Zanjān (579,000) important portions of the central province (to the west of, and around, Qazvīn) and even of the province of Gīlān. The Azeri-speaking population in northwest Iran today probably exceeds 6 million persons. This human geographical area defines most exactly the geographical concept of Azerbaijan today.

In the region of the Soviet Socialist Republic of Azerbaijan, the same process of linguistic and cultural assimilation has taken place. The total population of Soviet Azerbaijan (86,600 km2), which includes the autonomous Republic of Nakhichevan (which separates Soviet Azerbaijan from Soviet Armenia) and the autonomous oblast of Upper Karabakh, counted, in 1979, 6,028,000 inhabitants (of which 3,195,000 [53 percent] were urban) as compared to 3,700,000 (1,770,000 urban population) in 1959 and 2,340,000 (570,000 urban) in 1913. In this total, the proportion of Azeris, which was 67.5 percent in 1959, rose to 73.82 percent in 1970 and 78.1 per cent in 1979; this increase reflects the now almost complete assimilation of the Iranian-speaking populations of northern Ṭāleš. In the Armenian minority (9.42 percent in 1970 from 12 percent in 1959) and various Caucasian minorities the same assimilation is in progress. At the same time, in Soviet Azerbaijan the proportion of the population of Russian nationality decreased from 13.6 percent in 1959 to 10 percent in 1970 and 7.9 percent in 1979. In addition, more than 750,000 Azeris are settled outside Soviet Azerbaijan itself. The total number of Azeris in the Soviet Union rose to 4,380,000 in 1970 and 5,477,000 in 1979 (numerically, the seventh largest nationality). Their relative weight (but not their importance) is considerably less than that of the Azeris in Iran. (For the statistics see Y. V. Bromleĭ et al., Processus ethniques en U.R.S.S., Moscow, 1982, passim, more up to date than the Russian edition of 1975.)

Thus the Azeri people, being the result of a blending process in which the Turanian elements are few (Schoch, Beiträge), is the product of a multi-secular cultural Turkicization that is still actively pursued. Although split in two by a recent and artificial boundary, the Azeri ethnic group remains vigorous, and exceeds on all sides the territorial limits accorded to it. Nevertheless, both in Iran and the U.S.S.R., the political-administrative entities that today bear the name Azerbaijan constitute the nuclei of this ethnic region.

II. Physical geography.

Stretching from the extreme east of the Caucasus to the north to the northern confines of the Zagros to the south, Azerbaijan includes natural environments of great contrasts. Between the high mountain blocks, where sufficient rain permits rain-fed agriculture, lie low basins, where arid climatic conditions prevail and where the agriculture depends on irrigation.

A. Morphological unities, sharply defined in Soviet Azerbaijan, are much less clear in Iranian Azerbaijan.

1. To the north, Soviet Azerbaijan extends to the southeastern extremity of the chain of the Caucasus, the marginal border of the Russian platform, resulting from an Eocene folding supplemented by vertical movements at the end of the Tertiary period. A vast and complex anticlinorium running northwest to southeast, with a Jurassic-Cretaceous sedimentary osseous frame, cut by longitudinal faults, constitute its axis, with high summits chiseled by the Quaternary glaciation (Bābā-Jūzī, 4,480 m, on the frontier of Daghestan; Bābā-dāḡ, 3,632 m). Overthrusts and imbricate structures appear on the southern slopes. The southeastern termination of the Caucasus, in the hills of Gobystan (400 m) and the peninsula of Apsheron are marked by structures of short domes with which are associated mud volcanoes and diapirs (piercement folds) with petroleum beds.

2. The plain of the Kura (Kor) and the Araxes (Aras), the eastern extremity of the Transcaucasian trench, is an alluvial basin that was filled primarily in the Quaternary, in a regular slope from west to east, divided by large watercourses: the steppe of Šervān to the north of the Kura; the steppe of Karabakh and the steppe of Milskaja between the Kura and Araxes; the steppe of Moḡān to the south of the Araxes, the last partially extending into Iranian territory.

3. The lesser Caucasus, running in the general direction of northwest to southeast like the Caucasus, has a more complicated structure than the latter. The Cretaceous and Jurassic sediments are mixed with numerous secondary and tertiary granite batholiths and ultrabasic intrusions (gabbroes, perioditites) that are aligned along the chains of the Shachdag (Ginaldag, 3,367 m; Gyamyshdag, 3,724 m) and of Karabakh (Dalidag, 3,616 m). The whole system culminates in the Sang-e Sūr mountains (Mt. Kopydzhikh, 3,916 m), with material that is essentially Eocene (volcanic-sedimentary facies); their southwest slopes define the autonomous region of Nakhichevan (Naḵjavān), beyond the Soviet Socialist Republic of Armenia. Vast Neocene volcanic overflows crown the edifice.

4. The chains of the Ṭāleš, reaching heights of 2,400 m, constitute the Iranian-Soviet border. They extend from northwest to southeast, south of the Araxes, in the direction of the Caspian sea, delimiting the triangular plain of Lankarān (Soviet Talysh) situated between the sea and the mountains. The predominance of Eocene volcanic-sedimentary material relates them to the lesser Caucasus and the Alborz, of which they are the northwestern termination.

5. To the south of the frontier, the mountain blocks of Iranian Azerbaijan are characterized by volcanic constructions, the result of considerable eruptions which took place in the Neocene and Quaternary epochs, in conjunction with the fracturing of the northwest sector of the high Iranian plateau. This activity occurred along the “volcanic cicatrix” that follows the internal ridge of the Zagros and marks its contact with the central Iranian plateau. The large andesitic cones of Sabalān (4,740 m) to the west of Ardabīl, and of Sahand (3,710 m) between Tabrīz and Marāḡa, bear the marks of the Quaternary glacier; Sabalān now also bears minor glaciers (its permanent snows lie above ca. 4.400 to 4,500 m). They dominate the lower plateaus, untouched by the glaciers, of the Kūh-e Bozqūš (3,305 m) between Sarāb and Mīāna, and Kīāmakī-dāḡ, to the north east of Marand.

6. Beneath these recent volcanic eruptions, the substratum presents a complex structure. There are folded volcanic-sedimentary Eocene layers to the northeast and to the east, in the prolongation of the chains of the Alborz and Ṭāleš: Qarāḡa-dāḡ or Qara-dāḡ to the northwest of Ahar (2,880 m), and the hills of Kūh-e Ṣalawāt to the north of Sabalān, continued by Neocene hills limited by the east-west anticline of the Ḵorūżlū-dāḡ (700m), which dominates the Moḡān steppe to the south.

In the northwest, west, and south are exposed older elements of consolidation wherein are mixed fragments of an infra-Cambrian base and sedimentary Paleozoic and Mesozoic series associated with ultrabasic intrusions folded at the end of the Cretaceous and before the Eocene. These form the osseous frame of the massifs that, to the west of Lake Urmia, constitute the Turko-Iranian border (Kūh-e Zakī, 3,100 m.) and to the north, separate the basin of the Araxes (Kūh-e Mesow, 3,155 m). This is the northwestern extremity of the large tectonic unity of central Iran which here is limited between the orogens of the Alborz and the Zagros, raised and divided by numerous fractures.

7. The tectonic division of the northwest of the Iranian plateau, is further marked by the existence, between the raised masses, of sunken depressions with Neocene and Quarternary filling (gypsum and saline formations, conglomerates, still sharply corrugated), which contain the principal centers of urban life. These are the basin of Ardabīl (1,350 m), between Sabalān and the chains of Ṭāleš; the depression of Qara-sū and Ahar (1,300-1,000 m) which runs in an east-west direction, to the north of Sabalān; the basin of Sarāb (1,700-1,900 m) parallel to that of Qara-sū, to the north of Sabalān; and especially the heart of Azerbaijan: the vast basin of Lake Urmia (1,275 m—with more than thirty-five islands), which is broken up by small volcanic reliefs: Kūh-e Čoboqlū (2,175 m) in the peninsula of Šāhī on the eastern shore; Mount Bezow (1,947 m) and Mount Zanbīl (1,610 m), both isolated on the plain to the northwest of Lake Urmia.

B. Climate. Azerbaijan presents a varied range of climatic conditions, being situated at the limits of the subtropical zone and of the temperate zone, and both connected to the Eurasian continental mass and subject to the influence of the Near Eastern bodies of water. However, its fundamental characteristic is aridity. The cyclonic depressions arriving from the west, having dropped their moisture for the most part on the slopes of the Colchian watershed of the Transcaucasia, reach this area almost entirely without water.

Precipitation depends primarily on the relief of the mountains and the altitude. The high chains of the eastern Caucasus probably receive nearly a meter of precipitation a year, and the lesser Caucasus, the chains of the Turco-Iranian frontier to the west of lake Urmia, and the summits of Qarāja-dāḡ, Sabalān, and Sahand, more than 600 mm. But the low plains of the Kura and the Araxes, which are deeply wedged into the mountainous mass, receive in total a mere 2-300 mm, and the annual total is even less than 200 mm over the rivers of the Caspian to the south of the peninsula of Apsheron (Aliat-Pristan, on the coast south of Baku, 189 mm) as well as in a section in the heart of the Iranian steppe of Moḡān on the windward side of the Qarāja-dāḡ (Mošīrān, 156 mm at an altitude of 667 m). The figures are scarcely higher for the more elevated, Iranian part of the Araxes basin (Ḵoy, 277 mm at 1139 m of altitude). The southern basins of Iranian Azerbaijan, even more elevated, receive slightly more rainfall (Ardabīl, 356 mm at an altitude of 1,350 m; Mīāna, 359 mm at an altitude of 1,057 m), but precipitation also sinks to less than 300 mm in the greater area of the basin of Lake Urmia (Mīāndoāb, 262 mm), although the city of Urmia itself receives 405 mm (Tabrīz, 312 mm) as does the basin of Sarāb (286 mm at Sarāb itself). The first slopes of the volcanic reliefs are barely more favored (Līqvān at an altitude of 2,000 m on the northern watershed of Sahand, 362 mm). Only the Soviet coast of Ṭāleš enjoys an exceptionally high rainfall because there the orographic effect (the discharge of the rainy winds from the east, filled with moisture gathered in the course of their passage over the Caspian, as well as when the cyclonic depressions pass along the coast on the slopes of the Ṭāleš chain) are added to the intense activity of the cyclones over the southern bank of the Caspian and yield considerable precipitation (Lankarān, 1,250 mm.)

The periods of rainfall are characterized generally by two high points, one in the spring (May, or less often, April) connected with the convectional rains that develop in the barometrically low point preceding the establishment of the hot and dry flow of summer. The second is in autumn or the beginning of winter (most often in October) which is connected with the cyclonic rains from the west. Their highest frequency occurs with the onset of the winter thermal anti-cyclone. The spring maximum is the higher of the two in most areas, including Iranian Azerbaijan, which is more closely connected to the continental land mass, while the autumnal rains dominate slightly in the eastern part of the Transcaucasian basin, on the northeast watershed of the Caucasus and in Soviet Ṭāleš, where the influence of the Caspian on the genesis of autumnal cyclones is apparent.

As regards temperatures, the moderating influence of the Caspian is significantly felt in the summer. Thus, Ardabīl at an altitude of 1,350 m has an average temperature of 20.9° in August in comparison with 24.8° in Tabrīz, which is situated at almost the same altitude (1,362 m), but which is more closely connected with the interior land, and 24° in July in Urmia (1,329 m). On the Caspian shore, at an altitude of 21 m, Baku registers only 25.5° in July, and Lankarān 26° in August, as opposed to 28.9° in July in Kyurdamir (442 m altitude, located in the Kura plain). The mean temperature of the hottest months remains below 27° almost everywhere in the Kura and Araxes plains. In winter the difference is less apparent, both in the high basin of Iranian Azerbaijan (Ardabīl has minus 20° in January, as compared with minus 2° in Urmia and minus 2.7° in Tabrīz) and in the Kura and Araxes plains where Baku registers 3.6° in January (and Lankarān 3.3°) as compared with 1.3° at Kyurdamir, a contrast that represents only the difference in altitude. On the Caspian coastal regions, the absolute extremes do not drop below minus 15° while they remain around minus 25° in the interior of the plain.

C. Hydrology. The two great rivers of Azerbaijan are the Kura, which flows along the axis of the Transcaucasian ditch (length 1,515 km; watershed basin 188,000 km2) and its tributary on the right bank, the Araxes (length 1,072 km; watershed basin 102,000 km2) which in its long course constitutes first the Turco-Soviet border, then the Irano-Soviet border. Both rivers originate in the highlands of eastern Anatolia and, partially supplied by Caucasian tributaries, for the most part escape the effects of the aridity of the regions downstream. The Kura’s mean discharge is 397 m3 per second at Mingechaur and 586 m3 per second at Ṣabīrābād after the Araxes has joined it (the mean discharge of the latter is 222 m3 per second at Karadonlu shortly after its entry into Soviet territory). Both water courses reach their maximum level in May, as a result of the melting of snow in the highlands and secondarily as a result of the spring rains, and they reach their minimum level in August-September; however, in summer the high waters of the Kura (month of second-highest level June) surpass those of the Araxes (month of second-highest level April). This is due to the fact that most of the Kura’s water comes from the western and central Caucasus and its glaciers. Moreover, the Kura reaches a secondary peak in November as a result of the autumnal rains and then declines to a secondary low in January-February due to glacial water retention, while the Araxes has a simple “two-time” regime.

The water courses of Iranian Azerbaijan are much more modest. The Safīd-rūd (Qezel Üzen), the principal water course of the northwestern part of the Iranian plateau, only skirts the edges of its southeastern borders. Most of the region belongs to the endoreic basin of Lake Urmia (51,000 km2), a shallow body of water (16 m at the maximum level, generally 6 to 8 m) and very saline; various analyses have estimated the salinity to range from 18.8 to 29.1 percent. Its surface, which is extremely variable, can range from 4,750 to 6,100 km2 between periods of high and low water and this closely reflects the annual variations of rainfall. Thus the lake underwent a maximum regression in 1962 and had extremely high levels in 1909-14 and 1969. The principal water courses that supply it are the Zarrīna-rūd to the south (watershed basin 7,890 km2; mean discharge 50 m3 per second) and the Ājī-čāy (Talḵa-rūd) to the east (watershed basin 8,100 km2; mean discharge 13 m3 per second). Both reach their peak in May-April while the low is in August (Ājī-čāy) or in September (Zarrīna-rūd, which is farther south and influenced by the summer aridity of the Zagros Mediterranean-type climate).

D. Plant cover and ecological regions. In theory the mountainous massifs in their natural state produce woody vegetation. In the southern chains of Iranian Azerbaijan, forests of oaks with deciduous leaves (Quercus Brantii, Quercus Libani, Quercus infectoria, Quercus iberica) are mixed with junipers (Juniperus excelsa, Juniperus oxycedrus) at an altitude from 1,600-700 to 2,200 m. These trees are well-adapted to aridity and cold winters. In Karabakh and the lesser Caucasus, this forest indicates greater humidity and becomes more complex, containing oaks (Quercus macranthera, Quercus castaneifolia, Quercus iberica, Quercus araxina), yoke-elms (Carpinus orientalis, Carpinus betulus), and maples at altitudes from 1,500 to 2,300 m, while beech trees (Fagus orientalis) are found at a higher level. The lower level, with oaks, elms, and maples, in their natural state probably covered both the Qarāja-dāḡ and the eastern and northern slopes of Sabalān. In the Caucasus, the beech tree forests are found along the whole axis of the mountain chain, above the level of oaks (Quercus robur, Quercus longipes). Lastly, the chains of Soviet Ṭāleš present a particularly rich forest in which the chestnut-leafed oak (Quercus castaneifolia) predominates. This species is associated with the yoke elms and also with various endemic species (Gleditschia caspica) which already hint at the botanic complexity of the Hyrcanian forest (the southern region of the Caspian).

The present reality differs from the theory, however. Only the best watered chains (Caucasus, Lesser Caucasus, Ṭāleš) still possess appreciable stretches of forests. Soviet Karabakh has already been deforested, and throughout Iranian Azerbaijan the forests have been reduced to miniscule relics or isolated trees which barely allow us to reconstruct the original plant covering. The steppe, which is native to the low plains of the Transcaucasia and in the high basin of Iranian Azerbaijan below the forest line, has been greatly extended as a consequence of man’s activity.

This strong deforestation of the Iranian mountains represents the thousand year-old settlement of dense agricultural civilizations in the mountain valleys above the forbidding plains. Like the semi-desert steppes of the Kura and Araxes, the high, closed, semi-arid basins of Iranian Azerbaijan are not in fact suited for cultivation of grains dependent on rain. In fact, the combination of summer aridity and winter frost that curtails the growing season and makes useless a certain percentage of the rainfalls makes such cultivation impossible. The boundary of non-irrigated culture is located, therefore, in the proximity of isohyets of 300 to 500 mm of rain per year. Sedentary life is hardly possible below these figures except in scattered places in conjunction with irrigation. This situation influences the whole human geography of the area.

III. Human and economic geography.

A. The nomads and their sedentarization. Azerbaijan combines plains devoted to a large extent to the winter migration of tribes and mountains suited to shelter a dense agricultural population, but also offers attractive summer pasturages at an altitude above the forest line. For the Turco-Mongol nomads this was ideal and Azerbaijan has remained until the present time, in its Iranian section at least, a nomadic area.

The Šāhsevan have always constituted the primary ethnic group in eastern Azerbaijan, and studies in connection with the development of irrigation in the Moḡān steppe, give a rather precise idea of their contemporary evolution and present situation. From 1886 when the Russian government closed its frontiers to their migrations, thus depriving perhaps as many as three-fifths of them of their winter pasturage in the low plain of the Araxes, sedentarization, already spontaneously begun in the nineteenth century, began to progress rapidly. At the same time the migration routes were definitively fixed in a general north-south direction, between the section of the Moḡān steppe that remained Iranian (winter quarters) and the main summer pasturages of Sabalān and Kūh-e Bozqūš and a smaller summer pasturage in the Bāḡrow-dāḡ to the southeast of Ardabīl. A second essential phase was initiated by the policy of control and enforced settlement carried out by Reżā Shah in the 1930s, which resulted in the creation of numerous villages, particularly in the winter quarters, but also along the migration routes in the high country. However, a large group of the Šāhsevan resumed their group migrations from the last years of the reign of Reżā Shah. In 1965, the most realistic evaluations still counted about one hundred thousand pure nomads dwelling both summer and winter in felt tents in the shape of a semi-cupola (alāčūq), grouped in oba of two to twelve tents both in the summer pasturages (yeylāq) and in the winter pasturages (qešlāq). Data collected in areas now being converted to agriculture by irrigation (see below) suggest that approximately 800,000 sheep and goats must spend the winter in the 4,000 km2 of the steppe winter quarters of Moḡān. To this figure must be added the animals of transport, like camels and horses. At the present, the Šāhsevan are an inextricable mixture of pure nomads, living year-round in felt tents, of semi-nomads inhabiting village houses and spending only summers under tents in the mountains, and of sedentary peoples who entrust their herds to the care of a small number of migrating shepherds. The length of time spent in the yeylāqs of the mountains is inversely proportional to the importance of cultivation in the winter quarters and of the existence of permanent villages. For the pure nomad, the sojourn lasts from between five to seven months (including the time of the migration, three to four weeks in each direction) generally in the time period extending from May to the end of October. It can be considerably shorter for the shepherds and for the semi-nomads. But the cultural and economic unity of the group, in spite of these innumerable variables, remain very clear. It is marked especially by the adoption of a calendar of pairing and parturition of the sheep, beginning with the lambing toward the end of autumn; this custom is the opposite of that practiced almost universally among the natives of the Middle East but by placing the period of lactation in winter, when the Šāhsevan are in the plain, it permits massive sale of milk products (especially white cheese) to Tabrīz and Tehran. The problems of collection and transport in the mountains would make this practice impossible in summer. Thus the Šāhsevan constitute a type of nomad closely integrated with the economy of the sedentary populations.

A new and final phase of sedentarization has been initiated since 1951 in connection with the development of the areas irrigated by the Araxes dams (see below). In 1968, 1,452 families, either from the true nomads or from semi-nomads already partially sedentarized, were installed on 11,787 ha in 15 new villages, with cultivable lots ranging from 3 to 12 ha. The movement has been continued following the construction of the large dam Aṣlāndūz (see below), although it is not possible to give a precisely balanced figure. But the evolution toward sedentarization seems irreversible and the proportion of sedentary peoples who are content to have their flocks moved with the shepherds is increasing constantly.

Other large nomad groups still exist in Iranian Azerbaijan, especially in the Qarāja-dāḡ and on the heights of the Sahand, where their summer pasturages are mixed with those of the sedentary villages and of the semi-nomads who are much more numerous. They have not yet been the object of an in-depth study.

Today in Soviet Azerbaijan, nomadism, properly speaking, has almost entirely disappeared. However, important pastural migrations still take place that indicate the attraction of the pasturage of the low steppe basins of the Kura and the Araxes. Thus, in winter many mountain villages send their flocks with shepherds to the plains, which also accommodate an equal number of transhumant flocks coming from the neighboring countries of Georgia and Armenia, where the cold-season pasturages are very inadequate.

B. The types of mountain life. If exception is made of a small number of irrigated centers that have resisted the generalized nomadization of the plains, the most stable seats of sedentary life are situated in the better watered mountainous areas. In these areas, the toponymy has remained largely Iranian in the villages located at higher altitudes, underlining the continuity of occupation with the soil. In fact, most of the characteristics of human geography are connected to the ancient autochthonous agricultural tradition: Valley floors converted into terraces irrigated by small derivation dams and kept in continuous cultivation by a rotating system in which especially grazing crops (alfalfa, clover) along with cereals are continued for several years, providing fodder for a large number of cattle, which, in winter, are kept in stables that are partly or wholly underground (e.g., in the areas of soft volcanic tufts). Traditionally, only short summer migrations were undertaken to the lower neighboring slopes so that the higher summits remained open to the nomads. Excepting the ethno-linguistic transformation, cultural traits of nomadic background, such as the use of black tents as summer dwellings are rare.

The expansion of most of the mountain areas, resulting from the development of the areas of rain-fed cultivation surrounding the irrigated areas of the valleys, appears to have reached its limits forty to fifty years ago. As a result the present demographic pressure has led especially to the development of pastoral life and the exploitation of the complementary seasonal resources offered by the superposed zones of elevation. The people of the large village of Sahand, which, fifty years ago, was mainly agricultural and limited pastoral migrations to the immediate neighborhoods, have considerably increased the number of rented livestock and now practice summer migrations of much longer duration, which involved them in more elevated areas of the mountain. The last nomads have gradually been driven from these areas and at the same time currents of inverse spring transhumance leading the flocks to the plain of Tabrīz have appeared. Formerly self-contained high-country villages rather than real mountain villages, they are now turning to advantage the totality of their natural environment in complex rhythms. About thirty-five years ago labor began to migrate towards the centers of Tehran or the Caspian. At first this occurred at the end of spring when provisions would grow scarce, but gradually they became year-round.

C. Agriculture on the plain and the large-scale irrigation works. The agricultural activity of the high basins of Azerbaijan, like the plains of the Kura and the Araxes, has traditionally been considerably less than that of the mountain valleys, and has been limited to precise sites of the irrigated oases of the piedmont, or the cones of volcanic overflow that are fed by small local water courses rather than by large rivers, once not utilized at all, or by qanāts, which are rare throughout Azerbaijan. These irrigated grounds are almost never dense enough to give the impression of continuous cultivation, with outer areas of rain-fed agriculture adjoining each other. The most remarkable example is that of the western border of the basin of Lake Urmia (and to a smaller extent the borders to the north and to the south, the plain of Tabrīz to the east being almost barren with the exception of the large oasis of the city itself located at the mouth of Ājī-čāy). Here the numerous small water courses have furnished the basis for the existence of a unique area that has continually remained thoroughly humanized, and marked by a strong cultural individuality. Certain distinctive agricultural techniques (especially use of rural wagons that are rare throughout the rest of Iran) bring it closer to the high Armenian or Anatolian lands. On the other hand, it has also sheltered, for a long period of time, a Christian minority, the Assyro-Chaldeans, who speak a Syriac language. At the beginning of World War I, it numbered some 40,000 to 50,000 adherents. It was almost completely wiped out or dispersed by the war, but has been partially reconstituted by people who have returned and, around 1950, the number stabilized at approximately 15,000 people. At that time it remained an essentially rural population settled to the west of Lake Urmia. Later it was deeply affected by emigration to the cities (Urmia itself, but especially Tehran) and abroad (especially the United States and Australia) and today probably numbers only 5,000 people in Azerbaijan, half of them in the city of Urmia.

The contemporary demographic pressure in the semi-steppe plains has led to extensive development of pluvial agriculture, at least in areas where the relatively mild winters permit it to profit maximally from the rainfalls by prolonging the growing season. Thus, from the 1920s we have witnessed the multiplication or sizeable increase of villages that subsist almost exclusively on rain-fed agriculture, both in the northeast of Iranian Azerbaijan (the basin of the Qara-sū to the north of Sabalān) and in the high basins that are relatively well watered (south of the plain of Ardabīl). But essentially the contemporary development has been connected with the large-scale irrigation works. The earliest and most spectacular of these projects were carried out in Soviet Azerbaijan. In 1860-63, the Tsarist government devoted itself to establishing a unified plan for irrigating the eastern Transcaucasian steppe after the model of the large irrigation systems of antiquity (Giaur-Arch), doubtlessly going back to Sasanian times, whose remains can still be seen in the Karabakh steppe. The Marian canal in the Karajasy steppe dates from this period. In the course of the following decades, derivative canals, supplied by the high waters of the Kura, were restored or newly excavated, to partially irrigate the steppes of Šervān, Moḡān, and Karabakh. In 1914, the Romanov canal permitted the exploitation of 176,000 ha in the Moḡān steppe, which was also irrigated (to the amount of 77,000 ha in 1913) by three canals leading off from the Araxes. After an abatement of work between the two wars, the high point of the development of eastern Transcaucasia was the construction of the major dam of Mingechaur, completed in 1953 in the mid-sector of the plain (reservoir of 16 km3 ; lake of 625 km3; hydro-electric power plant with a generating capacity of 360,000 kw). Two main canals lead off from it; the canal of Verkhne-Karabakh on the right bank (possible discharge 110 m3 per second) and the canal Verkhne-Šervān on the left bank (discharge 175 m3 per second), each of which encompass a perimeter of approximately 100,000 ha. Similarly, the other parts of the Transcaucasia benefit from a variety of irrigation schemes: Small local barrages and canals along all the minor water courses descending from the greater and lesser Caucasus, permit the development of the cones filled with volcanic overflow on the piedmont; the canal of Samur-Divichi which distributes the waters of the Samur over all the northeastern watershed of the Caucasus along the Caspian; the water-lifting machines that mark the course of the Kura and assure the irrigation of a long stretch of river bank; wells that furnish water in the peninsula of Apsheron; artesian wells in the middle sector of the plain. This complex organization, uniting all the partial possibilities, now ensures the almost complete use of the waters of eastern Transcaucasia.

In Iranian Azerbaijan irrigation schemes did not start until much later. From 1951 two small canals were constructed on the Araxes, 25 km downstream from the Qara-sū. They have made possible the irrigation respectively of 4,000 and 18,000 ha of the Moḡān steppe (discharge 4 and 17 m3 per second) and the settlement of the Šāhsevan (see above). In 1963, the conclusion of a Perso-Soviet agreement on the integrated use of the waters of the Araxes opened up much broader perspectives: A dam serving as a regulating reservoir (capacity 1.35 km3; lake of 145 km2) was completed in 1971 close to the Iranian city of Qezel Qešlāq, not far from the Soviet city of Naḵjavān. The Aṣlāndūz dam was completed in 1972, at the confluence of the Qara-sū shortly after the Araxes enters the lowlands of Moḡān; from this dam, two canals of identical capacity lead off to the Iranian side and the Soviet side (80 m3 per second). The perimeter irrigated on the Iranian bank would thus approach a total of 56,000 ha, to which we can add 6,000 ha irrigated by pumps. The newly claimed lands are developed essentially in the form of 42 large cooperative unities of exploitation (1,000 ha each); each unity harbors 50 families of colonists. Here is also the most important hydro-electric installation of northwest Iran with 42,000 kw of generating capacity (150 million kwh). Other projects are in the process of realization around lake Urmia, and ensure an integral regulation of the entire basin. There is a reservoir of 0.6km3 on the Zarrīna-rūd, with two canals of 28 m3 per second for the irrigation of Mīāndoāb plain to the southeast of the lake (perimeter of 85,000 ha); a reservoir on the Mahābād river (Mahābād-čāy) for the irrigation of 21,000 ha in the plain of Mahābād to the south of the lake; a reservoir on the Zolū river (Zolā-čāy) for the irrigation of the plain of Šāhpūr to the northwest (32,000 ha); and finally a series of three reservoir dams providing for the irrigation of 80,000 ha in the plain of Urmia to the west of the lake.

D. Agricultural production. Up to now, the high basins of Iranian Azerbaijan have remained largely devoted to growing cereals (wheat and barley), up to approximately 2,500 m. Lentils are the food-crop raised at the highest altitude: 2,500 m on the southeastern watershed of Sabalān. Industrial crops always have to be irrigated; they are represented in particular by sugar beets, which are processed locally; tobacco in the plain of Urmia; grape vine for wine and raisins up to 1,500 m (the stems are buried during the winter to protect them from the cold); fruit trees, especially apricot and almond, which require scarcely any irrigation. Potatoes, which would suit the climate of these high cold lands, are hardly grown at all. The newly irrigated areas around lake Urmia will be devoted in particular to fruits and legumes, along with cereals and fodder. In the northeast of the country, the agricultural crops vary as the altitude diminishes. Rice appears below 1,200 m in the Qara-sū basin. Vineyards and melons in open fields become more important. Cotton production is not profitable above 250 m of altitude and is chiefly limited to the Moḡān steppe, although it is to be found occasionally in higher areas (the Mīāndoāb plain.)

The climate and abundant water resources explain why agriculture is much more industrialized and commercialized in the Transcaucasia, where cotton occupies 20 percent of the cultivated area. Other crops include grapes, fruits (apricots, peaches, walnuts, citrus fruits), tea (20,000 ha), olives (especially in the Apsheron peninsula), and silk in the hills bordering the Greater and Lesser Caucasus.

E. Cities and industrialization. The high lands of Iranian Azerbaijan have produced a flourishing urban life. Each basin has at least one important urban center: Around the Urmia lake, they become more numerous, controlling access to the plain and command various alluvial plains with irrigated agriculture. Most of the cities, in spite of an often glorious past, are today rural markets with an essentially regional function. Ardabīl (147,000 inhabitants in 1976; q.v.), ensconced in its oasis where fruit trees characteristic of the moderate cold climate predominate (pears and apples). Here was the cradle of the Safavids and it still preserves in its layout a circular boulevard which traces the wall that the French general Gardanne had built in the beginning of the nineteenth century. At this time the city was an important caravan stop between eastern and central Transcaucasia and Tehran and Isfahan. The closing of the Russian borders, following the annexation of the Transcaucasia by the Tsarist Russia, left it with a purely local role. Urmia, more important today because of its population (163,000), never had any long-distance relations. Ḵoy (population 70,000), to the north of the lake, remains somewhat outside the important international route from Turkey to Iran. Tabrīz is currently in rapid decline as the center of a network of communications and roads, the fact which explains its previous prosperity. It developed in the long corridor of Ājī-čāy, between Sahand to the south and the Qarāja-dāḡ to the north, not far from the northern point of Lake Urmia where the principal southeast-northwest route is intersected by a north-south route paralleling the eastern bank of the lake and leading to the valley of the Araxes and to Transcaucasia. It was finally fixed at the farthest point where the river valley is still contained between two firm shores before spreading out into the bottom of the marshy basin near the confluence of the Maydān-rūd, flowing down from Sahand, whose waters irrigate the gardens of the city. Tabrīz was the capital of Iran in the Mongol period, then again at the beginning of the Safavid period, before the wars with the Ottomans forced them to look for a less exposed site for the capital, and was still very prosperous in the seventeenth century when it must have counted 150,000 inhabitants. However, the city had only 15,000 in the beginning of the nineteenth century after a series of epidemics and earthquakes. At this time, with the progressive opening of Iran to the West, it was at the peak of its prosperity. It was the gateway of the country to the outside and an important stage for caravans going toward Trebizond and the Black Sea, which was henceforth open to European commerce, until the railroad that linked it to the Russian network at Jolfā and Tiflis was completed. The Russian revolution interrupted travel to the West across Soviet territory and almost totally destroyed this prosperity, and in the 1930s the construction of the Trans-Iranian Railway eventually made Iran turn back toward the Persian Gulf. It was connected with the Turkish railroad system in 1970, but the connection remains impractical and slow, and has not really changed the situation. With 598,000 inhabitants in 1976, Tabrīz ranks today as the fourth largest city in Iran, although it was still the second some fifteen years ago. Essentially it exists from its role as regional capital and from its numerous crafts (few industries of importance: especially carpet wearing, leather, wood, and food supplies) although many sections of its important bazaar have today fallen into disrepair, especially the southern parts, close to the bed of the Ājī-čāy.

Russian influence has deeply modified the urban network of the eastern Transcaucasia, assuring the predominance of Baku. This was only the second capital of the Šervāšāhs whose principal residence was Shemakha (Šemāḵī) on the first slopes of the Caucasus, in a better irrigated area with a gentler climate. Baku, a strategically located capital controlling the passage east to the Caucasus along the shores of the Caspian, competed on this route with other centers lying farther to the south (Darband) and remained a very modest city until the Russian conquest. The development of relations between Russia and Transcaucasia destined it to become the seat of Russian administration. A second element of its prosperity was furnished at the beginning of the nineteenth century by the extraction of oil, a process that sub-marine exploitations in the Caspian have prolonged until the present time despite the depletion of the first layers (the production is still 18 million tons in comparison with 22 in 1940). The agglomeration of Baku, with 1,300,000 inhabitants and 80 percent of the industry of Azerbaijan (the only other large industrial center is Kirovabad), represents the centralization of an already very urbanized region (the percentage of the total urban population reaches 50 percent) and its level of development and type of territorial organization today differ profoundly from that of Iranian Azerbaijan.


I. Historical geography. The concept of Azerbaijan. Antiquity: F. Spiegel, Eranische Altertumskunde I, Leipzig, 1871, passim and especially pp. 125-37. Markwart, Ērānšahr, pp. 108-14. Middle Ages: for the exhaustive description given by the geographers see Schwarz, Iran, pp. 959-1340; for a shorter treatment see Le Strange, Lands, pp. 159-71 and the map on p. 86. Geohistorical aspects of Turkicization: Z. V. Togan, “Azerbaican,” in İA II, pp. 91-118. M. F. Köprülü, “Azeri,” ibid., pp. 118-51. F. Sümer, “Azerbaycan ın türkleşmesi tarihine umumi bir bakış,” Belleten 21, 1957, pp. 429-47. R. Housseinov, “Superpositions ethniques en Transcaucasie aux XIe et XIIe siècles,” Turcica 2, 1970, pp. 71-81. Anthropological aspects of the Azeri ethnogeny: E. O. Schoch, Beiträge zur Anthropologie der Aderbeidshan-Türken, Usbeken und Kazaken, Oosterhout N. B., 1969, Studien und Materialen aus dem Institut für Menschheit und Menschheitskunde, Series Maior, I, pp. 11-39. See also ʿA. Kārang Āṯār-e bāstānī-e Āḏarbāyjān I, Tehran, 1351 Š./1972. M. J. Maškūr, Naẓar-ī ejmālī ba tārīḵ-e Āḏarbāyjān, Tehran, 1349 Š./1971.

II. Iranian Azerbaijan. A. General description of the country and routes of exploration. The geographic knowledge of Azerbaijan has not yet gone beyond the stage of local exploratory analyses and we can rely only on rare specialized monographs. Existing syntheses are outdated: C. Ritter, Die Erdkunde von Asien VI, 2: Iranische Welt, Berlin, 1840, pp. 763-1048 (also very useful for historical geography). G. N. Curzon, Persia and the Persian Question, 2 vols., London, 1892, I, chap. XVI, pp. 514-49 and the bibliography of previous travel accounts, p. 570. J. de Morgan, Mission scientifique en Perse I: Etudes géographiques, Paris, 1894, pp. 279-88, 289-355 (the valley of the Araxes and the Qara-dāḡ). Among the more recent travel accounts and descriptions see H. Binder, Au Kurdistan, en Mésopotamie et en Perse, Paris, 1887, pp. 43-107. P. Müller-Simonis and H. Hyvernat, Du Caucase au Golfe Persique à travers l’Arménie, le Kurdistan et la Mésopotamie, Paris, 1892, chaps. 5-10. W. B. Harris, From Batum to Baghdad, Edinburgh, 1896, pp. 85-173. E. Zugmayer, Eine Reise durch Vorderasien im Jahre 1904, Berlin, 1905, pp. 65-220. R. de Macquenem, “Le lac d’Ourmiah,” Annales de géographie, 1908, pp. 128-44 (in fact it treats the whole region around the lake). A. V. W. Jackson, Persia, Past and Present, New York, 1909, esp. pp. 33-143. H. Grothe, Wanderungen in Persien, Berlin, 1910, pp. 293-321. C. F. Lehmann-Haupt, Armenien einst und jetzt: Reisen und Forschungen von Lehmann-Haupt I, Berlin, 1910, pp. 181-323. A. Stein, Old Routes of Western Iran, London, 1940, pp. 361-404. We can reconstitute the history of the discovery and the succession of the first European travelers thanks to A. Gabriel, Die Erforschung Persiens, Vienna, 1952, see the index under Adherbaidjan. The present writer is not aware of any recent monograph on the geography of Azerbaijan. M. Bazin, Le Tâlesh. Une région ethnique au nord de l’Iran, 2 vols., Paris, 1980, contains much information on relations with Azerbaijan. W. B. Fisher et al., in Camb. Hist. Iran I (index s.v. Āzarbāijān) is a very general study and excludes any regional analysis. See also E. Ehlers, Iran: Grundzüge einer geographischen Landeskunde, Darmstadt, 1980, index, s.v. Kayhān, Joḡrāfīā II-III. Razmārā, Farhang IV.

B. Physical geography. There are a few geological, geomorphic, and morpho-climatic monographs: H. Rieben, “Contribution à la géologie de l’Azerbaidjan persan,” Bulletin de la Société neuchâteloise des sciences naturelles 59, 1935, pp. 1-144. H. Bobek, “Die Rolle der Eiszeit in Nordwestiran,” Zeitschrift für Gletscherkunde 25, 1937, pp. 130-83. Idem, “Forschungen im zentralkurdischen Hochgebirge zwischen Van- und Urmia-See (Südostanatolien und West-Azerbaičan),” Petermanns geographische Mitteilungen 84, 1938, pp. 152-62, 215-28. B. Damm, Geologie des Zendan-i Suleiman und seiner Umgebung, südöstliches Balqash-Gebirge, Nordwest-Iran, Beiträge zur Archeologie und Geologie des Zendan-i Suleiman I, Wiesbaden, 1968. F. Plattner, “Über den Salzgehalt des Urmia-Sees,” Petermanns geographische Mitteilungen, 1955, pp. 276-78. Idem, “Mehrjahrige Beobachtungen über die Spiegel- und Salzgehaltschwankungen des Urmia-Sees,” Erdkunde, 1970, pp. 134-39. G. Schweizer, “Der Kuh-e Sabalan (Nordwestiran): Beiträge zur Gletscherkunde und Glazialgeomorphologie vorderasiatischer Hochgebirge,” Beiträge zur Geographie der Tropen und Subtropen. Festschrift für H. Wilhelmy, Tübinger geographische Studien 34, Tübingen, 1970, pp. 163-78. Idem, Untersuchungen zur Phisio-geographie von Ostanatolien und Nordwestiran: geomorphologische, klima- und hydrogeographische Studien im Vansee und Rezaiyehsee-Gebiet, Tübinger geographische Studien 60, Tübingen, 1975 (contains an exhaustive bibliography of older studies on the Urmia lake and its region). M. Berberian and J. S. Tchalenkov, “Field Study and Documentation of the 1930 Salmas (Shahpur-Azarbaidjan) Earthquake,” in M. Berberian, ed., Contribution to the Seismotectonics of Iran, pt. II, Geological Survey of Iran, report no. 39, Tehran, 1976, pp. 271-342. There does not exist any systematic physical description of the region.

Studies covering the entirety of Iran: Structure and relief: J. W. Schroeder, “Essai sur la structure de l’Iran,” Eclogae Geologicae Helveticae, 1944, pp. 37-81. J. Stöcklin, “Structural History and Tectonics of Iran: A Review,” Bulletin of the American Association of Petroleum Geologists 52, 1968, pp. 1229-59. Climate: M. H. Ganji, “The Climates of Iran,” Bulletin de la Société de géographie d’Egypte 28, September, 1955, pp. 195-299. Ch. Djavadi, Climats de l’Iran, Monographies de la météorologie nationale 59, Paris, 1966. Vegetation and ecological regions: H. Bobek, Die natürlichen Wälder und Gehölzfluren Irans, Bonner geographische Abhandlungen 8, Bonn, 1951. Idem, “Die Verbreitung des Regenfeldbaues in Iran,” in Geographische Studien. Festschrift Johann Sölch, Vienna, 1951, pp. 9-30. Idem, “Beiträge zur klima-ökologischen Gliederung Irans,” Erdkunde, 1952, pp. 65-84. Kayhān, Joḡrāfīā, vol. I. M. Zohary, “On the Geobotanical Structure of Iran,” Bulletin of the Research Council of Israel, Section D, Botany, Volume 11D, Supplement, March, 1963. Hydrology: P. Beaumont, River Regimes in Iran, Department of Geography, University of Durham, Occasional Publications, N.S. 1, Durham, 1963. See also ĀB; ĀB-E GARM; ĀBYĀRĪ.

C. Human geography. I. Nomadism and sedentarization of the Šāhsevan. Development of the Moḡān steppe: P. Bessaignet, “Shah Sevan: Un exemple de sédentarisation de tribu nomade avec transplantation culturelle,” Colloque sur la conservation et la restauration des sols tenu à Téhéran du 21 mai au 11 juin 1960, Paris, pp. 140-58. C. Op’t Land, The Shah-savan of Azarbaijan. A Preliminary Report, University of Tehran, Institute of Social Studies and Research, Tehran, 1961. Idem, The Permanent Settlement of the Dachte Moghan-Area. A Preliminary Report, pub. ibid., Tehran, 1961. Idem, “The Admirable Tents of the Shah Savan,” International Archives of Ethnography 50, 1964-66, pp. 237-43. G. Schweizer, “Nordost-Azerbaidschan und Shah-Sevan Nomaden,” in E. Ehlers et al., Strukturwandlungen im nomadisch-bäuerlichen Lebensraum des Orients, Erdkundliches Wissen 26, Wiesbaden, 1970, pp. 81-148. Idem, “Lebens- und Wirtschaftsformen iranischer Bergnomaden im Strukturwandel. Das Beispiel der Shah Sevan,” in C. Rathjens, et al., eds., Vergleichende Kulturgeographie der Hochgebirge des südlichen Asien, Erdwissenschaftliche Forschung 5, Wiesbaden, 1973, pp. 168-73. Idem, “Das Aras-Moghan-Entwicklungsprojekt in Nordwestiran und die Probleme der Nomadenansiedlung,” Zeitschrift für ausländische Landwirtschaft, 1973, pp. 60-75. R. Tapper, Pasture and Politics: Economics, Conflict and Ritual among Shahsevan Nomads of Northwestern Iran, London, 1979. See also ʿAŠĀYER.

2. Types of mountain life. Only the Sahand has been the object of detailed analyses: X. de Planhol, “La vie de montagne dans le Sahend (Azerbaidjan iranien),” Bulletin de l’Association de géographes français 271-72, January-February, 1958, pp. 7-16. Idem, “Un village de montagne de l’Azerbaidjan iranien, Lighwan (versant nord du Sahend),” Revue de géographie de Lyon, 1960, pp. 395-418. Idem, “Aspects of Mountain Life in Anatolia and Iran,” in S. R. Eyre and G. R. J. Jones, eds., Geography as Human Ecology, London, 1966, pp. 291-308 (concerning the Sahand and containing a toponymic map of this mountain). P. Oberling, “The Tribes of Qarāca Dāġ: A Brief History,” Oriens 17, 1964, pp. 60-95 (primarily ethno-historical). M. Bazin, “Le Qara Dāğ d’après Asghar Nazarian,” Revue géographique de l’est, 1982, pp. 19-60.

3. Agriculture of the plains. J. Koch et al., “Neue Bewässerungs- und Entwicklungsprojekte in Iran. Das Beispiel der Provinz West-Azerbaidschan,” Orient 15, 1974, pp. 8-16.

4. Assyro-Chaldeans. E. Berthaud, “La vie rurale dans quelques villages chrétiens de l’Azerbaidjan occidental,” Revue de géographie de Lyon, 1968, pp. 291-331. Idem, “Chrétiens d’Iran,” Orient 45-46, Paris, 1969, pp. 23-26 (contains a map of the Christian villages to the west of Lake Urmia). H. de Mauroy, “Mouvements de population dans la communauté Assyro-Chaldéenne en Iran,” Revue de géographie de Lyon, 1968, pp. 333-56. Idem, “Les minorités non-musulmanes dans la population iranienne,” ibid., 1973, pp. 165-206, cf. pp. 189-96. Idem, “Lieux de culte (anciens et actuels) des églises "syriennes orientales" dans le diocèse d’Ourmiah-Salmas en Iran (Azerbaidjan occidental),” Parole de l’Orient 3, 1972, pp. 313-51. Idem, Les assyro-chaldéens dans l’Iran d’aujourd’hui, Publications du Departement de géographie de l’Université de Paris-Sorbonne 6, Paris, 1978 (contains a very complete bibliography of previous works). J. M. Fiey, “Aḏarbāyğān chrétien,” Le Museon, 1973, pp. 397-435.

5. Towns. M. J. Maškūr, Tārīḵ-eTabrīz tā pāyān-e qarn-e nohom-e hejrī, Tehran, 1352 Š./1973. S. Schafaghi, Die Stadt Tabriz und ihr Hinterland, Doctoral thesis, Cologne, 1965. G. Schweizer, “Tabriz (Nordwest-Iran) und der Tabrizer Basar,” Erdkunde, 1972, pp. 32-46.

III. Soviet Azerbaijan. The problems of documentation are of a very different nature from those of the Iranian sector. We shall mention here first general syntheses and comprehensive studies in Russian that provide a guide to more detailed works. The basic source for the geography of the country is the Atlas Azerbaĭdzhanskoĭ Sovetskoĭ Sotsialisticheskoĭ Respubliki, Akademiya Nauk Azerbaĭdzhanskoĭ, SSR, Institut Geografii, Baku and Moscow, 1963. The accompanying maps, commentaries, and very detailed descriptions constitute a complete analysis of the country. A more comprehensive and synthetic description of the natural environment can be found in general treatises or manuals of physical geography of the USSR; for the regions in the Caucasus see for example, A. M. Alpat’ev et al., Fizicheskaya geografiya SSSR, Moscow, 1976, I, pp. 187-239 and F. I. Milkov and N. A. Gvozdetskiĭ, ibid., pp. 343-420. Some geomorphological monographic studies are collected in Voprosy istorii razvitiya rel’efa i landshafty Azerbaĭdzhanskoĭ SSSR, Akademiya Nauk Azerbaĭdzhanskoĭ SSR. Trudy Instituta Geografii 16, Baku, 1976. Among the works in Western languages, A. Büdel, Transkaukasien, eine technische Geographie, Petermanns Mitteilungen, Ergänzungsheft 189, Gotha, 1926, is still useful.

The works cited above are of a didactic character and rather abstract. For a concrete approach to the traditional styles of life and descriptions of the land, one should refer to the numerous itineraries and travelogues in Western languages, written at the end of the last century, among which we can mention in particular: J. Abercromby, A Trip through Eastern Caucasus, London, 1889. G. Radde, Reisen an der persisch-russichen Grenze. Talysch und seine Bewohner, Leipzig, 1886 (it also treats pro parte the Iranian section Ardabīl and the Sabalān). Idem, Karabagh. Bericht über die im Sommer 1890 im russischen Karabagh von Dr … und Dr. Jean Valentin ausgeführte Reise, Petermanns Mitteilungen, Ergänzungsheft no. 100, Gotha, 1890. Mme B. Chantre, A travers l’Arménie russe, Paris, 1893 (to a great extent concerned with Azerbaijan). M. Rikli, ed., Natur- und Kulturbilder aus den Kaukasusländern und Hocharmenien, Zurich, 1914. More recent and systematical is M. Bazin and C. Bromberger, Gilân et Âzarbâyjân oriental, cartes et documents ethnographiques, Paris, 1982 (Institut français d’iranologie de Téhéran, Bibliothèque iranienne 24).

AZERBAIJAN ii. Archeology

The region to be discussed comprises the two Iranian provinces of West Azerbaijan and East Azerbaijan, with administrative centers at Urmia (before 1979 Reżāʾīya) and Tabrīz respectively; it does not include “Northern Azerbaijan,” centered on Baku, which since 1829 has belonged to the Russian empire.

The modern provincial and international boundaries do not correspond to limits of ethnic or tribal areas. The border between the provinces of Kurdistan and West Azerbaijan and the frontier on the Aras (Araxes) river between East Azerbaijan and Russian Azerbaijan cut across such areas. Before the partition in the nineteenth century, Iranian and Russian Azerbaijan constituted a single cultural entity. In ancient times, however, the two provinces now belonging to Iran had formed a distinct cultural region, known as Media Atropatene because, after the collapse of the Achaemenid empire, the satrap Atropates secured the political independence of this part of the former satrapy of Media (Pauly-Wissowa, II, col. 2150).

Azerbaijan is a mountainous region where routes of ancient origin intersect. It has thus been, throughout the centuries, both a pole of attraction for migrating peoples and warring armies and a center of commercial and cultural exchange. It was the bridge from Mesopotamia to the metal-rich lands of the Caucasus and from the Anatolian plateau to central Iran, with further links to Transcaucasia and India.

Ancient sites. From the pre-historic period onward, Azerbaijan was at least sparsely populated. The oldest known traces of human settlement are Paleolithic cave-dwellings, such as the cave at Tamtama, north of Urmia in West Azerbaijan, found by C. Coon (Cave Explorations in Iran 1949, Philadelphia, 1951, pp. 15-20), and the caves which, together with some open-air sites, have been found in the Sahand massif south of Tabrīz in East Azerbaijan (survey report in Iran 14, 1976, p. 154). It was apparently not until the late Neolithic period, from 6,000 B.C. onward, that Azerbaijan came under closer human occupation. Evidence of this has been brought to light by the British excavations at Yanīk Tepe on the east shore of Lake Urmia (C. A. Burney, “Excavations at Yanik Tepe, North-West-Iran,” Iraq 23, 1961, pp. 138ff.) and by the findings of the American Ḥasanlū project in the Soldūz plain and at Ḥasanlū itself (see R. H. Dyson, “Hasanlu 1974. The Ninth Century B.C. Gateway,” in Proceedings of the 3rd Annual Symposium on Archaeological Research in Iran 1974, Tehran, 1975, pp. 179ff.; I. E. Reade, “Hasanlu, Gilzanu and Related Considerations,” AMI 12, 1979, pp. 175ff.; Vanden Berghe, Bibliographie analytique, pp. 157ff., and Supplément 1, pp. 46ff.). Pottery from then on shows vigorous development of both shape and decoration. Azerbaijan in the phase of incipient continuous settlement offers one of the Near East’s most interesting fields for archeological exploration, as can be seen from the results of the fruitful efforts made mainly between the end of the Second World War and the Islamic revolution (ca. 1950-78). Surveys and test diggings have produced evidence of close settlement in different periods around Lake Urmia and of inhabited sites and forts in valleys leading up into the mountains.

The population of the west bank of Lake Urmia became denser from the fourth millennium B.C. onward. Surveys conducted by Italian archeologists in an area west of Urmia (P. E. Pecorella and M. Salvini, Fra lo Zagros e l’Urmia: Ricerche storiche ed archeologiche nell’Azerbaigian Iraniano, Rome, 1984), by the German Archeological Institute in the northwest of Azerbaijan (Vanden Berghe, op. cit., nos. 1964-70, 1973, 2240-54), and by several smaller expeditions have revealed numerous sites of settlements of the third and second millennia in Azerbaijan. As yet it has been possible only to take measurements, but not to start excavations, at Ravaz, a relatively large settlement north of Sīah Čašma, and at Yaḵvalī, a fort settlement east of Mākū (W. Kleiss and S. Kroll, AMI 12, 1979, pp. 27ff.). Each is from the third millennium, having round houses of a type already known from the excavations of the third millennium sites at Haftavān Tepe and Yanīk Tepe. Both belong to the Early Caucasian culture (early Bronze Age).

Ravaz presents a vivid picture of a big and important settlement in the third millennium. It was defended by a thick stone wall, later supplemented with stout semicircular towers in front. Access to the houses was through a single tongue-shaped gateway. The houses were packed tightly together, but traces of streets are discernible. This site was never built over in later times. Outside the main settlement lay an extensive periphery of seemingly terraced fields or gardens with single round houses. Lines of roads can be recognized in this area also.

Yaḵvalī, on the other hand, is a small fort settlement. It too had a solid defensive wall, but without any towers. The access gateway was of simple design. Outside the fort lay some separate groups of round houses.

Bolūrābād, northeast of Besṭām, is another fort settlement from the third millennium B.C. (idem, AMI, N.S. 8, 1975, pp. 15ff.). Its surrounding wall was 3 m thick and of quarried stone. Remains of round houses can be seen inside. In a second phase of building, probably still in the third millennium, the wall was strengthened at its most vulnerable point by the addition of an external box-like structure which was filled with earth. At this site also, only measurement has so far been possible.

In the northwestern part of the province of West Azerbaijan, measurements of extensive tumulus clusters at Maḵand, Qara Żīāʾ-al-dīn/Besṭām, and Maryam northeast and east of Mākū, and of a single tumulus at Vār west of Ḵoy, have been carried out (Kleiss, ibid., 11, 1978, pp. 13ff.). Although none of these tumuli have yet been opened, there can be no doubt that they date from a period extending from the second into the first millennium B.C., as do the graveyard sites in northeastern Azerbaijan between Meškīnšahr and Ardabīl and in the Ṭāleš mountains on the Caspian west coast. The abundance of tumuli in the pastureland of the Aras plain between Mākū and Besṭām indicates that they were graves of the equestrian nomadic peoples who roamed in this area before the arrival of the Urartians ca. 800 B.C. For this reason no remains of settlements connected with the tumuli are likely to be found. Different methods of tumulus erection have been noted, those at Maḵand being made of earth with stone trimmings (the commonest type), those at Maryam made of earth and stones, and those at Qara Żīāʾ-al-dīn/Besṭām made entirely of stones. Finds of importance for knowledge of the general development of architecture, ceramics, and burial practices have emerged from the excavation of Kordlar Tepe by Austrian archeologists (A. Lippert, “Die Österreichischen Ausgrabungen am Kordlar-Tepe in Persisch-Westaserbeidschan (1971-78),” AMI 12, 1979, pp. 103ff.). Most of the finds are from the early Iron Age (11th century B.C.). This settlement had a central building of fort-like design.

Haftavtān Tepe, which was explored by British archeologists, is potentially one of the more important sites in the northwest of Iran, having been inhabited from the fourth millennium through the Urartian period right down to Sasanian times (C. A. Burney, “The Fifth Season of Excavations at Haftvan Tappeh: Brief Summary of Principal Results,” in Proceedings of the 4th Annual Symposium on Archaeological Research in Iran 1975, Tehran, 1976, pp. 257ff.). The British excavations at Goy (Gök) Tepe south of Urmia have yielded interesting evidence of cultural links between the plain on the west bank of Lake Urmia, Mesopotamia, Anatolia, and Central Iran in the second and first millennia B.C. (T. Burton-Brown, “Geoy Tepe,” in Excavations in Iran, the British Contribution, Oxford, 1972, pp. 9-10). Also noteworthy are the investigations done by J. and H. de Morgan in cemeteries of the third to second millennia in the Ṭāleš district in the northeast of Azerbaijan (H. de Morgan, “Recherches au Talyche persan,” in MDAP VIII, 1905, pp. 251ff.).

The biggest and richest prehistoric burial site in Azerbaijan, however, is the one at Ḥasanlū. The adjoining settlement, already occupied from the third to the sixth millennium, was strengthened in a later period (Ḥasanlū IV) with a citadel and annexes. These so-called “burned buildings” mark a significant step in the evolution of large-room construction from the Hittite architecture of the fortress at Boğazköy to the later Urartian architecture and thence to the Median halls at Godīn Tepe west of Hamadān (T. Cuyler Young, “The Chronology of the Late Third and Second Millennium in Central Western Iran as Seen from Godin Tepe,” American Journal of Archaeology 73, 1969, pp. 287ff.) and the Achaemenid apadānas at Persepolis and Susa (E. F. Schmidt, Persepolis I, Chicago, 1953). The layout of the Ḥasanlū IV citadel foreshadows the fortress architecture of the first millennium B.C., and the rich finds of metallic and ceramic objects are typical of its early centuries (R. H. Dyson, “Architecture of the Iron I Period at Hasanlu in Western Iran and Its Implications for Theories of Migration on the Iranian Plateau,” in Le Plateau iranien et l’Asie Centrale, Paris, 1977, pp. 155ff.). Ḥasanlū was probably conquered, plundered, and destroyed by the Urartians ca. 800 B.C., but some time later it was rebuilt as a strong Urartian fortress.

Urartian period. From ca. 800 to the mid-7th century B.C., the Urartians held the districts southwest, west, northwest, and northeast of Lake Urmia. Thus the whole of the modern province of west Azerbaijan except the southern district around Mīāndoāb, and the western part of East Azerbaijan up to somewhere near Ahar, belonged to Urartu. By 1978 a total of 101 Urartian forts, settlements and other sites, and inscriptions had been identified, including six inscriptions on rocks and buildings already known before 1967 (Kleiss and Kroll “Vermessene urartäische Plätze in Iran (West-Azerbaidjan) und Neufunde (Stand der Forschung 1978),” AMI 12, 1979, pp. 183ff.). The principal excavations were done at Besṭām/Rusa-i URU.TUR (Vanden Berghe, op. cit., nos. 2217-40 and 4278-300; on Sangar see also Istanbuler Mitteilungen 18, 1968, pp. lf.), Haftavān Tepe (Ch. Burney, “Excavations at Haftavan Tepe 1969,” Iran 10, 1972, pp. 127ff.), Qalʿa-ye Esmāʿīl Āqā (Pecorella and Salvini, Fra lo Zagros e l’Urmia, pp. 215ff.), Ḥasanlū and Agrab Tepe (O. W. Muscarella, “Excavations at Agrab Tepe, Iran,” The Metropolitan Museum Journal 8, 1973, pp. 47ff.), and Moḥammadābād southwest of Urmia (the Iranian excavations are not yet published; W. Kleiss, AMI, N.S. 9, 1976, pp. 36ff.; the inscription has been published by M. Salvini, AMI, N.S. 10, 1977, pp. 125ff. and in Pecorella and Salvini, op. cit., pp. 77f.).

Besṭām was founded by the Urartian king Rusa II (685-645 B.C.), who has left an inscription on stone from a building. According to the inscription, which has been moved from Besṭām to the Mūza-ye Īrān-e Bāstān at Tehran, the name of the newly founded settlement was Rusa-i URU.TUR “Rusaδs town.” Here a brief description of the Urartian site at Besṭām will suffice (see BESṬĀM).

Besṭām consists of a citadel, a craftsmen’s and tradesmen’s quarter, and a square walled enclosure at the foot of the citadel hill probably used for keeping horses. The citadel comprised a lower part, reserved mainly for the garrison but also containing stables, business premises, and a guest house; a middle part, stretching up the slope of the hill, with large storage areas for supplies needed in the fortress, and on the upper levels ceremonial halls and the temple of the Urartian god Haldi (which is mentioned in the inscription); and a highest part or acropolis which was used as a royal lodging and as a last refuge in emergencies. Besṭām/Rusa-i URU.TUR appears to have been the regional base from which the itinerant king or his governors controlled Urartu’s eastern territories. The citadel at Besṭām is the biggest-known building complex of the Urartians, covering a larger area than the citadels of their capitals at Van and Toprak Kale in Turkey. The most recent excavation in 1978 produced evidence that Besṭām was probably plundered and burned during civil wars in the second half of the seventh century B.C.

No Urartian cemeteries have been found at or near Besṭām, but some Urartian rock-chamber tombs in Azerbaijan are known. The most impressive is a series of three chambers in the vicinity of a rather small Urartian fort at Sangar, west of Mākū (Kleiss, Istanbuler Mitteilungen 18, 1968, pp. 1ff.). Access is by a 1.10 m-wide staircase of thirty steps cut in the rock face. The tomb-chambers consist of a main chamber, 3.15 m in height and 5.45 x 3.90 m2 in area, with niches in the walls and a big niche-like recess, 2.00 m in height and 2.30 x 1.30 m2 in area, and of two side chambers reachable from the main chamber through doorways. The dimensions of the recess at the back of the main chamber are sufficient to take a sarcophagus. In the middle of the rear wall of the recess a slab-shaped alcove has been chiseled out, perhaps for the placing of a stela.

The Urartian sites are sufficiently numerous to permit the drawing of a rough map of the Urartian road network. The roads connected the various places to each other and led westward to the heartland of Urartu around the capital Tuspa (Van in Turkey). It has also been possible to locate a number of staging posts, some close to passes. One of these, at Tepe Dosoğ near the pass between Urmia and Ošanavīya, prefigures the courtyard type of hostelry which, in its eventual development, was to become important as the normal form of the oriental caravansary (Kleiss and Kroll, AMI 12, 1979, pp. 195f.). Still to be seen near the fort and settlement at Veraḵram are vestiges of an Urartian bridge over the Aras (now the river frontier with U.S.S.R.); this is the oldest bridge known to have existed in Azerbaijan (ibid., p. 221).

Somewhat antedating or perhaps contemporary with the Urartian period in Azerbaijan is the probably Mannean sanctuary at Zendān-e Solaymān, which lay beyond Urartu’s southern limits. The German excavations at this site have shown that it had an unusual layout, with a surrounding wall in the form of a series of box-like structures not yet seen elsewhere in the region. The wall surrounded a natural crater-lake formed by sinter deposits. Construction took place mainly in two phases. The sanctuary, a terraced structure, was built first, in the eighth century B.C. Later the sanctuary was abandoned and the site was walled and fortified to serve as a safe haven for the Manneans (Kleiss, Zendan-i Suleiman: Die Bauwerke, Wiesbaden, 1971). The artifacts found at Zendān-e Solaymān resemble those found at Zīvīya (Ziwiyeh) in the nearby province of Kurdistan (A. Godard, Le Trésor de Ziwiye (Kurdistan), Haarlem, 1950, p. 136).

Armenian monuments. In connection with the Armenians, certain forts in the area north to northeast of Mākū deserve mention. Because of the architectural features of the remains and the pottery found in them, they must be dated from the sixth century B.C. It has been possible to take measurements of two of them Īlān Qara II and Qalʿa-ye Ḥājjestān (despite the superimposition of a medieval Armenian castle on the latter site). They have the salient-reentrant wall lines typical of Azerbaijan in the sixth century B.C. Both must therefore be classified as purely Urartian forts. But since the territory and culture of the Urartians were taken over by the Armenians, sites such as Īlān Qara II and Qalʿa-ye Ḥājjestān are likely to have become early (pre-Christian) Armenian forts. Elsewhere in West Azerbaijan there are remains of other forts of prehistoric origin which remained in use until the later Middle Ages. Some names of Armenian castles in the Armenian province of Vaspurakan are known from old writings but difficult to pin on ruins visible today. For example, it has not yet been possible to find the name of the Armenian castle which stood on top of the Urartian ruins at Besṭām from the ninth to the fifteenth century A.D. (see also further below).

Median period. It is not yet possible, in the present state of knowledge, to describe the political changes which led to the ending of Urartian rule in Azerbaijan in the middle or the second half of the 7th century B.C. Some clues, however, have been provided by archeological investigations in the northwestern part of West Azerbaijan. A change in the method of fortress defense is indicated by the construction of massive walls, with the rectilinear, salient, and reentrant lines of ramparts, on the irregular contours of citadel hills. The pottery also shows change, with the development of the painted, so-called “triangle ware.” In many cases the dating of architectural and ceramic remains in the transition from the Urartian to the Median and subsequent Achaemenid periods has not yet been satisfactorily worked out. There is reason to believe that certain remains of settlements at Besṭām and in its vicinity are Median. Investigations have shown, however, that the rock-tomb at Faḵraka south of Lake Urmia, which was once thought to be Median, is of considerably more recent, probably late Achaemenid, origin (H. von Gall, “Zu den "Medischen" Felsgräbern in Nordwestiran and iraqi Kurdestan,” Archäologischer Anzeiger, 1966, pp. 20ff.).

Achaemenid period. Azerbaijan was annexed to the empire of the Achaemenids some time in the second half of the sixth century B.C. They have left very few relics in this province compared with others. Some graves and houses of the period have been discovered at Taḵt-e Solaymān and other cemetery sites (R. and E. Naumann, “Takht-i Suleiman,” in Katalog der Ausstellung München 1976, p. 26). Finds of Achaemenid pottery have been made at Qalʿa-ye Żaḥḥāk (Kleiss, AMI, N.S. 6, 1973, pp. 163ff.)

Seleucid and Parthian periods. The Seleucids (312-129 B.C.) have left no significant vestiges in Azerbaijan. From the Parthian period (191 B.C.-A.D. 225), however, remains of settlements and cemeteries are widely scattered throughout the region. Numerous graveyards of the first century A.D. have been found in the Ṭāleš district around Germī north of Ardabīl (Iranian excavations directed by S. Kāmbaḵš-e Fard, unpublished report). At Taḵt-e Solaymān, however, the excavations have yielded so little in the way of Parthian pottery that the identification of this site with the Parthian fortress Phraaspa, which the Roman general Mark Antony besieged without success in 36 B.C., is no longer tenable (R. and E. Naumann, op. cit., p. 11). Phraaspa is more likely to be traceable in the Marāḡa district. At Qalʿa-ye Żaḥḥāk south of Sīāh Čaman (Qara Čaman) in East Azerbaijan, extensive ruins of buildings from the Parthian period, including an almost wholly intact brick-walled pavilion of the first century A.D., await detailed examination (Kleiss, AMI, N.S. 6, 1973, pp. 163ff.). The design of the pavilion’s facade exhibits a blend of old Iranian traditions of building inherited from Achaemenid times with influences from Roman architecture. There are strong grounds for the hypothesis, first propounded by V. Minorsky (BSOAS 9, 1943-46, p. 262) that Qalʿa-ye Żaḥḥāk is to be identified with the Parthian town Phanaspa mentioned by Ptolemy (Geography, ed. F. W. Wilberg, VI, 2, Essendiae, 1838-45, p. 393).

Sasanian period. The Sasanian period (A.D. 240-642) is represented in Azerbaijan by clearly identifiable remains of settlements, including one at Besṭām, by parts of mosques, such as the Masjed-e Jomʿa at Urmia, and by ruins of fortresses. Many old castles are believed to be of Sasanian origin, and in some of them Sasanian brick or stone work can be recognized, but more often the belief rests on speculation rather than factual evidence of Sasanian characteristics of the walls. No solution has yet been found to the problem of distinguishing Sasanian from Islamic fortification techniques. The same is true of pottery designs.

The most important legacy of Sasanian art in Azerbaijan is the rock-carving at Salmās (formerly Šāhpūr). This dates from the third century A.D. and probably represents an act of homage or acceptance of vassalage by the Armenians in the presence of Ardašīr I and the crown prince Šāpūr. The lowness of the relief sets it apart from the more sculptural Sasanian rock-carvings in other regions (W. Hinz, “Das Sasanidische Felsrelief von Salmās,” Iranica Antiqua 5, 1965, pp. 148ff.). A Sasanian rock-inscription survives in the Meškīnšahr district in East Azerbaijan (ibid., nos. 2266-67).

The German excavations at Taḵt-e Solaymān, the site of the Sasanian sanctuary of Ādur Gušnasp, have thrown light on one of the most important and interesting cult centers of the Zoroastrian religion (R. Naumann, “Die Ruinen von Tacht-e Soleiman und Zendan-e Suleiman und Umgebung,” in Führer zu archäologischen Plätzen in Iran II, Berlin, 1977. D. Huff, “Recherches archéologiques à Takht-i Suleiman, centre religieux royal sassanide,” Comptes rendus de l’Académie des inscriptions et belles-lettres, 1978, pp. 774ff.). The fire sanctuary, known as the sanctuary of Šīz, had originally stood at Ganzak (probably identifiable with the Laylān) and was apparently moved to the plateau now called Taḵt-e Solaymān (Solomon’s throne) by Ḵosrow I in the middle of the sixth century A.D. The fire temple, which was the focal point of the complex, evidently suffered at least partial destruction at the hands of the Byzantine army of the emperor Heraclius in 624, although according to Abū Dolaf Mesʿar b. Mohalhel, who wrote in the mid-4th/10th century, the fire had been burning for seven hundred years and was still alight in his time. The excavations have produced evidence that the fire sanctuary buildings which finally took shape on the Taḵt-e Solaymān plateau remained intact for only about one hundred years, from Ḵosrow I’s to Ḵosrow II’s reign. Before then, perhaps in the fifth century during the reign of Pērōz I, the plateau had been fortified for the first time with the construction of a mud-brick wall, and mud-brick buildings had been erected inside the sacred enclosure. The plan devised at that time was on a large scale, and the builders in the later Sasanian period adhered to its general lines. The plateau is a terrace of sinter built up by lime deposition from a powerful spring, the impounded waters of which form a small lake or pond in the middle of the terrace. The original mud-brick buildings and surrounding wall of the sanctuary were replaced from ca. 500 onward by structures of hewn stone with baked brick vaults. Sasanian building activity at Taḵt-e Solaymān certainly reached its peak in the reign of Ḵosrow I (531-79), when the Ādur Gušnasp fire was relocated and suitably housed at this site, then called Šīz. After the destruction by the Byzantines and the subsequent conquest of Iran by the Arabs, practice of the fire cult at Taḵt-e Solaymān continued for a long time, despite the establishment and gradual expansion of a Muslim settlement on the plateau in the ʿAbbasid period. Even so, Taḵt-e Solaymān lost the religious eminence which it had enjoyed under the Sasanians. It did not regain any sort of importance until ca. 1271, when the il-khan Abaqa (Abāqā) built a summer palace on top of the ruins, partly incorporating walls and surviving chambers of the former fire sanctuary.

Islamic period. Azerbaijan, with the rest of Iran, fell to the Muslims in the mid-seventh century A.D. Its history in the first four centuries of the Islamic period is to a large extent obscure. The oldest surviving Islamic edifices were built in the Saljuq period, e.g., the Se Gonbad tomb-tower at Urmia which dates from 1180 and is notable for the fine stalactite stucco ornamentation over its portal. The domed hall of the great mosque (Masjed-e Jomʿa) at Urmia is conceptually derived from the Sasanian čahār-ṭāq (dome on four arches over a fire altar) and evidently stands on pre-Islamic foundations. This mosque’s meḥrāb dating from 1277 and another at Marand dating from the fourteenth century are fine examples of the use of stucco for niche-decoration in the Il-khanid period, comparable in the delicacy of their carving with the meḥrāb in the Masjed-e Jomʿa of Isfahan. Also important are the remains of the Masjed-e Jomʿa and its minaret at Ardabīl from the Saljuq or the Il-khanid period (12th or 13th century). The tomb-tower at Meškīnšahr from the Il-khanid period or the time of Tīmūr (13th or 14th century) is the last big tomb-tower left in Azerbaijan since the destruction of the one at Salmās in an earthquake in 1930. Several smaller tomb-towers, mostly of later date, also exist and have been surveyed. (On the Islamic architecture in general, see Survey of Persian Art I-IX, London 1938; XIV, New York and Tehran 1967; XV, Tehran, 1977. For the survey reports, see Kleiss in AMI, N.S. 26, 1969-73.) At Tabrīz, nothing from the early Islamic period remains, and the Masjed-e Jomʿa in the bazaar, though originally built in the Saljuq period, underwent drastic alteration in the fifteenth century. Of the five architecturally important tomb-towers at Marāḡa, the Qoy-borj (Tower of the ram) from the Timurid period has collapsed; three of those still standing are from the Saljuq period, namely the Gonbad-e Sorḵ (Red dome) completed in 1148, which is the oldest, the Gonbad-e Kabūd (Blue dome), and a round tower, while the fourth, known as the Gonbad-e Ḡaffārīya, is from the time of the Il-khans (early 14th century).

As already mentioned, the il-khan Abaqa (1265-81), whose capital was at Marāḡa, had a hunting lodge, named Saturiq, built on the Taḵt-e Solaymān plateau. The walls of its main rooms were richly adorned with carved stucco and glazed tiles (R. and E. Naumann, “Takht-i Suleiman,” pp. 43ff., 61ff.). Being built on top of the Sasanian ruins, the Mongol palace on the whole conformed to the plan of the Zoroastrian sanctuary with the pond at the center of the layout, but the main entrance was shifted from the north to the south side of the defensive wall around the plateau. Pillared galleries were built around the pond on all four sides, probably also as in Sasanian times. Behind the arcades lay rooms with differing but commodious dimensions. On the site of the former fire-temple, a large and conspicuous chamber with a north-south orientation was erected, possibly for use as an audience hall, and made accessible by means of a flight of steps. Among the decorative objects found in the Il-khanid palace at Taḵt-e Solaymān, a marble capital with the acanthus design is particularly interesting; it is typical of the late Roman period and likely to have been imported from northern Syria. Remains of kilns and potters’ workshops at Taḵt-e Solaymān indicate that the wall tiles were manufactured on the spot. Taḵt-e Solaymān was abandoned early in the fourteenth century and Abaqa Khan’s palace then fell into ruin (ibid., p. 12).

As regards the dating of the foundation of Azerbaijan’s main towns, no clear evidence is available. Despite the lack of definite proof, it can be taken for certain that Urmia is of pre-Islamic origin. There are no archeological remains to show that Tabrīz existed in pre-Islamic times, and the earliest date of its establishment given in a literary source is 175/791 during the caliphate of Hārūn al-Rašīd (Nozhat al-qolūb, p. 75). In general the larger towns of Azerbaijan appear to have come into being soon after the spread of Islam in Iran, because most of them contain buildings or remains of the early Islamic period. Tabrīz was the capital of the il-khans in the 7th/13th century and of the Qara Qoyunlū and Āq Qoyunlū Turkman dynasties in the 9th/15th century. Surviving from the Turkman period are the remains of the Masjed-e Kabūd (Blue Mosque) and from the Il-khanid period those of the Masjed-e ʿAlīšāh, whose massive qebla wall dominates the city’s skyline. For a long time the remains of the latter mosque were used as the citadel (arg) of Tabrīz (see ARG-E ʿALĪŠĀH); after the Revolution of 1979 they were restored to their original purpose and made into an enclosure for public prayers in the open air.

Parts of the north of Iranian Azerbaijan were inhabited by Armenians before the mass expulsions and emigrations of the First World War. Numerous churches and ruins of churches attest the density of this population, particularly in the area northwest of Lake Urmia. Some are of considerable artistic and historical interest, such as the church at Mojombār near Tabrīz which probably dates from the 4th/10th century. The church of St. Thaddeus, locally called the Qara Kelīsā, on the site of the saint’s tomb is partly 4th/10th century (the east end); it was largely rebuilt after an earthquake in 1318 and greatly extended in the 13th/19th century. There were hopes on the Iranian side at that time that the monastery of St. Thaddeus, if suitably enlarged, might become the seat of the Catholicos, but when political factors rendered these hopes vain, the nineteenth-century building work was left unfinished; even so, this is one of the most interesting Armenian churches. Equally noteworthy is the monastery of St. Stephanos on the frontier-river Aras; parts of it go back to the 3rd-4th/9th-10th centuries, but most of what remains today dates from the 10th-11th/16th-17th centuries and gives interesting evidence of mutual interactions between Christian and Islamic art in that period. (For reports of surveys of Armenian churches in Azerbaijan, see AMI, N.S. 2, 1969, pp. 8ff., 12, 1979, pp. 361ff.; on St. Thaddeus, Documenti di architettura armena 4, Milan, 1973; on St. Stefanos, ibid., 10, 1980.) Armenian influence on Iranian architecture is apparent in the gateway of the bazaar entrance to the town of Ḵoy, probably built by Armenian masons in the early 13th/19th century when the town’s walls were broadened to form “French-type” fortifications; the use of alternate layers of different-colored stone is typical of Armenian stonework.

The most impressive relics of Safavid architecture and fine art in Azerbaijan are the tile-clad mausoleum of the dynasty’s founder Shaikh Ṣafī at Ardabīl and the adjoining chamber which was built to house the royal collection of Chinese porcelain. Lesser buildings of the Safavid and likewise the Qajar period in Azerbaijan give the impression that the province made no significant cultural advance in the 11th/17th and subsequent centuries. When the central government left Tabrīz, Azerbaijan was relegated to a subordinate role and all the artistic talent of Iran was drawn to the succeeding capital cities, first Qazvīn, then Isfahan, and finally Tehran.

Trade routes across Azerbaijan have long been important. Stretches of some of them were described in ancient times by Ptolemy. Economic growth in the Middle Ages gave rise to increasing intercontinental traffic, particularly on the branch of the “silk road” crossing Azerbaijan from east to west. Although in general nothing much was done in Azerbaijan to improve the state of the roads, construction of bridges and caravanserais was essential.

The Aras was bridged at a number of places. Remains of a Qajar (19th century) bridge on the Tabrīz-Baku road and of a probably Safavid (17th century) bridge at Ḵodā-āfarīn survive in fairly good condition (see AMI 18, 1985). Also well-preserved is the remarkable walled approach ramp of another probably Safavid bridge over the Aras west of Julfa (Jolfā) on the road from Tabrīz to Yerevan (Īravān). A bridge east of Mākū bearing an Armenian inscription is still intact. The old bridge near Tabrīz and another near Āḏaršahr deserve mention, and the bridge called the Pol-e Qāflān-kūh over the Safīd-rūd near Mīāna is particularly interesting as an inscription records the date of its completion in 888/1484 (Kleiss, AMI 16, 1983, pp. 363ff.). Dating of bridges which lack an inscription is difficult, but in general it appears that the surviving old bridges or ruins of bridges date from the Qajar period (19th century) or less frequently the Safavid period (17th century).

Azerbaijan is not so rich in caravanserais as are the areas around the central Iranian desert, the Dašt-e Kavīr, and along the cross-desert routes. The main road from Yerevan through Jolfā, Marand, Tabrīz, and Mīāna to Qazvīn and Tehran was endowed with Safavid and Qajar caravanserais as well as the Jolfā and Pol-e Qāflān-kūh bridges. Remains of the tile-adorned portal of a Timurid (14th-15th century) caravanserai can be seen between Jolfā and Marand (Kleiss, AMI, N.S. 5, 1972, pl. 53.3). Most of the caravanserais are of the courtyard type with four ayvāns (arched portals), the commonest form of caravanserai in Iran. On roads which cross the frontier to Turkey through high passes, particularly the Tabrīz-Ḵoy-Van road, some caravanserais of the completely covered type remain, and there is also one close to the pass on the Tabrīz-Ahar road; they were built to give shelter from avalanches and snowstorms and therefore have no courtyard, all the rooms and stables being interconnected and vaulted.

Azerbaijan has a large number of medieval castles, mainly in mountainous areas. Many stand on pre-Islamic fort sites. They were built to guard and control lines of communication, to overlook and protect cultivated areas, and to dominate cities and towns. Certain castles, such as the Qalʿa-ye Doḵtar above the Pol-e Qāflān-kūh, have architectural peculiarities which suggest that they were built by the Assassins to secure the communications between their headquarters at Alamūt northeast of Qazvīn and their outposts in Syria.

Much work remains to be done on the archeology of Azerbaijan from pre-historic to recent times. Insecurity on the roads, and thereafter wars and their sequels, kept archeologists away for many decades. Between 1950 and 1978 promising excavations and wide-ranging surveys in Azerbaijan were planned and implemented in an international cooperative effort. Political developments in Iran since 1357/1979 have brought all these undertakings to a temporary halt.


Given in the text. On the pre-Islamic period, consult L. Vanden Berghe, Bibliographie analytique de l’archéologie de l’Iran ancien, Leiden, 1979, and Supplément l. 1978-1980, Leiden, 1981.

On the Islamic period, see the survey reports in Archäologische Mitteilungen aus Iran, N.S. 1, Berlin, 1968, and subsequent volumes.

See also ʿA. Kārang, Āṯār-e bāstānī-e Āḏarbāyjān I: Āṯār o abnīa-ye tārīḵī-e šahrestān-e Tabrīz, Tabrīz, 1351 Š./1972, and S. J. Torābī Ṭabāṭabāʾī, Āṯār-e bāstānī-e Āḏarbāyjān II: Āṯār o abnīa-ye tārīḵī-e šahrestānhā-ye Ardabīl, Arasbārān, Ḵalḵāl, Sarāb, Meškīnšahr, Moḡān, Tabrīz, 2535 = 1355 Š./1976.

AZERBAIJAN iii. Pre-Islamic History

Like other parts of Iran, the northwestern province of Azerbaijan can look back on a long history. For the earliest periods, however, archeological research has barely begun.

Before the Achaemenids. In 1949 C. Coon discovered a cave of the Paleolithic period at Tamtama, north of Urmia (Reżāʾīya) (Coon, Cave Exploration in Iran 1949, Philadelphia, 1951, pp. 15-20, 36-37, 44, 65). No indications of Paleolithic settlement, however, were found in the first larger-scale surveys in the west of the province made by R. R. B. Kearton (see Iran 7, 1969, pp. 186-87) and R. S. Solecki (ibid., pp. 189-90) in 1968. Opinions differed on the question why no Paleolithic sites had been discovered in this seemingly favorable region. D. Perkins, Jr. (ibid., p. 189) surmised that scarcity of “raw chipping material, such as flint,” in the region might be the explanation, but Solecki considered this improbable because flint was certainly available in the local mountains and spark-flints had been found at later Neolithic sites; in Solecki’s opinion, the lack of Paleolithic settlements was more likely to be due to ecological factors. Investigations by B. G. Campbell in the Tabrīz-Marāḡa-Mīāna triangle in 1974 and 1975 yielded evidence to the contrary for this area, as three caves and seven “open air localities” of the lower Paleolithic period were discovered (H. Sadek-Kooros, “Earliest Hominid Traces in Azerbaijan,” Iran 14, 1976, p. 154; idem, Proceedings of the 4th Annual Symposium on Archaeological Research in Iran 1975, Tehran, 1976, pp. 1ff.). The University of Pennsylvania’s large-scale expedition, called the “Ḥasanlū Project,” to the Soldūz valley under the leadership of R. B. Dyson, Jr., in 1965 produced evidence that the effective human occupation of this area began ca. 6000 B.C. (Bibliotheca Mesopotamica VIII, 1977; also L. Vanden Berghe, Bibliographie analytique de l’archéologie de l’Iran ancien, Leiden, 1979, and idem and E. Haerinek, Supplément l: 1978-80, Leiden, 1981). Other excavations in Azerbaijan, e.g., by C. Burney at Yanik Tepe and later at Haftavān and by A. Lippert at Kordlar Tepe, point to widespread settlement in Azerbaijan in the Neolithic and Chalcolithic periods.

For historical times, which in Azerbaijan begin roughly in the seventh century B.C., new archeological data have come to hand from the investigations of W. Kleiss, who excavated the big Urartian fortress of Besṭām (Basṭām) and from 1967 onward conducted systematic surveys in several parts of the province. Thanks mainly to Kleiss’s surveys, we now know that Azerbaijan, in particular the western region, was densely populated by Urartians—something that would not have been believed twenty years ago. In addition, Kleiss’s surveys brought to light many other large and small settlements of early historical times (see his successive articles in AMI, N.S., 1967 and later; and Vanden Berghe and Haerinck’s bibliographies). Also worthy of mention here is the fact that the long known rock chamber of Karaftū, twenty km west of Takāb, with its inscription “Hercules dwells here, let nothing evil enter,” has now been dated, in the light of its paleographic characteristics, from the late fourth or early third century B.C. (H. van Gall, AMI, N.S. 11, 1978, pp. 91ff.; P. Bernard, Studia Iranica 9, 1980, pp. 301ff.).

Achaemenid period. In the Achaemenid period Azerbaijan was part of the satrapy of Media. When the Achaemenid empire collapsed, Atropates, the Persian satrap of Media, made himself independent in the northwest of this region in 321 B.C. (thus H. H. Schmitt, Untersuchungen zur Geschichte Antiochos’ des Grossen und seiner Zeit, Wiesbaden, 1964, p. 61; in 328 according to V. Minorsky in EI2 I, p. 188, or 328-27 according to Kaerst, in Pauly-Wissowa, II, co1. 2150). Thereafter Greek and Latin writers named the territory Media Atropatene or, less frequently, Media Minor (e.g. Strabo 11.13.1; Justin 23.4.13). The Middle Persian form of the name was (early) Āturpātakān, (later) Ādurbādagān) whence the New Persian Āḏarbāyjān (on the name Atropatene and its derivation, see Minorsky, loc. cit.; Andreas, “Adarbigana,” in Pauly-Wissowa, I, cols. 345ff.; Weissbach, “Atropatene,” in Pauly-Wissowa, II, cols. 2149-50, and Streck, in Pauly-Wissowa, Suppl. I, cols. 223-24; Schwarz, Iran, repr. 1969, pp. 959ff.).

Atropates managed to keep on good terms with Alexander. At the famous mass wedding at Susa in 324, his daughter was married to Perdiccas (Arrian 6.4.5). After Alexander’s death he was left in command of his territory (Diodorus Siculus 18.3.3). He founded a dynasty which was to last long. The exact extent of the state of Media Minor or Media Atropatene is not known; in the opinion of Schwarz (op. cit., p. 61) it probably reached the Caspian, but how much of the coast it embraced is debatable.

Seleucid period. A successor of Atropates known to us from Greek sources is Artabazanes, who was contemporary with the Seleucid ruler Antiochus III (223 or 242-187). On the basis of a statement of Polybius (5.44.8 and 5.55.27) that Atropatene stretched to the Caucasus mountains, E. Herzfeld (AMI 4, 1931-32, p. 56) described Artabazanes as ruler of “Armenia and Atropatene.” Antiochus III, after his successful campaign against Molon, satrap of Media, who had rebelled, decided to march against Artabazanes with the intention to warn all concerned against supporting rebels with troops or arms (Polybius 5.55.1-2). Whether Artabazanes had in fact sent troops to help Molon is doubtful (Schmitt, op. cit., p. 124). Artabazanes, who was growing old, did not put up much resistance and appears to have acquiesced in submission to Seleucid suzerainty, in return for which he was probably confirmed in his rulership of Atropatene (Schmitt, op. cit., p. 149).

Parthian period. The exact date of Atropatene’s incorporation in the Parthian empire is not known. Most probably it occurred in the reign of Mithridates I (ca. 171-139/38 B.C.) when this Parthian great king, taking advantage of the Seleucid empire’s weakness after the defeat of Antiochus III by the Romans at Magnesia in 190 B.C., moved to extend his sway eastward and northward. Presumably Media Atropatene became a vassal state under Parthian suzerainty at the same time as the rest of Media. This must have been after 148 B.C. because the Seleucid rock-inscription at Bīsotūn (Behistun) shows that there was then still a Seleucid governor of the “Upper Satrapies,” which certainly included Media (K. Schippmann, Grundzüge der parthischen Geschichte, Darmstadt, 1980, p. 24). It seems, however, that the small state of Atropatene kept a good measure of autonomy. Descendants of Atropates are said to have “married into the (Arsacid) royal house” (Minorsky, in EI2 I, p. 188).

The next mention of Media Atropatene comes in reports that after the death of Mithridates II in 88-87 B.C., the Armenians succeeded in recovering lands which they had earlier lost to the Parthians. According to Strabo (11.14.15) and Plutarch (Lucullus 26), the Armenians occupied Atropatene at this time.

Atropatene’s history in the following years is confused. Dio Cassius (36.14, ho Mithridátēs ho ḗteros ho ek Mēdías gambròs toû Tigránou) states that a certain Mithridates, king of Media and son-in-law of the Armenian king Tigranes (the Great), supported the latter when he went to war with the Romans and invaded Cappadocia in 67 B.C. Quite possibly this Mithridates was the future Parthian monarch Mithridates III, who together with his brother Orodes murdered their father Phraates III in 58-57 (Dio Cassius 39.56.2). He has been described, on the strength of Dio Cassius’s statement, as “king of Media Atropatene” in several works by modern scholars (e.g., A. Gutschmid, Geschichte Irans und seiner Nachbarländer, Tübingen, 1888, p. 98; H. Volkmann, in Der Kleine Pauly-Wissowa III, col. 1358; Geyer, with reservations in Pauly-Wissowa, XV, 2, col. 2207), though in fact he is called by Dio Cassius (36.14 and 39.56.2) simply “king of Media” (see also C. Le Rider, Suse sous les séleucides et les parthes, MADFI 38, 1965, p. 400; E. Herzfeld, AMI 4, 1932, p. 72).

In some sources (Appian, Mithridatica 106, 117; Diodorus Siculus 12.40.4), the Romans under Pompey are reported to have attacked a certain Darius, king of Media, in 65 B.C. Here again this person has been described as “ruler of Media Atropatene” by some modern writers (N. C. Debevoise, A Political History of Parthia, New York, 1938, p. 74; Gutschmid, op. cit., p. 98; less explicitly Herzfeld, art. cit., p. 56), whereas in the sources only Media is given. Acceptance of the supposition that he ruled Media Atropatene is also made difficult by the evidence of other sources (Monumentum Ancyranum VI, 11f.; see also Wilcken in Pauly-Wissowa, II, col. 1309) which speak of Artavasdes king of Atropatene, born in 59 B.C. or a little earlier, son of Ariobarzanes, king of Atropatene. This suggests that the father had come to the throne some time before 59 B.C. If so, the time-scale would appear to preclude a reign of this Darius in Media Atropatene. The Greco-Roman writers have left much more detailed and precise accounts of the expedition led by Mark Antony against the Parthians in 36 B.C. Having obtained the support of the Armenian king Artavasdes, Antony made Armenia his base for an invasion of Media Atropatene, whose identically named (and just mentioned) king Artavasdes was an ally of the Parthians. As is well known, the Roman campaign was bungled and ended ignominiously. After a Parthian attack which destroyed his rearguard and siege-train, Antony had to abandon his siege of Atropatene’s capital city Phraata (in some sources Praaspa or Phraaspa) and flee back to Armenia. It has not yet been possible to determine where Phraata lay; the often mooted identification with Taḵt-e Solaymān southeast of Lake Urmia where the German Archeological Institute conducted excavations in 1959 and subsequently, remains unproven (K. Schippmann, Die iranischen Feuerheiligtümer, New York and Berlin, 1971, pp. 309ff.; H. Bengtson, Zum Parther-Feldzug des Antonius, Munich, 1974, pp. 24ff.).

Soon after the defeat of the Romans, so Plutarch (Antonius 52-53) and Dio Cassius (49.33) state, enmity arose between Artavasdes of Media Atropatene and Phraates, the Parthian great king, over the division of the spoils and the fears of Artavasdes concerning his autonomy, with the result that the Median king offered Antony an alliance. The offer was accepted in 33 B.C. (K.-H. Ziegler, Die Beziehungen zwischen Rom und dem Partherreich, Wiesbaden, 1964, p. 36). It was very welcome to Antony who, in the belief that Artavasdes of Armenia had left him down in his campaign, now planned a pincer movement against Armenia while also cherishing hopes of Atropatenian support in his continuing war with the Parthians and impending contest with Octavian (for an assessment of the different motives, see Bengtson, op. cit., pp. 43-44). Troop detachments were exchanged and at the same time some Armenian territory, consisting mainly of the Sambyke district which had earlier belonged to Atropatene, was ceded to the Median ruler. To strengthen the bonds, a son of Antony was betrothed to Iotape, a daughter of Artavasdes. The alliance at first proved advantageous to Artavasdes of Atropatene, who with the help of the Roman reinforcements repulsed an offensive launched jointly by Artaxes, a son of Artavasdes of Armenia, and the Parthians.

These dealings indicate that not only Artavasdes, but also previous rulers of Media Atropatene, were more or less independent of the Parthian great kings. No doubt the geography of this relatively inaccessible mountain region facilitated the maintenance of its autonomy.

Artavasdes, however, could no longer hold out against the Parthians when Antony withdrew the Roman detachment from Media because he needed the men for his war with Octavian. In 30 B.C. Artavasdes was taken prisoner, but later he contrived to escape, probably as a result of the outbreak of civil war between Phraates IV and Tiridates, a rival claimant to the Parthian throne. He took refuge with Octavian, now Augustus, who gave him a friendly reception. He is reported to have died at Rome shortly before 20 B.C. (see Wilcken in Pauly-Wissowa, II, col. 1311).

Soon afterward, probably in 20 B.C., Augustus is said to have nominated Ariobarzanes II, the son of Artavasdes, to be king of Media Atropatene. At some later date, Ariobarzanes was appointed king of Armenia also. (Thus E. Meyer in Pauly-Wissowa, Suppl. I, col. 130; M. L. Chaumont in H. Temporini and W. Haase, eds., Aufstieg und Niedergang der römischen Welt, Berlin, 1976-81, II, Principat 9.1; J. G. L. Anderson in CAH X, pp. 264, 276. Between 20 B.C. and A.D. 2 in the opinion of Gutschmid, op. cit., p. 116. For a different interpretation, see U. Kahrstedt, Artabanos III und seine Erben, Bern, 1950, pp. 15-16). The actual induction of Ariobarzanes took place much later, namely in A.D. 9 following the accession of Vonones to the Parthian throne with Roman support (Ziegler, op. cit., p. 57 n. 81).

Ariobarzanes II was succeeded, on the thrones of both Media Atropatene and Armenia, by his son Artavasdes (Artavasdes II in the reckoning of Herzfeld, art. cit., p. 57; III in that of Chaumont, op. cit., p. 82, with many bibliographic references). Not long afterward, according to M. L. Chaumont in A.D. 19 or 20, this king was murdered. The event marks the virtual end of the rule of the dynasty founded by Atropates over Media Atropatene. It may have been consequent on the negotiation of the peace treaty of A.D. 18-19 between Germanicus, the Roman commander, and Artabanus II, the Parthian monarch since A.D. 10-11 (on whose background see below). Peace with Rome evidently gave Artabanus a free hand to deal with internal issues. Media Atropatene was one of a number of vassal kingdoms where the indigenous dynasts were eliminated and replaced with Arsacid younger sons (Kahrstedt, op. cit., p. 18; Ziegler, op. cit., p. 60 n. 104, basically agrees but points out that the sources for the treaty contain no word of any Roman promise of non-intervention in Media Atropatene). The later princes of the Atropatenian dynasty probably lived in exile in Italy. Two inscriptions bearing the name Artavasdes which were found in Rome are probably epitaphs of the son and grandson of an Atropatenian king Ariobarzanes, whether Ariobarzanes I or II being uncertain (Meyer in Pauly-Wissowa, Suppl. I, col. 130; Kahrstedt. op. cit., pp. 15, 17; Herzfeld, art. cit., p. 57).

It is necessary to comment here on the assertion, which has been frequently made (e.g., by Gutschmid, op. cit., p. 119; Herzfeld, art. cit., p. 74; Anderson in CAH X, p. 278) and is based on a passage in Josephus’s Antiquitates Judaicae (18.48), that Artabanos had been king of Media Atropatene before he became the great king of the Parthians. Kahrstedt (op. cit., pp. 11ff.) has found ample and convincing evidence that this is not so and that Artabanus probably stemmed from eastern Iran.

For the following period few events involving Atropatene are reported in the sources. Josephus (20.74) mentions that the first official act of the Parthian monarch Vologases I (A.D. ca. 51-ca. 76 or 80) was to appoint his brother Pacorus king of Media Atropatene (for a different interpretation, see R. Hanslik, in Pauly-Wissowa, IX, cols. 1839-40; Vonones II may have previously assigned the throne of Media Atropatene to Vologases, see Chaumont, op. cit., p. 97). When the Alans invaded Atropatene A.D. ca. 72, Pacorus had to flee into the trackless mountains (Debevoise, op. cit., p. 200; Chaumont, op. cit., p. 126). Another Alan invasion took place between A.D. 134 and 136.

Information about Atropatene (Azerbaijan) is then lacking until the last years of Parthian rule, when the conflict with Ardašīr, the founder of the Sasanian dynasty, had already begun. Artabanus IV, the last Parthian great king, was simultaneously engaged in a contest for the throne with his brother Vologases VI. His supporters were strongest in Media (where his coins appear to have been minted, probably at Ecbatana, the present-day Hamadān) and in Azerbaijan, Ḵūzestān, and Adiabene (G. Widengren, in La Persia nel Medioevo, Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei, Quaderno 160, Rome, 1971, pp. 711ff., esp. p. 741). Widengren has found evidence, however, that the common people of Media Atropatene were allies of Ardašīr (p. 749). In any case Azerbaijan submitted with little resistance to Ardašīr once he had defeated and killed Artabanus in 226 (the date preferred by Widengren, pp. 748-49). The well-known Sasanian rock relief at Salmās, not far from lake Urmia in which Ardašīr and others are depicted, is in Widengren’s opinion quite possibly a monument to this success (but see Chaumont, Recherches sur l’histoire d’Arménie de l’avènement des sassanides à la conversion du royaume, Paris, 1969, pp. 173ff.); the opinion of W. Hinz (Iranica Antiqua 5, 1965, p. 159) that it commemorates Ardašīr’s conquest of Armenia seems less well grounded.

Sasanian period. The next information given in the sources is that Šāpūr I, in the first year of his reign, i.e., 241-42, conducted two campaigns, first against the Khwarazmians then against the “Medes in the mountains,” which evidently means in Azerbaijan (Christensen, Iran Sass., p. 219). Thereafter Azerbaijan appears to have been pacified, because no more campaigns against its inhabitants are reported in the sources.

Atropatene/Āturpātakān, as the province appears to have been officially named throughout the Sasanian period (M. Streck, in EI1 I, p. 142), was governed on behalf of the Sasanian monarchs by a marzbān (margrave) who had all the authority of a satrap. It was a religious center, the principal temple being at Šīz, now Taḵt-e Solaymān. This was the hearth of Ādur Gušnasp, one of the empire’s three most sacred fires. The name Šīz often appears in linkage with other names, particularly Ganzaca (Ganzak) and Thebarmais, but the supposition that all refer to the same place is questionable (Schippmann, Feuerheiligtümer, pp. 341ff.; D. Huff, Comptes rendus de l’Académie des inscriptions et belles-lettres, 1978, pp. 774ff.). As a result of the existence of this great fire-temple, so revered that every newly crowned Sasanian king had to walk all the way to it on foot, and of the establishment of a royal palace in the province, Azerbaijan became a tightly integrated part of the empire instead of a loosely attached vassal state as in Parthian times. Herzfeld (art. cit., p. 57 n. 2) thought that “personal names incorporating gušnasp, the name of the sacred fire of Ganzak, were distinctively Atropatenian;” if so, this province produced many men of worth who held high office in the four centuries of Sasanian rule (Herzfeld, loc. cit.; Christensen, Iran Sass., pp. 518ff.).

Azerbaijan reenters the historical scene at the end of the Sasanian period. In A.D. 590 the decisive battle in the contest for the throne between the usurper Bahrām Čōbīn and Ḵosrow II was fought at Ganzak in Azerbaijan, ending in victory for Ḵosrow. In 628, on Easter day, the Byzantine emperor Heraclius captured Ganzak. Sasanian authority then began to collapse. Azerbaijan fell to the Arabs between A.D. 639 and 643 (Minorsky, in EI2 I, p. 190), and a new phase of its history began.

AZERBAIJAN iv. Islamic History to 1941

Background. Azerbaijan formed a separate province of the early Islamic caliphate, but its precise borders varied in different periods. In the north, the Aras or Araxes river formed a clear natural boundary between Azerbaijan and Arrān or Caucasian Albania, whilst the low-lying region of Mūḡān/Mūqān (Moḡān), lying between the lower reaches of the Aras-Kor river system and the western shore of the Caspian Sea was usually considered administratively as part of Azerbaijan. In the south, the Safīd-rūd formed in general the boundary with the province of Jebāl, with the northwestern continuation of the Alburz (Alborz) chain separating Azerbaijan from Gīlān and the Caspian coastlands. The western boundary was less determinate, but the northern extension of the Zagros mountains running up through Kurdistan and the modern Turkish welāyats of Hakārī and Van, separating the basins of lakes Urmia and Van, was generally held to be the boundary. But Azerbaijan and the tributary but often in practice largely independent province of Armenia were often taken as one vast province—their configuration, as the term given to them of reḥāb “the upland plains, plateaux” shows, being essentially similar—and placed under a single governor; the geographer Moqaddasī, pp. 373-74, includes under the eqlīm al-Reḥāb Azerbaijan, Arrān, and Armenia, cf. A. Miquel, Aḥsan al-taqāsīm fī maʿrefat al-aqālīm (La meilleure répartition pour la connaissance des provinces), Damascus, 1963, p. 318. However, at times, Azerbaijan might be linked also with Jebāl or with the provinces of Mosul and Jazīra, demonstrating the fluidity of administrative arrangements in the first two or three centuries of Islam. It should further be noted that the classical Arabic and Persian geographers of the 3rd/9th and 4th/10th centuries often distinguish an eastern and a western administrative division of Azerbaijan: the eastern one with Marāḡa as its center, and the western one administered from Ardabīl, which was considered to be the capital of Azerbaijan in general.

The Arabic geographers and historians noted too that the broken nature of the terrain, whose plateaus and mountains gave the province a notoriously harsh climate (the geographers placed it partly in the fourth and partly in the fifth clime), was reflected in a heterogeneity in linguistic, ethnic, social, and religious matters. We need not take seriously Moqaddasī’s assertion (p. 375) that Azerbaijan had seventy languages, a state of affairs more correctly applicable to the Caucasus region to the north; but the basically Iranian population spoke an aberrant, dialectical form of Persian (called by Masʿūdī al-āḏarīya) as well as standard Persian, and the geographers state that the former was difficult to understand. North of the Aras, the distinct, presumably Iranian, speech of Arrān long survived, called by Ebn Ḥawqal (p. 349, tr. Kramers, p. 342) al-rānīya, and in the northeastern districts of Azerbaijan Armenian was of course found. In the west of the province, around Lake Urmia, Kurdish must have been known, for the Kurds are frequently mentioned as an ethnic component of Azerbaijan and were to play a significant political role there from the time of the Rawwadids onwards (see below). As Arabic settlement increased, Arabic became well-known, at least as an urban speech. Ebn Ḥawqal (loc. cit.) states that most Persian speakers could also understand Arabic (an assertion doubtlessly only valid for town dwellers) and that the merchants and landowning classes spoke it excellently; such social classes would, of course, require a knowledge of Arabic for their commercial contacts and for their political links with the Arab military and official classes. It was only the ethnic Turkicization of Azerbaijan, from the 5th/11th century onwards, which made Turkish the major language of Azerbaijan, as it is today (see below).

Concerning the religious pattern of Azerbaijan, Zoroastrianism had held a pre-eminent position in pre-Islamic times, and the Arabic sources frequently report that the province was Zoroaster’s birthplace; Balāḏorī and Ebn Ḵordāḏbeh both, for instance, specify Urmia for this, and Yāqūt and Qazvīnī mention Šīz. The formerly numerous fire temples of Azerbaijan led many Arabic authorities to explain the name of the province itself as meaning something like “fire temple” (e.g., Yāqūt [Beirut], I, p. 128: “fire-keeper” > “fire temple”). The great shrine at Šīz (q.v.) (perhaps to be located at Taḵt-e Solaymān, to the southeast of Lake Urmia), was the local spiritual center of Zoroastrianism at the time of the Arab conquest, and the rights of the Zoroastrian community, as ahl al-ḏemma, to the free exercise of their religion were secured at that juncture (see below). The 4th/10th-century traveler Abū Dolaf speaks of the fire temple as being still in existence then, with the detail that “on the summit of its cupola there is a silver crescent which forms its talisman. Both amirs and usurpers wished to remove it, but did not succeed;” but Minorsky was probably right to doubt the truth of this account and to suggest that only the ruins were visible by then (Second Resāla = Abū-Dulaf Misʿar Ibn Muhalhil’s Travels in Iran (circa A.D. 950), Cairo, 1955, text par. 5, tr. pp. 31-32, comm. pp. 67-68; see also A. Godard, “Les monuments du feu,” Āthār-é Īrān 3, 1938, pp. 45ff., and B. M. Tirmidhi, “Zoroastrians and their Fire-temples in Iran and Adjoining Countries,” Islamic Culture 24, 1950, pp. 271-84). If Zoroastrianism disappeared as a distinct faith in Azerbaijan, its former adherents, and those of Mazdakism (the latter known to be a numerous element in later Sasanian Azerbaijan), very probably contributed to the strongly heterodox flavor of Azerbaijan and Arrān in the early Islamic centuries, seen in the strength there of socio-religious protest movements and revolutionary upheavals, above all, in that of Bābak and the Ḵorramīya (see below).

Whilst Zoroastrianism clearly declined, Christianity was for long vital and flourishing, as is attested by the frequent mention of bishops of Azerbaijan in Syriac sources and by the apparent presence of monastic institutions and of hermits; the ʿahd “agreement” between the incoming Arabs and the people of Azerbaijan (see below) mentions the exclusion from payment of the jezya or poll-tax of, amongst others, “the pious devotee and anchorite, who has no possessions” (Ṭabarī, I, p. 2662). When the Jacobite Maphrian or head of the church in the Persian lands, the celebrated Barhebraeus, died at Marāḡa in 1286, local Nestorians, Melkites, and Armenians joined with the Jacobites in mourning him. In the Mongol period, indeed, the Christian communities enjoyed at the outset a comparative florescence and toleration; in the time of the Great Khan Güyük (r.1246-49), the influence within the Mongol horde of the Syrian monk Simeon Rabban Ata secured the building of churches in strongly Muslim towns like Tabrīz and Nakhchevan (Naḵjavān), until the conversion to Islam of Ḡāzān (r. 694-703/1295-1304) brought about a reversal of this favor (see Spuler, Mongolen, pp. 203ff.). Thereafter, Christianity in Azerbaijan declined to the point of extinction, with the exception of the vestigial Nestorian or Assyrian Christian Neo-Syriac-speaking communities of the Lake Urmia region which have survived till today. As for the Jews, these are virtually unmentioned in the early centuries, though they may well have formed part of the urban communities.

From the Arab conquest to the Saljuqs. The Arab conquest of Azerbaijan took place in ʿOmar’s caliphate at a date variously given as between 18/639 and 22/643, after battles such as Nehāvand and Jalūlā had opened up the possibility of invading Jebāl from Iraq, and it was undertaken essentially by troops from the newly-founded meṣr of Kūfa in central Iraq. The Armenian historian Sebeos states that the Espahbaḏ of Atrpatakan of Azerbaijan in the last years of the Sasanian monarchy was Farroḵ-Hormezd (d. 630), whose sons Rostam and Farroḵzād or Ḵorrazād then led resistance to the Arabs (see Markwart, Ērānšahr, pp. 112-14). Of the Arabic sources, we have the fullest accounts from Balāḏorī, citing the shaikhs of the capital Ardabīl and Madāʾenī (Fotūḥ [Cairo], pp. 321-26) and from Ṭabarī citing Sayf b. ʿOmar (I, pp. 2647-50, 2660-62). The Arabs seem to have attached considerable importance to the over-running of Azerbaijan. A saying attributed to the dehqān Hormozān, consulted by the caliph ʿOmar, describes Azerbaijan as being, with Fārs, one of the two wings on each side of the key point, the head, of Isfahan, all three of them being interconnected (Masʿūdī, Morūj IV, p. 230, ed. Pellat, par. 1563). Once the base of Hamadān had been secured during the governorship in Kūfa of Moḡīra b. Šoʿba, the whole of northern Persia was laid open to attack. Balāḏorī’s account makes Ḥoḏayfa b. Yamān the first commander of the expedition into Azerbaijan. Ḥoḏayfa was opposed by the marzbān of Azerbaijan at Ardabīl, supported by the men of Bājarvān, Mīmaḏ, Sarāt or Sarāb, Šīz, Mayānaj, etc., but triumphed militarily, and made a peace agreement on the basis of an annual tribute of 800,000 derhams in return for the preservation of the people’s lives; no enslavement; respect for the sanctity of the fire temples (in particular, the people of Šīz were to continue freely to hold their festivals); and protection for the population against the predatory Kurds of Balāsajān, Sabalān, and Šātrūḏān (Balāḏorī, Fotūḥ, p. 321). Ḥoḏayfa was subsequently replaced by ʿOtba b. Farqad Solamī, who had to subdue the countryside of Azerbaijan, whilst the new governor appointed by the caliph ʿOṯmān, his kinsman Walīd b. ʿOtba b. Abī Moʿayṭ, had further to quell a rebellion in 25/645-46 and re-impose the ʿahd of Ḥoḏayfa. Ṭabarī’s account attributes the preliminary stages of the conquest, made in the face of strenuous opposition from the Espahbaḏ Rostam’s brother Esfandīār and then from Bahrām b. Farroḵzād, to the efforts of Arab generals like Bokayr b. ʿAbdallāh before ʿOtba b. Farqad arrived, and after Bokayr was despatched northwards against Arrān and Bāb al-Abwāb or Darband. The text of the ʿahd document, made when a general peace was established in Azerbaijan, is given verbatim by Ṭabarī; it provided for payment of the jezya in return for amān, i.e., liberty of property, laws and faith (Ṭabarī, I, pp. 2661-62).

From ʿOṯmān’s reign onwards, Arab warriors began to settle in the towns of Azerbaijan, with Ardabīl as their administrative center. Settlers from Kūfa and Baṣra and from Syria purchased land from the indigenous population, and received the voluntary submission of many villages in return for protection (ḥemāya, taljeʾa). The Islamization of the province must now have got under way, too. Some details are given by Balāḏorī of the pattern of Arab settlement in the towns over the first two centuries or so of Arab domination. Arab colonists were settled in Ardabīl, where a mosque was built by the chief of Kenda, Ašʿaṯ b. Qays, the governor of Azerbaijan for the caliph ʿAlī b. Abī Ṭāleb (Balāḏorī, Fotūḥ, p. 329). Warṯān on the Aras river was developed by the Omayyad prince Marwān b. Moḥammad b. ʿAbd-al-Malek (eventually the last Omayyad caliph, Marwān al-Ḥemār, 127-32/744-50), who also held property at Marāḡa; his Warṯān estates passed after the ʿAbbasid revolution ultimately to the caliph al-Mahdī’s daughter Omm Jaʿfar Zobayda, wife of Hārūn al-Rašīd (Yāqūt, IV, pp. 919-20). Marand was settled, probably in early ʿAbbasid times, by an Arab colony under the grandfather of Moḥammad b. Baʿīṯ Rabīʿī; under this last, a rebellion of this town against the caliph al-Motawakkel’s authority is mentioned (Balāḏorī, Fotūḥ, pp. 325-26). Urmia was subdued by Ṣadaqa b. ʿAli, a mawlā of the tribe of Azd. Tribesmen of Hamdān were settled at Mayānaj and Ḵalbāṯā early in al-Manṣūr’s reign by the governor of Azerbaijan Yazīd b. Ḥātem Mohallabī. Men of Kenda from the following of Ašʿaṯ b. Qays took over Sarāt or Sarāb. Tabrīz was a place of little importance at this time, having been largely destroyed in the Armeno-Persian wars of the fourth century (see V. Minorsky, “Tabrīz,” in EI1 IV). Its revival was the work of another Azdī, Rawwād b. Moṯannā and his son Wajnāʾ, who were granted by Yazīd b. Ḥātem the lands stretching from Tabrīz to Baḏḏ and who rebuilt the citadel, town walls, etc. of Tabrīz (Balāḏorī, Fotūḥ, p. 326; Yaʿqūbī, II, p. 13).

During the Omayyad period, Azerbaijan was only thinly settled by the Arabs and was very much a frontier zone. In particular, it formed a base for the Arab governors to mount their operations against the Caucasian peoples and into the Cis-Caucasian steppe lands, the lure here being above all the hope of tapping the plentiful reservoirs of slaves in the Caucasus region and the Khazar steppes. Although Darband had early been reached (see above), for more than two centuries the Arabs’ way was blocked by the indigenous mountaineers of the Caucasus, such as the Alans, and beyond, them, by the Turkish Khazars of south Russia. The swaying fortunes of war in these regions meant that Armenia, Arrān, and Azerbaijan at times suffered invasion and devastation by these more northerly peoples. There were Khazar raids in the caliphates of Yazīd I (60-64/680-83) and ʿAbd-al-malek (65-86/685-705), and particularly violent incursion took place in 112/730 when the Khazars poured down through the Alan Gate, overran Armenia and Azerbaijan, killed Hešām’s governor Jarrāḥ b. ʿAbdallāh Ḥakamī Maḏḥejī at Ardabīl, and penetrated as far as Dīārbakr and Jazīra (D. M. Dunlop, History of the Jewish Khazars, New York, 1967, pp. 69-73, 76).

Under the early ʿAbbasids, northern Azerbaijan was the epicentre of the prolonged and dangerous rebellion against the caliphate led by Bābak Ḵorramī, which affected much of northwestern Persia and which lasted over twenty years, from ca. 201/816-17 till the sack of his capital Baḏḏ, just to the south of the Aras and in the modern Qarāja-dāḡ, in 222/837. The rebellion certainly had a religious basis (see below), but there may also have been social and economic factors at work, such as local discontent at the prospecting and mining activities in these highland districts by Arabs from Jazīra under Ṣadaqa b. ʿAlī Azdī and his son Zorayq, in the suggestion of H. Kennedy, The Early Abbasid Caliphate, a Political History, London, 1981, pp. 170-74, citing Azdī’s Taʾrīḵ Mawṣel. Bābak’s uprising was favored at the outset by the rebelliousness of the local Arab governor, Ḥātem b. Harṯama b. Aʿyan (d. 203/818-19), and in 217/832 Bābak had the active support of the governor ʿAlī b. Hešām, but he was clearly also able to utilize a great deal of Iranian, anti-Arab feeling in Azerbaijan. Strongly anti-Islamic elements in the Ḵorramīya, perhaps going back to Mazdakism, demonstrate that Islam had by no means completely overlaid the older faiths of northwestern Iran, and for a long time after the suppression of Bābak’s movement by Moʿtaṣem’s generals, and certainly until the 5th/11th century, remnants of the Ḵorramīya who venerated the memory of Bābak and who expected his return as a promised Mahdī, survived there (see Gh. H. Sadighi, Les mouvements religieux iraniens au IIe et au IIIe siècle de l’hégire, Paris, 1938, pp. 229-80; B. S. Amoretti, in Camb. Hist. Iran IV, pp. 503-9).

An episode like Bābak’s uprising showed the continuing strength in Azerbaijan of ancestral Iranian local feelings. There was also internal dissent in the Muslim community there, seen for instance in a rising at Ardabīl in 251/865 in favor of a Talebid claimant from the Caspian region, ʿAlī b. ʿAbdallāh Maṛʿašī (cf. Ṭabarī, III, p. 1584), and in Kharejite activity spilling over from Jazīra at times. There were the ambitions of Arab governors and of Arab tribal groups settled in the towns of Azerbaijan, and an upsurge in the attempts of neighboring Kurdish and Daylami chiefs to extend their authority over the fringes of the province. All these factors combined to abstract Azerbaijan from direct caliphal control once the personal power of the Baghdad rulers started to decline, as it did in the later 3rd/9th century. The province was still a frontier zone, liable to attack from the Caucasus direction and to harassment by the independent-minded, though nominal vassals of the Muslims, Bagratid princes of Armenia. In ca. 279/892 the caliph Moʿtażed appointed one of his generals, Moḥammad b. Abi’l-Sāj, an Iranian from Central Asia, as governor of Azerbaijan and Armenia, and the family of the Sajids (q.v.) took their place as one of the virtually autonomous lines of provincial governors, headed by the earlier Taherid governors in Khorasan, who rose to prominence during the period of the decline of the central power in Baghdad. For nearly forty years, until the killing of Fatḥ b. Moḥammad b. Abi’l-Sāj in 317/929, members of the family ruled Azerbaijan and Armenia first from Marāḡa and Barḏaʿa and then from Ardabīl. They reduced refractory Armenian princes to submission, but themselves sporadically withheld allegiance to Baghdad and suspended the payment of tribute; after the end of the Sajids, direct caliphal control was never restored in northwestern Iran (see W. Madelung, in Camb. Hist. Iran IV, pp. 228-32).

For the next century or so, until the coming of the Saljuq Turks, the history of Azerbaijan is a component of the so-called “Daylami interlude” of Iranian history, when hitherto submerged peoples like the Daylamis, the Kurds, the Baluch, etc., rose momentarily to the surface and often assumed political control in different parts of Iran.

In the years immediately after the end of the Sajids, a Kurdish chief, Daysam b. Ebrāhīm b. Šāḏlūya, mentioned as having Kharejite sympathies, tried to establish his authority in Azerbaijan, but had to yield in 330/941-42 to the Mosaferid or Sallarid ruler of Ṭārom in the mountains of Daylam, Marzobān b. Moḥammad b. Mosāfer. Marzobān extended his military power as far as Dvin in Armenia, finally capturing and jailing Daysam just before his own death in 346/957, and he fought off attempts by the Arab Hamdanids of Mosul to invade Azerbaijan. It was during Marzobān’s reign that the Rūs (mixed Scandinavian and Slav adventurers?), who had already harried the coasts of Ṭabarestān and Gīlān from the Caspian Sea, appeared in Arrān and Azerbaijan (332/943-44). They sailed up the Kor, defeated Marzobān’s forces, and sacked and occupied Barḏaʿa; it is unclear whether Ardabīl also suffered, although this seems probable (Meskawayh, Tajāreb II, pp. 62-67, tr. V, pp. 67-74, the most detailed source; Masʿūdī, Morūj II, pp. 20-21, ed. Pellat, par. 459; Ebn al-Aṯīr (repr.), VIII, pp. 412-15; D. S. Margoliouth, “The Russian seizure of Bardhaʿah in 943 A.D.,” BSOAS 3, 1918, pp. 82-95). Marzobān’s brother and successor Vahsūdān had to struggle against the ambitions for power of his nephews Jostān and Ebrāhīm b. Marzobān; in the course of these disputes, much of Azerbaijan was devastated, and by Vahsūdān’s death in 373/983, Mosaferid control over Azerbaijan was clearly weakening (see Madelung, op. cit., pp. 232-36; and on the Mosaferids in general, Cl. Huart, “Les Mosâfirides de l’Adherbaïdjân,” in ʿAjab-náma, a Volume of Oriental Studies Presented to E. G. Browne … , Cambridge, 1922, pp. 228-56; S. A. Kasrawī, Šahrīārān-e gomnām2, Tehran, 1335 Š./1956, I, pp. 52-120; Bosworth, The Islamic Dynasties, pp. 86-87).

After then, authority in the province passed largely to the rival power of the Rawwadids of Tabrīz, descendants of the Azdī Arabs who had been allotted Tabrīz in early ʿAbbasid times (see above), but by now apparently largely Kurdicized, doubtless through the process of intermarriage. Abu’l-Hayjāʾ Ḥosayn b. Moḥammad (d. 378/988-89) and his son Mamlān or Moḥammad (d. 393/1001) and their descendants pushed the Mosaferids back into their original homeland of Daylam, and ruled the whole of Azerbaijan from Tabrīz, thus bringing that town into prominence for the first time in Islam. Much of their time was spent combatting the resurgent forces of the Christian rulers of Armenia and Georgia, until in the reign of Abū Manṣūr Vahsūdān b. Mamlān (416-51/1025-59) a new element appeared in the politics of Azerbaijan which was to mark a decisive change in the ethnic complexion of the province, namely the Oḡuz or Ḡuzz Turks (see Madelung, op. cit., pp. 236-37; Kasrawī, op. cit., pp. 130-45; V. Minorsky, Studies in Caucasian History, London, 1953, pp. 114-16; Bosworth, op. cit., pp. 88-89).

The Arabic geographers give useful accounts of Azerbaijan and its towns during the 4th/10th century. The position of the province on the trade routes running north from Hamdān and Zanjān to Arrān and the Caucasus, and running westwards to Mosul and Āmed, gave it a commercial importance. The transit traffic in slaves (Greek, Armenian, Pecheneg, Khazar, and Ṣaqlābī, i.e., Slav and Ugrian ones, according to the Ḥodūd al-ʿālam, par. 35, tr. Minorsky, p. 142) was naturally significant, as was the trade in carpets and textiles (especially silks dyed with the crimson tincture of the qermez insect) and the production of salted fish (šūr-māhī) from the rivers and lakes. Ardabīl is described as the largest town of the province, in Moqaddasī’s phrase, “the qaṣaba of Azerbaijan and the meṣr of the region,” although this same author is scathing about the avarice, fecklessness and treachery of its people, the paucity of scholars there, and the filthiness of the whole place (“one of the latrines of the world,” pp. 377-78). Moreover, Ebn Ḥawqal, writing a generation before Moqaddasī, states that Ardabīl’s prosperity had been shattered by the warfare of Daysam and Marzobān, when the town’s walls had been destroyed, so that “it is at this time like a sick person in comparison with its former prosperity” (p. 334, tr. Kramers, pp. 326-27; cf. also Le Strange, Lands, pp. 59-71, 184; Schwarz, Iran, pp. 959-1388).

Under the Saljuqs. It was during the Rawwadid Vahsūdān’s reign that there arrived in Azerbaijan the first waves of the Oḡuz Turkmen, the so-called “ʿErāqī ones (from ʿErāq ʿAjamī, i.e., western Persia), formerly the followers of Arslān Esrāʾīl b. Saljūq, expelled from Khorasan in 419/1028 by the Ghaznavid Sultan Maḥmūd. The first group appeared in 420/1029, and the Turkman mounted archers were taken into Vahsūdān’s service as auxiliaries for use against the Christians of Armenia and Georgia and against the rival Muslim family of the Kurdish Shaddadids of Ganja in Arrān and of Dvin. But their indiscipline made them uncontrollable, and the depredations of their flocks disturbed the agrarian system of Azerbaijan, so that shortly after the Oḡuz had sacked Marāḡa in 429/1038, Vahsūdān allied with Abu’l-Hayjāʾ b. Rabīb-al-dawla of the Haḏbānī Kurds and slew many of them. Some of these “ʿErāqī” Turkmen eventually moved on to Mosul and Jazīra, but increasing waves of new arrivals meant that independent bands of marauders were gradually becoming established in Azerbaijan. In 446/1054 Vahsūdān and then in 454/1062 his son and successor Mamlān II were forced to acknowledge the suzerainty of Ṭoḡrel Beg when the Saljuq leader arrived to assert his authority in Azerbaijan and Arrān. On his return from the Anatolian campaign and the Mantzikert victory, Alp Arslān deposed Mamlān (463/1071), but a later member of the family, Aḥmadīl b. Ebrāhīm b. Vahsūdān, held Marāḡa as a fief of the Saljuqs, and his name was perpetuated after his death in 510/1116 by the Aḥmadīlī atabegs there (Madelung, op. cit., pp. 237-39; Bosworth, in Camb. Hist. Iran V, pp. 32-34). Alp Arslān’s assertion of authority at this time in northwestern Iran also proved fatal to the senior line of the Shaddadids in Arrān (although a junior branch was to survive as Saljuq vassal in Ānī), for in 460/1068 and then in 468/1075 under Malekšāh, the slave commander Savtigin penetrated to Arrān and on the second occasion incorporated the territories there of the Shaddadid Fażlūn III into the Saljuq empire (Minorsky, Studies in Caucasian History I: New Light on the Shaddadids of Ganja (A.D. 951-1075), pp. 1-77).

The personal concern of the Great Saljuq sultans was in the main to secure the rich Iranian heartlands of Khorasan, Jebāl, and Fārs, and then to extend their power into Iraq. Azerbaijan and the lands towards the Caucasus tended to be left to their slave commanders or to bands of Turkman adventurers who could carry on raids against the Christians of Anatolia and Transcaucasia. Much of Azerbaijan was parceled out as eqṭāʿs among the Saljuq military commanders, and in the later 6th/12th century, was generally controlled by Turkish atabegs, the guardians of youthful Saljuq princes. The period of Great Saljuq decline, with internecine warfare between various contenders for the throne, meant that Azerbaijan and its resources were frequently controlled by Saljuq claimants at odds with the supreme sultans in Baghdad or Hamadān. Thus under Maḥmūd b. Moḥammad (511-25/1118-31), Maḥmūd’s brother Ṭoḡrel held Qazvīn, Daylam, Gīlān, and Arrān, whilst another brother, Masʿūd (subsequently sultan 529-47/1134-52), was malek of Azerbaijan, Mosul, and Jazīra. Also, after Maḥmūd’s death in 525/1131, his young son Dāwūd was proclaimed sultan at Hamadān, but was able to establish his power in Azerbaijan only against the superior might of his uncle Masʿūd, sultan in Iraq and Jebāl; from this base, however, Dāwūd secured the support there of the deposed ʿAbbasid caliph Rāšed in 530/1136, and maintained himself in Azerbaijan for the rest of his life, i.e., until 538/1143-44. Thenceforth, the substance of power in Azerbaijan until the advent of the Ḵᵛārazmšāhs was shared by the two atabeg lines of the Aḥmadīlīs of Marāḡa, the family of Aq Sonqor, atabeg to the Rawwadid Aḥmadīl b. Ebrāhīm of Tabrīz, and, more importantly, that of the Ildegozids (Eldigüzids or Ildenizids; q.v.), who controlled most of Azerbaijan, Arrān, and Jebāl. Šams-al-dīn Eldigüz was originally atabeg for the Saljuq prince Arslān b. Ṭoḡrel (r. 556-71/1161-76). In the Saljuq family disputes, the Aḥmadīlīs generally supported the claims of Malek Moḥammad b. Maḥmūd b. Moḥammad, but in 605/1208-9 almost all their lands fell to the Ildegozid Noṣrat-al-dīn Abū Bakr b. Pahlavān; the Aḥmadīlī atabeg ʿAlāʾ-al-dīn Qara Sonqor is nevertheless significant as a patron of the poet Neẓāmī. The Ildegozids reached a position of great influence in northwestern Iran as defenders of the Muslim cause against the expanding Georgian monarchy, and at one point, Moẓaffar-al-dīn Qezel Arslān (581-87/1186-91) laid claim to the whole sultanate of Persia and Iraq for himself against the last Saljuq sultan Ṭoḡrel III b. Arslān b. Ṭoḡrel II. Various members of the line were patrons of great poets like Ḵāqānī and Neẓāmī, and the petty courts of Azerbaijan were thus at this time considerable centers of culture and focuses of intellectual activity (see Bosworth, op. cit., pp. 176ff.).

Under the Mongols. All the local rulers of Azerbaijan and adjacent lands were engulfed when first the Ḵᵛārazmšāhs and then the Mongols swept into northwestern Iran. It was the Ildegozid Qotloḡ Inaṇč who, involved in an internal dynastic dispute, summoned in the Ḵᵛārazmšāh Tekeš, and it was eventually Sultan Jalāl-al-dīn who gave the coup de grace to the dynasty by capturing Tabrīz in 622/1225 and deposing Moẓaffar-al-dīn Özbeg. After 617/1220-21 the Mongols turned northwards from Hamadān and in 618/1222 sacked Marāḡa, slaughtering the males and enslaving the women, and there was a further siege in 628/1231. The Ildegozid Özbeg bought off the Mongols from Tabrīz in 617/1220-21. Jalāl-al-dīn then defended it, but after his departure for Anatolia in 628/1231, the whole of Azerbaijan passed under the control of the Great Khan Ögedey (1227-41), and from the time of Güyük onwards (1246-49), Azerbaijan and Arrān were governed by Malek Ṣadr-al-dīn, according to Jovaynī (tr. Boyle, II, p. 518).

After the conquest of Baghdad in 656/1258, Hülegü made Marāḡa the capital of the Il-Khanid dominions in Persia and Iraq. He built a fortress for his accumulated treasures and spoils on the nearby island of Šāhī in Lake Urmia, where he was in fact to be buried (the Gūr Qalʿa), and ordered the construction of the famous observatory of Marāḡa to the plans of the philosopher and scientist Ḵᵛāja Naṣīr-al-dīn Ṭūsī (q.v.). The fertility of the Marāḡa district and its eminence now as a place of learning doubtless explain why, in the 8th/14th century, the traveler Ebn Baṭṭūṭa (I, p. 171, tr. Gibb, I, p. 108) was to describe it as the “Little Damascus” of ʿErāq ʿAjamī. Then under Hülegü’s successor Abaqā (663-80/1265-82), the capital was moved to Tabrīz. Tabrīz suffered a severe earthquake in 671/1273 (see C. Melville, “Historical Monuments and Earthquakes in Tabriz,” Iran 19, 1981, pp. 162-63), but thereafter the khans set about beautifying the town and erecting splendid buildings, such as the mosques and madrasas and the mausoleum built by Ḡāzān for himself. In this period of the religiously tolerant early Mongols, Christianity enjoyed a period of revival and florescence in Azerbaijan, and the khan Arḡūn had his son baptized in the church at Marāḡa. But under the Muslim convert Ḡāzān, disfavor fell upon all non-Muslim groups; in 705/1306 Öljeytü permanently re-imposed the jezya on the ḏemmīs, and from this time, there begins the decline and eventual near-disappearance of Christianity from Azerbaijan. It was likewise Öljeytü (703-17/1304-17) who began construction of a new summer capital called Solṭānīya at a spot lying between Zanjān and Abhar, in a region of rich pasture, and this was completed in 713/1313 with many fine buildings, including the khan’s own tomb. Solṭānīya was still the capital under his successor Abū Saʿīd, but thereafter, Tabrīz re-asserted itself as the natural capital of the region. Thus it was at Tabrīz that the Turkman chief Ḥasan Bozorg Jalāyer in 736/1336 established his candidate for the Il-khanid throne, Moḥammad, and there that Ḥasan Kūček Čūpānī in 740/1340 placed in power his own candidate Solaymān. We now have numerous descriptions of Tabrīz by both European and Islamic travelers and writers; the Spaniard Clavijo states that in 1403 it had 200,000 households or families, i.e., approaching one million inhabitants, but this must be a great exaggeration.

During this later medieval period, the gradual Turkicization of Azerbaijan was favored by the Il-khanids’ policy of allotting to their leading commanders land grants (eqṭāʿs, soyurḡāls) (cf. I. P. Petrushevsky, in Camb. Hist. Iran V, pp. 518ff.); by the presence of the khans themselves and their entourages in these favored regions of upland pasture, and then of their Turkman epigoni, beginning with the Jalayerids; and finally, by the incoming of fresh waves of Central Asian nomads accompanying Tīmūr on his campaigns to the west. The Jalayerids seem to have achieved among the population of Azerbaijan a measure of support; there was, for instance, public rejoicing when in 809/1406-7 Aḥmad Jalāyer regained power in Tabrīz, for Azerbaijan had suffered considerably from such events as the invasion through the Caucasus of Tīmūr’s rival, the Golden Horde khan Toqtamiš, in 787/1385 and the unbridled excesses of Tīmūr’s debauched son Mīrānšāh when he was governor in Tabrīz (among other things, he exhumed the corpse of the great vizier of the Il-khanids Rašīd-al-dīn). But after four years, Aḥmad was defeated in battle and executed by the Qara Qoyunlū leader Qara Yūsof, and Tabrīz now became the capital of the Black Sheep Turkmen; under Jahānšāh b. Qara Yūsof (841-72/1438-67), Tabrīz became the capital of a kingdom stretching from Anatolia to Herat, and was enriched by such splendid buildings as the Blue Mosque. Then after 873/1468 Azerbaijan passed to the rival Āq Qoyunlū leader Uzun Ḥasan and his successors, for whose reigns we possess important accounts of the beauties of Tabrīz from Venetian envoys anxious to forge an alliance with the White Sheep Turkmen against the Ottomans.

Under the Safavids. Azerbaijan was necessarily of importance in the early Safavid period which now followed, for Shaikh Ṣafī-al-din Esḥāq, founder of the Ṣafawīya Sufi order, was a native of Ardabīl, and his shrine there was subsequently to be developed under the Safavid shahs into a superb complex of richly-endowed religious and charitable buildings, as the accounts of Western travelers attest (see Ardabīl). The Safavid Esmāʿīl I successfully overthrew the Šervānšāhs and then marched on Tabrīz in 906/1501, after routing in battle the Āq Qoyunlū Alvand Mīrzā; there he was proclaimed shah in 907/1501-2 (see R. M. Savory, “The Struggle for Supremacy in Persia after the Death of Tīmūr,” Der Islam 40, 1964, pp. 63-64). Jaʿfarī Shiʿism was forcibly imposed on the inhabitants of Tabrīz, and Tabrīz became the Safavid capital until its exposure to attack from the Safavids’ enemies the Ottomans (it was temporarily occupied by Sultan Selīm’s forces after the Ottoman victory at Čālderān in northwestern Azerbaijan in 920/1514) led Shah Ṭahmāsp I to transfer the capital to Qazvīn in 962/1555, after a further Ottoman occupation of Tabrīz.

In the 10th/116th century, Azerbaijan was ruled by a governor (beglarbegī) who normally combined control of this strategically-vital province with the highest military rank of sepahsālār. Both Azerbaijan and the province of Qarabāḡ, i.e., the region between the Aras and the Kor, medieval Arrān, to the north (this last province later found as a separate governorate, with its capital at Ganja, see Tadhkirat al-Mulūk, a Manual of Ṣafavid Administration, tr. Minorsky, London, 1943, p. 44, comm. pp. 166-67) were still further settled by Turkman elements belonging to such tribes as the Afšār, the Īnāllū, and Šāmlū, etc., making up the Safavids’ early backing of the Qezelbāš (q.v.). Financial administration in Azerbaijan was regulated by a vizier, who was in the 10th/16th century responsible for all the northwestern provinces; thus in 966/1559 Mīrzā ʿAṭāʾallāh Ḵūzānī Eṣfahānī had the oversight of Azerbaijan, Georgia, Šervān, and Šakkī (see K. M. Röhrborn, Provinzen und Zentralgewalt Persiens im 16. und 17. Jahrhundert, Berlin, 1966, p. 104).

During the two centuries or more of Safavid rule, Azerbaijan was on several occasions plundered by invading Ottoman forces, and during the years 993-1012/1585-1603 Tabrīz and the western half of Azerbaijan was permanently occupied by them, becoming a province (īālat) of the Ottoman empire during those years (cf. A. Birken, Die Provinzen des osmanischen Reiches, Wiesbaden, 1976, p. 172); only the eastern part remained in Persian hands, being ruled from Ardabīl. According to the Ottoman-Persian agreement of the Year of the Hare 1000/1591-92, Shah ʿAbbās I had to cede to the Ottomans their conquests in Transcaucasia, Qarabāḡ and western Azerbaijan, the frontier being fixed at the village of Areštanāb twelve farsakhs to the southeast of Tabrīz (Röhrborn, op. cit., pp. 6-9; on this place see Razmārā, Farhang IV, p. 15). Tabrīz and western Azerbaijan were returned to Shah ʿAbbās by the treaty of 1022/1613, but further Ottoman incursions took place all through the century. In the reign of Shah Ṣafī I, Sultan Morād IV occupied and devastated Tabrīz (1045/1635-36), although it was extensively rebuilt later in the century, as the accounts of Western diplomatic envoys and travelers confirm. There were nevertheless periods of peace, and the province developed commercially as a result of its position on the Trebizond-Tabrīz-central Persia communications and trade route.

The confusion within Persia caused in the early 12th/18th century by the loss of control by the Safavids and the consequent invasions of the Afghans gave the Ottomans fresh opportunities (cf. L. Lockhart, The Fall of the Ṣafavī Dynasty and the Afghan Occupation of Persia, Cambridge, 1958, pp. 212ff.). In 1135-36/1723-24 the desperate Ṭahmāsp II was compelled, in return for promised Turkish and Russian support in enforcing his claims to the throne, to cede Šervān and the eastern Caucasian provinces to Peter the Great; the Ottomans occupied Qarabāḡ and western Azerbaijan yet again, with ʿAbdallāh Köprülü Pasha taking Tabrīz. By an agreement of 1140/1727-28 with the Afghan chief Ašraf, the Ottomans were awarded northwestern Persia as far as Solṭānīya and Abhar, and by 1142/1730 they had occupied Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Persian Kurdistan, and ʿErāq-e ʿAjamī, and had divided Šervān and Dāḡestān with Russia. Azerbaijan was regained by Persia when Nāder Shah Afšār vanquished the Afghans and in 1146/1734 regained the province from the Ottomans (Lockhart, Nadir Shah, a Critical Study, London, 1938, pp. 80ff.); Nāder then entrusted Azerbaijan to his brother Moḥammad Ebrāhīm Khan (ibid., pp. 169ff.).

Under the Qajars. The history of Azerbaijan in the ensuing Zand period is obscure, with Zand control there disputed by Afghan and Qajar Turkman chiefs and by local potentates such as the Domboli Kurdish chiefs of Ḵoy. In 1205/1790-91 Āḡā Moḥammad Khan, founder of the Qajar dynasty, asserted his power there, but during his reign and the early part of that of his nephew Fatḥ-ʿAlī Shah, this power was disputed by the Dombolis, who on several occasions held Tabrīz itself. There now began the practice, adopted in view of the province’s strategic importance vis-à-vis the Ottomans and Russians, of entrusting the governorship of Azerbaijan to the heir-apparent to the throne, e.g., in 1213/1799 to Fatḥ-ʿAlī’s son ʿAbbās Mīrzā, and in the second quarter of the nineteenth century, to Moḥammad Shah’s son Nāṣer-al-dīn.

In the early nineteenth century, intense pressure—military, diplomatic, and economic—began to be exerted on Azerbaijan by Russia. The frontier there with Russia was finally fixed by the Treaty of Torkamāṇčāy (q.v.) of 1828, confirming the arrangements of the Golestān Treaty of 1813, so that Persia was forced reluctantly to abandon her eastern Caucasian provinces for ever. Russia also exacted under the terms of the treaty fiscal and commercial privileges on a “most favored nation” basis, so that Russian economic penetration of northern Persia via Azerbaijan now had free rein. The reports of the Russian commercial adviser in Tabrīz for the years 1833-47 show how disastrous for Persia was her balance of trade with Russia: Russian imports were estimated at 250 million paper roubles during these fifteen years, with Persian exports only at 90 million (see Minorsky, BSO(A)S II, 1946, pp. 878-80). Also, ʿAbbās Mīrzā, the local governor, was willy-nilly susceptible to Russian pressure whilst ever the war indemnity stipulated in the treaty as payable to Russia remained not fully paid, as was generally the case. Until the accession of Moḥammad Shah in 1250/1834, Tabrīz was the normal seat of the Russian and British diplomatic missions to Persia, and their transfer to Tehran thereafter marked the latter city’s definite assumption of the status of political capital. Nevertheless, Tabrīz remained the commercial center and entrepôt for Persia, especially as southern Persia had not yet fully recovered from the devastations of the Zand and early Qajar periods and was comparatively neglected by the northern-based Qajar government.

It further remained the second city of Persia as the seat of the walīʿahd or heir to the throne, with his own court circle, and was always more open than other centers to European and outside influences and ideas. Hence it is not surprising that Tabrīz played a leading role in the period of storm and stress inaugurated by the constitutional movement of 1906 when Moẓaffar-al-dīn Shah was compelled to grant a constitution. It was a focus too for Persian national feeling and resentment against outside pressures, fanned by the settlement in Azerbaijan of many mohājerīn, Muslims who had emigrated in the course of the nineteenth century from the Russian-occupied Caucasus and Caspian provinces (cf. P. Avery, Modern Iran, London, 1967, pp. 135-37). Hence when Moḥammad-ʿAlī Shah and his Cossack Brigade, encouraged by Russian support, closed the Majles in 1908, rebellion broke out in Tabrīz, leading to the Russian military occupation of 1909. From then onwards, and despite the “second constitutional period” of 1909-11, during which the Russians continued to support the intrigues of the deposed despot Moḥammad-ʿAlī Shah, Russian influence was paramount in Azerbaijan, with nationalist and democratic leaders arrested and executed in Tabrīz (for the constitutional period and the ensuing years in Azerbaijan, see Kasravī, Āḏarbāyjān, Tehran, 1318-19 Š./1939-40).

Only the entry of Ottoman Turkey into World War I on the side of the Central Powers in November, 1914, compelled the withdrawal of Russian forces from Azerbaijan at the end of 1914 under the threat of invasion by Ottoman-backed Kurdish irregular troops, although they returned early in 1915. The outbreak of the Russian Revolution in 1917 led to a withdrawal of Russian troops at the opening of 1918, and the Bolsheviks proclaimed that the new Russia no longer had any political or territorial ambitions in Persia. The Russian military departure enabled the Ottoman army to advance into Azerbaijan and to occupy Tabrīz in summer 1918. Meanwhile, a democratic party under Shaikh Moḥammad Ḵīābānī (q.v.) had arisen in Tabrīz, and after the end of the war, disputed control of Azerbaijan with the central government of Woṯūq-al-dawla in Tehran. Early in 1920 Ḵīābānī proclaimed Azerbaijan to be Āzādīstān “Land of the free”, but his movement was suppressed militarily in September, 1920, and the control of Tehran re-asserted there, only momentarily to be challenged in February, 1922, by the brief revolt of the gendarmerie officer Abu’l-Qāsem Lāhūtī against the commander in chief Reżā Khan (later Reżā Shah), suppressed by the latter.

Shortly before the abdication under Allied pressure of Reżā Shah Pahlavī in September, 1941, during World War II, British and Russian forces, later joined by American ones, occupied Persia, with Russia controlling the northern provinces, including Azerbaijan. Already, earlier in the century, there had been signs of a stirring of Azerbaijani self-consciousness and feelings of distinctness. The Ottomans in 1918 had encouraged pan-Turkish cultural and linguistic feelings there, and there was a feeling in Azerbaijan to kinship with the Turkish and Muslim peoples of the eastern Caucasus, which in some cases entailed political sympathies with the communist regime now dominant there. Under the sixteen years’ rule of Reżā Shah, Azerbaijan felt comparatively neglected, and use of the local language, Azeri Turkish, was forbidden for official purposes in favor of Persian. Now, with the Russians controlling northern Persia, the old feelings which has broken out after World War I in the shape of the Gīlān and Azerbaijan movements re-emerged. Under the veteran Persian communist leader Jaʿfar Pīšavarī (q.v.), who had been an old ʿAdālat Party member in Baku in 1918 and commissar for internal affairs in the Bolshevik republic of Gīlān 1920-21, a coup by the pro-Soviet Democrat Party of Azerbaijan (Ferqa-ye Demokrāt-e Āḏarbāyjān), to which the local Tūda Party speedily affiliated itself, took place in Ābān, 1324 Š./November, 1945, against the central government in Tehran (see Azerbaijan v). The Russians prevented the Persian government troops from advancing beyond Qazvīn, and in the next month, a Russian-protected autonomous republic of Azerbaijan was proclaimed. Simultaneously, an autonomous Kurdish republic was proclaimed at Mahābād in southwestern Azerbaijan under Qāżī Moḥammad, and in April, 1946, it concluded a treaty of alliance and support with the Tabrīz régime.

Under a 1942 agreement of the Allies, all foreign troops were to be withdrawn from Iranian soil by six months after the end of the War. In fact, by March, 1946, the troops of the Western Allies were withdrawn, but the Russian ones did not leave till May. By November-December, 1946, the central government army was able to move into Azerbaijan; the Provincial Assembly abandoned resistance, and Pīšavarī fled to the USSR, where he later allegedly died in an accident. The Mahābād Kurdish régime collapsed early in 1947 (G. Lenczowski; Russia and the West in Iran 1918-1948, pp. 286ff.; R. Rossow, “The Battle of Azerbaijan, 1946,” Middle East Journal 10, 1956, pp. 17-32). The authority of the central government in Tehran was reestablished, and in the ensuing years, signs of recrudescent Azerbaijani secessionist feeling were closely watched and the use of Azeri was once more discouraged.

AZERBAIJAN v. History from 1941 to 1947

The United Kingdom and the Soviet Union invaded Iran on 3 Šahrīvar 1320 Š./25 August 1941, invoking an unsatisfactory response to parallel demands for expulsion of four-fifths of the 1,500 Germans in Iran. Approximately 40,000 Soviet troops entered Iran from the north, occupying Azerbaijan and Mašhad, while 19,000 British troops entered from the south along a six hundred-mile front to protect the oil fields in Ḵūzestān. Reasons for the occupation included creation of a supply route from the Persian Gulf to Russia and protection of allied interests from the threat posed by the Germans. The significance of the supply route is suggested by the fact that 7,900,000 long tons of imports crossed Iran into the Soviet Union in the years 1941-45, including 180,000 trucks and 4,874 airplanes.

The dispersal of the Iranian army undermined Reżā Shah’s earlier efforts to consolidate or repress the centrifugal forces (political, administrative, religious, tribal, and economic) in his country, leaving the central government vulnerable to them and aggravating mutual suspicions between central and provincial administrations. The collapse of government control in Azerbaijan, meanwhile, created the opportunity for local forces to come to the fore. Soviet occupation, meanwhile, resulted in Soviet control over many aspects of the province’s internal affairs and revived traditional rivalries among the great powers (Figure 3).

Figure 3. Northwest Iran, December, 1945-December, 1946.Figure 3. Northwest Iran, December, 1945-December, 1946.

Upon entering Iran, the Soviets dismantled frontier and customs posts between Iran and the USSR, and set up military posts on the southern border of the Soviet occupied zone. The de facto result was extension of the Soviet frontier into Iran. The terms of occupation, meanwhile, were set in the Tripartite Treaty of Alliance (29 January, 1942), under which Britain and Russia agreed to respect the territorial integrity, sovereignty, and political independence of Iran (Art. 1) and to withdraw from Iran within six months of an armistice between the allied and axis powers (Art. 5). In spite of this treaty, however, and the Declaration Regarding Iran (1 December, 1943), which provided for British, Russian, and American commitments to Iran’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, Soviet policies ignored Iran’s political independence. In Azerbaijan, wartime conditions combined with scarce resources to cause widespread hunger and insecurity among the region’s communal groups. The Soviets exacerbated these problems and imposed a number of unfavorable agreements on the Azerbaijanis. They influenced the trade unions, which they infiltrated, and reinforced the power of both the Central Council of Federated Trade Unions and Azerbaijan’s Communist Tūda (Tudeh) Party, which, because it saw Azerbaijan as a nation and not one among many diverse nationalities, had serious differences with the Tūda leadership in Tehran (Kuniholm, Origins, pp. 130-213; Abrahamian, Iran, pp. 388-415; Meister, Soviet Policy in Iran, pp. 147, 654-73). The Soviets also prevented the central government from maintaining order and exercised control over local populations through town commandants, who were responsible to the Soviet consul in Tabrīz.

In October, 1944, the Russian vice commissar of foreign affairs S. Kavtaradze, reacting perhaps to apprehension over potential American penetration of Iran (encouraged by the central government as a counterweight to Soviet and British influence), asked for exclusive exploration rights for five years along Iran’s northern, Caspian coast from the Russian border in Azerbaijan to Khorasan. Fearing the proposal was only a cover for infiltrating the area, the Iranian cabinet on October 8 postponed oil concessions until after the war. Despite Soviet intimidation, Moḥammad Moṣaddeq led the Majles on 2 December, 1944, to pass a law forbidding oil negotiations between cabinets and foreigners; thereafter, concessions were to be dependent on the Majles (Ramazani, Iran’s Foreign Policy, pp. 103ff.; Foreign Relations of the United States, 1944 V, Washington, D.C., 1966, pp. 452-54).

In 1945, the United States and Britain repeatedly sought the early withdrawal of all foreign troops from Iran, but the Russians refused to discuss the matter; instead, they encouraged dissolution of the Tūda Party in Azerbaijan and, in order to build a wider base of support, the establishment in its place of the Democratic Party of Azerbaijan (Ferqa-ye Demokrāt-e Āḏarbāyjān). The social bases, interests, and policies of the two parties were very different. Jaʿfar Pīšavarī, the Democratic Party’s founder, was contemptuous of the Tūda Party and its Persian intellectuals whose Western European Marxism contrasted with the Leninism of his Azeri followers. His own party, however, was even more susceptible to Soviet manipulation (Ramazani, “Autonomous Republic,” pp. 448-74; Abrahamian, op. cit., pp. 388-415; Kuniholm, op. cit., pp. 270-82).

In western Azerbaijan, the Soviet commander at Mīāndoāb summoned the Kurdish chieftains and transported them to Baku in southern Russia. There, in late September, 1945, the Prime Minister of the Azerbaijan SSR told them that neither their own nationalist party, the Komala-ye Žīān-e Kordestān, nor the Tūda Party was looked on favorably, that they should seek their goals within Azerbaijani autonomy, and that they should call themselves the Democratic Party of Kurdistan (Ḥezb-e Demokrāt-e Kordestān; see Eagleton, The Kurdish Republic, pp. 43-46; Roosevelt, “Kurdish Republic,” pp. 256-57).

The Azerbaijan movement, one must keep in mind, was not created solely by Soviet pressures. While benefiting from Soviet support, the Azeris were partly reacting to the process of centralization instituted under Reżā Shah and to the central government’s incompetence, corruption, and discrimination against the province; the Kurds opposed, among other things, the government’s attempts at detribalization. Thus, a concern for identity within their own communal groups seemed logical to both Kurds and Azeris in the aftermath of the Soviet occupation in 1941. Characterizing in terms of class what were primarily communal and regional differences (Azerbaijan had only twelve towns with a population of 10,000 or more and there was a substantial number of factory workers only in Tabrīz), the Tūda Party gained support in Azerbaijan under the aegis of the Soviet occupation and, when Soviet tactics dictated a shift, provided what became the Democratic Party with a ready group of supporters (although only one of nine cabinet ministers were former Tūda members).

After the armistice with Japan on 2 September 1945, open Soviet sympathy for the Azerbaijan movement, and repeated incidents of interference in the province, were protested by the Iranians and ignored by the Soviets who only replied with a renewed demand for oil concessions. In the fall, the Soviets distributed arms in key areas, and in October and November sponsored large-scale uprisings throughout the province. When Britain and Russia occupied Iran in 1941, the British captured the Iranian Army arsenal in Teheran. When the Soviets expressed a desire for the weapons in it, the British handed them over, but only after recording their serial numbers. Rifles collected from the fedāʾīyīn in Tabrīz after the fall of the Democratic Republic in almost every case matched those handed over to the Red Army (Kuniholm, op. cit., pp. 278-79. See also, Meister, op. cit., p. 186; Eagleton, op. cit., p. 55; Abrahamian, op. cit., pp. 389-400). When the Iranian gendarmerie tried to control the newly-armed rebels, the Soviets challenged them and forced them to retire. By November 19, all major routes entering the province had been seized by the Democratic Party; communications had been cut, and an Iranian force of 1,500 troops was stopped at Qazvīn by the Soviets. By December 10, Tabrīz was in the hands of the Democratic Party; shortly thereafter, a newly inaugurated “National Assembly” proclaimed the Autonomous Government of Azerbaijan with Pīšavarī as Premier. On December 15, Qāżī Moḥammad, an hereditary judge and religious leader of Mahābād, inaugurated the Kurdish Republic (Roosevelt, op. cit., pp. 256-57; Eagleton. op. cit., p. 60).

Stalin’s stated reason for maintaining approximately 30,000 troops in Azerbaijan after the war was that they served as a precaution against sabotage and “hostile” actions. More likely, he was protecting security interests on his southern flank, preventing Anglo-American influence in what he felt to be his sphere of influence, exploiting several of the opportunities that occupation afforded him with a view to controlling the government in Tehran and, perhaps, creating conditions that, in the long run, would give the Soviet Union access to warm water ports. A friendly government in Azerbaijan and oil concessions were both means to the same end.

Within Azerbaijan, Pīšavarī played down class differences, focused on communal conflict, and with Soviet backing instituted two reforms: redistribution of non-Azerbaijani-owned land (which was confiscated in 687 out of a total of over 7,000 villages) and nationalization of the larger banks. He also began badly needed work on roads, established workers’ welfare pensions, and declared Azeri Turkish the official language of Azerbaijan. These reforms—or at least the intentions which motivated them—were popular, but economic difficulties (the result, primarily, of bad weather and a bad harvest) forced him to demand even more money from farmers and landlords than previously exacted under the old system. With a police force modeled after the Soviet NKVD, Azerbaijan became a police state. Even those friendly to Pīšavarī’s rule denounced his abuse of power (Hooglund, Land and Revolution, pp 41-42; Abrahamian, op. cit., pp. 409-412; Kuniholm, op. cit., p. 309; Meister, op. cit., p. 256; Rossow, “The Battle of Azerbaijan,” p. 19; Lenczowski, Russia and the West, p. 290; Foreign Relations of the United States, 1946 VII, Washington, D.C., 1969, pp. 332-34).

On 19 January 1946, meanwhile, Iran called for investigation of Russian interference in Iran’s internal affairs. In February and March, 1946, the Soviets attempted to pressure prime Minister Aḥmad Qawām (Qawām-al-salṭana) to recognize the autonomy of the Democratic Party and to acquiesce in the creation of an Irano-Soviet petroleum company; in contravention of the Tripartite Treaty, they also indicated that they would not evacuate Azerbaijan until order had been restored and Iran’s “hostile” attitude had ceased. By March 2, the date set under the Tripartite Treaty for the withdrawal of all foreign troops from Iran, British and U.S. troops had withdrawn, but Soviet troops had not. Rather, in the course of the next three weeks, Soviet reinforcements of at least 200 tanks and 3,500 trucks arrived in Tabrīz and were deployed south toward Qazvīn, west toward the Turkish border, and southwest toward the Iraqi border (see Kuniholm, op. cit., pp. 318-19 and nn. 40-41 ). Subsequent developments are subject to differing interpretations. Whatever Soviet motives, and their movements suggest the possibility of a coup d’état, they were thwarted by masterful Iranian diplomacy and by firm U.S. support for the Iranian case at the United Nations. The Soviets finally agreed to withdraw, but not before extended debate of the issue in the United Nations and a commitment by Qawām to ratify within seven months an Irano-Soviet agreement to exploit oil in northern Iran (ibid., pp. 303-42).

The Democratic Party, meanwhile, was still ensconced in Azerbaijan. Without a Soviet presence, however, its authority began to erode. In spite of a tentative agreement with the central government that granted Azerbaijan considerable autonomy and allowed the Democratic Party to remain in full control, negotiations broke down. The influence of both Qawām and the Shah in resolving the situation in Azerbaijan was crucial and can be quickly summarized: Departure of the Soviets made it possible for the military to arm opponents of the Tabrīz regime; a revolt by the Qašqāʾī and Baḵtīārī tribes in the South made it possible for Qawām to assert the central government’s authority throughout Iran and to order the military into Azerbaijan to maintain order during elections (which could be held only with security forces present). In the face of Soviet threats and with the unqualified support of the United States in the Security Council if complications arose, Iranian troops began moving into Azerbaijan on 9 December 1946. By 21 Āḏar 1325 Š./13 December 1946, Pīšavarī had fled to Baku and Iranian forces entered Tabrīz. Two days later, on December 15, Qāżī Moḥammad announced the surrender of Mahābād. Almost a year to the day after the republics had been founded, they collapsed. In the process, several hundred rebels were killed, while approximately one thousand Azerbaijanis and as many as 10,000 Kurds under Mollā Moṣṭafā Bārzānī fled to the Soviet Union. Grim reminders of the regimes were embodied for months afterward in rows of bodies swinging from crude gibbets in many public squares of Azerbaijan and northern Kurdistan. In Iran, a complicated election process that had begun in January ended in June, 1947. The fifteenth Majles did not open until July, and did not vote on the controversial oil agreement with the Soviet Union until October. Then, by a vote of 102 to 2, the agreement was rejected and the issues generated by the Soviet occupation of Azerbaijan were finally resolved (ibid., pp. 342-50, 383-98, 414).



U.S. Department of State Decimal File, S.D. 891.6363/10-1144/11-1244/12-1144.

E. Abrahamian, Iran between Two Revolutions, Princeton, 1982, pp. 169-246, 281-312, 326-415.

W. Eagleton, The Kurdish Republic of 1946, London, 1963.

E. Hooglund, Land and Revolution in Iran, 1960-1980, Austin, 1982.

A. Ḵāmaʾī, Ḵāṭerāt-e Anwar Ḵāmaʾī II: Forṣat-e bozorg-e az dast rafta, Tehran, 1362 Š./1984, passim.

B. Kuniholm, The Origins of the Cold War in the Near East: Great Power Conflict and Diplomacy in Iran, Turkey, and Greece, Princeton, 1980, pp. 140-216, 270-350, 376-99, 425-31.

G. Lenczowski, Russia and the West in Iran 1918-1948, Ithaca, 1949.

I. Meister, Soviet Policy in Iran, 1917-1950: A Case Study in Techniques, Ph. D. dissertation, Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University, 1954.

R. Ramazani, Iran’s Foreign Policy, 1941-1973: A Study of Foreign Policy in Modernizing Nations, Charlottesville, 1975, pp. 91-178.

Idem, “The Autonomous Republic of Azerbaijan and the Kurdish People’s Republic: Their Rise and Fall,” in The Anatomy of Communist Takeovers, T. Hammond, ed., New Haven, 1975, pp. 448-74.

A. Roosevelt, Jr., “The Kurdish Republic of Mahabad,” The Middle East Journal 1/3, July, 1947, pp. 256-57.

R. Rossow, “The Battle of Azerbaijan, 1946,” The Middle East Journal 10, Winter, 1956, pp. 17-32.

AZERBAIJAN vi. Population and its Occupations and Culture

Population. Azerbaijan, the main Turkic-speaking area and one of the richest and most densely populated regions of Iran, presents a picture of ethnic distinctiveness and homogeneity that is perhaps misleading. Not only are there various linguistic, religious, and tribal minority groups, but Azerbaijanis themselves have settled widely outside the region.

The great majority of the people of Azerbaijan are native speakers of the language known as Azerbaijani Turkish or Azeri (q.v.). Kurdish speakers are mainly found in the border districts of western Azerbaijan. Iranian Tāti (Tati) dialects are still spoken in small communities south of Jolfā, east of Mīāna, and in Qaradāḡ (see Azerbaijan vii and Bazin, 1980, II, p. 85 for references to studies by Henning, Yarshater, and Kārang).

Tribalism is no longer of great social relevance for most Azerbaijanis, but most have a recent history of tribal allegiances, whether Turkish or Kurdish. The main Turkish tribal groups that can still be identified are the Šāhsevans of Meškīn and Ardabīl, the Afšārs of Urmia and Ṣāʾīn Qalʿa, and the Bayāt and others of Mākū. Kurdish tribal groups (from north to south along the frontier) include the Ḥaydarānlū, Mīlān, Šakāk, Herkī, Begzāda, Zarza, Māmāš, Pīrān, Mangūr, and Dehbokrī.

Tribal groups in this region were essentially political groups, bearing the names of dominant chiefly sections. The chiefs were not necessarily linked culturally or genealogically with the “commoners,” who frequently changed allegiances, although a long association with one tribe often led to the adoption of the chiefs’ language and culture and possibly the invention of a common pedigree. Whole tribes have sometimes changed identity, particularly when relocated as a linguistic or religious minority in a new area. Thus, several Turkish-speaking groups are known to have more or less recent Kurdish origins, for example the Donbolī of Ḵoy, the Lek of Salmās, the Šaqāqī and related tribes of Mīāna and Ḵalḵāl, most of the tribes of Qaradāḡ, and some of the Šāhsevan. The Korasūnnī of Dowl and Salmās appear to be mixed, while some of the Ḵalḵāl groups are reported to speak Kurdish at home. The Qarapapaḵ and Šamsaldīnlū of Soldūz, on the other hand, are of Turkish origins but nearly assimilated to Kurdish language and culture. The Čārdowlī of Ṣāʾīn Qalʿa finally, are Turkicized Lors, immigrant from Fārs (see Oberling, 1964a and 1964b; Tapper, 1974 and 1983).

Almost all Turkish-speaking Azerbaijanis are Shiʿite Muslims, like the large majority of Iranians. Kurdish speakers are mainly Sunni, as are the few Ṭāleši villages northeast of Ardabīl, and some at least of the Turkicized Kurds of Ḵalḵāl and the Kurdicized Turks of Soldūz. There are some Ahl-e Ḥaqq or ʿAlī-Elāhī villages, notably Īlḵčī south of Mount Sahand (Sāʿedī, 1964), the Qara Qoyunlū of Mākū (Oberling, 1964a, p. 62) and some Qaradāḡi (Melikoff, 1975). Christian minorities, Armenian, and Assyrian/Chaldean, live west of Lake Urmia and near Delmān.

Azerbaijanis have emigrated and resettled in large numbers, some in Baku and Istanbul, but mainly in Tehran, Khorasan, Qom, and other Iranian cities and provinces; wherever they have settled they have become prominent not only among urban and industrial working classes but also in commercial, administrative, political, religious, and intellectual circles. Azerbaijani Turkish, moreover, is spoken widely in provinces to the south and east stretching to the vicinities of Hamadān and Tehran, while both the official language of Soviet Azerbaijan and the Turkish spoken in eastern Anatolia are very close to the Azerbaijani of Iran.

Some writers are of the opinion that the Turkicization of Azerbaijan has been relatively superficial, citing as evidence both the persistence of Tāti dialects and the “bastardization” of the Turkish language, notably the loss of vowel harmony characteristic of Tabrīzi speech (Minorsky in EI2 I, p. 191).

Nonetheless Azerbaijanis, despite their insistence on their Iranian identity, generally call themselves, and are called, “Türk,” by contrast with “Kürt” (speakers of Kurdish), and “Fārs/Pārs” (Persian-speakers), the major ethnic groups with whom they have most contact. Otherwise, opposed to various Christian groups or the Soviets they are “Musulman;” as distinct from the Sunni Turks of Anatolia, they are firmly Shiʿite, an identity which more than anything else has kept them loyal to Iran. Within the region, people claim a variety of local and tribal identities, according to context. One of these is “Tat (Tāt),” a term with two main meanings: the first, synonymous with “Tājīk,” “non-Turkish speaker,” is used by Turkish groups inside and outside Azerbaijan and conforms with both the linguistic term for the dialects mentioned above, and the ethnonym “Tājīk” prevalent in Afghanistan and Tajikistan. The second meaning of Tat, peculiar to Azerbaijan, designates the Turkish-speaking, settled, non-tribal population by contrast with nomadic tribal groups, especially the Šāhsevan, from whom they otherwise differ little in language, religion or, culture (see Tapper, 1979; Sāʿedī, 1965). In fact, although no systematic comparison of regional Azerbaijani Turkish dialects has been published, there is evidence that in some respects, for example the vowel harmony, the nomad Šāhsevan speak a “purer” Turkish than their settled Tat neighbors.

Iranian society has been characterized for centuries by a cleavage between the Turks (dominant but “uncouth” tribes, mainly from Azerbaijan) and the Persians (subordinate but “civilized” townspeople and peasants of the central provinces). This ethnic division is marked by a number of stereotypes on both sides. Turks, for example, are often seen by Persians as slow and dull, while their martial, commercial, and organizational capacities are recognized. Iran was politically dominated by Turkish rulers since medieval times, with Azerbaijan, on the frontiers of the Ottoman and later the Russian empires, economically and politically the most important province outside the capital. The Persians, however, gained the upper hand by the end of the nineteenth century. Azerbaijanis were prominent in the Tobacco Protest of 1908, the Constitutional Revolution of 1906-11, and ensuing political struggles and movements, but under the Pahlavi Shahs Azerbaijan as a whole lost its primacy, while central regions were favored, Persian language and culture were strongly promoted, and publication in Turkish (except for poetry and folk literature) was banned. Nonetheless, despite various separatist movements in this century, some fostered by Turkey or the Soviet Union, Azerbaijanis have remained strongly committed to Iran. Having played a significant role during the 1978-79 Revolution the Azerbaijanis were granted some cultural freedom afterward, but greater autonomy sought by some among them for the region and minorities have been denied.

Tabrīz, by far the largest city of Azerbaijan, was for long the second city of Iran. As the major commercial entrepôt on the main routes from Europe through Turkey and Russia, and also the seat of the Heir Apparent in Qajar times, Tabrīz developed a substantial middle class of merchants, clerics and intellectuals. Tabrīzis acquired a reputation for liberal nationalism, through active involvement in the Tobacco Protest, the Constitutional Revolution, and Ḵīābānī’s Āzādestān movement. Later, however, suffering from the curtailment of transit trade through and from Russia and from changes under the Pahlavis, Tabrīz declined. Restored to favor somewhat during the 1970s, Tabrīz was by 1980 the fourth largest city with a population of some 600,000. Capital of western Azerbaijan is Urmia: (Reżāʾīya), with about 170,000 people, the center of the Afšār tribe, located near the Kurdish borderlands and noted too for the nearby Christian minority. In the northeast Ardabīl (population 150,000) owes its importance originally to the presence of the Safavid shrines but also to its location as trading entrepôt between western Iran, the Caspian, and Russia. Somewhat smaller is the old Mongol capital, Marāḡa, in the west. Other towns of any size are local market centers or staging points along the main routes.

Azerbaijan has long been noted as Iran’s “breadbasket,” as well as a major source of tax revenue and military recruits. Nearly two thirds of the population of about five million (both provinces) are still rural. It is a region of high mountains, fertile valleys, and broad rolling upland plains; of extensive pastures and farmlands, favored with adequate rainfall if cold winters. Villages (känd, denoting the houses and the lands) are sometimes very large, with thousands rather than hundreds of inhabitants. They grow a variety of crops; an abundance of wheat, but also barley, cotton, fruit, vegetables, and nuts; the honey produced in the neighborhood of Mount Sabalān is nationally renowned. Although some areas in the west and north are wooded, considerable amounts of timber are imported from the Caspian forests through Ardabīl.

Before the Land Reform of Moḥammad Reżā Shah in 1963, much of the land in Azerbaijan was owned by absentee landlords, including tribal chiefs and city-dwelling clerics, merchants, officials, and professionals. These owned shares in one or several villages; often large landed proprietors owned scores of villages. Small landowners and peasant proprietors were relatively rare except in Urmia and Qaradāḡ. Awqāf (pious endowments) were uncommon except near Ardabīl, and there was little kāleṣa (state land) except in certain frontier districts (Lambton, 1953).

Peasant families in a village formed two classes, the contracted, crop-sharing cultivators (jüṭčī) and the landless laborers and others collectively known as ḵošnešīn, in about equal proportions. Landlords collected around a quarter of the crop, and extracted in addition a variety of customary dues, rarely giving in return loans, protection, and patronage. The peasants’ shares in the crops were barely sufficient for subsistence, and had to be supplemented through livestock-rearing and the production of woven goods for sale. The general picture was one of great incomes accruing to the wealthier landowners, while peasants possessed a capacity for survival though in extreme poverty and debt. The village headman was either elected by the cultivators, or chosen from among them by the landowner; sometimes two different men were appointed to balance the factions into which villages were very commonly split. The headman was often assisted by the body of village elders (the aqsaqals). Other officials were elected or appointed on a short-term basis, such as the mīrāb who supervised the distribution of irrigation water and negotiated with other villages sharing the same source.

Lambton refers to the Soviet-inspired separatist Ferqa-ye Demokrāt (Democratic Party) which held sway in Azerbaijan in 1946, and under whom the lands were expropriated, and writes that, after the fall of the Democrat government, “there was, broadly speaking, a reversion to the status quo ante in matters of land tenure and rural organization. The position of the landlords in Azerbaijan was, nevertheless, considerably shaken by this episode” (1969, p. 37).

Until recently, communications were poor, mountain ranges presented formidable barriers to intercourse, and villages were isolated and inward-looking. Houses clustered together, often within a village wall which, though now crumbling, once gave some protection against nomad raiders. This danger ceased in the 1920s, but the narrow alleys, another defense against mounted raiders, are still present-day village features. Most marriages are still contracted within the village. However, the years since the 1920s have on several occasions brought close contact with the neighboring Soviet regime and socialist ideas with some salutary effects. Lambton’s remarks on Ardabīl are more widely valid: “The peasants were more aware of the outside world than in many other districts and less amenable to pressure by landlords and others” (1969, p. 127).

Occupations and culture. With the establishment of comparative security and government control, communications improved, mobility increased, and villages became less isolated. Economic exchanges have proliferated along new all-weather roads; new market-centers have grown up; and every village has acquired at least one store, besides schools and other government sponsored services and administrative arrangements. Most important have been measures like the Land Reform, which brought considerable change to the structure of society in Azerbaijan. The reform was indeed first implemented in Azerbaijan, in Marāḡa and surrounding districts, and Ardabīl and Ahar were also among the first districts in the country to be affected. Other large-scale developments under the Pahlavi regime involved irrigation schemes at half a dozen sites in the region.

Such schemes, as well as increasingly mechanized dry-farming, have now decisively reduced the grazing available to livestock, both in the plains and on the lower reaches of the mountain pastures. Pastoralism continues, however, as the climate and geography of much of Azerbaijan are even better suited to this form of production than to cultivation. The mountain meadows of Sabalān and Sahand, Qaradāḡ and the Kurdish frontier districts, and the rich winter pastures of Moḡān in particular, long ago attracted the first Turkish and Mongol nomad invaders. Most livestock raising is now done by settled or semi-settled villagers. The only remaining major nomadic group are the Šāhsevan of Moḡān, while in other districts smaller nomadic and semi-nomadic groups continue to migrate between winter and summer quarters. Nowadays, in much of the region Šāhsevan is synonymous with tented nomad, much as Kurd once was.

Livestock-rearing, by nomads or others, has always been geared to regional and national marketing systems, but now, with vastly improved communications and increased demand, this integration is vital to both the pastoralists and the national economy. Though the producers sometimes take their own livestock for sale to Tabrīz or even Tehran, city-based cheese-makers, wool merchants, and livestock dealers visit the camps at various points in the year, buying up large quantities of pastoral produce to meet an insatiable urban demand. During the 1960s, the tribal chiefs, who had usually been among the large landowners, lost both this economic base and their official government appointments, and turned more to livestock-raising, which they developed on a commercial scale.

The categories Šāhsevan and Tāt, mentioned above, are locally held to imply a whole complex of cultural differences beyond the basic nomad/settled and pastoral/agricultural distinctions. For example, the Šāhsevan claim they lead by comparison with Tāt a cleaner, healthier, and more profitable way of life, maintain stricter moral standards, achieve a more direct approach to God, and are generally braver and more generous in nature. Tāt of course claim most of these qualities as their own, but lay special emphasis on supposed village characteristics such as more varied diet, more orthodox religious practices, and more law-abiding habits. These attitudes are greatly fostered by mutual ignorance. Šāhsevan and Tāt have little social interaction, even when linked by marriage (nomads give twenty percent of their daughters to villagers, and receive ten percent of their wives from them).

To the observer there are in fact only small differences between nomad and villager in dialect, religious beliefs and practices, oral literature, and customs such as lifecycle ceremonies. In many cases differences are less than those between districts. (The foregoing descriptions of village agriculture and pastoralism are drawn from northeast Azerbaijan but apply very broadly to the rest of the region.)

Azerbaijan is a region of cultural variation and contrast, differences between districts and between city, town, and countryside being greater than those between the region as a whole and other parts of Iran. Some distinctive features arise from Azerbaijan’s combining elements from Central Asia and the Middle East, as shown in the meeting not only of Turkish with Iranian languages but of the Bactrian camel with the one-humped dromedary, which are here crossed to produce the larger and much prized hybrid (Tapper, 1985); or of the round, felt-covered alačïḡ of the Šāhsevan and Qaradāḡ nomads (see Andrews, 1978) with the rectangular black tent of the Kurds and others. Otherwise, in conformity with the climate, the traditional village house is a single-story mud-brick building set in a courtyard and with a south-facing, pillared verandah. Bread, whether oven or griddle-baked, is basic in the diet of rural people at least, while the distinctive cuisine includes a wide variety of āš and šorbā dishes. Several districts of Azerbaijan have produced some of the varieties of Persian carpet best known in the West, especially Ardabīl, Herīs, Qaradāḡ, Tabrīz, and the Kurdish areas. Recently the subtle flat-weaves of the Šāhsevan nomads have acquired a considerable reputation.

In rural areas large patriarchal households are preferred, though not often achieved in practice. It is uncommon for married sons to leave their father’s house, and even brothers often continue in a cooperative household for some time after their parents’ deaths. In tribal contexts and in families of religious or other notable descent, lineal pedigrees are important, but usually both sides of the family are balanced in day-to-day life, though the maternal uncle (dāʾī) is a very different relation from a paternal one (ʿamū). If there is a particular theme in Azerbaijani kinship relations it is one of respect to age and seniority, to the head of household and to an older brother.

In all classes, especially close-knit village and tribal communities, marriage with cousins is common, but boys marry maternal cousins as frequently as paternal. Azerbaijani women have a reputation in the rest of the country for beauty and for being good cooks and household managers; locally they are expected to be strong, capable of running a home in the absence of their husband, and of organizing public activities (see M.-J. DelVecchio Good on urban women of Marāḡa, and N. Tapper on Šāhsevan nomad women, in Beck and Keddie, 1978).

Beyond kinship and marriage, individuals are linked in a variety of ties of personal friendship and pseudo-kinship, for example siqäqardašlïx (akin to blood-brotherhood) or the more purpose-based qonaḡlïq contact). A third kind of relation, kirvälik, may approach the disinterested amity ideal of both friendship and kinship, though it often has distinctly political overtones. The kirvä’s role is to hold a small boy when he is being circumcised, but socially he approximates the godfather in many Christian societies. The boy’s father will seek an influential friend for the purpose, thereby inaugurating a lifelong tie of patronage and support. The range of social relationships is summed up explicitly in the concept of xeyr-ü-šärr (lit. good and evil), denoting relations of reciprocal attendance at lifecycle feasts and also the personal networks so formed. “My xeyr-ü-šärr” means all those whose ceremonies I attend and who attend mine.

Though the major themes in Azerbaijani life-cycle ceremonies are similar to those elsewhere in Iran, there are variations in detail that distinguish districts and classes of society. The main occasions for joyful celebration and gatherings of large numbers of people are parties (toy) at circumcisions and weddings, when the host arranges feasting, music, dancing, and games for days on end, but with contributions made by all xeyr-ü-šärr guests. Xeyr-ü-šärr also contribute to the expenses of funeral feasts and the journeys of pilgrims to Mecca. In effect, xeyr-ü-šärr networks constitute a form of rotating credit association (see Tapper, 1979, pp. 150-52).

Religious practices among Azerbaijanis are not significantly different from those of other Iranian Shiʿites, though they are reputed to be more than usually pious. The religious classes of the major cities of the region exercise considerable control over belief and practice throughout the countryside. In some towns and villages the Moḥarram passion plays have been regularly performed (see Good, 1984 on Marāḡa); otherwise, dramatic and highly emotional rawżaḵᵛānī are put on for special occasions or in fulfillment of vows, but especially during the ten days of Moḥarram together with processions and dirges (dästä/dasta, nowhä/nawḥa, märsiä/marṯīa) (see Tapper, 1979, pp. 159-63; Lassy, 1916). Other religious occasions are Ramażān and the concluding feast of fitr-bayramï; the feast of sacrifice (qorban-bayramï), and in some places the festival of ʿOmar-bayramï; when an effigy of the Caliph ʿOmar is burned (Sāʿedī, 1965, p. 152). As in the rest of Iran, Nowrūz is a major festival, preceded on the Wednesdays of the last month by special ceremonies, including fire-jumping. Shrines of varying importance are common in town and countryside, from Shaikh Ṣafī’s tomb at Ardabīl to wayside “rooms” (ojaḡ) and praying trees (pir). Women especially make pilgrimages to these, seeking cures, remedies and intercessions. Mullahs, wandering sayyeds, and dervishes may act as prayer-writers (doʿayazan), providing more or less “unorthodox” cures, protections, and exorcisms. Modern cosmopolitan medicine, with government personnel, hospitals and health centers, has during the present century all but driven underground the traditional ḥakīms and other specialists in torkidava (herbal and humoral medicine, see B. Good, 1981). In the realm of popular culture, Azerbaijan is known for distinctive dresses, music, dances, and oral literature. One particular tradition associated with Azerbaijan, as well as neighboring areas of the Caucasus and Anatolia, is that of the āšeq, wandering minstrels with a wide and well-loved repertoire of songs, ballads, and folk epics.

In the twentieth century, Azerbaijan, like other parts of Iran, has undergone enormous social changes. In particular there has been a sharpening of distinctions of wealth and status, as well as a growing divergence between those who favor more traditional attitudes and ways of life, with roots in the countryside, religion, and the bazaar, and those who seek a more cosmopolitan “modernity,” through secular education, the professions, the civil service, and government-sponsored industry and commerce. (See B and M.-J. DelVecchio Good, 1984).


P. A. Andrews. “Âlâčïx and küme, the Felt Tents of Âzarbâijan,” Mardomšenāsī wa farhang-e ʿāmma-ye Īrān 3, 1977-78, pp. 19-45.

M. Bazin, Le Ṭâlich. Une région ethnique au nord de l’Iran, Paris, 1980, 2 vols. Sarhang ʿA. Bāybūrdī, Tārīḵ-eArasbārān, Tehran, 1341 Š./1962-63.

L. Beck and N. Keddie, eds., Women in the Muslim World, Cambridge Mass., 1978.

M. van Bruinessen, Agha, Shaikh and State: On the Social and Political Organization of Kurdistan, Utrecht, 1978.

B. Good, “The Transformation of Health Care in Modern Iranian History,” in M. E. Bonine and N. Keddie, eds., Modern Iran: the Dialectics of Continuity and Change, Albany, 1981, pp. 59-82.

B. Good and M.-J. DelVecchio Good, “Azeri (Iran),” in R. Weekes, ed., Muslim Peoples: A World Ethnographic Survey, 2nd ed., Westport, Greenwood, 1984, II, pp. 67-73 (and see bibliography of their writings on Marāḡa).

Z. Z. Abdullaev et al., “Azerbaĭdzhan,” in N. A. Kislyakov and A. I. Pershits, eds., Narody Peredneĭ Azii, Moscow, 1957, pp. 284-300.

A. K. S. Lambton, Landlord and Peasant in Persia, Oxford, 1953.

Idem, The Persian Land Reform 1962-1966, Oxford, 1969.

I. Lassy, The Muharram Mysteries among the Azerbaijan Turks of Caucasia, Helsingfors, 1916.

I. Mélikoff, “Le problème kızılbaş,” Turcica 6, 1975, pp. 49-67.

V. Minorsky, “Ādharbaydjān," in EI2 I, and other articles by the same author on, e.g., “Mākū,” “Marāgha,” “Tabrīz,” “Urmīya.” B. Nikitine, “Les Afšārs d’Urumiyeh,” JA 214, 1929, pp. 109-23.

Idem, Les Kurdes, Paris, 1956.

P. Oberling, The Turkic Peoples of Iranian Azerbaijan, American Council of Learned Societies, Research and Studies in Uralic and Altaic Languages Project no. 51, 1964a.

Idem, “The Tribes of Qarāca Dāġ,” Oriens 17, 1964b, pp. 60-95.

X. de Planhol, “Un village de montagne de l’Azerbaïdjan iranien,” Revue géographique de Lyon, 1960, pp. 395-418.

Research Group, “A Study of the Rural Economic Problems of East and West Azarbaijan,” Taḥqīqāt-e eqteṣādī 5, 1968, pp. 149-238.

W. Rudolph, “Grundzüge sozialer Organisation bei den westiranischen Kurden,” Sociologus, N.S. 17/1, 1967, pp. 19-39.

B. Ṣafarī, Ardabīl dar goḏargāh-e tārīḵ, 2 vols., Tehran, 1350 Š./1971-72 and 1353 Š./1974-75.

Ḡ.-Ḥ. Sāʿedī, Īlḳčī, Tehran, 1342 Š./1963.

Idem, Ḵīāv ya Meškīnšahr: Kaʿba-ye yeylāqāt-e Šāhsevan, Tehran, 1344 Š./1965.

G. Schweizer, “Nordost-Azerbaidschan und Shah Sevan-Nomaden,” in E. Ehlers et al., eds., Strukturwandlungen im nomadischbäuerlichen Lebensraum des Orients, Wiesbaden, pp. 81-148.

Idem, “Tabriz und seine Bazaare,” Erdkunde 27, 1972, pp. 32-46.

R. Tapper, “Shahsevan in Safavid Persia,” BSOAS 37, 1974, pp. 321-54.

Idem, Pasture and Politics: Economics, Conflict and Ritual among Shahsevan Nomads of Northwestern Iran, London, 1979.

Idem, ed., The Conflict of Tribe and State in Iran and Afghanistan, London, 1983, introd., pp. 1-82.

Idem, “One Hump or Two? Hybrid Camels and Pastoral Cultures,” Production pastorale et société 16, 1985, pp. 55-69.

Z. V. Togan, “Azerbaycan,” in İA I.

AZERBAIJAN vii. The Iranian Language of Azerbaijan

Āḏarī (Ar. al-āḏarīya) was the Iranian language of Azerbaijan before the spread of the Turkish language, commonly called Azeri, in the region. The currency of Āḏarī in Azerbaijan during the first centuries of the Islamic period is attested by contemporary sources. The earliest reference to Āḏarī is the statement by Ebn al-Moqaffaʿ (d. 142/759), quoted by Ebn al-Nadīm (Fehrest, p. 13), to the effect that the language of Azerbaijan was Fahlawī (al-fahlawīya) “pertaining to Fahla,” and that Fahla was the region comprised of Isfahan, Ray, Hamadān, Māh Nahāvand, and Azerbaijan. A similar statement, on the authority of Ḥamza Eṣfahānī, and obviously deriving from the same source, occurs in Yāqūt’s Moʿjam al-boldān (III, p. 925, s.v. “Fahlaw”), and also in Ḵᵛārazmī’s Mafātīḥ al-ʿolūm (ed. van Vloten, pp. 116-17).

Next to Ebn al-Moqaffaʿ’s the oldest reference to Āḏarī, though no name is given the language, occurs in Balāḏorī’s Fotūḥ al-boldān (p. 328; cf. Qazvīnī, Bīst maqāla I, p. 145), composed in 255/869. He quotes the word ḥān, meaning “house” or “caravanserai” (Ar. ḥāʾer), as belonging to the “language of the people of Azerbaijan.” (This word shows the development in Āḏarī of Middle Iranian x to h, see below.) The oldest mention of the specific term Āḏarī occurs in Yaʿqūbī’s Ketāb al-boldān, composed in 276/891, p. 272; the population of Azerbaijan is described here as a mixture of Iranian Āḏarī (al-ʿajam al-āḏarīya) and old Jāvedānis (al-jāwedānīya al-qedam). By these terms he apparently means the Muslim Azerbaijanis and the Ḵorramdīnis or Jāvedānis, the followers of Jāvedān and Bābak, the neo-Mazdakite leaders who had held sway in Azerbaijan under al-Maʾmūn. It thus appears that the term Āḏarī was applied to both the population of Azerbaijan and their language.

The next testimony is the statement by Masʿūdī (d. 345/956) which points to the original unity of the language of the Iranians and its later differentiation into separate languages, such as Fahlawī, Darī, and Āḏarī—obviously the most prominent Iranian dialects in his estimation (Tanbīh, p. 78). Next we have the statement of Ebn Ḥawqal (d. ca. 981 /371 ) that “the language of the people of Azerbaijan and most of the people of Armenia (sic; he probably means the Iranian Armenia) is Iranian (al-fāresīya), which binds them together, while Arabic is also used among them; among those who speak al-fāresīya (here he seemingly means Persian, spoken by the elite of the urban population), there are few who do not understand Arabic; and some merchants and landowners are even adept in it” (p. 348). Despite the exaggeration concerning the spread of Iranian languages into Armenia and the currency of Arabic in Azerbaijan, the statement clearly attests to the fact that the language of Azerbaijan in the 4th/10th century was Iranian. Moqaddasī (d. late 4th/10th cent.) also affirms that the language of Azerbaijan was Iranian (al-ʿajamīya), saying that it was partly Darī and partly “convoluted (monqaleq)”; he means no doubt to distinguish between the administrative lingua franca, i.e., Darī Persian, and the local dialects (Aḥsan al-taqāsīm, p. 259). Further he says that the language of the Azerbaijanis “is not pretty … but their Persian is intelligible, and in articulation (fi’l-ḥorūf) it is similar to the Persian of Khorasan” (p. 378). Again he must mean Darī Persian, which then, as now, must have been current in the urban centers of Azerbaijan.

An anecdote preserved by Samʿānī (Ansāb, s.v. Tanūḵī) concerning Abū Zakarīyā Kāteb Tabrīzī (d. 502/1109) and his teacher Abu’l-ʿAlāʾ Maʿarrī refers again to the vernacular of Azerbaijan in the 5th/12th century. While Kāteb Tabrīzī was in Maʿarrat al-Noʿmān in Syria, he met a fellow-countryman and conversed with him in a language which Abu’l-ʿAlāʾ could not understand. When Abu’l-ʿAlāʾ asked him to identify the language, Kāteb told him it was the language of the people of Azerbaijan (read al-āḏarīya in the Hyderabad ed., III, p. 93; and al-aḏarbījīya [unpointed] in the Leiden ed.; cf. A. Kasravī, Āḏarī, p. 13 n. 1). The statement of Yāqūt (d. 626/1229) to the effect that “The people of Azerbaijan have a language which they call al-āḏarīya, and it is intelligible only to themselves” (Moʿjam al-boldān I, p. 172) makes it clear that Āḏarī was still current in Azerbaijan on the eve of the Mongol invasion.

From Zakarīyā b. Moḥammad Qazvīnī’s report in Āṯār al-belād, composed in 674/1275, that “no town has escaped being taken over by the Turks except Tabrīz” (Beirut ed., 1960, p. 339) one may infer that at least Tabrīz had remained aloof from the influence of Turkish until the time of Abaqa Ḥamdallāh Mostawfī writing in the 740/1340s calls the language of Marāḡa “modified Pahlavi” (pahlavī-e moḡayyar, as in Dabīrsīāqī’s reading, Nozhat al-qolūb, Tehran, 1336 Š./1957, p. 100; the reading pahlavī-e moʿarrab “arabicized Pahlavi” in Le Strange’s edition, p. 87, is not likely). Mostawfī also calls (ibid., p. 62) the language of Zanjān “straight Pahlavi” (pahlavī-e rāst) and the language of the Goštasfī province on the western side of the Caspian (i.e., north of the Persian Ṭāleš and south of Šīrvān) a Pahlavi close to the language of Gīlān (ibid., p. 92). By Pahlavi he, like Ebn al-Moqaffaʿ, obviously means in a general way the vernacular of northwestern and central Iran (an area coinciding with ancient Media). This language, however, was not, contrary to Marquart’s view (Markwart, Ērānšahr, p. 132 n. 5) the same as Parthian, as is evident from the written remains and surviving dialects of Āḏarī (see below).

These various testimonies, in spite of their being occasionally imprecise and uncritical, indicate that the population of Azerbaijan spoke a major Iranian language, termed Āḏarī after the name of the region. It formed a group with the dialects of Ray, Hamadān, and Isfahan and remained the prevalent language of Azerbaijan until the 8th/14th century and probably for some time thereafter.

The spread of Turkish in Azerbaijan.

The gradual weakening of Āḏarī began with the penetration of the Persian Azerbaijan by speakers of Turkish. The first of these entered the region in the time of Maḥmūd of Ḡazna (Ebn al-Aṯīr [repr.], IX, pp. 383ff.). But it was in the Saljuq period that Turkish tribes began to migrate to Azerbaijan in considerable numbers and settle there (A. Kasravī, Šahrīārān-e gomnām, Tehran, 1335 Š./1956, III, pp. 43ff., and idem, Āḏarī, pp. 18-25). The Turkic population continued to grow under the Ildegozid atabegs of Azerbaijan (531-622/1136-1225), but more particularly under the Mongol il-khans (654-750/1256-1349), the majority of whose soldiery was of Turkic stock and who made Azerbaijan their political center. The almost continuous warfare and turbulence which reigned in Azerbaijan for about 150 years, between the collapse of the Il-khanids and the rise of the Safavids, attracted yet more Turkic military elements to the area. In this period, under the Qara Qoyunlū and Āq Qoyunlū Turkmen (780-874/1378-1469 and 874-908/1469-1502 respectively), Āḏarī lost ground at a faster pace than before, so that even the Safavids, originally an Iranian-speaking clan (as evidenced by the quatrains of Shaikh Ṣafī-al-dīn, their eponymous ancestor, and by his biography), became Turkified and adopted Turkish as their vernacular.

The Safavid rule (905-1135/1499-1722), which was initially based on the support of Turkish tribes and the continued backing and influence of the Qezelbāš even after the regime had achieved a broader base, helped further the spread of Turkish at the detriment of Āḏarī, which receded and ceased to be used, at least in the major urban centers, and Turkish was gradually recognized as the language of Azerbaijan. Consequently the term Āḏarī, or more commonly Azeri, came to be applied by some Turkish authors and, following them, some Western orientalists, to the Turkish of Azerbaijan (see EI1-2, s.v. “Ādharī”).

Āḏarī survivals.

These are of three kinds: (1) words, phrases, poems, and scattered verses, recorded in various written sources; (2) the present-day dialects which continue Āḏarī, spoken mainly on the periphery of Azerbaijan to the south and southeast, but also in isolated pockets in the north and the center; and (3) vocabulary borrowed from Āḏarī into the Turkish of Azerbaijan. The credit for first bringing together a collection of Āḏarī survivals belongs to Aḥmad Kasravī (d. 1324 Š./1946; see Āḏarī yā zabān-e bāstān-e Āḏarbāygān, Tehran, 1304 Š./1925). He also sketched the Āḏarī background and a history of the gradual spread of Turkish in Azerbaijan. Although his linguistic observations and methods can not always be supported, his general conclusions were essentially valid and dispelled a widespread notion that no information was available on the original language of Azerbaijan beyond Turkish. (See the reflection of his research in İslâm Ansiklopedisi, s.v. “Âzerî,” where Âzerî-Fârisî lehcesi “Iranian Azeri dialect” is distinguished from Âzerî-Türk lehcesi “Turkish Azeri dialect”.) Later, other Āḏarī survivals were detected.

1. Āḏarī in written sources. These include the following: (1) A sentence in “the language of Tabrīz” in Ḥamdallāh Mostawfī’s Nozhat al-qolūb (ed. Dabīrsīāqī, p. 98). (2) A sentence in the “Tabrīzī” language and two sentences attributed to Shaikh Ṣafī-al-dīn of Ardabīl, two double distichs (dobaytīs) probably by him, another dobaytī apparently in the language of Ardabīl, and one in the language of Ḵalḵāl, all of these in the Ṣafwat al-ṣafā of Ebn Bazzāz, a contemporary of Shaikh Ṣadr-al-dīn, the son of Shaikh Ṣafī-al-dīn, and therefore of the 8th/14th century (Bombay ed., 1329/1911, pp. 25, 107, 191, 220). (3) Eleven double dobaytīs by Shaikh Ṣafī-al-dīn, and therefore apparently in the language of Ardabīl, in the Selselat al-nasab-e Ṣafawīya of Shaikh Ḥosayn, a descendant of Shaikh Zāhed Gīlānī, the mentor (morād) of Shaikh Ṣafī-al-dīn (Berlin, 1343/1924-25, pp. 29-33). (4) A macaronic ḡazal by Homām Tabrīzī (d. 714/1314) in Persian and a local language which must be that of Tabrīz (see M. Moḥīṭ Ṭabāṭabāʾī, “Dar pīrāmūn-e zabān-e fārsī,” Majalla-ye āmūzeš o parvareš 8/ 10, 1317 Š./1938, p. 10; M. Ḥ. Adīb Ṭūsī, NDA Tabrīz 7/3, 1334 Š./1955, pp. 260-62). This specimen differs, however, from the sentence in Tabrīzī given by Ebn Bazzāz with respect to one important phonological feature: In Homām’s poem, the enclitic pronoun of the second person singular is -t, while in Ebn Bazzāz’s sentence it is -r (see below). (5) Two anonymous qaṣīdas in a manuscript written in 730/1329-30 and preserved in the Aya Sofia library in Istanbul (see Adīb Ṭūsī, ibid., 10/4, 1337 Š./1958, pp. 367-417); the dialect of these, judging from their phonology and some of the vocabulary which can be read with certainty appears to belong to the north-central Persian Azerbaijan, probably the Tabrīz-Marand region (see below). (6) One ḡazal and thirteen dobaytīs by Maḡrebī Tabrīzī (d. ca. 809/1406-7; see Adīb Ṭūsī, ibid., 8/12, 1335 Š./1956, pp. 121-27). (7) A text probably by Māmā ʿEṣmat, a mystical woman-poet of Tabrīz (d. 9th/15th cent.), which occurs in a manuscript, preserved in Turkey, concerning the shrines of saints in Tabrīz (see M. Nawwābī, ibid., 7/1, 1334 Š./1955, pp. 41-44; cf. Adīb Ṭūsī, “Fahlawīyāt-e Māmā ʿEṣmat wa Kašf-ī be-zabān-e āḏarī-eṣṭelāḥ-e rāžī yā šahrī,” NDA Tabrīz 8/3, 1335 Š./1957, pp. 242-57). (8) Three poems in the dialects of Ḵamsa and Qazvīn, quoted by Ḥamdallāh Mostawfī in Nozhat al-qolūb which, although not belonging to Azerbaijan in the narrow sense of the term, should be grouped with the other remnants of Āḏarī in accord with the classification of the modern Iranian dialects of the Qazvīn and Zanjān areas. These poems consist of a dobaytī by Abu’l-Majīd Bāygānī in the dialect of an environ of Qazvīn; two dobaytīs by Jūlāha of Abhar, apparently a contemporary of Mostawfī, in the dialect of Abhar, a town in Ḵamsa, and a fragment of nine dobaytīs, by a certain Uyanj or Utanj, in the dialect of Zanjān. The text of all three is extremely corrupt (E. G. Browne, JRAS, 1900, pp. 738-41). (9) Two dobaytīs by Kašfī, a ḡazal and seven dobaytīs by Maʿālī, five dobaytīs by Ādam, and seven by Ḵalīfa Ṣādeq from a jong (a manuscript of personal selections) found in Ṭāleš, and another jong from the Ḵalḵāl area (Kasravī, Āḏarī, 5th ed., pp. 57-61). Information is lacking concerning their authors and their dates of composition, but linguistically they are all close to the verses of Shaikh Ṣafī. (10) Ten words from the language of “Aḏarbāḏakān” in contrast to Persian, quoted in an old manuscript of Asadī Ṭūsī’s Loḡat-e fors in the Malek Library (no. 5839) (Ṣ. Kīā, “Kohnatarīn dastnevīs-e "Logat-e fors"-e Asadī Ṭūsī”, MDAT 3/3, 1335 Š./1956, pp. 4-5; idem, Ādarīgān: āgāhīhā-ī dar bāra-ye gūyeš-e āḏarī, Tehran, 1354 Š./1975). (11) Two short ḡazals, five lines each, by Badr Šīrvānī (Dīvān, ed. A. H. Rahimov, Moscow, 1985, pp. 665f.) in the language of “Kanār Āb,” in a local dialect of Šīrvān and possibly the mother tongue of the poet who was born in Šamāḵī. The language of these poems is almost identical to that of Shaikh Ṣafī-al-dīn’s dobaytīs (see below); notice čəman “my,” -r, the 2nd singular enclitic pronoun (read mehr-ər “your love,” cf. ḡam-ər “your sorrow”), “from,” “without,” kar-, the present stem of “to do,” vāč-, the present stem of “to say.”

It should be noted that the final section of Rūḥī Anārjānī’s 11th/17th-century Resāla, a literary miscellany, entitled “On the Terms and Phrases of Ladies, Grandees, and Dandies of Tabrīz” which has been assumed by a number of scholars to be in Āḏarī dialect (ʿAbbās Eqbāl, “Yak sanad-e mohemm dar bāb-e zabān-e āḏarī,” Yādgār 2/3, 1324 Š./1945, pp. 43-50; M. Moḡdam [Moqaddam], Iran Kūda 10, 1327 Š./1948, pp. 1-18; Saʿīd Nafīsī, ed., “Resāla-ye Rūḥī Anārjānī,” FIZ 2, 1333 Š./1954, pp. 329-72; Y. M. Nawwābī, NDA Tabrīz 9, 1336 Š./1957, pp. 221-32, 396-426; M. J. Maškūr, Naẓar-ī ba tārīḵ-e Āḏarbāyjān wa āṯār-e bāstānī wa jamʿīyatšenāsī-e ān, Anjoman-e Āṯār-e Mellī, Tehran, 1349 Š./1971, pp. 221ff.; M. Mortażawī, Zabān-e dīrīn-e Āḏarbāyjān, Tehran, 1360 Š./1981, p. 35), bears no relationship to Āḏarī, but as W. B. Henning ingeniously realized (“The Ancient Language of Azerbaijan,” TPS, 1954-55, p. 176 n. 5) refers to a vulgar form of New Persian, and actually attests to the continued currency of this language in Tabrīz even in the sixteenth century.

Of the written remains of Āḏarī, the dobaytīs of Shaikh Ṣafī-al-dīn are the most important: They are relatively old, their linguistic area and their author are known, and they are accompanied by a paraphrase in Persian which helps their understanding. Despite Ardabīl’s location at the eastern edge of Azerbaijan, in view of its significance both before and after the advent of Islam, its language must have been one of the more important dialects of Āḏarī. Before it fell into the hands of the Arabs, Ardabīl was the madīna, i.e., the metropolis, of Azerbaijan; it was the center of its fiscal administration and the seat of the Sasanian marzbān (Balāḏorī, Fotūḥ al-boldān, p. 325; Yāqūt, Moʿjam-al-boldān I, p. 197) and was confirmed as the capital of the region by Ašʿaṯ b. Qays during ʿAlī’s caliphate (Balāḏorī, Fotūḥ, p. 329). Some three centuries later Ebn Ḥawqal (Ṣūrat al-arż, p. 334) still mentions it as the center and the largest city of Azerbaijan (cf. Moqaddasī, Aḥsan al-taqāsīm, p. 375); Eṣṭaḵrī (Masālek, p. 181) refers to it as the largest city, the seat of the government (dār al-emāra), and the military encampment (moʿaskar) of the region (see further Qodāma b. Jaʿfar, Ketāb al-ḵarāj, p. 244 and Ebn Rosta, Aʿlāq, p. 106).

2. Words borrowed from Āḏarī into Azeri Turkish. These include dardažar “ailing” and *kušn “field”, which occur in Shaikh Ṣafī’s dobaytīs (see Kasravī, Āḏarī, p. 41). Kārang (Jahān-e aḵlāq 4, 1956, pp. 84ff.) notes a number of Tati words used also in Azeri Turkish, e.g., dīm “face,” zamī “land, field,” olis, Azeri ulas “charcoal.” But to determine the full extent of such borrowings requires further research. Several authors, notably Adīb Ṭūsī (“Nomūna-ī čand az loḡat-e āḏarī,” NDA Tabrīz 814, 1335 Š./1957, pp. 310-49; 9/2, 3, 4, 1336 Š./1957, pp. 135-68, 242-60, 361-89; cf. M. Aržangī, ibid., 9/1, 2, pp. 73-108, 182-201; 10/1, 1337 Š./1958, pp. 81-93) have collected a large number of non-Turkish words used in the Azeri Turkish of the various parts of Azerbaijan (See Maškūr, op. cit., p. 263 for a count); but, ignoring proper linguistic criteria, they have taken them to be Āḏarī, whereas in fact, they are, by and large, Persian (or Arabic, borrowed through Persian), a fact which shows that Āḏarī, unlike Persian, has not affected the lexicon of Azeri Turkish significantly. The assumption of these researchers that the material in the last chapter of Rūḥī Anārjānī’s Resāla is Āḏarī (see above) has also tended to vitiate their conclusions. (For a listing of Azeri vocabulary see Y. M. Nawwābī, Zabān-e konūnī-e Āḏarbāyjān [Bibl.]; and Koichi Haneda and Ali Ganjelu, Tabrizi Vocabulary, An Azeri-Turkish Dialect in Iran, Studia Culturae Islamicae, no. 13, Tokyo, 1979.)

3. Present-day dialects or Āḏarī. Despite its continued decline over the centuries, Āḏarī has not died out and its descendants are found as modern dialects, mostly called Tati, sharing a wide range of phonological and grammatical features. Proceeding from north to south, these are: (1) The dialect of Kalāsūr and Ḵoynarūd, two villages of the Ḥasanow (Ḥasanābād) district of Ahar; (2) the dialect of Karīngān, a village of eastern Dīzmār in the Vazraqān district (baḵš) of Ahar sub-province (šahrestān); (3) the dialect of Galīnqaya, a village of the Harzand rural area (dehestān) in the district of Zonūz, Marand sub-province; (4) the Ḵalḵāli dialects spoken in the chief villages of the Šāhrūd baḵš (i.e., Askestān, Asbū, Derow, Kolūr, Šāl, Dīz, Karīn, Lerd, Kehel, Ṭahārom, Gelūzān, Gīlavān, and Gandomābād), in Karnaq, in the Ḵoreš-e Rostam baḵš, and in Kajal in the Kāḡaḏkonān baḵš of Ḵalḵāl; (5) the Tati dialects of the Upper Ṭārom (principally in the villages of Nowkīān, Sīāvarūd, Kalāsar, Hazārrūd, Jamābād, Bāklūr, Čarza, and Jeyšābād); (6) the Tati dialects of Rāmand and Zahrā, southwest and south of Qazvīn (i.e., the dialects of Tākestān, Čāl, Esfarvarīn, Ḵīāraj, Ḵᵛoznīn, Dānesfān, Ebrāhīmābād, and Sagzābād) which are close to the Tati of Ḵalḵāl and Ṭārom; (7) the dialects of Ṭāleš, from Allāhbaḵš Maḥalla and Šāndermīn on the border of Gīlān in the south to the Soviet Ṭāleš in the north, including the dialect of ʿAnbarān in the Namīn district of Ardabīl; all connected with the Tati dialects of Šāhrūd. This list does not necessarily exhaust the Āḏarī-speaking villages of Azerbaijan, and there may exist villages which the writer has not been able to visit, and where Tati is still understood (see A. A. Kārang, Tātī wa harzanī, pp. 27; he mentions a number of villages in Dīzmār and Ḥasanābad districts, including Arzīn, where the dialect was still understood in the 1940s; on the continued waning of Āḏarī, see below).

To the same group of dialects belong in a broad sense: (1) the dialect of Māsūla in the Fūmenāt district of Gīlān; (2) the language spoken in the Rūdbār of Gīlān (Raḥmatābād, Rostamābād, etc.), in the Rūdbār of Alamūt (Dekīn, Mūšqīn, Garmārūd, and Bolūkān), and in Alamūt (Moʿallem Kelāya, Estalbar, Gāzarḵān; Avānak, etc.); (3) the dialect of Ḵoʾīn and Safīdkamar in the Ījrūd of Zanjān, and a few villages in the Kūhpāya of Qazvīn (Zerejerd, Nowdeh, Asbemard, Ḥeṣār, etc.); (4) the dialect of Vafs, between Hamadān and Arāk. There are also a number of border dialects, such as the dialect of Ṭāleqān villages between Qazvīn and Karaj, and the dialects of Āmora and Āštīān, all much affected by Persian, that have close affinities with the group. In fact, the demarcation line between these dialects and their more northerly cognates cannot be sharply drawn. Kurdish, however, spoken in Mahābād in southwestern Azerbaijan and scattered in several other areas in the region, which some have supposed to be a descendant of Median, does not belong to this group and exhibits some clear differences with it. (See D. N. Mackenzie, “The Origins of Kurdish,” TPS, 1961, pp. 67-83.)

The fact that these dialects are so relatively abundant and are spoken in contiguous areas over a vast territory confirms their being indigenous to these areas and speaks strongly against the possibility that they spread into Azerbaijan and its border regions from other areas. Their shared linguistic features place them in a well-defined group of North-West Iranian, with affinities with the Central dialects, spoken to the south and southeast of the Āḏarī language area. Āḏarī and the language termed Fahlawī in the medieval Islamic sources refer in fact to the northern and southern branches of the language spoken in the territory of ancient Media, broadly corresponding to their modern continuations, namely the Tati or Āḏarī dialects in central and western Iran (excluding Kurdish and Luri). On the analogy of New Persian one may call them New Median (see further below).

That only meager traces of the language spoken in the central regions of Azerbaijan have survived is only natural, since a language that comes under pressure from other languages disappears faster in the center than in the periphery. The fact that while there are some meager remains of Āḏarī from the north, the center, the east, and south of Azerbaijan, yet the western part of the province yields no comparable material, is no doubt due to the dominance in these regions, before the spread of Turkish, of other languages, such as Neo-Aramaic and Kurdish.

The process of the linguistic Turkification of Azerbaijan continues to this day, and even in the border areas the original dialects keep giving way to Turkish. In the course of his study of these dialects in the 1960s, the writer met a number of elderly people who could remember or had been told by their fathers or grandfathers that villages now speaking Turkish formerly spoke the Iranian dialect. In Ḥalab, a village in Ījrūd on the way from Zanjān to Bījār, he met in 1964 the last three men who still retained some shaky memory of their Tati, and in Galīnqaya there was in 1972 only one old man who could speak the native dialect fluently. (See also Kārang, Tātī wa harzanī, pp. 27-29; idem, “Ḵalḵālī,” Jahān-e aḵlāq 4, 1335 Š./1956, p. 83; Ḏokāʾ, Gūyeš-e Galīnqaya, p. 6.)

Linguistic features.

The absence of vocalization, the deficiencies of the Arabic alphabet in indicating the details of pronunciation, scribal errors, and the influence of classical Persian make the reading of the literary Āḏarī remains difficult. Nevertheless they reveal some genuine features of the phonology, grammar, and vocabulary of the language in which they are written. Here the features of two written remains are explored.

A. Shaikh Ṣafī-al-dīn’s dobaytīs. 1. Old Iranian intervocalic t > r. Examples: žir “life” (< *jit-, cf. Parthian jydg); the enclitic 2nd singular pronoun -(a)r (Pers. -[a]t); past tense forms: āmarim “I came” (< *āmat-), bori or beri “he was” (< *būt-), šoram or šeram “I went” (< *šut-), and žar “struck” (< jat-, Pers. zad) in dara žar “was pained” (Parthian drdjd; Henning, “Ancient Language,” p. 176 n. 4). The same sound change is found in two Tati dialects: Harzandi and the dialect of Kalāsūr and Ḵoynarūd; cf. Harzandi amārā “he came” (other examples: vör “wind” < *wāt-, kar “house” < *kat-, jörö-tan “stranger” < *(wi)yut-, Pers. jodā “separate”); Kalāsūri umarim “I came,” and šerim “I went” (other examples: vur “wind,” jeru “separate,” purez “autumn” < *pātēz [Pers. pāʾīz], zura “boy, son” < *zātak-). In other dialects, this change occurs only sporadically; cf., e.g., Kajali kerom “which” (< *katām-, Pers. kodām), and in the dialect of Derow in Ḵalḵāl šera “he went.” The enclitic pronoun of the 2nd singular is -r in Kajali and Šāhrūdi of Ḵalḵāl, also in Asālemi and Māsāli in the central and southern Iranian Ṭāleš area (but not in northern Ṭāleši or ʿAnbarāni). In the sentence in the dialect of Tabrīz recorded by Ebn Bazzāz as uttered by a contemporary of Shaikh Ṣafī-al-dīn, we find ḥarīf-ar žāta “your contender has come.” One can not measure the extent of this rule in the defunct dialect of Tabrīz by this instance alone, but note also the Iranian word därdäjär “sick, ailing” in Azeri Turkish, and the Azerbaijani placename Esparaḵūn, colloquial for Safīidaḵān, a village in Bostānābād, east of Tabrīz, probably “White spring,” with espara < *spētak- (Pers. safīd “white”). The change of intervocalic t to r is seen also in the so-called Tati, but actually (archaic) New Persian dialect of the Iranian-speaking Jews in the Apsheron peninsula and the northeast of the Azerbaijan S.S.R. The change, on the other hand, is not effected in the dialects of Ṭārom, Ḵoʾīn, Rāmand, and Alamūt areas to the south.

2. Old Iranian intervocalic č >j. Examples: riji “he pours,” (Av. raēca-), and navāji “you [sing.] do not say” (Parth. wʾc-). The same change is seen in the modern dialects of Šāhrūd, Kajal and Asālem: Šāhrūdi verijam “we flee,” vāje “he says;” Kajali mivrije “he flees;” and Asālemi bivrij “flee!” By contrast, in the dialects of Kalāsūr and Ḵoynarūd, Ṭāleš, Karīngān, and Harzand, č has become `: cf. Kalāsūri ruž “day,” namuž “prayer;” ʿAnbarāni ruža “fast,” nəmož “prayer;” Ṭāleši as spoken in the Soviet Union: tož “to rush, gallop,” bad-vož “defamer, slanderer;” Karīngāni vuž “say!;” Harzandi ruž “sun.”

3. A vowel phoneme /ö/ə/ is indicated by the variant spellings -w and -h: čw and čh, i.e., /čə/ “from” (< *hača, Pers. az); and ʾštw and ʾčth, i.e., /aštə/ or /ačtə/ “yours” (2nd sing., rendered by Pers. māl-e to, lit., “your property”). A similar phoneme is found in the modern dialects of Harzand, Ṭāleš, Kajal, and Šāhrūd (not in word-final position in Šāhrūdi).

4. Old Iranian initial j > ž. Examples: žir “lile,” and žar “struck.” The same sound change is seen in the modern dialects of Kalāsūr and Ḵoynarūd: žan “woman,” žare “to hit,” žāte “to arrive”; Ṭāleši žen “woman,” žae “to hit”; Arazini žen and Kajali žan “woman,” bežana “strike!” The form žāta in Ebn Bazzāz’s sentence shows that this feature extended to the dialect of Tabrīz. In the dialects of Karīngān and Harzand, however, initial ž has become y: Karīngāni yan “woman” and “strike!,” yaz/yat- “to arrive,” and Harzandi yan “woman,” yare “to strike.”

5. Old Iranian x, xw > h in harda “he ate;” cf. sohrāb “rouge” in the manuscript of the Loḡat-e fors mentioned above (Kīā, p. 4). This development is regular in Kajali: (hardan “to eat,” hára “ass,” heriār “buyer,” howlig “sister”) but sporadic in the Šāhrūdi group: Šāli (h)ardan, cf. Gīlavāni ha “sister,” hezə “he wants” (Parth. wxāz-, wxāšt, but Pers. ḵᵛāh-, ḵᵛāst); but Šāli ḵri- “to buy,” ḵes/ḵel “to sleep,” etc. Cf. also Karīngāni hārdan “to eat,” haraši “sun” (Pers. ḵᵛoršīd): Harzandi horde “to eat,” höšn/höšt “to want,” hištan “self” (Pers. ḵᵛīštan); Kalāsūri horma “I ate,” hāmma “I read” (Pers. ḵᵛāndam); and in most Ṭāleši dialects: Asālemi hard-, ʿAnbarāni hāna bim “I was eating, used to eat,” and Northern Ṭāleši hova “sister“. But in Asālemi we find ženā-xāzī (Pers. ḵᵛastgārī), and in the dialect of Māsāl in southern Ṭāleš we find xa “sister,” xəšk “dry,” etc.

6. Old Iranian fr > hr in ahrā “tomorrow” (Pers. fardā < *fra-, cf. G. Lazard, La langue des plus anciens monuments de la prose persane, Paris, 1963, p. 145). In the modern dialects we find Kajali a(h)rā, Harzandi ohra (cf. also heraš/heröt “to sell” < *frawaxš-/frawaxt, Pers. forūš/forūḵt), Ḵīāraji of Rāmand ahrā, Šāli pašara “the day after tomorrow,” Šāndermīni and Māsāli pašerā, Tākestāni sarā “day after tomorrow,” Northern Ṭāleši havate “to sell,” hamue “to order” (< *framāt-, Pers. framūdan).

7. Oblique case/genitive in *-i (or so-called inverted eżāfa construction). This ending is written only in ōyān-i banda “the servant of the Lord” (dobaytī 11; on ōyān < Tk. oγan, see Henning, “The Ancient Language,” p. 176 n. 4; it is not a plural of oy “he,” as Kasravī thought) but may also be assumed in other cases, e.g., oyān(i) ḵāṣṣān “special friends of god,” čowgān(i) gur-im “I am the ball of the polo stick” (i.e., resigned to the divine will), and qodrat(i) zanjir-im “I am the chain of power” (dobaytī 3). Among modern dialects, Kalāsūri and Asālemi have accusative and genitive in -i, Ḵalḵāli in -e.

8. The personal pronouns have four forms:










te or



This feature is shared by the dialects of Ḵalḵāl and Ṭāleš. For instance, the corresponding forms in the Šāli dialect of Šahrūd are:















In Kajali the forms are:













and in Asālem:













A similar scheme is found in the dialect of Čāl in Rāmand. In the rest of the Rāmand area, however, the oblique form is no longer used. The dialects of upper Ṭārom, e.g., Nowkīāni and Hazārrūdi, have a system of actually five pronominal forms (the pronouns for the direct object and the “logical direct object” in passive constructions are differentiated; see Yarshater, “The Tati Dialects of Ṭārom”). In Karīngāni and Harzandi the direct pronoun has been replaced by the originally oblique form, as in Persian.

9. The 2nd person singular ending is -i in the present indicative (riji “you pour,” navāji “you do not say”), but -š in the present subjunctive (mavāješ “you may not say”). A 2nd person singular ending -š is found in several Tati dialects. In Karīngāni, in particular, it is the common form; in Kalāsūr, it is found in the present indicative (bežareš “you strike”); in Šāhrūdi (Šāli and Kolūri), everywhere except the present indicative and the imperative (bešiš “you went,” age bevrijāš “if you should flee”); in Asālem, everywhere except in the imperative and the present subjunctive (biš “you were,” bebaš “be!”); in ʿAnbarāni, in the continuous past tense; and in Northern Ṭāleši throughout the verbal system. In Harzandi the ending -š does not occur.

10. A continuous present is made from the past stem if indeed, as it appears, the verbs in the fourth dobaytī are present tense, wrongly rendered by the past tense in the paraphrase of the Selselat al-nasab: be-koštim “I kill,” be-heštim “I let/leave,” and na-daštim “I am not harming” (on the last verb, see Henning, “The Ancient Language,” p. 176 n. 4). The same kind of formation is found in the dialects of Karīngān, Harzand, and Kalāsūr, Northern Ṭāleši, and in Asālemi, but not in the dialects of Southern Ṭāleši: Karīngāni heteine “I am sleeping” (cf. fesene “I sleep” < *xwafs-), Harzandi bāvāštān “he is carrying,” bo-hordān “he is eating,” Kalāsūri ba-durem “I am giving” (< *dāt-), be-žareš “you (sing.) are striking,” ba-šem “I am going,” Asālemi ba-vindiše “you (sing.) are seeing,” ba-bramastim “we are weeping.”

11. Vocabulary. Note asra “tear” (cf. Šāhrūdi asərk, Asālemi, Māsāli, and ʿAnbarāni asərg, Harzandi ösör, Karīngāni aster; cf. also ásra [fem.] in the dialects of Rāmand and ars in the Persian dictionaries) and ahra “tomorrow” (see above, no. 6). The question whether -a in asra is a feminine marker (as it is in Rāmandi) and whether Āḏarī of Ardabīl distinguished grammatical gender, can not be determined on the basis of the material at hand. Its affinities lie mostly with modern dialects which do not have the category of gender (see below).

It can be seen from the foregoing that the language of the dobaytīs is not identical with any one modern descendant of Āḏarī. Its greatest affinity seems to be on the one hand with the Tati dialects of Kalāsūr and Ḵoynarūd to the northwest (t > r, j > ž, 2nd singular -š, continuous present from the past stem), and on the other with the dialects of the central Ṭāleš area to the east (j > ž, four-fold personal pronoun, 2nd singular -š, continuous present from the past stem), and Ḵalḵāli (t > r in some instances, j > ž in Kajali, four-fold personal pronoun). This agrees well with Ardabīl’s geographical position. By contrast, the dialects of Harzand and Karīngān, the Āstārā region, and of Soviet Ṭāleš to the north that B. V. Miller (Talyshskiĭ yazyk, Moscow, 1953, pp. 253ff.) for lack of information about Tati and southern Ṭāleši dialects thought were closest to Āḏarī, are relatively remoter. (Northern Ṭāleši is characterized by the dropping or greatly reducing of unstressed syllables, t does not become r, the enclitic pronouns are -ə and -əon for 2nd singular and plural, respectively.)

Another conclusion that can be drawn from these comparisons is that Ṭāleši should not be grouped with the Caspian dialects, as is commonly done on the basis of their geographical location, but rather with the Tati dialects of Azerbaijan, particularly Šāhrūdi.

B. The Istanbul qaṣīdas. The phonology and vocabulary of the language attested in this poem link it with the area of Tabrīz and Marand. Note the following features.

1. Old Iranian ā > ū in āžūr “free” (Pers. āzād), dūr “hold!” (Pers. dār), gūn “soul” (Parth. and Mid Pers. gyān, NPers. jān), *huzdan “to ask, want” (Pers. ḵᵛāstan), pūydūr “permanent” (Pers. pāydār), and vad-nehūd “bad-natured” (Pers. bad-nehād).

2. Old Iranian intervocalic t > r in āžūr, -r “you” (Pers. -t), zūnar “he knows” (< *zān-, Pers. dānad), and žaran “to strike” (< *jat-, Pers. zadan).

3. Old Iranian intervocalic č > j in jeman “my own” (< Old Iranian hača-).

4. Old Iranian x, xw > h in harda “eaten” (Pers. ḵᵛorda), *hūzdan “to ask, want”; cf. hošk “dry” (< Old Iranian *huška).

5. Vocabulary. Note gūn “soul,” *karend “they do, make” (Parth. kar-), sag “stone” (Pers. sang), and vūn “blood” (Av. vohunī, Pers. ḵūn).

The position of Āḏarī among the Iranian languages.

It is obvious that the language of as broad an area as Azerbaijan could not have been uniform throughout and must have exhibited a variety of local dialects. The statement by Moqaddasī (Aḥsan al-taqāsīm, p. 375) to the effect that seventy dialects were spoken in the region of Ardabīl, despite its gross exaggeration, has to be taken to refer to the variety of its local subdialects. On the other hand, the fact that the language of the entire Azerbaijan has been called Āḏarī in the early sources and placed alongside Darī and Pahlavi implies that the dialects of the region were similar enough to be called by a single name.

Azerbaijan and the “Jebāl” of the medieval geographers, that is, the mountainous west-central part of the Iranian plateau, coincide geographically with ancient Media and was inhabited by Median tribes in ancient times. Although no independent written document in ancient Median has yet come to light, its fundamental phonological features are known from the Median words and names which occur in Old Persian inscriptions and, less frequently, in Greek (e.g., IE. ĝ, and ĝh < Med(ian) z, OPers. d; IE. kṷ > Med. sp, OPers. s; IE. tr and tl > Med. Θr, OPers. ç; see Kent, Old Persian, secs. 8-9; M. Mayrhofer, Die Rekonstruktion des Medischen, Anz. d. Österreichischen Akad. d. Wiss., Phil.-hist. Kl., 1968, 1, Vienna; G. L. Windfuhr, “Isoglosses: A Sketch on Persians and Parthians, Kurds and Medes,” in Monumentum H. S. Nyberg II, Acta Iranica 5, Tehran and Liège, 1975, pp. 457-72). All these features are characteristic also of Āḏarī and its modern relatives. Thus there are no linguistic arguments against the derivation of Āḏarī from Median, which is based upon compelling geographical and historical evidence (see below), and such a conclusion can in no way be invalidated by the fact that the phonological peculiarities of Median are found, by and large, in all northwestern branches of Iranian, including Parthian, or by the fact that it has not been possible to find exclusive Median isoglosses (see P. O. Skjærvø, BSL 78, pp. 244-51). It will be noted that Āḏarī differs from Parthian in some important respects, e.g. “came” is from *ā(g)mata- (as in Persian) against Parthian āγad < *āgata-; Parthian has a suffix -īft and the eżāfa čē both unknown in Āḏarī.

Likewise, the fact that the Āḏarī group of dialects shares a few isoglosses with some geographically and linguistically distant dialects in southeastern Iran, namely Lāri and Baškardi, which, like Persian belong to the South-Western Iranian dialects does not affect our conclusion with regard to the derivation and provenience of Āḏarī. The isoglosses shared with Lāri are the 2nd singular ending -š and the continuous present from the past stem; cf. Lāri ačedāeš “you are going,” čedeš “you went” (A. Eqtedārī, Farhang-e lārestānī, Tehran, 1334 Š./1955, p. 269); the isoglosses shared with Baškardi are: t > r in North Baškardi (e.g., zar- “to strike”) and the continuous present based on the past stem (e.g., North Baškardi akerdénom, South Baškardi bekert(en)om “I am doing,” see G. Morgenstierne in HO I, iv, 1: Linguistik, Leiden, 1958, p. 178). There is no need for assuming any special historico-geographical connection between the Āḏarī group and Lāri and Baškardi to explain these isoglosses. Indeed, since Āḏarī is phonetically a typical North-Western dialect but Lāri and Baškardi typical South-Western dialects, such an assumption would create more problems for historical Iranian linguistics than it would solve. In the case of other Iranian languages and dialects, too, we occasionally find isoglosses crossing other, fundamental, isoglosses and spanning large distances. One typical case is that of Sogdian and Old Persian (see Henning, Mitteliranisch, p. 108).

Historically, Media was divided into Greater Media, which was the area where today the Central dialects are spoken, and Lesser Media or Azerbaijan. Doubtless it is this geographical division which is reflected in the linguistic distinction between al-āḏarīya and al-fahlawīya of our medieval sources. (The fact that while there are some meager remains of Āḏarī from the north, the center, the east, and the south of Azerbaijan, yet the western part of the province yields no comparable material, is no doubt due to the dominance in these regions, before the spread of Turkish, of other languages, such as Neo-Aramaic and Kurdish.) Since there is no historical evidence that the population of the Median territories was ever dislocated on a significant scale, or that its language was superceded by any other language than Persian (in the urban centers) and Turkish (in Azerbaijan), the conclusion is inevitable that the affiliated Iranian dialects spoken in Azerbaijan, Ḵamsa, Qazvīn, Ṭāleš, Hamadān, Nahāvand, Ḵᵛānsār, Kāšān, Isfahan, and Semnān, to mention only the chief regions, can be none other than the descendants of the Old Median language, today divided roughly into a northern, Āḏarī, group and a southern, “Fahlawī” or “Central” group of dialects.


Given in the text. The dialect materials referred to in the article, except for the Ṭāleši of the Soviet Union, Arazīni, Baškardi, and Lāri, were collected by the author between 1955-72.

See also M. Qazvīnī’s review of Kasravī, Āḏarī, repr. in Bīst maqāla, Tehran, 1332 Š./1953, I, pp. 178-86.

On the modern dialects see ʿA. Kārang’s pioneering treatise on the dialects of Karīngān and Galīnqaya, Tātī wa harzanī, du lahja az zabān-e bāstān-e Āḏarbāyjān, Tabrīz, 1333 Š./1954.

Y. Ḏokāʾ, Karīngānī, Tehran, 1332 Š./1954.

Idem, Gūyeš-e Galīnqaya, "harzandī," Tehran, 1336 Š./1957.

J. Matini, “Daqīqī, zabān-e darī wa lahja-ye āḏarī,” MDAM 11/4, 1354 Š./1975, pp. 559-75.

M. Mortażawī, “Nokta-ī čand az zabān-e harzanī,” NDA Tabrīz 6/3, 1333 Š./1954, pp. 304-14.

Idem, Feʿl dar zabān-e harzanī, Tabrīz, 1342 Š./1963.

Y. M. Nawwābī, Zabān-e kunūnī-e Āḏarbāyjān, Tabrīz, 1334 Š./1955 (published earlier as a series of articles in NDA Tabrīz 5 and 6, 1332-33 Š./1953-54).

E. Yarshater, “The Tati Dialect of Shāhrud (Khalkhāl),” BSOAS 22, 1959, pp. 52-68.

Idem “The Tati Dialect of Kajal,” BSOAS 23, 1960, pp. 257-68.

Idem, “The Tati Dialects of Rāmand,” in A Locust’s Leg. Studies in Honour of S. H. Taqizadeh, ed. W. B. Henning and E. Yarshater, London, 1962, pp. 240-45.

Idem, “Marāḡīān-e Alamūt wa Rūdbār wa zabān-e ānhā,” Majalla-ye Īrānšenāšī 1, 1346 Š./1967.

Idem, A Grammar of Southern Tati Dialects (Median Dialect Studies I), The Hague and Paris, 1969.

Idem, “The Tati Dialects of Ṭārom,” in W. B. Henning Memorial Volume, ed. M. Boyce and I. Gershevitch, London. 1970, pp. 451-67.

M. Mortażawī provides a listing of the Persian articles on topics related to Āḏarī in Zabān-e dīrīn-e Āḏarbāyjān, pp. 56ff.; of interest is a paper he entitled “Bīst vāža-ye āḏarī dar ḥawāšī-e nosḵa-ye ḵaṭṭī-e Ketāb al-bolḡa” (Twenty Āḏarī words on the margin of the MS. of the K. al-bolḡa) read by M. Mīnovī at the sixth conference of Iranian studies (1974?), but apparently not yet published. On Median and the “Median” dialects see also A. Meillet, Grammaire du vieux perse, 2nd ed. by E. Benveniste, Paris, 1931, p. 7, par. 8; I. Gershevitch, “Dialect Variation in Early Persian,” TPS, 1964 [1965], pp. 1-29; P. O. Skjærvø, “Farnah: mot mède en vieux perse?” BSL 79, 1984, pp. 241-59.

On the dialectology of Middle Iranian see also W. Lentz, “Die nordiranischen Elemente in der neupersischen Literatursprache bei Firdosi,” ZII 4, 1926, pp. 252-316, and P. Tedesco, “Dialektologie der westiranischen Turfantexte,” Monde oriental 15, 1921, pp. 184-258.

AZERBAIJAN viii. Azeri Turkish

Azeri belongs to the Oghuz branch of the Turkic language family. In the eleventh century the “Tūrān defeated Ērān” and a broad wave of Oghuz Turks flooded first Khorasan, then all the rest of Iran, and finally Anatolia, which they made a base for vast conquests. The Oghuz have always been the most important and numerous group of the Turks; in Iran they have assimilated many Turks of other origins and even Iranians.

Oghuz languages were earlier grouped into Turkish (of Turkey), Azeri, and Turkmen, but recent research has modified this simple picture. Today we may provisionally distinguish the following languages: Turkish of Turkey (including Crimean Osmanli and Balkan dialects, such as Gagauz), Azeri, “Afsharoid” dialects (spoken east and south of the provinces of Azerbaijan; there is a broad area of either transitional Azeri-“Afsharoid” dialects or of mixed territories between Qazvīn and Ḵalajestān, but south of a line Hamadān-Qom, including Qašqāʾī and Aynallū, “Afsharoid” dialects dominate; Afshar is also spoken in Kabul), Khorasan Turkic (northeastern Iran, Turkmenistan and northwestern Afghanistan), and Turkmen (in Turkmenistan, northern Afghanistan and close to the southeastern shore of the Caspian Sea). Some features of Oghuz were described by Maḥmūd Kāšḡarī (11th century), e.g., the sound change t- > d- (däva “camel” = tävä, or similar, of other Turkic branches). But it is very difficult to draw a clear line between the East Anatolian dialects of Turkish and Azeri, on the one hand, and between Azeri and “Afsharoid” dialects or even Khorasan Turkic, on the other hand. There is a plethora of transitional phenomena among all Oghuz idioms. Thus one possibility would be to range East Anatolian as Azeri; however, the personal forms of the predicate show clear, and apparently archaic, distinctions among these five groups (Doerfer, 1982, pp. 109-15). The most distant of the Oghuz dialects is Turkmen; therefore the Iranian designations torkī (i.e., all Oghuz dialects except Turkmen) and/versus torkamā/ănī (i.e., Turkmen are rather appropriate.

Azeri is spoken in the Soviet Union (above all, in the AzSSR = Azerbaijan Soviet Socialist Republic), Iran (above all, in the northwestern provinces East and West Azerbaijan, but also on the southeastern shore of the Caspian Sea: Galūgāh, 36° 43’ north latitude, 53° 49’ east longitude), and in northern Iraq (e.g., in Kerkūk).

The early Azeri texts are a part of the Old Osmanli literature (the difference between Azeri and Turkish was then extremely small). The oldest poet of the Azeri literature known so far (and indubitably of Azeri, not of East Anatolian of Khorasani, origin) is ʿEmād-al-dīn Nasīmī (about 1369-1404, q.v.). Other important Azeri authors were Shah Esmāʿīl Ṣafawī “Ḵatāʾī” (1487-1524), and Fożūlī (about 1494-1556), an outstanding Azeri poet. During the 17th-20th centuries a rich Azeri literature continued to flourish but classical Persian exercised a great influence on the language and its literary expression. On the other hand, many Azeri words (about 1,200) entered Persian (still more in Kurdish), since Iran was governed mostly by Azeri-speaking rulers and soldiers since the 16th century (Doerfer, 1963-75); these loanwords refer mainly to administration, titles, and conduct of war. This long-lasting Iranian-Azeri symbiosis must be borne in mind if one is to understand the modern history of Iran and its language correctly.

Azeri dialects. We may distinguish the following Azeri dialects (see Širäliev, 1941 and 1947): (1) eastern group: Derbent (Darband), Kuba, Shemakha (Šamāḵī), Baku, Salyani (Salyānī), and Lenkoran (Lankarān), (2) western group: Kazakh (not to be confounded with the Kipchak-Turkic language of the same name), the dialect of the Ayrïm (Āyrom) tribe (which, however, resembles Turkish), and the dialect spoken in the region of the Borchala river; (3) northern group: Zakataly, Nukha, and Kutkashen; (4) southern group: Yerevan (Īravān), Nakhichevan (Naḵjavān), and Ordubad (Ordūbād); (5) central group: Ganja (Kirovabad) and Shusha; (6) North Iraqi dialects; (7) Northwest Iranian dialects: Tabrīz, Reżāʾīya (Urmia), etc., extended east to about Qazvīn; (8) Southeast Caspian dialect (Galūgāh). Optionally, we may adjoin as Azeri (or “Azeroid”) dialects: (9) East Anatolian, (10) Qašqāʾī, (11) Aynallū, (12) Sonqorī, (13) dialects south of Qom, (14) Kabul Afšārī.

Modern literary Azeri has been constructed on the basis of the eastern group in the Soviet part of the Azeri area; this does not mean that it is identical with the dialect of Baku. It became the official language of the AzSSR after its establishment in 1936 and many thousand works have been published in this language.

This situation is different in the Azeri-speaking territory of Iran (Doerfer, 1970, p. 226): Very few native, European, or American scholars have worked on the Iranian type of Azeri. Most literary works there are produced in a language which resembles the dialect of the main city, Tabrīz. But the official language is Persian, and a large part of the population is bilingual. The only linguistic studies are some small vocabularies, grammars, and handbooks (for the use of Iranians) composed mostly in the 1960s by native authors (see the bibliography). New efforts at shaping a standard Azeri literary language have been made since the Islamic Revolution. Curiously enough, the most recent Azeri-Persian dictionary (Peyfūn) is based on the language of the AzSSR; the Persian word īstgāh, “railway station,” e.g., has been replaced by vaḡzal (< Russian vokzal < English Vauxhall).

The script. The older Azeri literature was written in the Arabic alphabet. In the Soviet-controlled northern Azerbaijan the Latin alphabet was introduced in 1925, and three variants of it were in use or at least tried out. In 1939 the Latin alphabet was replaced by an alphabet based on the Cyrillic alphabet. Subsequently, five different variants of this system came into use, the fifth in 1958; this means that between 1925-58 nine different writing systems existed (see Ismailova). In southern Azerbaijan the Arabic alphabet is still used (Peyfūn, however, distinguishes ö from the other labial vowels by adding a hamza to wāw).

The language. The linguistic structure of Azeri is very similar to that of Turkish. Therefore, it will be sufficient to characterize the main differences between these languages.

The modern literary language has nine vowels in initial syllables of Turkic words. Like the Anatolian and Khorasani dialects it has preserved the ancient Turkic opposition ä ~ e, lost in Turkish of Turkey; in most cases e is from Old Turkic e: Non-initial syllables have vowel harmony, as in Turkish; many dialects, however, show signs of a dissolution of the vowel harmony (e.g., gäl-max- “to come” instead of gäl-mäk). In consonantism, Azeri shows usual Oghuz features, such as t- > d-, k- > g-; but the frequent elision of y- before high vowels i, ï, ü is peculiar to Azeri (it- “to be lost” < yit-, il “year” < yïl, üz “face” < yüz). A few of the twenty-four Russian letters for Azeri consonants mark allophones, e.g., g (front) and q (back; only initially; pronounced like Persian q), both belonging to the /G/ phoneme; other allophones, such as the back and front l, lenes and madiae lenes, are not distinguished in writing.

Grammatical structure. All the Turkic languages, including Azeri, are highly synthetic, i.e., words are inflected by means of affixes and suffixes (not, e.g., by umlaut and other internal inflection), cf. the typical example türk-lä-š-dir-äbil-sä-x “if we can make (somebody) become like Turks,” literally “Turk + verbal derivative (--) + cooperative (-š-) + causative (-dir-) + possibilitive (-äbil-) + conditional (--) + 1 person plural (-x).”

Azeri has many productive and non-productive suffixes both for nominal and verbal derivation. The Azeri literary language has six main cases (dialects show up to ten). Just as the other Turkic languages, Azeri has no special category of pre- or postpositions; instead it uses inflected “space nouns,” e.g., kändin ičindä “within the village,” literally “village’s-inside-its-LOCATIVE;” some of these space nouns are of Persian or Arabic (via Persian) origin; these loans were facilitated by the fact that Persian itself uses such “space nouns” as tū-ye, mīān-e contrasting with genuine prepositions such as be, dar. Many dialects have a comparative case form in -rAx.

Whereas Azeri nominal morphology, generally speaking, is quite similar to that of Turkish, verbal morphology shows some distinctive features. We may distinguish five diatheses: active, passive, reflexive (nonproductive), reciprocal-cooperative, and causative. Each of them may be positive, negative, or possibilitive; the impossibilitive base form is, in contrast to Turkish, a simple combination of possibilitive + negative. We may distinguish the following “tense” forms: aorist (always in -Ar, in contrast to Turkish), present (-Ir), future (-AjAK), perfect (-mIš ~ -Ib, varying in the dialects), preterite (-dI), durative present (-mAkdA, also -AdU and similar forms in the dialects). Furthermore, we may distinguish five moods: indicative, voluntative-imperative (vocative verbal form), optative (-A), necessitative (-mAlI, -AsI), and conditional. From a Turkic point of view, however, there is no structural difference between moods and tenses, cf., al-a “may he take” and al-mïš “he took, he has taken.” It is therefore better to operate with only one category “tense-mood,” rather than the two categories “tense” and “mood.” Real past tense forms can be formed analytically by adding (i)di or (i)miš “was” to the tense-mood forms, e.g., al-mïš-dï “he had taken.”

On the vocabulary see Iranian Elements in Azeri Turkish below.

The state of research. Soviet Azeri has been fairly well researched, although as yet no large Azeri dictionary has been produced and the available collections of dialect words are by no means comparable to the Turkish Derleme sözlüğü (Ankara, 1963-82, 12 vols.). However, the investigation of other parts of the language: phonology, grammar, etc., is satisfactory.

In contrast, Iranian Azeri is still but poorly known. In 1970, Doerfer stated that there existed at least 1,442 works on Soviet Azeri but only 18 on Iranian Azeri. Nevertheless, the publication of material from several Azeri dialects of Azerbaijan, Ḵalajestān, and Galūgāh (as well as quite comprehensive material from Afsharoid and Khorasani Turkic), based upon the Göttingen expeditions of 1968, 1969, and 1973, is planned for the near future.


1. General works: A. Caferoğlu, “Şarkta ve garpta azeri lehçesi tetkikleri,” Azerbaycan yurt bilgisi (Istanbul) 3, 1934, pp. 96-102, 136-41, 197-200, 233-38.

Idem and G. Doerfer, “Das Aserbaidschanische,” Philologiae Turcicae Fundamenta 1, Aquis Mattiacis, 1959, pp. 280-307.

G. Doerfer, “Irano-Altaistica,” in Current Trends in Linguistics VI, ed. Th. A. Sebeok, The Hague and Paris, 1970, pp. 217-34.

Idem, “Ein türkischer Dialekt aus der Gegend von Hamadān,” Acta Orientalia Hungarica 36, 1982, pp. 99-124.

G. G. Ismailova, “K istorii azerbaĭdzhanskogo alfavita,” in Voprosy sovershenstvovaniya alfavitov tyurkskikh yazykov SSSR, Moscow, 1972, pp. 28-40.

S. Säʾdiyev, Azärbayjan dilčiliyinä dair ädäbiyyatïn bibliografiyasï(Sovet dövrü), Baku, 1960.

2. Dictionaries: Kh. A. Azizbekov, Azerbaĭdzhansko-russkiĭ slovar’, Baku, 1965 (the best available dictionary).

G. Doerfer, Türkische und mongolische Elemente im Neupersischen, 4 vols., Wiesbaden, 1963-75.

G. Guseĭnov, Russko-azerbaĭdzhanskiĭ slovar’, 4 vols., Baku, 1960-66.

N. Z. Hatämi and M. Š. Širäliyev, Farsja-azärbayjanja danïšïq kitabčasï, Baku, 1983.

H. H. Hüseynov, Azärbayjanja-rusja lüğät, Baku, 1941.

M. Javadova, Šah Ismayïl Xätainin leksikasï, Baku, 1977.

J. M. Jäfärov, Almanja-azärbayjanja lüğät, (Deutsch-aserbaidschanisches Wörterbuch), Baku, 1971 (the best available non-Russian-Azeri dictionary).

Yu. Mirbabaev et. al., Kratkiĭ persidsko-russko-azerbaĭdzhanskiĭ slovar’, Baku, 1945.

Ä. Ä. Orujov, Azärbayjan dilinin orfografiya lüğäti, Baku, 1975.

Idem, Azärbayjan dilinin izahlï lüğäti, 3 vols., Baku, 1964-83.

Idem, Russko-azerbaĭdzhanskiĭ slovar’, 3 vols., Baku, 1971-78.

Ä. N. Orudzhov, S. D. Melikov, and A. A. Efendiev, Russko-azerbaĭdzhanskiĭ slovar’, 2 vols., Baku, 1956-59.

J. Qährämanov, Näsimi divanïnïn leksikasï, Baku, 1970.

R. Ä. Rüstämov and M. Š. Širäliyev, Azärbayjan dilinin dialektoloži lüğäti, Baku, 1964.

H. Zärinäzadä, Fars dilindä azärbayjan sözläri, Baku, 1962.

3. Grammars: Z. Budagova, Azerbaĭdzhanskiĭ yazyk (kratkiĭ ocherk), Baku, 1982.

Idem, Müasir azärbayjan dili II: Morfologiya, Baku, 1980.

G. Fraenkel, A Generative Grammar of Azerbaijani, doctoral thesis, Indiana University, Bloomington, 1962 (Dissertation abstracts XXIII, 1963).

N. Z. Gadzhieva, “Azerbaĭdzhanskiĭ yazyk,” in Yazyki narodov SSSR II: Tyurkskie yazyki, Moscow, 1966, pp. 66-90.

R. A. Rustamov, Grammatika azerbaĭdzhanskogo yazyka, 2 vols., Baku, 1959-60.

M. Š. Širäliev and È. V. Sevortyan, Grammatika azerbaĭdzhanskogo yazyka, Baku, 1971.

4. Linguistic studies: Ä. Z. Abdullaev, Müasir azärbayjan dilindä tabeli müräkkäb jümlälär, 2 vols., Baku, 1964-74.

N. G. Agazade, Sistema glagol’nykh nakloneniĭ v sovremennom azerbaĭdzhanskom literaturnom yazyke, Baku, 1967.

Ehliman Ahundov, ed., with a foreword by Semih Tezcan, Azerbaycan halk yazını örnekleri, Ankara, 1978 (this contains interesting texts with a concise linguistic introduction and dictionary).

A. Axundov, Azärbayjan dilinin fonemlär sistemi, Baku, 1973.

Idem, Azärbayjan dilinin tarixi fonetikasï, Baku, 1973.

A. K. Alekperov, Fonematicheskaya sistema sovremennogo azerbaĭdzhanskogo yazyka, Baku, 1971. Z. Älizadä, Müasir azärbayjan dilindä modal sözlär, Baku, 1965.

Z. I. Budagova, Müasir azärbayjan ädäbi dilindä sadä jümlä, Baku, 1963.

A. M. Dämiṛčizadä, Müasir azärbayjan dilinin fonetikasï, Baku, 1960.

Idem, Azärbayjan ädäbi dilinin tarixi, Baku, 1979.

A. Djaferoglu, “75 azärbajğanische Lieder "Bajatv" in der Mundart von Gänjä, nebst einer sprachlichen Erklärung,” Mitteilungen des Seminars für Orientalische Sprachen zu Berlin, Westasiatische Studien 32, 1929, pp. 55-79; 33, 1930, pp. 105-29.

N. Z. Gadzhieva, Sintaksis slozhnopodchinennogo predlozheniya v azerbaĭdzhanskom yazyke, Moscow, 1963. M. Hüseynzadä, Müasir azärbayjan dili, Baku, 1963.

R. J. Mähärrämova and M. P. Jahangirov, Azärbayjan dilinin tarixi sintaksisinä dair materiallar, Baku, 1962.

H. Mirzäzadä, Azärbayjan dilinin tarixi morfologiyasï, Baku, 1962.

Idem, Azärbayjan dilinin tarixi grammatikasïna aid materiallar, Baku, 1953.

M. Rähimov, Azärbayjan dilindä fe’l šäkillärinin formalašmasï tarixi, Baku, 1965.

R. Ä. Rüstämov, Azärbayjan dili dialekt vä šivälärindä fe’l, Baku, 1965 (important work).

È. V. Sevortyan, Affiksy glagoloobrazovaniya v azerbaĭdzhanskom yazyke, Moscow, 1962 (important work).

Idem, Affiksy imennogo slovoobrazovaniya v azerbaĭdzhanskom yazyke, Moscow, 1966 (important work).

Z. N. Verdieva et al., Azärbayjan dilinin semasiologiyasï, Baku, 1979.

5. Dialects: M. Amirpur-Ahrandjani, Der aserbaidschanische Dialekt von Schapur, Phonologie und Morphologie, Freiburg, 1971.

N. I. Ashmarin, Obshchiĭ obzor narodnykh tyurkskikh govorov gor Nukhi, Baku, 1926.

S. Buluç, “Tellâfer Türkçesi üzerine,” Türk dili araştırmaları yıl’lıği, Belleten, 1973-74, pp. 49-57.

Idem, “Kerkük ḫoyratlarına dair,” Reşit Rahmeti Arat için, Ankara, 1966, pp. 142-54.

G. Doerfer, “Zum Vokabular eines aserbaidschanischen Dialektes in Zentralpersien,” in Voprosy tyurkologii, Baku, 1971, pp. 33-62.

V. T. Dzhangidze, Dmanisskiĭ govor kazakhskogo dialekta azerbaĭdzhanskogo yazyka, Baku, 1965.

Dj. B. Hadjibeyli, “Le dialecte et le folk-lore du Karabagh,” JA 222, 1933, pp. 31-144.

Hussin Shahbaz Hassan, Kerkük ağzı, dissertation, Istanbul, 1979.

Choban Khıdır Haydar, İrak türkmen ağızları, dissertation, Istanbul, 1979.

A. Hüseynov, Azärbayjan dialektologlyasï, Baku, 1958.

M. Islamov, Azärbayjan dilinin Nuxa dialekti, Baku, 1968.

V. Monteil, “Sur le dialecte turc de l’Azerbâydjân iranien,” JA 244, 1956, pp. 1-77.

K. T. Ramazanov, Azärbayjan dilinin Muğan grupu šïväläri, Baku, 1955.

Idem, Azärbayjan dilinin Naxčïvan grupu dialekt vä šiväläri, Baku, 1962.

H. Ritter, “Azerbaidschanische Texte zur nordpersischen Volkskunde,” Der Islam 11, 1921, pp. 181-212; 25, 1939, pp. 234-68.

R. Ä. Rüstämov, Guba dialekti, Baku, 1951.

Idem and M. Š. Širäliev, Azärbayjan dilinin qärb grupu dialekt vä šiväläri 1, Baku, 1967.

M. Š. Širäliev, “K voprosu ob izuchenii i klassifikatsii azerbaĭdzhanskikh dialektov,” Izvestiya azerbaĭdzhanskogo filiala Akademii Nauk SSSR, 1941, 4.

Idem, “Izuchenie dialektov azerbaĭdzhanskogo yazyka,” Izvestiya Akademii Nauk SSSR 4, 1947, pp. 431-36.

Idem, Azärbayjan dialektologiyasï, 2 pts., Baku, 1942-43. Idem, Bakï dialekti, Baku, 2nd ed., 1957.

Idem, Azärbayjan dilinin Naxčïvan grupu dialekt vä šiyäläri, Baku, 1962.

Idem, Azärbayjan dialektologi yasïnïn äsaslarï, Baku, 1962 (indispensable description of Azeri dialects).

H. S. Szapszal, Próby literatury ludowej Turków Azerbajdżanu perskiego, Krakow, 1935.

S. Taliphanbeyli, “Karabağ-Istanbul şivelerinin savtiyet cihetinden mukayesesi,” Azerbaycan yurt bilgisi 2, 1933, pp. 23-41, 65-71, 212-19, 380-85.

6. Manuals: Fr. W. Householder, with M. Lotfi, Basic Course in Azerbaijani, Bloomington and The Hague, 1965 (excellent practical introduction).

C. G. Simpson, The Turkish Language of Soviet Azerbaijan, Oxford, 1957.

7. Important older works: K. Foy, “Azerbajğanische Studien mit einer Charakteristik des Südtürkischen,” Mitteilungen des Seminars für Orientalische Sprachen zu Berlin, Westasiatische Studien 6, 1903, pp. 126-93; 7, 1904, pp. 197-265.

A. Kazembek, Obshchaya grammatika turetsko-tatarskago yazyka, 2nd ed., Kazan’, 1846.

L. Lazarev, Turetsko-tatarsko-russkiĭ slovar’, s prilozheniem kratkoĭ grammatiki, Moscow, 1846.

D. F. M. Maggio, Syntagma linguarum orientalium, quae in Georgiae regionibus audiuntur, liber secundus, complectens Arabum et Turcarum orthographiam et turcicae linguae institutiones, Rome, 1643 (2nd ed., 1670).

8. Selected studies in Persian: anonymous, Ḵᵛodāmūz-e torkī yā mokālamāt-e rūz-marra-ye zabān-e torkī, Tabrīz, 1339 Š./1960.

M. A. Farzāna, Mabānī-e dastūr-e zabān-e Āḏarbāyjān, Tabrīz, 1344 Š./1965.

S. Jāvīd, Ḵᵛodāmūz-e zabān-e āḏarbāyjānī wa fārsī, Tehran, 1343 Š./1964.

ʿA. Kārang, Dastūr-e zabān-e konūnī-e Āḏarbāyjān, Tabrīz, 1340 Š./1961.

M. Moḡdam, Gūyešhā-ye Vafs o Āštīān, Tehran, 1318 Š./1949. M. Peyfūn, Farhang-e āḏarbāyjānī-fārsī, Tehran, 1361 Š./1982 (based on Soviet Azeri material).

M. R. Šeʿār, Baḥṯ-ī dar bāra-ye zabān-e Āḏarbāyjān, Tabrīz, 1346 Š./1967.

M. T. Z. (sic), Iran türkčäsinin ṣärfi, n.p., 1355 Š./1976.

See also D. Sinor, Introduction à l’étude de l’Eurasie Centrale, Wiesbaden, 1963, pp. 62-64.

J. Benzing, Einführung in das Studium der altaischen Philologie und der Turkologie, Wiesbaden, 1953, pp. 90-93.

AZERBAIJAN ix. Iranian Elements in Azeri Turkish

Azeri is, perhaps after Uzbek, the Turkic language upon which Iranian has exerted the strongest impact—mainly in phonology, syntax and vocabulary, less in morphology. Much of the Iranian interference is also present, albeit less strongly in other Turkic languages, e.g., Ottoman Turkish, but many features are specific to Azeri. The strong Iranian influence upon Oghuz Turkic began already in Central Asia. Since Persian Azerbaijan had been Iranian-speaking long before the Turkic immigration, there has been a thorough sub- and adstrative Iranian impact upon dialects of the area: some of them, such as Aynallū and Qašqāʾī (though these are sometimes classified as non-Azeri idioms), are particularly strongly Iranized. Furthermore, Persian as the culturally dominant language played a superstrative—or “roofing”—role which is obvious still today in southern Azerbaijan with its lack of linguistic standardization and long-standing general bilingualism.

Though generally recognized the Iranian influence on Azeri has not yet been investigated. For proper research in this field more information is required not only about different variants of Azeri but also about the local Iranian dialects of the contact regions, such as Tati and Ṭāleši.

Phonology. There is considerable interference at the phonological level. For example, all Azeri dialects spoken in Iran display phonotactic perturbations, partly due to Iranian influence. Especially affected is the Turkic sound harmony, although less than in Uzbek. We find, e.g., non-harmonic, i.e., invariable suffixes like -max (infinitive suffix): bil-max “to know,” etc. This and other similar phenomena are usually explained as results of Iranization, i.e., a breakdown of vowel harmony and a tendency to neutralize vowels and pronounce them centrally. However, not all deviations from the vowel harmony rules of Standard Turkish can be attributed to external factors.

Another exception to a common Turkic phonotactic tendency, heard mainly in educated speech, is the simplification of consonant clusters. Thus, [fikr] “thought” is heard instead of the integrated form [fikir], etc.

In phonetics there are several examples of presumably Iranian influence:

Vocalism. A tendency (also known in “Iranized” Turkic dialects of Central Asia) towards a fronted pronunciation of vowels, e.g., the shift of a > ä (K. Foy, 1903, p. 185). Accordingly, the short a in Arabic and Persian loanwords is rendered as a front vowel more often than in Turkish even in the neighborhood of emphatic and dorso-velar consonants, e.g., bäxt “happiness” (Turkish baht). The tendency may be valid also for the unrounded high vowels. Even if, as in Uzbek, New Uigur, etc., the phonetic distance between the front i and the back ï has been diminished, the phonological opposition is still maintained. (Gagauz and Karaim similarly have a fronted pronunciation of Common Turkic ï under Slavic influence.) In several Azeri dialects, ï is pronounced with the tongue slightly more advanced than in Turkish. However, this phenomenon is difficult to diagnose in terms of interference, since it is observed also in Kipchak languages (Kazakh, Karakalpak, and Tatar). There are also reasons to suppose the existence of a neutral schwa in some Azeri dialects; M. V. Monteil mentions a sound “à peu près l’e fermé persan,” e.g., mäne “me,” ade “his name” (instead of mäni, adï; cf. L. Johanson, 1978-79).

The tendency towards front pronunciation is also manifest in the shift of - > i- in words like ilan “snake” (Turkish yïlan). The southern dialects show strongly palatalized forms of k, g and l, e.g., [ćöć] for Common Turkic kök “root.” Thus, in spite of “disturbances” of the vowel system, the basic syllabic palatal correlation is maintained also in Azeri dialects.

The relatively open pronunciation of ä approaches that of Persian a. According to L. Ligeti’s observations, “cette voyelle azéri cherche toujours à se conformer, du moins en Perse et en Afghanistan, à la prononciation de l’a persan (ou tadjik) local” (1957, p. 114). In some Azeri dialects, as in Uzbek, the long a: is more or less rounded, e.g., [yå:d] “memory.” Typically Turkic vowels alien to Persian are sometimes replaced by more familiar sounds, i.e., ö > o, ü > u (M. Širäliyev, 1968, pp. 43f.), in non-initial syllables ï > u, etc. It is still an open question whether in some dialects remnants of Turkic vowel quantity oppositions have been preserved under the influence of the Persian long vowels. Whereas Turkish shows an aversion against Persian ow (< aw), this diphthong occurs frequently in Azeri (as well as Turkmen) dialects. Parallel to the Persian development ow < aw, even in native Turkic words low vowels are labialized in front of a labial element: aw > ow (often > o:), e.g., dowšan or do:šan “rabbit” (<*taβïšγa:n, cf. Turkish tavšan).

Consonantism. An Iranian feature in the consonantism is the palatalization of certain consonants (notably k, g, l) mentioned above. As in Turkman and many Anatolian dialects, there is a regular substitution of the un-Persian fortis q: initially by voicing, e.g., gal- “to remain,” guš “bird,” non-initially usually by spirantization, e.g., yaxïn “near,” yatax “bed.” (In Standard Azeri the latter change is restricted to the first syllable boundary.) Azeri, as Persian, but contrary to modern Turkish, has both [x] and [h]. There is no resistance to z (with substitution by g, as in some other Turkic languages). Initial fricative γ-, which does not occur in Turkish, is accepted to some extent, essentially in educated speech: γeyrät “zeal” (cf. Turkish gayrät), etc. The un-Turkic sound f is not only accepted in loanwords (häftä “week” against Kazakh apta), but also replaces native p in some dialects: e.g., if “thread.” (This phonetical development is also met with in Turkmen and Uzbek dialects.)

Suprasegmental features. In some dialects a special intonation pattern at the end of yes/no-questions, possibly due to Iranian influence, replaces the interrogative particle mI.

Morphology. Iranian derivational suffixes found in Azeri are -baz, -dan, -dar, -i, -kar, -keš, -päräst, -stan, and -xana, etc. Iranian prefixes such as bi- ~ be- and na-still play a role in word-formation. (All these elements were frequent in Ottoman Turkish but have now been largely abandoned.) The copula of the first person singular -(y)Am is usually explained as influenced by the corresponding Persian personal ending -am. Optatives like al-a-m “I (may) take” resemble in their structure the Persian subjunctive (present stem + personal endings, e.g. bar-am “I take”). The Persian perfect of the type āmada (ast) “he has come” (past participle [+ copula]) may have corroborated the use of -(U)b(dUr) as the usual perfect form among the Turks of Iran. (For the various perfect forms, see M. Širäliyev, 1967, pp. 213-20.) Sonqori, Aynallū and Qašqāʾī (possibly not classifiable as Azeri dialects) use Persian -tar as a comparative suffix, e.g., Aynallū yektär “better.” Iranian may also have influenced the aspect and temporal values, notably of the perfect forms, which function very much like the Persian perfect tense, e.g., yazmïšam “I have written.” gälibsän “you have arrived.” (For Azeri and Turkish -mIš, see L. Johanson, Aspect im Türkischen, Mainz, 1971, pp. 289f.).

Syntax. The impact of Iranian on Azeri syntax is particularly clear in the structure of complex sentences, especially in the sociolects of the educated. (Note that most of the features concerned occurred more frequently in Ottoman but have been given up in modern Standard Turkish; some subsist as substandard varieties.) There is a sort of replica syntax: Imitations of Indo-European language-type subordinative constructions are used instead of Turkic, left-branching, constructions, in which the subordinated elements are more or less expanded sentence constituents, morphologically based on verbal nouns, participles, and gerunds, cf. Bilirsänmi män kimäm? “Do you know who I am?” (instead of Mänim kim olduγumu bilirsänmi?); Heč kim dinmirdi, ondan ötrü ki, hamïnïn bu išdän xäbäri var idi (Mirzä Ibrahimov) “No one said anything, because everyone knew about this affair” (instead of Hamïnïn bu išdän xäbär olduγu üčün heč kim dinmirdi). As in Ottoman and Chaghatay, Persian subordinative conjunctions, alien to Turkic sentence structure, are widely used, particularly ki, which appears as a connective device between sentences of different kinds, e.g., Görmüšäm ki, onlar xošbäxt olublar “I have seen that they have become happy” (instead of Onlarïn xošbäxt olduglarïnï görmüšäm); Bir ata ki, bu išlär ilä mäšγul olan, onun oγlu da išgüzar olar “Also the son of a father who occupies himself with these things becomes skilful” (instead of Bu išlär ilä mäšγul olan atanïn oγlu da išgüzar olar); Sizin väzifäniz budur ki, tä’lim veräsiz “It is your duty to teach” (instead of Sizin väzifeniz, tä’lim vermäkdir); Män istärdim ki, sän gälsän “I would like you to come” (instead of Sänin gälmäyini istärdim); Atasï ona pul verir ki, o gedä bilsin “His father gives him money in order that he may be able to go” (instead of O, gedä bilsin deyä, atasï ona pul verir); Kitabï ačïrdïm ki, gapï döyüldü “I was just opening the book as there was a knock at the door” (instead of Kitabï ačdïgda gapï döyüldü). Like the Iranian subjunctive the optative is often used as a sort of subordinative mood.

Several conjunctions (and/or connective adverbs) of Persian origin are used even in Standard Azeri, e.g., ägär “if,” čünki “for,” gah … gah “now … now,” häm “also,” hämčinin “also,” häṛčänd “although,” härgah “if,” nä … nä “neither … nor,” näinki “not only,” yainki “or,” yaxud “or,” zira “for.” However, both these and conjunctions of Arabic origin occur frequently only in educated speech. Other frequent adverbs, modal words, and particles are bäli “yes,” bälkä “perhaps,” bäs “well,” “yes,” hämišä “always,” mägär “really,” etc.

Lexicon. The Iranian elements in Azeri are especially numerous at the lexical level. Azeri possesses a large number of Iranian loanwords missing or rarely used in Turkish (asan “easy,” bar “fruit,” javan “young,” čäp “crooked,” girdä “round,” huš “consciousness,” kar “deaf,” köhnä “old,” küčä “street,” mis “copper,” payïz “autumn, fall,” šänbä “Saturday,” turš “sour,” etc.); idioms, e.g., xahiš ediräm “please,” güzäšt elä “excuse me,” xudahafiz “good-bye”; numerous calques in phraseology (xoš gäl- “to please,” coined on Persian xoš āmadan, etc.); morphological contaminations as tanïš ol- “to know” = tanï-, cf. Persian dāneš “knowledge.” Some indefinite pronouns are of Persian origin, e.g., hämin “the same.” här “every,” här käs “everyone,” heč “any.” It must be left to further research to sort out the different layers of elements borrowed in the course of the long Irano-Turkic symbiosis. There may be some phonetic criteria, e.g., the majhūl vowel in forms like dost “friend” (Modern Persian dūst < dōst) points to an early date of borrowing, whereas ruzi “daily bread” (cf. Persian rūzī < rōzī) is a relatively late loanword.

The quantity of Iranian lexical elements differs significantly in the various forms of Azeri. Persian is more dominant in written than in spoken Azeri; the dominance is also more evident in the language of the educated. As for the innovatory vocabulary, northern Azeri often prefers Russian loanwords (e.g., vaγzal “railway station”), where southern Azeri chooses Persian ones or accepts European words through the intermediary of Persian or Turkish (e.g., istgah, gar, istasyon). Since, for several decades, there has been little, if any, cultural exchange between the two parts of Azerbaijan, the mutual intelligibility is decreasing. Whereas in Soviet Azerbaijan, the purist efforts have yielded considerable results, the Azerbaijani language of Iran, through school education and the growing influence of Persian mass media, remains very dependent upon Persian.


As G. Doerfer remarks in “Irano-Altaistica: Turkish and Mongolian Languages of Persia and Afghanistan” (in Th. A. Sebeok, ed., Current Trends in Linguistics VI, The Hague, 1970, pp. 217-34), there are “only sporadic remarks about the influence of Iranian on the Irano-Altaic languages.” (For details, see the bibliography added to Doerfer’s article.) A basic work on Azeri of Persian Azerbaijan is K. Foy: “Azerbajğanische Studien mit einer Charakteristik des Südtürkischen,” Mitteilungen des Seminars für Orientalische Sprachen zu Berlin, Westasiatische Studien 6, 1903, pp. 126-94; 7, 1904, pp. 197-265.

Important remarks are found in T. Kowalski, Sir Aurel Stein’s Sprachaufzeichnungen im Äinallu-Dialekt aus Südpersien, Kraków, 1939; L. Ligeti, “Sur la langue des Afchars d’Afghanistan,” Acta Orientalia Hungarica 7, 1957, pp. 110-56; V. Monteil, “Sur le dialecte turc de l’Azerbâydjân iranien,” JA 244, 1956, pp. 1-77.

General problems of Iranian influence are treated in K. H. Menges, “Indo-European Influences on Ural-Altaic Languages,” Word 1, 1933, pp. 188-93.

See also L. Johanson: “Die westoghusische Labialharmonie,” Orientalia Suecana 27-28, 1978-79, pp. 63-107 and “Reproduktion, Widerstand und Anpassung: Zur lautlichen Iranisierung im Türkischen,” in R. Schmitt and P. O. Skjærvø, eds., Studia Grammatica Iranica. Festschrift für Helmut Humbach, Munich, 1986, pp. 185-201.

Y. Z. Širvani, Äräb vä fars sözläri lüγäti, Baku, 1967.

A standard work on Azerbaijani dialectology is M. Širäliyev, Azärbayjan dialektologiyasïnïn äsaslarï, Baku, 1967.

See also G. Windfuhr, Persian Grammar, The Hague, Paris, and New York, 1979, pp. 188-89.

AZERBAIJAN x. Azeri Turkish Literature

The language spoken today in Azerbaijan is one of the branches of Oghuz Turkic. It was introduced into Iran by Turks entering the area in the 11th and 12th centuries and underwent a gradual development before assuming its present form. For two centuries after their appearance in Iran, the Oghuz Turks seem to have had only an oral literature. The origins of the stories attributed to Dädä Qorqut, which are about the heroic age of the Oghuz Turks, probably lie back in this period. The accepted text, however, was compiled only in the 15th century. A written, classical Azeri Turkish literature began after the Mongol invasion, and developed strongly in the 16th century after the Safavid dynasty established its dominance in Iran. From the beginning it was under the strong impact of Persian letters. Many poets produced works in both Persian and Azeri and due to bilingualism among the educated Turkic-speaking people of the area the use of Azeri prose was widespread until the reign of Reżā Shah Pahlavi (r. 1925-41), when publishing in Azeri was banned.

The history of the Azeri Turkish literature can be divided into four main periods:

1) From the 13th century to 1828 when, as a result of the defeat suffered by Iran in the Perso-Russian wars, a number of regions north of the province of Azerbaijan, where Azeri Turkish was spoken, were occupied by Tsarist Russia (now Republic of Azerbaijan).

2) From 1828 to the 1920s, when the Soviets and the Pahlavi dynasty came to power in Russia and Iran. This includes the Constitutional era (1906-25).

3) The Pahlavi era (1925-79) when, except for a brief period from 1941 to 1946 while the country was occupied by the Allied forces, the ban on Azeri Turkish publications was in effect and the official use of the language discouraged in Iran. Furthermore, because of the change of alphabet in the Soviet Republic of Azerbaijan and due to that region’s being in the Soviet bloc, communication between the Iranian province of Azerbaijan and the occupied territories north of it became more difficult. Only a few audacious poets managed to get some of their works secretly printed.

4) From the advent of the revolution of 1979 to the present. Though the desire of some fervent Azerbaijanis to make Azeri Turkish their educational language has not been fulfilled, there is no longer a ban on Azeri Turkish publications in Iran, and more than 200 works in Azeri Turkish have appeared.

It was in the 13th and 14th centuries that a stylized poetry began to develop, partly due to Eastern Turkic traditions brought from Khorasan during the Mongol occupation. An early example is a couple of verses of Turkish and Persian poetry attributed to the late-13th-century minor poet Sheikh ʿEzz-al-Din Esfarāʾini, known as Ḥasanoḡlu or Pur-e Ḥasan (cf. Heyʾat, 1979, p. 26). Two poets of the 14th century, Qāżi Aḥmad Borhān al-Din (an East Anatolian) and the Ḥorufi demagogue ʿEmād-al-Din Nasimi played significant roles in the development of the Azeri Turkish poetry. Having arrived in Tabriz, the latter met Fażlallāh Naʿimi who converted him to Ḥorufism. He was put to death in Aleppo around 1407 because of his fervent propagation of the Ḥorufi beliefs. The influence of Persian poets such as Rumi, Neẓāmi Ganjavi, and ʿAṭṭār is noticeable in his poetry, and he mentions Ḥāfeẓ in his Persian Divān. Another bilingual Turkish-speaking poet from Azerbaijan, one whose Persian poetry takes precedence over his Azeri Turkish, is Moʿin-al-Din ʿAli Shah Qāsem-e Anwār (b. 1356 in Sarāb, educated in Tabriz). He was a pupil of Sheikh Ṣadr-al-Din Musa b. Sheikh Ṣafi-al-Din Ardabili and established the latter’s Sufi order in Herat under the Timurid Šāhroḵ. Shah Qāsem-e Anwār wrote ḡazals, molammaʿs, and tuyuḡs in a simple Azeri Turkish (Köprülü, s.v. “Azerî edebiyatının tekâmülü,” in İA). The 15th century saw the beginning of a more important period in the history of the Azeri Turkish literature. The position of the literary language was reinforced under the Qarāqoyunlu (r. 1400-68), who had their capital in Tabriz. Jahānšāh (r. 1438-68) himself wrote lyrical poems in Turkish using the pen name of “Ḥaqiqi.” He sent his Divān of Persian and Turkish poems to ʿAbd-al-Raḥmān Jāmi, who praised their form as well as their content (Heyʾat, 1979, p. 31).

Another poet-ruler of great significance is Esmāʿil I (r. 1487-1524), founder of the Safavid dynasty, who established Shiʿism as the state religion of Iran. The strong adherence of the Turkish population of the province of Azerbaijan to Shiʿism was among the factors that were to weaken their ties with the rest of the Turkic world, giving Azeri Turkish literature a local identity and restricting it to Azerbaijan and the area just north of it (now Republic of Azerbaijan). Writing with the pen name of Ḵaṭāʾi, Esmāʿil I declared his own devotion to ʿAli and his family in passionately ecstatic ḡazals. The Divān attributed to him also includes robāʿis and maṯnawis and a didactic “Naṣiḥat-nāma.” His Dah-nāma (Ten letters; composed in 1506), a maṯnawi of more than 1,400 distiches, contains ten love letters exchanged between the lover (i.e., the poet) and his beloved (see Gandjeï). The poetry of Esmāʿil I shows the influence of folk poetry and the ʿāšeq style.

Among the Azeri poets of the 15th century mention should be made of Ḵaṭāʾi Tabrizi. He wrote a maṯnawi entitled Yusof wa Zoleyḵā, and dedicated it to the Aqqoyunlu Sultan Yaʿqub (r. 1478-90), who himself wrote poetry in Azeri Turkish. The most important poet of this period is Ḥabibi Bargošādi, the poet laureate at the court of Esmāʿil I, who in 1514, when the Ottoman army occupied Tabriz, went to Turkey and died in Istanbul in 1519. Another Sufi poet is Sheikh Alvān of Shiraz who translated the Golšan-e rāz of Sheikh Maḥmud Šabestari into Azeri verse.

The reigns of Esmāʿil I and his son Ṭahmāsb I (r. 1524-76) are considered the most brilliant period in the history of the Azeri Turkish language and literature at this stage of its development. The great poet Moḥammad b. Solaymān Fożuli of Baghdad (1480-1556), who wrote in Turkish, Persian, and Arabic, played an important role in the development of Azeri Turkish poetry in Iran. As M. F. Köprülü has pointed out (s.v. “Fuzûlî,” in İA), very few Turkish poets had the far-reaching influence that Fożuli had on later generations. One of his followers was Moḥammad Amāni (d. ca. 1544), whose work is also a useful historical source, as he took an active part in Safavid campaigns. He wrote poems in both the classical and popular ʿāšeq style and provided the first examples of Azeri Turkish narrative verse with a religious content like Ḥātam va Ḡarib, ʿAli va Šir; (Caferoğlu, 1964, p. 645). Another disciple of the Fożuli school is Ṣādeqi Beg Afšār (b. 1532), the author of a taḏkera entitled Majmaʿ al-ḵawāṣṣ, which was modeled on Amir ʿAli Šir Navāʾi’s Mājāles al-nafāʾes and written in Čaḡatāi Turkish. In this work, Ṣādeqi deals not only with Azeri poets, but also with Čaḡatāi and Ottoman poets and writers.

There was also considerable development in the popular literature, especially bayātis (four-lined poems) and long narrative poems. The best-known folk poem of the period, KorōglïDästanï, reflects the resentment of the people against the tyrannical rulers of the time. Other ballad-like compositions such as Šāh Esmāʿil, ʿĀšeq Ḡarib, and Aṣli va Karam are accounts of romantic love and heroic deeds. Qorbāni is considered the foremost ʿāšeq of this century (Caferoğlu, 1964, pp. 646f.). Finally, an interesting document related to folk literature in this period is a short work by Ruḥi Anārjāni (from a village near Tabriz). The writer gives a humorous account of conversations between various common people in Tabriz. These are not in Turkish, but in the Old Persian dialect of Azerbaijan, showing that during the reign of ʿAbbās I (1587-1629) bilingualism was prevalent in Azerbaijan (see above, AZERBAIJAN VII.).

In the 17th century, although the transfer of the capital to Isfahan favored Persian at the court, Azeri poetry in the style of Fożuli and the Čaḡatāi poet Navāʾi still flourished. ʿAlijān Esmāʿiloḡlu Qawsi Tabrizi (born in Tabriz and educated in Isfahan) was an important poet who combined classical refinement with the candor of popular poetry. Rokn-al-Din Masʿud Masiḥi (d. 1656) was a musician and poet who wrote three romantic maṯnawis—Dām va Dāna, Zanbur-e ʿasal, and Varqa va Golšāh. The last was modeled on a Persian work of the same name by ʿAyyuqi. In addition to his Persian works, the great poet of the period Mirzā Moḥammad-ʿAli Ṣāʾeb Tabrizi (d. 1670) wrote 17 ḡazals and molammaʿs in his native Turkish (Yazıcı, s.v. “Sâib,” in İA X).

ʿAbbās II (r. 1642-66) was himself a poet, writing Turkish verse with the pen name of “Ṯāni.” In the same century Ṭarzi Afšār, who was originally from Ray, wrote a small Divān of humorous poems in a mixture of Persian and Azeri Turkish. This type of poetry, known as Tarzilik, became quite popular at the Isfahan court for a while. The poets Daruni and Mirzā Moḥsen Taʾṯir were both natives of Tabriz, their families having migrated to Isfahan in the reign of ʿAbbās I. Moḥsen Taʾṯir became a notable courtier and poet at the courts of Solaymān (r. 1667-94) and Solṭān Ḥoseyn (r. 1694-1722), devoting most of his Turkish and Persian poetry to eulogy of the imams. This was a practice greatly encouraged by the Safavid kings. Other Turkish poets of the period include Reżā-Qoli Khan, the governor of Bandar-e ʿAbbāsi, Mirzā Jalāl Šahrestāni, Mirzā Ṣāleḥ, the Šayḵ-al-eslām of Tabriz, Moḥammad Ṭāher Vaḥid Qazvini, the historian of ʿAbbās II, and lastly Mālek Beg “Awji,” who was influenced by Fożuli and Ṣāʾeb.

Due to political events, the 18th century was a period of decline in the Turkish literature of the Iranian province of Azerbaijan. In the north, however, the forerunners of modern Turkish literature of Azerbaijan, Mollā Panāh Vāqef (1717-97) and Vedādi (1709-1809), were active. In fact, a contrast is seen in this period in that whereas bilingualism continues to be practiced in the Iranian province of Azerbaijan, writing is almost exclusively in Azeri Turkish in the urban centers located north of it. In general the time from the fall of the Safavids in 1722 to the end of the century is a period of stagnation in Azerbaijan. However, there is an abundant Shiʿite literature, especially elegies and Taʿzia poems. Well-known authors of such dirges are Neẓām-al-Din Moḥammad Dehḵāraqāni (d. 1756), Seyyed Fattāḥ Ešrāq Marāḡi (d. 1761-62), and Ḥāji Ḵodāverdi Tāʾeb Ḵoʾi (d. 1786). Other poets of this period include Mirzā ʿAbd-al-Razzāq Našʾa Tabrizi (d. 1745), who was greatly influenced by Ṣāʾeb, Morteżā-Qoli Khan Nāmi, who went as an envoy to Istanbul in 1721, and the famous Loṭf-ʿAli Beg Āḏar, the author of the Ātaškada, the well-known Persian taḏkera (Köprülü, s.v. “Azerî edebiyatının tekâmülü,” in İA; Heʾyat, 1979, pp. 67-68).

In the 19th century under the Qajars, when Turkish was used at court once again, literary activity was intensified. A revival of interest in Ottoman and Čaḡatāi poetry and philology is evidenced by such works as Behjat al-loḡāt by Fatḥ-ʿAli Qajar Qazvini and Āl tamḡā-ye nāṣeri by Moḥammad Ṣāleḥ Eṣfahāni, a work dedicated to the Qajar Shah Nāṣer-al-Din. From among the Turkish poets of the period mention should be made of Mirzā Moḥammad Rażi Tabrizi, with the pen name of “Banda,” who was a calligrapher and poet at the court of Fatḥ-ʿAli Shah Qajar, Ḥoseyn-Qoli Khan Čāker Ḵamsaʾi, and Ḵalifa Moḥammad ʿĀjez Sarābi whose Divān was published in Tabriz in 1856. Others are Mollā Mehr-ʿAli from Ḵoy, Ātaši Marāḡaʾi, Mollā Ṣādeq Čertāb Tabrizi, and the poetess Ḥeyrān Ḵānom Donboli (d. 1753).

There was also a significant crop of elegy (marṯia) literature, the most outstanding poets in this respect being Āḵund Mollā Ḥoseyn Daḵil Marāḡaʾi, Mirzā Abu’l-Ḥasan Rāji Tabrizi (1831-76), and Moḥammad Amin Delsuz Tabrizi whose Turkish Divān was printed in Tabriz.

The second half of the 19th century brought a period of transition in Azerbaijan, both in social and political thinking and in literature. The literary movements in the occupied parts of the Azerbaijan in the Russian Empire (as well as those occurring in the Ottoman Empire) are reflected to some extent in the province of Azerbaijan in Iran. Publications from Russian conquests in Azerbaijan, namely, the more realistic works of Qāsem Beg Ḏāker (1784-1857), ʿAbbās-Qoli Āqā Qodsi Bakiḵānov (1794-1847), Mirzā Šafiʿ Wāẓeḥ (1794-1852), Esmāʿil Beg Gotgašinli (Gutgašïnlï; 1806-61), Mirzā Fatḥ-ʿAli Āḵundzāda (1812-78), and others, have some influence on the works written in the south. Several authors celebrate—in a noticeably simpler language and style—the values of enlightenment, liberty, and patriotism. At the same time, one of the most outstanding poets of Azerbaijan in this period is Seyyed Abu’l-Qāsem Nabāti (1812-73), a Sufi who wrote in both Persian and Azeri Turkish. Influenced by Nasimi, Jalāl-al-Din Rumi, and Ḥāfeẓ, he produced a famous Sāqi-nāma on the model of that of Ḥāfeẓ. He also has numerous poems in the ʿāšeq style.

Another important poet is Mirzā ʿAli Khan Laʿli, who was born in Erevan in 1845, and came to Tabriz as a young man. After completing his medical studies in Istanbul, he worked as a doctor in Tabriz where he died in 1907. Known as Ḥakim Laʿli, he wrote satirical poetry in the traditional style (see Introduction to Divān-e Ḥakim Laʿli by Moḥammad-ʿAli Ṣafwat, Tabriz, n.d.). Ḥāji Reżā Ṣarrāf (1854-1907) and Ḥāji Mahdi Šokuhi (d. 1896) are mostly known for their poetical elegies. Moḥammad-Kāẓem ʿAlišāh Asrār Tabrizi (b. 1848-49) was a Neʿmatallāhi Sufi and poet, who compiled two anthologies of Azeri Turkish poets: Behjat al-šoʿarāʾ and Ḥadiqat al-šoʿarāʾ, both composed in 1881. The latter is a selection made from the former and is mostly devoted to satirical and humorous poetry. The former includes the works of 86 poets (Heyʾat, 1979, p. 137). Another poet of some significance is Mirzā Moḥammad-Bāqer Ḵalḵāli, who was a mojtahed and wrote a well-known maṯnawi called Ṯaʿlabiyʾa and dated 1893. The style and the structure of this work somewhat resemble the Maṯnawi of Rumi, and within the framework of a main story Ḵalḵāli brings in many folkloric stories, always trying to present a moralistic view (Ṣādeq pp. 142-98).

In the 20th century the Azeri Turkish literature of Iran has continued to reflect the political and social development of the country as a whole, but has been influenced especially by official attitudes and policies toward the use of Turkish as a literary language. In contrast to the flourishing of Turkish literature in Soviet Azerbaijan, therefore, Azeri Turkish literature in Iran has had a limited development. Many Azeri Turkish writers are better known for their contributions to Persian literature than to Azeri Turkish.

The Constitutional period, with its background of liberal and democratic ideas, proved a productive one for Azeri Turkish, both as a vehicle for poetry and in journalism. Of eight newspapers published in Tabriz and Urmia at that time, five were in Azeri Turkish, three bilingual (Berengian, p. 38). A number of journals also were published, the most outstanding and influential being Mollā Naṣr-al-Din (first appeared in 1906). Although published in Tiflis, Mollā Naṣr-al-Din counted many poets from the Iranian province of Azerbaijan among its contributors, including the great satirist Mirzā ʿAli-Akbar Ṭāherzāda Ṣāber (1862-1911). Ṣāber had a strong influence not only on other Azeri Turkish-speaking poets but also on Persian poets such as Abu’l-Qāsem Lāhuti (1887-1957), Ašraf Gilāni (1870-1934), and ʿAli-Akbar Dehḵodā (1879-1956). In spite of the ban imposed by the government of Moḥammad-ʿAli Shah, which aimed at stopping the journal from entering Iran, Mollā Naṣr-al-Din and the poetry of Ṣāber in particular were extremely popular in Azerbaijan. The Constitutionalists fighting the Royalist forces in Tabriz would recite the poems of Ṣāber to keep up their morale, and his poems touching on Iranian affairs would occasionally be answered by the journal Āḏarbāyjān, published in Tabriz in Azeri Turkish and Persian during 1906 and 1907. Jalil Moḥammad-Qolizāda (Mämmäd-guluzade; 1869-1932), who like Ṣāber had deep-rooted associations with Iran, went to Tabriz in 1921 and published eight issues of Mollā Naṣr-al-Din there. Due to police interference, however, he returned to Baku, where he continued to publish the journal until 1929. In a letter dated April 26, 1906, Moḥammad-Qolizāda states that half of Mollā Naṣr-al-din’s 15 thousand readers were in Iran (Sardariniā, p. 110).

The most outstanding Turkish-speaking poet of Azerbaijan to be influenced by Ṣāber was Mirzā ʿAli Moʿjez (1873-1934). One of the few Azeri poets to come close to the greatness of Ṣāber as a satirist, Moʿjez went to Istanbul at the age of sixteen and spent fourteen years there working as a bookseller and becoming acquainted with the literary and social currents in the Ottoman empire at that time. When he was thirty he returned to his native Šabestar and began to write biting satires in criticism of the absolutist rule in Iran and the backwardness of his countrymen. Prominent themes of his satires, which are written in a simple poetic language, include the abject condition of women and religious hypocrisy and fanaticism.

The case of Moʿjez, who ended his days in self-exile in Šāhrud, serves as a good example of the restrictions imposed upon Azeri poets and writers under Pahlavi rule. Pursuing a policy of national unification, Reżā Shah aimed at suppressing the use of Azeri Turkish as a literary medium. Thus, although the poems of Moʿjez were very popular, permission for the publication of his Divān was withheld until after the abdication of Reżā Shah in 1941. Between then and 1946 it went through several editions. These years correspond to a period of weak central government and the Soviet occupation of the Iranian province of Azerbaijan. With the active support of Soviet military forces, a separatist government was established in 1945 under Seyyed Jaʿfar Pišehvari, only to be overthrown following the central government’s military intervention in December 1946. Short though it was, the period was a significant one for the cultural and literary life of the area. Azeri Turkish was recognized as the official language of the province and a number of newspapers and journals appeared in that language. New collections of poetry were published and many old ones reissued. The nature of the literature produced was a combination of basic Persian literary conventions, Azeri Turkish folk and popular traditions, and Soviet-inspired socialist realism (Berengian, pp. vi-vii). One interesting development was the revival of syllabic meters. Many Azeri Turkish poets, including Ṣāber and Moʿjez, had used prosodic meters. Now, under the influence of folk poetry and ʿāšeq compositions in particular, some modern poets experimented with the syllabic tradition. Of the poets of this period, Ḥaddād and Karim Marāḡaʾi are very much followers of Ṣāber and Moʿjez. Authors under Soviet influence include Bālaš Āḏaroḡli of Ardabil (b. 1921), Madineh Golgun (Gülgün; b. 1926), Ḥokuma Buluri of Zanjān (b. 1926), ʿAli Javāndāda “Tudeh” (b. 1924; spent the years 1938-46 in the Soviet-occupied territories north of the province of Azerbaijan), and the political publicist Fereydun Ebrāhimi of Āstārā (1919-47). Many older writers also became active, including the satirical poet Ebrāhim Ḏāker of Ardabil (b. 1891), ʿAli Feṭrat of Tabriz (1890-1948), the poet and educator Mir Mahdi Eʿtemād of Tabriz (1900-1981), and ʿĀšeq Ḥoseyn Javān (b. 1916).

With the fall of Pišehvāri’s separatist government, the ban against the public use of the Azeri Turkish was renewed, a ban that was in force for more than half a century overall. Even when, on rare occasions, a publication was allowed, the authorities had to be appeased. For instance, when ʿAli-Aṣḡar Mojtahedi (1905-72) published his collection of Azeri Turkish proverbs with their Persian translations, he was not allowed to use the word “Azeri” on the title page. The book thus appeared as Amṯāl wa ḥekam dar lahja-ye maḥalli-e Āḏarbāyjān (2nd ed. by Ḥ. Javādi, Piedmont, California, 1984). Between 1947 and the 1979 Revolution, publications in Azeri Turkish were extremely rare in Iran. The most important poet of this period is Seyyed Moḥammad-Ḥosayn Šahriār (1908-88). Known earlier for his Persian ḡazals, mainly written in the tradition of Ḥāfeẓ, in the 1940s he began to develop his colloquial Azeri Turkish idiom into a masterful literary language. His long lyric poem Ḥeydar Bābāya salām (“Greetings to Ḥaydar Bābā,” published in two parts: I, 2nd ed., Tabriz, 1954; II, Tabriz, 1966) quickly became famous not only in Azerbaijan but across the rest of the Turkic world (Ergin, p. 293; Ateş). Written in a lively, stanzaic form, the poem recalls memories from the poet’s childhood in a mountain village of the Tabriz region. Bolud Qarāčorli Sahand (1926-1979) is known for his excellent verse adaptation of the Book of Dädä Qorqut (4 vols.). Ḥabib Sāḥer (1903-83) began to publish his poems in the 1940s and continued his literary activities until the end of his life. Classified as one of the Heydar Bābā School, he was educated in Istanbul, and the influence of both classical and modern Turkish poetry is noticeable in his poetry. Under the influence of the 1945-46 upheavals in the province of Azerbaijan, his subsequent works became considerably more political. Other poets and writers of this period include Moḥammad-ʿAli Maḥzun, who joined the ranks of those writing in praise of events in the Pišehvāri period, Moḥammad Biriā (b. 1918) who was a minister in the Democratic Party government, Ṣamad Behrangi, who occasionally wrote poems, ʿAbbās Bārez, Jabbār Bāḡčehbān, and Noṣratallāh Fatḥi (see Farzāneh).

Since 1978 there has been much literary activity again, especially in Tabriz. A few periodicals in Azeri Turkish began to appear just after the revolution, such as Mollā Naṣr-al-din (a satirical weekly published in Tabriz in 1979) and Saṭṭār Ḵān Bāyrāqi (a political monthly, Tabriz, 1979; originally published in West Germany). None of them, however, lasted very long. An important journal now is Vārleq (Varlïḡ), currently in its seventh year of publication in Tehran. This serves as a forum for leading Turkish-speaking intellectuals and writers from the province of Azerbaijan such as Ḥāmed Noṭqi, M. ʿA. Farzāneh, Javād Ḥayʾat (its editor), Moḥammad Payfun (author of a recent Azeri Turkish-Persian dictionary) and many others. Contemporary literature mainly consists of poetry, written in both ʿaruż and the syllabic meter. It is influenced by the poetry of both the Soviet Republic of Azerbaijan and modern Turkey, and concentrates thematically upon social and cultural questions.

Many Azeri Turkish-speaking Soviet authors (some of whom originate from the Iranian province of Azerbaijan) have dealt with Iranian Azerbaijan in their works. Jalil Moḥammad-qolizāded (Mämmädguluzade) was proud of the fact that his forefathers were from Iran, and he considered himself an Iranian (Sardariniā, p. 109). Moḥammad Saʿid Ordubādi (1872-1950) described Tabriz in Bädbäxt milyonču (The unlucky millionaire; 1907) and the revolutionary movement of 1906-9, which he himself witnessed, in Dumanlı Täbriz (Misty Tabriz). Bāyrām-ʿAli ʿAbbāszādeh (1859-1926), who participated in the Constitutional Revolution, later wrote satirical poems in the Soviet Republic of Azerbaijan that treated Iranian themes. Many works by the Baku-based author ʿAli Naẓmi (1878-1946) also deal with the revolutionary movements in the Iranian province of Azerbaijan. The novel Gün gäläjäk (The day will come) by Mirzā Ebrāhimov (b. 1911), originally from the city of Sarāb, is also about events during the Constitutional period. It was published in 1948 and has been translated into several languages. The poetry of Osman Sarïvelli (b. 1905) contains personal impressions of the Iranian province of Azerbaijan during the war, for example İki sahil (Two shores; 1950), which contrasts Iranian province of Azerbaijan and the Soviet Republic of Azerbaijan. Moḥammad Raḥim (b. 1907) describes the Iranian province of Azerbaijan in a poetic cycle Täbrizdä (In Tabriz). Anvar Moḥammad-ḵānli (Mämmädxanlï; b. 1913), who also served with the Soviet army during the military occupation of Tabriz, deals with similar matters in short stories from Tabriz and in the drama Od ičindä (In the fire; 1951).


M. ʿĀref, Adabiyāt-e Āḏarbāyjān, 1958.

Idem [M. Arif], Istoriya azerbaĭdzhanskoĭ literatury, Baku, 1971.

Ahmet Ateş, Sehriyâr ve Haydar-Baba’ya selâm, Ankara, 1964.

Ä. Axundov, Azerbaĭdzhanskie skazki, Baku, 1955.

Idem, ed., Azärbayjan folkloru antologiyasï, 2 vols., Baku, 1968; Ankara, 1978.

Idem, Azärbayjan ašïglarï vä el šairläri, 2 vols., Baku, 1983-84.

Idem et al., eds., Azärbayjan dastanlarï, 5 vols., Baku, 1965-72.

M. F. Axundov (Āḵundzāda), Äsärlär, 3 vols., Baku, 1938.

N. Axundov, Azärbaijan satira jurnallarï 1906-1920, Baku, 1968.

R. Azadä, Azärbayjan épik še’rinin inkišaf yollarï (XII-XVII äsrlär), Baku, 1975.

Azärbayjan šifahi xalg ädäbiyyatïna dair tädgiglär, 6 vols., Baku, 1961-81.

S. Berengian, Poets and Writers from Iranian Azerbaijan in the Twentieth Century, Ph.D. diss., Columbia University, 1965.

A. H. Billuri, Razvitie realisticheskoĭ demokraticheskoĭ poezii iranskogo Azerbaĭdzhana (1945-1960 gg.), Baku, 1972.

A. Caferoğlu, s.v. “Ādhari,” in EI2 I.

Idem, “Die aserbaidschanische Literatur,” in Philologiae Turcicae Fundamenta II, Aquis Mattiacis (Wiesbaden), 1964, pp. 635-99.

M. Ergin, Azerî türkçesi, Istanbul, 1971 (this work contains the text of “Heydar Babaya sälam” in Latin characters).

M. ʿA. Farzāneh, “Češmandāz-e šeʿr-e mobārez-e Āḏarbāyjān dar dawrān-e eḵtenāq,” Vārleq 3-4, June-July, 1985

Fuzuli, Divan, ed. K. Akyüz et al., Ankara, 1958.

Idem, Leyli vä Mäjnun, 2 vols., Baku, 1958.

T. Gandjeï, ed., Il canzoniere di Šāh Ismāʿil Haṭāʾi, Naples, 1959.

F. and Y. Gedikli, Cağdaş azerî şiir antolojisi, Istanbul, 1983.

J. Heyʾat, Azerbaijan ädäbiyat tarixinä bir baxiš, Tehran, 1979.

Idem, “20’inci asırda Güney Azerbaycan edebiyatı,” Beşinci milletler arası türkoloji kongresi. Tebliğler II: Türk edebiyatı I, Istanbul, 1985, pp. 119-29.

A. Ibrahimov, Azärbayjan klassik ädäbiyyatï, Baku, I: Xalg ädäbiyyatï, 1982; II: Imadäddin Näsimi, 1985.

Idem, ed., Azerbaĭdzhanskaya poeziya, Moscow, n.d. (after 1969).

Salāmallāh Jāvid, Dostlar görüšü, n.p., 1980 (interesting collection of poems by contemporary Azeri poets in Iran with a short account of their lives).

F. B. Köčärli, Azärbayjan ädäbiyyatï I, Baku, 1978.

M. F. Köprülü, “Azeri edebiyatina notlar,” Darülfünun Edebiyat Fakültesi Mecmuası 4, 1925, pp. 68-77.

Idem, s.v. “Azerî edebiyatının tekâmülü,” in İA.

P. Makulu, Adabi maʿlumat jadvalï, Baku, 1962. I. Näsimi, Üč jilddä äsärlär, Baku, 1973.

Ḥāmed Noṭqi, “Honar-e Šahriār,” Vārleq 3, April-May, 1984, pp. 115; 9-12, January-April, 1986.

Mirzā ʿAli Moʿjez Šabestari, Taza tapïlan šiʿirlär, Tabriz, n.d.

B. R. Sahand, Sazmyn sözü, n.p., n.d.

H. Ṣādeq, Haft maqāla dar pirāmun-e folklor wa mardom-e Āḏarbāyjān, Tehran, 1978.

S. Sardariniā, “Mollā Naṣr al-Din dar Iran,” Vārlïq, January-April, 1990.

M. H. Tähmasib, Azärbayjan xalq dastanlarï, Baku, 1972.

Idem et al., Azärbayjan naḡïllarï, 5 vols., Baku, 1961-64.

Idem et al., Azärbayjan mahabbat dastanlarï, Baku, 1979.

M. ʿA. Tarbiat, Dānešmandān-e Āḏarbāyjān, Tehran, 1314 Š./1935.

A. P. Vekilov, Narodnaya poèziya Azerbaĭdzhana, Leningrad, 1978.

S. Vurḡun et al., Azärbayjan ädäbiyyatï tarixi, 2 vols., Baku, 1960.

AZERBAIJAN xi. Music of Azerbaijan

History. The art music of Azerbaijan is connected with the Irano-Arabo-Turkish art of the maqām, of which the great theoreticians were notably Ṣafī-al-dīn Ormavī (d. 693/1294) and ʿAbd-al-Qāder b. Ḡaybī Marāḡī (d. 838/1435), who were originally from Urmia and Marāḡa in Azerbaijan. According to Hajibekov, this tradition collapsed at the end of the fourteenth century (with the Mongol rule), and subsequently each national group reconstructed its own system from the debris (1945, p. 18). The names were preserved, but the realities to which they applied varied from one tradition to another. In the same way the old rhythmic patterns (oṣūl) disappeared in favor of several simple formulas, mainly in 6/8 and 4/4. It seems, however, more correct to locate the break in the traditional chain of transmission in the 12th/18th century. This period was followed, at the beginning of the 13th/19th century, by a revival, in the course of which the remains of the old system were enriched by popular contributions. In the course of this evolution the art music of Azerbaijan remained intimately linked with that of Iran, to which it is still very close. In the absence of documents, this process of revival still remains quite obscure, but it may be located in the southwest and northwest of Iran. In the northwest, it was particularly the town of Šūša in the Qarabāḡ mountains that was the focus of musical life, but it was at Tiflis that Caucasian musicians found the widest audience. Since the beginning of the century the most active musical center has been Baku.

The Iranian elements in the development of the Azeri tradition were numerous, as is shown by modern terminology (čahār meżrāb, bardāšt), as well as by certain pieces in the repertoire, recent gūša and maqām that have Iranian names (Bayāt-e Šīrāz, Šūštar, Delkaš, Šekasta-ye Fārs, Bayāt-e Qājār). Conversely, Azerbaijani elements are found in Iranian music, particularly in dance pieces (reng). (See also M. Rezvani, Le théâtre et la danse en Iran, Paris, 1962, p. 149.) Azeri art music is also played in other regions of the Caucasus, especially among the Armenians, who have adopted the system of maqām and the instruments kamāṇča and tār. Aside from these recent and older Iranian elements (the majority of the names of the maqām are already found in such Safavid sources as Behjat al-rūḥ, attributed to ʿAbd-al-Moʾmen b. Ṣafī-al-dīn), a certain number of maqām and melodic patterns are typically Azeri or have gradually become so (e.g. Segāh, Čārgāh, Welāyetī, Qaṭār, Mobarqaʿ, and Kord-Šahnāz).

The musical traditions of Azerbaijan were already distinct from those of the area now known as Soviet Azerbaijan, but they became definitively separated toward the end of the 13th/19th century, with Iranian Azerbaijan opting for the purely Iranian style. Subsequently the music of the Soviet Azerbaijan underwent a period of Western acculturation marked by the reduction of the seventeen intervals in the octave to twelve tempered half tones, the integration of Western instruments, polyphony, and orchestration. On the other hand, a music that is Western in form but national in style developed, integrating such traditional elements as instruments (tār, kamāṇča, daf, and bālamān), rhythms, modes, and melodies. The founder of this new school was Hajibekov (1895-1948).

Ultimately acculturation has not deeply affected the old music, which is still performed by great interpreters faithful to their tradition. In the popular domain, the ʿāšeq bards have never stopped singing in cafes and at family celebrations, accompanying themselves on the sāz (čoḡūr in Azerbaijani Persian) and also accompanied by the reed flute (bālamān) and the tambourine (qawan[w]āl).

Bases of Azeri music. The scales in Azeri music are constructed from the following intervals, reproducing the octave division on the neck of the tār lute: see Chart 1.

Chart 1. Scales in Azeri music.Chart 1. Scales in Azeri music.

Other, more abstract divisions are given in Grove’s Dictionary of Music. This scale, which incorporates popular elements (the ʿāšeq tradition), is distinct from the Persian, Turkish, and Arab traditions. It may have been inspired by that of Ṣafī-al-dīn, whom the Azeris knew. (In the 13th/19th century Ḥājjī Sayyed Aḥmad Qarabāḡī of Šūša compiled a small work on musical terms, entitled Wożūḥ al-aḡrām, from older sources.)

The art music tradition transmitted through several generations in the Mansurov family includes twelve principal modes (Rašt, Māhūr-e hendī, Segāh-Zābol, Čārgāh, Homāyūn, Šūštar, Bayāt-e Šīrāz, Šūr, Bayāt-e Kord, Bayāt-e Qājār, Rahāb, Navā-Nīšāpūr) and ten secondary modes (Delkaš, Kord-Šahnāz, Dogāh, Qaṭār, Eṣfahān, Čobān Bayātī, Orta-Māhūr, Orta-Segāh, Ḵārej-Segāh, Mīrzā Ḥosayn-Segāh, the last four being variants of Māhūr and Segāh). Beside these a certain number of small maqāms, generally played within the framework of a more important maqām, can be mentioned: Ḥosaynī, Welāyatī, Ḵojasta, Šekasta-ye Fārs, ʿErāq, Panjgāh, Rāk, Sāranj, Zābol, Basta-Negār, Ḥasār, Moḵālef, Manṣūrī, ʿOššāq, Samā-ye Šams, Mobarqaʿ, Rahāb, Ḥejāz, Daštī.

The majority of these maqāms can be taken as types of such modal compositions as the rhythmic introduction to a mode (darāmad), songs (taṣnīf), and dance tunes (reng, derenga). Finally, there are about 100 melodic types (šoʿba and gūša) that never serve as modal patterns for compositions but are interpreted in the course of development of the principal maqām. Some of them are rhythmically unmarked melodies; others are rhythmic transitions. Each of the twelve great maqāms includes between ten and twenty of these sequences, each of which has a name. Altogether they constitute an ideal repertoire, serving as a basis for improvisation and composition, which is quite comparable to the Persian radīf and embodies the originality of this system in relation to neighboring traditions.

A certain number of established classical compositions for voice and instruments, the żarbī maqāmlar, stand outside the range of the maqām. They are Arazbāra, Oṯmānlī (or Mānī), Owšār, Heyrātī, Heyrātī-Kābolī (instrumental), ʿErāq-Kābolī, Samā-ye Šams, Manṣūrīya, Ḥaydarī, and Ozzāl-Żarbī.

For a music sample, see Chahārgāh.

For a music sample, see Šahnāz.

For a music sample, see Segāh Yatim.


Ch. Albright, The Music of Professional Musicians of Northwest Iran (Azerbayjan), Ph.D. thesis, University of Washington, 1976. R. At’ayan, “Azerbaijan,” in TheNew Grove’s Dictionary of Music and Musicians, ed. S. Sadie, vol. 19, London, 1980, pp. 349-52. A. Badalbeyli, Musigi lugati, Baku, 1969. B. M. Belyaev, “Muzykal’naya kul’tura Azerbaĭdzhana,” in Ocherki po istorii muzyki narodov SSSR, ed. G. A. Balter, II, Moscow, 1963, pp. 5-81. E. M. Eldarova, “Iskusstvo azerbaĭdzhanskikh ashugov,” in Azerbaĭdzhanskaya narodnaya muzyka, Baku, 1981. U. Hajibekov, Principles of Azerbaijan Folk Music, Baku, 1985. M. Ismailov, Zhanry azerbaĭdzhanskoĭ narodnoĭ muzyki, Baku, 1960. R. Ḵāleqī, Sargoḏašt-e mūsīqī-e Īrān, Tehran, 1353 Š./1974. M. H. ʿOḏḏārī, Tārīḵ-epanjāh sāl-e honarmandān-e mūsīqī-e Irān dar Āḏarbāyjān, Tabrīz, 1972. S. Rustamov, F. Amirov, and T. Kuliev, Azerbaijan khalg mahrïlarï, 2 vols., Baku, 1956, 1958. Z. Safarova, Ouzéir Hadjibekov, Baku, 1985. F. Shushinski, Seyid Shushinski, Baku, 1966. J. Spector, “Musical Tradition and Innovation,” in Central Asia. A Century of Russian Rule, ed. E. Allworth, New York, 1967, pp. 434-84. R. Zohraov, Azerbaĭdzhanskie tesnify, Moscow, 1983.

AZERBAIJAN xii. Monuments

The Iranian provinces of Azerbaijan, both West and East, possess a large number of monuments from all periods of history. In the following the more significant buildings, rock reliefs, and archeological sites are enumerated, classified according to cultural periods.

i. pre-history and early history until the 1st century b.c.e.

Comprised mainly of ruins, these pre- and early historical monuments have cultural and architectural significance because of their extent and present condition.

1. Qalʿa Saranj, 6 km south of the border where Iran, Turkey and Armenia meet, Urartian refuge, 8th-7th century B.C.E. (AMI N.F. 8, 1975, pp. 54-58).

2. Sangar, 10 km northwest of Māku, Urartian fortress and settlement, with a three- room cliff dwelling and outside steps, 8th-7th century B.C.E. (Kleiss, 1968, p. 33ff.).

3. Varaḵrām (on the Araxes, north of Māku, Urartian fortress and settlement with residential extension, a temple terrace, three-room cliff dwelling, shaft graves, rock niches, and the remains of a bridge over the Araxes, 8th-7th century B.C.E. (AMI N.F. 7, 1974, pp. 82-93).

4. Dānālu, 12 km northeast of Māku, fortified Urartian dwelling, 8th-7th century B.C.E. (AMI N.F. 8, 1975, pp. 60-62).

5. Ravāz, 50 km southwest of Māku, strongly fortified residence from the 3rd century B.C.E. (AMI 12, 1979, pp. 27-47).

6. Qalʿa Ḥaydari, 6 km southwest of Siah Čašma, Urartian fortress with tunnel stairway, 8th-7th century B.C.E., used again in 6th-5th century B.C.E. (AMI N.F. 9, 1976, p. 20-23).

7. Torki Tappa, 8 km south of Siah Čašma, Urartian fortress and dwelling, 7th century B.C.E. (AMI N.F. 10, 1977, pp. 62-64).

8. Qalʿa Uḡlu, 30 km north of Qara Żiā-al-Din, Urartian fortress and residence, 9th-7th century B.C.E. (AMI N.F. 5, 1972, pp. 60-64).

9. Bolurābād, 9 km northeast of Qara Żiā-al-Din, fortified dwelling with block walls (AMI N.F. 8, 1975, pp.15-25).

10. Basṭām, 85 km southeast of Māku and 54 km northwest of Khoy, 7 km southwest of QaraŻiā-al-Din, large Urartian fortification (Kleiss, 1977), major excavations, foundations of Rusa ii, 7th century B.C.E. (Kleiss, 1979,1988).

11. Ev-uḡli (Qez Qalʿa), 69 km west of Marand, 35 km northeast of Khoy, Urartian fortress, 9th-7th century B.C.E.; nearby are Urartian inscriptions (AMI N.F. 6, 1973, pp. 86-89; Ghirshman).

12. Qez Qalʿa, 12 km north of Khoy, fortress site of the middle Bronze Age, Urartian fortress (8th-7th century B.C.E.), occupied again from Median /Achaemenid until Parthian times (AMI N.F. 7, 1974, pp. 80-83).

13. Qalʿa Govur (Gavur), 22 km southwest of Khoy, large Urartian fortified site (7th century B.C.E.. with medieval additions (AMI N.F. 7, 1974, pp. 98-100).

14. Qalʿa Hodar, 20 km north of Salmās (Shāhpur), Urartian fortress with two-room cliff dwelling and medieval additions, 7th century B.C.E. (AMI N.F. 7, 1974, pp. 94-98).

15. Haftavān Tappa (q.v.), 8 km south of Salmās, extensive hill settlement in the middle of the plain of Salmās, major excavations, 4th century B.C.E. to 6th century C.E. (Burney, p. 157f.; Kroll, p. 39).

16. Urartian fortress, 30 km north of Urmia (Reżāʾiya), resettled in medieval times (AMI N.F. 4, 1971, pp. 67-69).

17. Kuh-e Zambil, 42 km northeast of Urmia, on the shore of Lake Urmia, Urartian stronghold, 7th century B.C.E. (AMI N.F. 8, 1975, pp. 52-54).

18. Qalʿa Esmāʿil Āqā, 26 km west of Urmia, strong Urartian fortress with cliff dwellings,8th-7th century B.C.E., significant excavations (Pecorella, p. 21ff.; Kleiss 1977, pp. 64-68).

19. Ziva (Zeive) / Mavānā (Muana), 40 km west of Urmia, granite stele with Assyrian and Urartian cuneiform inscriptions of Rusa I, 8th century B.C.E. (Curtis and St John, pp. 143-44); Mirāṯ-e Farhangi 15, 1995, p. 102ff.).

20. Kordlar Tappa, 13 km east of Urmia, major excavation, 4th millennium–800 B.C.E. (Lippert, p.102ff.; Ehringhaus, p. 49ff.).

21. Maḥmudābād, 25 km south of Urmia, Urartian fortress with sacrificial inscription, Rusa I, 8th century B.C.E. (AMI N.F. 9, 1976, pp. 36-38; Salvini).

22. “Farhād Zaḡāsi” (Farhād’s grotto), 37 km south of Urmia, Urartian cliff dwelling and rock niches, 8th-7th century (AMI N.F. 4, 1971, p. 65f.).

23. Tāzabulāq, 54 km south of Urmia, Urartian way station, 7th century B.C.E. (AMI N.F. 10, 1977, pp. 68-70).

24. Urartian rock inscription, 54 km south of Urmia, one km from Tāzabulāq, cuneiform inscription of Menua, 9th century B.C.E. (AMI N.F. 5, 1972, pp. 122-28, 149-50).

25. Tappa Lumbad, 31 km south of Urmia, Urartian fortress, 7th century B.C.E. (AMI N.F. 6, 1973, pp. 30-31).

26. Qalāt (Qal’at), 43 km southeast of Urmia, Urartian fortress and settlement, 8th-7th century B.C. E. (AMI N.F. 11, 1978, pp. 41-46).

27. Keli-Šin, a stele dating to the Urartian kings Menua and Išpuini on the border pass between Ošnaviya (Ošnuya; Iran) and Rowanduz (Iraq), southwest of Ošnaviya, ca. 800 B.C.E. This stele has been in the Museum at Urmia for several years (Lehmann-Haupt, p. 242ff.; Minorsky, p. 917; Ritter; Tserethli, pp. 131-32).

28. Qalātgāh, 15 km east of Ošnaviya, 22 km northwest of Naqada, large Urartian fortress and settlement, inscriptions from Menua and Ispuini, circa 800 B.C., major excavations (Muscarella, 1969,1971; Kleiss, 1971).

29. Ḥasanlu and ʿAqrab Tappa, 9 km north of Naqada, huge Iron Age fortification and Urartian fortress, 6th-1st century B.C.E., major excavation site known for its “burned buildings” and artifacts. ʿAqrab Tappa is a Urartian stronghold (8th-7th century B.C.E.), 3 km southwest of Hasanlu (Dyson 1965, p.193ff., 1968; Dyson and Pigott, p. 182ff.; T. Cuyler Young; ʿAqrab Tappa, Dyson,1965, p. 212f.); Dinkha Tepe, 30 km southwest of Hasanlu, artificial mound, second millennium B.C.E. (Dyson 1967, p.136f.).

30. Ṣufiān (Gerd-e sowra), 2 km north of Yaldiān on the road from Naqada to Pirānšahr (Ḵāna), Urartian fortress atop a summit, 8th century B.C.E. (AMI N.F. 9, 1976, pp. 24-26).

31. Šayṭānābād, 10 km north of Mahābād, extensive cave works, cliff stairs and culverts from Urartian times, 8th-7th century B.C.E. (AMI N.F. 3, 1970, pp. 115-17).

32. Arslān Qalʿa, 38 km northeast of Mahābād, 32 km west of Miāndoāb, strong fortification, prehistoric Urartian (7th century B.C.E.), medieval levels (AMI N.F. 6, 1973, pp. 26-29).

33. Tāštappa, 21 km northwest of Miāndoāb, prehistoric fortification with an Urartian inscription of Menua (mostly destroyed) (AMI N.F. 7, 1974, pp.102-3).

34. Shāh Tappa, 25 km north of Miandoāb, plateau with graves and stairs tunneled through rock, apparently Urartian to Median (7th-6th century B.C.E.) (AMI N.F. 7, 1974, pp. 103-6).

35. Leylān, 16 km east of Miāndoāb, large early historical rampart (Parthian or Sasanian) (AMI N.F. 19, 1986, p. 211ff.).

36. Qalʿa Ḥaydar Khan, 8 km east of Bukān, ruin of architectural significance from the 1st millennium B.C.E. with a large Parthian or Sasanian level (AMI N.F. 10, 1977, pp. 27-29).

37. Češma Aḥmad Solaymān, 20 km northwest of Takāb, prehistoric settlement, gateway foundation, stone sarcophagi, 9th-7th century B.C.E. (AMI N.F. 6, 1973, pp. 20-22).

38. Zendān-e Solaymān, 3 km west of the ruins of Taḵt-e-Solaymān, 40 km northeast of Takāb, mountain sanctuary and later Mannaean refuge, 9th-8th century B.C.E. (Kleiss, 1971; Naumann).

39. Qojur (Gojer) Qalʿa, 48 km east of Marāḡa, fortification with terraces, rock cisterns and dwellings, 1st millennium B.C.E. to the Islamic Period (AMI N.F. 6, 1973, pp. 31-35).

40. Yanik Tappa, 100 km north of Marāḡa, 5 km west of Ḵosrowšahr, important excavations,6th century B.C.E. to the Islamic Period (Burney).

41. Čerāqāiya (Sheragaiyeh) Amir, 25 km northwest of Marand, Urartian fortress, 8th-7th century B.C.E. (AMI N.F. 8, 1975, pp. 58-60).

42. Livār, 19 km northwest of Marand, large Urartian fortress with terraces and extensive settlement area, 8th -7th century B.C.E. (AMI N.F. 10, 1977, pp. 54-57).

43. Qalʿa Budji (Bödji), 70 km northeast of Tabriz, Urartian fortress, 7th century B.C.E. (AMI N.F. 8, 1975, pp. 66-67).

44. Seqindel, 35 km northwest of Ahar, fairly large Urartian fortification near the pre-Urartian citadel Libluini with an inscription referring to a conquest by Sardur II, 8th-7th century B.C.E. (AMI 13, 1980, p. 21ff.; Salvini).

45. Rāzliq, 15 km north of Sarāb, rock inscription regarding a campaign of Arguishti II, in thearea of a pre-Urartian fortress, 7th century B.C.E. (Kleiss, 1968).

46. Naštebān, 60 km southwest of Ardebil, 25 km east of Sarāb, rock inscription regarding a campaign of Arguishti II, in the area of a pre-Urartian fortress, 7th century B.C.E. (AMI N.F. 5, 1972, pp. 144-45).

47. Ruyan Duyaḵ, 30 km northwest of Ardebil, two prehistoric fortresses (Qalʿa and Qez Qalʿa), 1st millennium B.C.E. (AMI N.F. 3, 1969, pp. 19-22; Kroll, 1984, p. 62ff.).

ii.monuments from the median- achaemenid period

1. Čārbulāq, between Māku and Pol-e Dašt, 12 km south of the Araxes river, 77 km north of Qarā Żiā-al-Din, large apparently Median noble’s residence, 6th century B.C.E. (AMI N.F. 9, 1976, pp. 113-16).

2. Qalʿa Gavur on the Araxes, 45 km east of Jolfā, strong fortifications from the 6th century B.C.E., with Urartian core (7th century B.C.E.) (AMI N.F. 9, 1976, pp. 107-10).

3. Halakuh, 27 km north of Marand, strongly fortified plateau, 6th century B.C.E. (AMI N.F. 5, 1972, pp. 158-59).

iii.monuments from the parthian period

1. Karaftu, 20 km west of Takāb, artificially extended caves with Hellenistic inscriptioninvoking Heracles, Parthian (Gall 1978, pp. 91ff.).

2. Qalʿa Zohāk, above the tunnel on the railway between Miāna and Marāḡa, 15 km south of Sarāskand, large area of ruins on a plateau above a flood plain, vestiges from the Achaemenid period, pavilion and other architectural works from the Parthian period and Sassanid/ early Islamic fortifications, probably the Parthian Phanaspa (AMI N.F. 6, 1973, pp. 163-88).

3. Faḵrekāh, 13 km northeast of Mahābād, Hellenistic rock tomb, late or post-Achaemenid site (Gall 1966, p. 19ff.; Huff 1971, p. 161ff.; AMI N.F. 2, 1969, pp. 28-29).

iv.monuments from the sasanian period

1. Rock relief near Salmās (formerly Šāhpur), 15 km southeast of Salmās (Pope, II, 1967, pp.596-97; Hinz1965).

2. Laklak Gaisi, 23 km south of Miāndoāb, large fortifications, Sasanian to early Islamic (AMI N.F. 10, 1977, pp. 36-37).

3. Taḵt-e Solaymān, 40 km northeast of Takāb, fortified Sasanian palace and fire temple(probably the ancient Shiz), on top of a settlement from the 1st millennium B.C.E. Also, a summer palace of the Mongol Il-Khan Abāqā, 13th century C.E. (Naumann).

4. Meškinšahr, on the southern outskirts of the town at the foot of a Qajar fort, a Sasanian rock inscription from the time of Šāpur II (4th century) (Gropp; AMI N.F. 2, 1969, p. 75).

5. Qalʿa Nowduz, 36 km west of Meškinšahr, 23 km east of Ahar, ruins of a strong fortification which, judging from the building technique, is probably Sasanian (AMI N.F. 2, 1969, pp. 30-31).

6. Yāzde Qalʿa (Giaur Qal’eh), 18 km directly northeast of Taḵt-e Solaymān, 11 km east of Taḵt-e Belqis, actually in the Province of Zanjān but properly within the surroundings of Taḵt-e Solaymān, large-scale fortifications of the Sasanian and early Islamic period (Huff 1974, pp. 203-9).

7. Čahārtāq, 16 km southeast of Taḵt-e Solaymān, ruins of a probable fire temple (four-pillar style) from the Sasanian and early Islamic period (Huff 1974, pp. 209-13).

v.monuments from the islamic period

1. Māku, “Sardār-Palast,” 6 km west of Māku, Qajar mansion, 19th century (AMI N.F. 2, 1969, p. 77, Plate 40, 2 and 40, 3; Māku, old town, ibid., p. 68).

2. Qeyqāč, about 40 km northwest of Jolfā, remains of a bridge across the Araxes, Safavid period (Kleiss, 1996, p. 11).

3. Šarafkandi (Qezel Jiq Qalʿa), 20 km directly north of Basṭām, 13 km south of Maryam, medieval fortress and Armenian pilgrim shrine (AMI N.F. 8, 1975, pp. 33-34).

4. Qalʿa Jiq, small fortification near Ājāy on the Āḡ Čāy, 24 km southwest of Basṭām, Armenian/ Islamic (AMI N.F. 8, 1985, pp. 41-42).

5. Zohrabād/ Šurek, 36 km northwest of Khoy, ruins of a caravansary (Kleiss, 1996, p. 26).

6. Čors, 10 km northeast of Basṭām, near Qara Żiā-al-Din, fortress ruins, Armenian / Islamic (AMI N.F. 2, 1969, pp. 75-76). Four-columned mosque, perhaps Safavid (AMI N.F. 3, 1970, pp. 124-25).

7. Khoy, minaret of Šams-e Tabrizi, 18th-19th century (AMI N.F. 2, 1969, p. 37). Khoy, Moṭṭaleb Khan, Mosque with cupola and portal (ayvān), Qajar Period (AMI N.F. 2, 1969, pp. 37-38). Khoy, city gate at bazaar entrance, Safavid with Armenian elements, 17th-18th century (AMI N.F. 4, 1971, pp. 76-78; AM N.F. 10, 1977, pp. 323-24). Khoy, fort, early 19th century with French influence (AMI 13, 1980, pp.174-75).

8. Qotur, on Turkish border, fortification, Islamic (AMI N.F. 2, 1969, p. 70).

9. Caravansary, 34 km west of Khoy, in the Qotur valley, Safavid (Kleiss, 1996, p. 26).

10. Caravansary, 41 km west of Khoy, in the Qotur valley, Safavid (Kleiss, 1996, p. 26).

11. Kuza-raš, Armenian mountain caravansary, 18th or 19th century (Kleiss, 1996, p. 28).

12. ʿAlibolāq, caravansary station, on the route from Salmās to Turkey, medieval (Kleiss,1996, p. 27).

13. Tāza-šahr, 8 km west of Salmās, Qajar emāmzāda with courtyard (AMI N.F. 2, 1969, p. 46).

14. Pir Čāvuš, 14 km southwest of Salmās, medieval Armenian / Islamic fortress on the ruins of an Urartian site (AMI 12, 1979, pp. 183-88).

15. Urmia, capital of the province of West Azerbaijan, Se Gonbad, Seljuk burial tower (1180 C.E.), Saljuq jāmeʿ mosque with a stucco mihrab (1277) (Pope, III, p. 1048).

16. Bādinābād, 19 km south of Pirānšahr (Ḵāna), medieval fortification on the site if a settlement dating from the 2nd millennium B.C.E. (AMI N.F. 10, 1977, p. 26).

17. Mahābād, three-naved mosque with a front courtyard, Safavid, with a Safavid shrine (AMI N.F. 4, 1971, p. 73).

18. Miāndoāb, old bridge west of town (AMI N.F. 4, 1971, fig. 1 [foldout, opp. p. 51]).

19. Qarā Qoyunlu, 32 km northwest of Šāhin-dež, medieval Islamic fortress on top of ruins of a Parthian settlement (AMI N.F. 3, 1970, pp. 120-23).

20. Marāḡa, four preserved grave towers (another, of Timurid origin, is totally destroyed): Gonbad-e sorḵ (qermez), 1148 C.E.; Gonbad-e kabud, 1196/97; Borj-e ḵᵛāhar-e Hulāgu Khan, 1167/68; Gonbad-e Ḡaffāriya, beginning of 14th century (Pope, III, pp. 1022, 1025, 1098; AMI N.F. 2, 1969, p. 41).

Five km west of Marāḡa, extensive system of artificial caves with catafalque-like blocks in two rooms. According to legend, the burial place of Hulāgu’s astronomer, Naṣir-al-Din Ṭusi (d. 1274) (AMI N.F. 2, 1969, pp. 48-52).

Six km south of Marāḡa is the shrine of Emāmzāda Maʿṣum in the village of Varjovi in an artificial chamber in a rock-cut complex with both angular and rounded rooms, Il-Khanid, 13th-14th century, showing Buddhist architectural influence (Ball).

Five km south of Marāḡa, on the high plateau, lie the ruins of the observatory of Hulāgu Khan, 13th century (AMI N.F. 2, 1969, pp. 48-51; Vardjavand).

21. Dāšqalʿa Żohāk, 28 km east of ʿAjab Šahr, 956 km south of Tabriz, Islamic fortifications with the remains of a pipe aquaduct (AMI N.F. 5, 1972, pp. 168-71).

22. Qadamgāh, 15 km southeast of Āḏaršahr, dome-roofed cave with dromos-style entrance; inside, an Islamic prayer niche, perhaps added later (AMI N.F. 5, 1972, pp. 176-78).

23. Āḏaršahr, open-air oratory (moṣallā) south of town, 18th-19th century (AMI N.F. 5, 1972, pp. 184-85).

24. Shahi Island, peninsula on the east shore of Lake Urmia, rock massif with extensiverock-works, reputedly served as depository for the Mongol treasury (Schmidt, pp. 63-76).

25. Osku / Kandevān, 50 km south of Tabriz, cliff village settled in the 14th century C.E. (Homayoun, p. 211ff.).

26. Tabriz, capital of the Province of East Azerbaijan, the Blue Mosque (masjed-e kabud), 15th century (Godard, p. 271, plate, p. 220).

Ṣāḥeb-al-Amr Mosque, Safavid-Qajar (AMI N.F. 2, 1969, p. 36).

Remains of the Uzun Ḥasan Mosque, 15th century (Hinz, ZDMG 91, 1937, p. 58ff.; AMI N.F. 2, 1969, p. 36).

Robʿ-e Rašidi fortress, beginning of 14th century C.E.; within its fortified walls is probably the tomb of Ḡāzān Khan (1295-1304) (Kleiss, 1996, p. 34).

27. Vinār, 27 km northeast of Tabriz, caravansary, late Safavid-Qajar (Kleiss, 1996, p. 34).

28. Sarand, 16 km east of Ḵᵛāja, on the road between Ahar and Tabriz, caravan station, completely destroyed, Qajar (Kleiss, 1996, p. 34).

29. Jām Caravansary, on the Ṣufiān Pass, between Tabriz and Marand, Safavid, completelydemolished (Kleiss, 1996, p. 11).

30. Caravansary on Iri Pass, 45 km north of Tabriz, 18th-19th century (Kleiss, 1996, p. 33).

31. Caravansary on Dogijān Pass, on the road from Tabriz to Siahrud on the Araxes River, 18th-19th century (Kleiss, 1996, p. 32).

32. Marand, Friday Mosque (Masjed-e Jomʿa), with Saljuq stucco mihrab, enlarged in the 14th century (Siroux).

33. Āyrandibi Caravansary, 27 km north of Marand, on the route to Jolfā, Timurid, 14th-15th century (Kleiss, 1996, p. 31).

34. ʿAlamdār, northwest of Khoy, cubic emāmzāda, 19th-20th century (AMI N.F. 2, 1969, p. 47).

Domed emāmzāda with antechamber, 19th century (AMI N.F. 5, 1972, pp. 183-84).

35. Jolfā (environs): Bridge over the Araxes, 10 km west of Jolfā, Safavid, largely destroyed (AMI 19, 1986, p. 331).

Caravansary, 10 km west of Jolfā, Safavid-Qajar (Kleiss, 1996, p. 30f.).

36. Khoranaq, 88 km southeast of Jolfā, 111 km west of Ahar, principal mosque, double-domed mosque, remains of a bathhouse, Safavid-Qajar (AMI N. F. 5, 1972, p. 180ff.).

37. Valoḡli Caravansary on Gojer-bel Pass, on the Ahar-Tabriz road, Safavid (Kleiss, 1996, p. 34f.).

38. Čāldāḡ Caravansary, 21 km southwest of Ahar, on the road to Tabriz (Kleiss, 1996, p.33ff.).

39. Ahar, tomb mosque of Shaikh Shehāb, master of Shaikh Ṣafi, on the southern outskirts of Ahar, Safavid (AMI N.F. 5, 1972, p. 178-79).

Bastion, 9 km south of Ahar, beginning of 19th century with European influence from Napoleonic times (AMI 15, 1982, p.389-90).

40. Qalʿa Miš, 48 km north of Ahar, large medieval fortress built over a prehistoric settlement (AMI N.F. 2, 1969, pp. 66-68).

41. Kaleybar, 60 km north of Ahar, Qez Qalʿa (about 5 km southwest of the village), Islamic, probably on top of older foundations (AMI N.F. 2, 1969, pp. 67-68).

42. Ḵodā Āfarin on the Araxes river (border between Iran and the Republic of Azerbaijan), a Safavid and a Qajar bridge over the Araxes (AMI 19, 1986, p. 329f.).

43. Qalʿa Gaḵgaḵ on the Qara Su river, northwest of Meškinšahr, medieval ruins, near amedieval bridge (Kroll, 1984, p.70).

44. Meškinšahr, funerary tower of Ḥaydar, 12th century, comparable with the funerary tower at Salmās which was completely destroyed during the 1930 earthquake (AMI N.F. 2, 1969, pp. 39-40).

45. Surnā, 10 km northwest of Ardebil, decahedral funerary tower, 14th century (AMI N.F. 2, 1969, p. 47).

46. Kalḵurān, 4 km west of Ardebil, Islamic shrine, Safavid and Qajar (AMI N.F. 2, 1969, p. 44).

47. Ardabil, Friday mosque with free-standing minaret, Saljuq; 12th century.

Shrine of Shaikh Ṣafi with mausoleum and domed structure built to contain the china porcelain collection of Shah ʿAbbās (Safavid) (AMI N.F. 2, 1969, pp. 33-34 ;A. Godard, p. 230).

Qajar bridge at Pol-e bālā čāy, 10 km northeast of the town. Also, a Safavid-Qajar bridge over the Qara Su 15 km north of the town (AMI 20, 1987, pp. 335ff.).

48. Nir, 40 km southwest of Ardabil, Safavid-Qajar bridge (AMI 21, 1988, p. 238-39).

49. Caravansary in mountain pass, 15 km southwest of Nir, on the route from Ardabil to Tabriz, Safavid on older foundations (Kleiss, 1996, p. 50).

50. Sarāb, ruins of a mosque, 6 km east of the town, and a gateway dating from Timurid times (probably originally a caravansary gate) (AMI N.F. 2, 1969, pp 34-35).

In the town, the emāmzāda of Musā b. Jaʿfar, Safavid-Qajar (AMI N.F. 2, 1969, p. 46).

51. Gilak (Guilak), caravansary 86 km southeast of Tabriz on the road to Zanjān, Safavid(Kleiss, 1996, p. 44).

52. Emāmiya Caravansary, 86 km northwest of Miāna, Safavid (Kleiss, 1996, p. 44).

53. Tark, 23 km north of Miāna, Masjed-e sang, a columned mosque with a large dome over the prayer niche with adjoining underground baths, Safavid, in an older architectural tradition (AMI 12, 1979, pp. 353-60).

54. Ḵalḵāl, eastern Azerbaijan, a town with many old emāmzādas (unpublished).

55. Miāna, bridge over the Qarāngu (Qarranqu) river, Safavid, rebuilt in Qajar times (AMI 19, 1986, pp. 337-38).

56. Qalʿa-ye doḵtar, 23 km east of Miāna, above the Pol-e doḵtar bridge, probably a medieval fortress of the “Assassins” (AMI N. F. 2, 1969, pp. 74-75).

Pol-e doḵtar bridge (Pol-e Qaflān kuh), 20 km east of Miāna, constructed 475 / 1484, renovated in 1517, 1673, 1794 and 1900, according to inscriptions (AMI 16, 1983, p. 363ff.).

57. Jamālābād, caravansary 94 km southeast of Tabriz, on the road to Zanjān, built in 1605(Shah ʿAbbās II), according to an inscription (Kleiss, 1996, p. 47).

58. Numerous gravestones carved with representations of rams and lions, of Islamic and Armenian provenience, in Azerbaijan (AMI N.F. 2, 1969, pp. 82-83; AMI N.F. 3, 1970, pp. 125-27).

vi.christian monuments

1. Kelisa-kand, 37 km west of Māku; in the village are the remains of a medieval Armenian church (AMI N.F. 2, 1969, p. 88).

2. Qara kelisa (Kara kilise; St. Thaddeus), 50 km west of Qara Żiā-al-Din, fortified monastery, Armenian pilgrimage center, the older part of the church dating from 10th-12th century C.E.; Inscription commemorating an earthquake in 1319. The recent part of the church with a domed tower and copious reliefs dates from the beginning of the 19th century (AMI N.F. 2, 1969, pp. 101-114; Kleiss, 1967, p. 291ff.).

3. St. Stephanos, 24 km west of Jolfā, fortified Armenian monastery, pilgrimage center on the Araxes, 14th-15th century, restored after earthquake damage in 1657-58, under Safavid architectural influence (AMI N.F., 2, 1969, pp. 100-101; Kleiss, 1967, p. 270f.).

4. Khoy, Armenian neighborhood (maḥalla); Church in the town, 18th-19th century (AMI N.F. 2, 1969, p. 88).

5. Qoroq, 10 km south of Khoy, ruins of a medieval Armenian church (AMI N.F. 2, 1969, p. 89).

6. Tāza-šahr, 10 km west of Salmās, ruins of a medieval Armenian church (AMI N.F. 2, 1969, pp. 90-92).

7. Tāza-šahr Ḵosrowābād, 12 km west of Salmās, ruins of a fairly large Nestorian church, 18th-19th century (AMI N.F. 2, 1969, p. 118).

8. Čors, 10 km northeast of Basṭām, Armenian cross relief on a rocky outcrop, date unclear (AMI N.F. 3, 1970, p. 124).

9. Mujumbār, 38 km northwest of Tabriz, medieval Armenian church, perhaps 10th century (AMI N.F. 2, 1969, pp. 97-99).

10. Suchruge, 35 km northwest of Tabriz, ruins of a Catholic mission church from the 19th century, showing Armenian features (AMI N.F. 2, 1969, pp. 100-102).

11. Maḵlasān, 16 km northeast of Khoy, Armenian church with cupola and cross, 18th-19th century (AMI N.F. 2, 1969, p. 89).

12. Haftvān, 3 km south of Salmās, Armenian church with older, medieval choir and more recent annex with copula and cross (19th century) (AMI N.F. 2, 1969, p. 90).

13. Māku, stone bridge over the Māku Čāy (Zangmār Čāy) with Armenian inscription, 3 km west of city, 18th-19th century (AMI 19, 1985, pp. 332-3).

14. Mention should be made of a few significant modern structures, such as the stone railway bridge over the Qezel Uzun east of Miāna, from the 1930s, the steel railway bridge over the Qotur valley west of Khoy, from the 1960s, and the causeway dam across the northern part of Lake Urmia, between the Šāhi peninsula and Kuh-e Zambil, from the 1980s.


Archäologische Mitteilungen aus Iran (AMI), N.F. 1-27, Berlin, 1968-1994 (see also under individual authors below; and, for site locations, the sketch map in N.F. 4, 1971 [fig. 1, foldout opp. p. 51]).

W. Ball, “The Imamzadeh Ma’sum at Vardjoveh: A Rock-Cut Il-khanid Complex near Maragheh,” AMI N.F. 12, 1979, pp. 329-40.

Charles A. Burney, “Excavations at Yanik Tepe," Iraq 23, 1961, pp. 138-53.

Idem, “Excavations at Haftavan Tepe, 1973: Fourth Preliminary Report,” Iran 13, 1975, pp. 149-164.

T. Burton-Brown, Excavations in Azerbaidjan, 1948, London, 1951.

Vesta Sarkhosh Curtis and St John Simpson, “Archaeological News from Iran,” Iran 35, 1997, pp. 143-44.

T. Cuyler Young, “Thoughts on the architecture of Hasanlu IV,” Iranica Antiqua 6, 1966, pp. 48-71.

R. H. Dyson, Jr., “Problems of Protohistoric Iran as Seen from Hasanlu,” JNES 24, 1965, pp. 193-217.

Idem, “Dinkha Tepe,” Iran 5, 1967, pp. 136-37.

R. H. Dyson, Jr., and V. C. Pigott, “Hasanlu,” Iran 13, 1975, pp. 182-85.

H. Ehringhaus, Gedanken zur Rekonstruktion des Gebäudes Kordlar Tepe IV in Iranisch West-Azerbaidjan, AMI 27, 1994.

H. von Gall, “Zu den ‘medischen’ Felsgräbern in Nordwest-Iran und Iraqi Kurdestan,” Archäologischer Anzeiger 1966.

Idem, “Die Kulträume in den Felsen von Karaftu bei Takab (West-Azerbaidjan),” AMI N.F. 11, 1978, pp. 91-112.

R. Ghirshman, “Un précurseur urartien d’Apollon Philésios,” in R. Altheim-Stiehl and H. E. Stier, eds., Beiträge zur alten Geschichte und deren Nachleben, Festschrift für Franz Altheim zum 6. 10. 1968, Berlin, 1969, pp. 35-41.

A. Godard, Die Kunst des Iran, Berlin, 1964.

Gerd Gropp, “Die Sasanidische Inschrift von Mishkinshahr in Azarbaidjan,” AMI N.F. 1, 1968,pp. 149-158.

Idem, “Funktion des Feuertempels der Zoroastrier,” AMI N.F. 2, 1969, pp. 147-73.

R. Hillenbrand, Islamic Architecture, Edinburgh, 1994.

W. Hinz, “Beiträge zur iranischen Kulturgeschichte,” ZDMG 91, 1937, pp. 58-79.

Idem, “Das Sasanidische Felsrelief von Salmas,” Iranica Antiqua 5, 1965, pp. 148-60.

D. Huff, “Das Felsgrab von Fakhrikah,” Istanbuler Mitteilungen 21, 1971, pp. 161-71.

Idem, “Sasanidische-frühislamische Ruinenplätze im Belqis-Massiv in Azerbeidjan,” AMI N.F. 7, 1974, pp. 203-213.

G. Homayoun, “Kandewan, ein Felsdorf in Nordwestiran,” AMI N.F. 11, 1978, pp. 211-14.

W. Kleiss, “Das Kloster des Heiligen Thaddäus (Kara Kilise) in Iranisch-Azerbaidjan,” in Istanbuler Mitteilungen 17, 1967, pp. 291-305.

Idem, “Das armenische Kloster des Heiligen Stephanos in Iranisch-Azerbaidjan,” in Istanbuler Mitteilungen 18, 1968, pp. 43-44, 270-85.

Idem, Zendan-i Suleiman, Die Bauwerke. Beiträge zur Archaeologie und Geologie des Zendan-i Suleiman 2, Wiesbaden, 1971.

Idem, Bastam /Rusa-i URU. TUR. Beschreibung der urartäischen und mittelalterlichen Ruinen. Führer zur Archäologischen Plätzen in Iran I, Berlin, 1977.

Idem, Bastam I, Ausgrabungen in den urartäischen Anlagen 1972-1975, Berlin, 1979.

Idem, Bastam II, Ausgrabungen in den urartäischenAnlagen 1977-1978, Berlin, 1988.

Idem, Karawanenbauten in Iran, Teil 1. Materialien zur iranischen Archäologie 2, Berlin, 1996.

W. Kleiss and H. Hauptmann, Topographische Karte von Urartu,AMI Ergänzungsband 3, Berlin, 1976.

S. Kroll, “Haftavan Tepe,” in Reallexikon der Assyriologie IV, 1972-1975.

Idem, Keramik urartäischer Festungen in Iran, AMI Ergänzungsband 2, Berlin, 1976.

Idem, “Archäologische Fundplätze in Iranisch Ost-Azarbaidjan,” AMI 17, 1984, pp. 73-133.

F. F. C. Lehmann-Haupt, Armenien Einst und Jetzt I, Berlin, 1910.

A. Lippert, “Die österreichischen Ausgrabungen am Kordlar Tepe in Persisch-Westaserbeidschan (1971-1978),” AMI N.F. 12, 1978, pp. 102-37.

Vladimir Minorsky, “Ushnū,” in EI2. O. W. Muscarella, “The Tumuli at Se Girdan,” Metropolitan Museum Journal 2, 1969, pp. 5-25.

R. Naumann, Die Ruinen von Tacht-e Suleiman und Zendan-e Suleiman. Führer zu Archäologischen Plätzen in Iran II, Berlin, 1977.

P. E. Pecorella, L’Urartu ad oriente dello Zagros, Scavi e ricerche archeologiche degli anni 1976-1979 I, Rome, 1985.

Arthur Upham Pope, A Survey of Persian Art, 2nd. ed., 14 vols., London and New York, 1964-1967.

Carl Ritter, Die Erdkunde im Verhältnis zur Natur und zur Geschichte des Menschen, IX, Berlin, 1840, pp. 934, 1023-26.

M. Salvini, “Eine neue urartäische Inschrift aus Mahmud Abad (West-Azerbaidjan),AMI N.F. 10, 1977, pp. 125-36.

E. F. Schmidt, Flights over Ancient Cities of Iran, Chicago, 1940.

M. Siroux, “La Mosquée Djoumeh de Marand,” Arts Asiatiques III/2, 1957.

M. Tserethli, “Kelišin,” in Reallexikon der Assyriologie 47, 1953.

P. Vardjavand, La découverte archéologique du complexe scientifique de l’Observatoire de Maragé, Tehran, 1988.

Cite this page
Planhol, Xavier de, Kleiss, Wolfram, Schippmann, Klaus, Bosworth, C. Edmund, Kuniholm, Bruce R., Tapper, Richard, Yarshater, Ehsan, Doerfer, Gerhard, Johanson, L., Javadi, Hasan et al., “AZERBAIJAN”, in: Encyclopaedia Iranica Online, © Trustees of Columbia University in the City of New York. Consulted online on 23 July 2024 <http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/2330-4804_EIRO_COM_6200>
First published online: 2020
First print edition: 19871215

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