AZERBAIJAN (AÚdòarba@y[e]èa@n), region of northwestern Iran, divided between the present-day territories of Iran and the Soviet Union since the treaties of Golesta@n (1813) and Torkama@n±a@y (1828).
iii. Pre-Islamic history.
iv. Islamic history to 1941.
v. History from 1941-1947.
vi. Population and its occupations and culture.
vii. The Iranian language of Azerbaijan.
viii. Azeri (AÚdòar^) Turkish.
ix. Iranian Elements in Azeri Turkish.
x. Azeri literature.
xi. Music of Azerbaijan.
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 ˆa@pu@r I along with Armenia (cf. Markwart, EÚra@nÞahr, pp. 111-12). From the name of this man comes the Greek forms (Atropatene, Atropatios Me@dia [Strabo, loc. cit.], Tropatene [Ptolemy 6.2], the Armenian form Atrpatakan (Movse@s Xorenac¿i, cf. Markwart. EÚra@nÞahr, pp. 108-14), the Middle Persian form AÚturpa@taka@n (cf. Schwarz, Iran, p. 960), the New Persian forms AÚdòarba@yèa@n and AÚdòarba@yga@n. The medieval Arab geographers were already giving it different meanings, deriving it from the personal name AÚdòarba@dòor forging popular etymologies, like “fire temple” or “guardian of the fire” (from a@dòar, “fire” and ba@yka@n, “guardian,” Ya@qu@t, 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 (Rezμa@÷^ya). The ancient summer capital was located there at Ganzaca (Ganzak) (Strabo, loc. cit.), the present-day Takòt-e Solayma@n. At the time of the Arab conquest, the (summer) capital was located at Ardab^l. 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, Mas¿u@d^ (Moru@è I, p. 100.18) indicates that Azerbaijan extended to the north of the river. To the northeast, the soil basins of Mog@a@n (the plain to the south of the Araxes) were included in Azerbaijan by Mas¿u@d^ and by Ebn K¨orda@dòbeh, but were excluded by other geographers. Vart¯a@n on the Araxes was the farthest locality attached to Azerbaijan to the northeast, according to Ebn al-Faq^h (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 S^sar, present day Sanandaè. Subsequently, its main eastern boundary was situated at the bed of the Saf^d-ru@d, which separated it from the province of Ôeba@l and then at the mountain chain of the western Alborz which separated it from the humid, forested regions of G^la@n.
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 Ya@qu@t in the beginning of the 7th/13th century, occasionally extends Azerbaijan to the west to Erzinjan (Arzanèa@n). On the other hand in certain passages, he annexes to it, in addition to the steppes of Mog@a@n, all of the province of Arra@n, 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 Moqaddas^ to affirm [p. 375.2] that in Sabala@n 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 Arra@n and of Mog@a@n, but outside the state of the Kesranids of ˆerva@n, which remained relatively untouched. The Turkicization of these northern centers was rapid. Even before the Mongol invasion, the Turkmen “swarmed like ants” in Arra@n and Mog@a@n (Nasav^, S^rat al-Soltáa@n Ôala@l-al-d^n, ed. Houdas, Paris, 1891, p. 225). Mog@a@n (Mu@qa@n), still known as the name of a city by the first Arab geographers (Ebn al-Faq^h, p. 285; Esátáakòr^, p. 182; Ebn H®awqal, p. 239; cf. Schwartz, Iran, pp. 1089-94), was in the beginning of the 7th/13th century according to Ya@qu@t (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 Qazv^n^ (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 ˆahrazu@r, 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 Mara@g@a, K¨oy, around Lake Urmia, as well as in the Ôeba@l in the regions of Qazv^n and Zanèa@n. In addition, after the death of Abu@ Sa¿^d, the Turks who had moved to Anatolia began to return to Iran (Ôala@yer^ and Ùu@pa@nlu@). This movement continued under the Qara Qoyunlu@ and the AÚq Qoyunlu@, 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 Shi¿ism as the state religion of Iran, while the Ottoman state remained faithful to Sunnism. Soon Shi¿ite 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 Esma@¿^l assembled the Qezelba@Þ tribes in the region of Erzincan. The attraction made itself felt as far as the region of Antalya, whence came the Tekelu@, 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 ¿Abba@s I's organization of the great confederation of the ˆa@hseven 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 ¿Abba@s to that of Na@der 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 Qazv^n (Chardin, Voyages . . . en Perse, ed. Langleàs, Paris, 1830, IV, pp. 179-80; the observations date from 1665-77). At the time of Evl^a@ Ùeleb^, who traveled in Azerbaijan in 1645, Turkish, largely predominant in Tabr^z among the lower classes (Seyâhatna@mes^, ed. Z. Dani¶man, 15 vols., Istanbul, 1969-71, esp. III, p. 247), was spoken in Qazv^n 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 T®a@leÞ, 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 re‚gion dans le Nord-Ouest de l'Iran,” Bulletin de l'Association de ge‚ographes 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, K¨ala±, QaÞqa@÷^), thus goes well beyond the political boundaries of the provinces of Western Azerbaijan (center: Urmia [Rezμa@÷^ya]) and Eastern Azerbaijan (center: Tabr^z). (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 Zanèa@n (579,000) important portions of the central province (to the west of, and around, Qazv^n) and even of the province of G^la@n. 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 T®a@leÞ. 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. Bromle¥ 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 (Ba@ba@-Ôu@z^, 4,480 m, on the frontier of Daghestan; Ba@ba@-da@g@, 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 ˆerva@n to the north of the Kura; the steppe of Karabakh and the steppe of Milskaja between the Kura and Araxes; the steppe of Mog@a@n 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 Su@r mountains (Mt. Kopydzhikh, 3,916 m), with material that is essentially Eocene (volcanic-sedimentary facies); their southwest slopes define the autonomous region of Nakhichevan (Nakòèava@n), beyond the Soviet Socialist Republic of Armenia. Vast Neocene volcanic overflows crown the edifice.
4. The chains of the T®a@leÞ, 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 Lankara@n (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 Sabala@n (4,740 m) to the west of Ardab^l, and of Sahand (3,710 m) between Tabr^z and Mara@g@a, bear the marks of the Quaternary glacier; Sabala@n 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 Ku@h-e Bozqu@Þ (3,305 m) between Sara@b and M^a@na, and K^a@mak^-da@g@, 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 T®a@leÞ: Qara@g@a-da@g@ or Qara-da@g@ to the northwest of Ahar (2,880 m), and the hills of Ku@h-e Sáalawa@t to the north of Sabala@n, continued by Neocene hills limited by the east-west anticline of the K¨oru@zμlu@-da@g@ (700m), which dominates the Mog@a@n 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 (Ku@h-e Zak^, 3,100 m.) and to the north, separate the basin of the Araxes (Ku@h-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 Ardab^l (1,350 m), between Sabala@n and the chains of T®a@leÞ; the depression of Qara-su@ and Ahar (1,300-1,000 m) which runs in an east-west direction, to the north of Sabala@n; the basin of Sara@b (1,700-1,900 m) parallel to that of Qara-su@, to the north of Sabala@n; 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: Ku@h-e Ùoboqlu@ (2,175 m) in the peninsula of ˆa@h^ on the eastern shore; Mount Bezow (1,947 m) and Mount Zanb^l (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 Qara@èa-da@g@, Sabala@n, 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 Mog@a@n on the windward side of the Qara@èa-da@g@ (MoÞ^ra@n, 156 mm at an altitude of 667 m). The figures are scarcely higher for the more elevated, Iranian part of the Araxes basin (K¨oy, 277 mm at 1139 m of altitude). The southern basins of Iranian Azerbaijan, even more elevated, receive slightly more rainfall (Ardab^l, 356 mm at an altitude of 1,350 m; M^a@na, 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 (M^a@ndoa@b, 262 mm), although the city of Urmia itself receives 405 mm (Tabr^z, 312 mm) as does the basin of Sara@b (286 mm at Sara@b itself). The first slopes of the volcanic reliefs are barely more favored (L^qva@n at an altitude of 2,000 m on the northern watershed of Sahand, 362 mm). Only the Soviet coast of T®a@leÞ 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 T®a@leÞ chain) are added to the intense activity of the cyclones over the southern bank of the Caspian and yield considerable precipitation (Lankara@n, 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 T®a@leÞ, 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, Ardab^l at an altitude of 1,350 m has an average temperature of 20.9° in August in comparison with 24.8° in Tabr^z, 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 Lankara@n 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 (Ardab^l has minus 20° in January, as compared with minus 2° in Urmia and minus 2.7° in Tabr^z) and in the Kura and Araxes plains where Baku registers 3.6° in January (and Lankara@n 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 Sáab^ra@ba@d 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 Saf^d-ru@d (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 Zarr^na-ru@d to the south (watershed basin 7,890 km2; mean discharge 50 m3 per second) and the AÚè^-±a@y (Talkòa-ru@d) 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 (AÚè^-±a@y) or in September (Zarr^na-ru@d, 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 a 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 Qara@èa-da@g@ and the eastern and northern slopes of Sabala@n. 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 T®a@leÞ 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, T®a@leÞ) 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 ˆa@hsevan have always constituted the primary ethnic group in eastern Azerbaijan, and studies in connection with the development of irrigation in the Mog@a@n 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 Mog@a@n steppe that remained Iranian (winter quarters) and the main summer pasturages of Sabala@n and Ku@h-e Bozqu@Þ and a smaller summer pasturage in the Ba@g@row-da@g@ to the southeast of Ardab^l. A second essential phase was initiated by the policy of control and enforced settlement carried out by Rezμa@ 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 ˆa@hsevan resumed their group migrations from the last years of the reign of Rezμa@ 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 (ala@±u@q), grouped in oba of two to twelve tents both in the summer pasturages (yeyla@q) and in the winter pasturages (qeÞla@q). 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 Mog@a@n. To this figure must be added the animals of transport, like camels and horses. At the present, the ˆa@hsevan 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 yeyla@qs 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 ˆa@hsevan are in the plain, it permits massive sale of milk products (especially white cheese) to Tabr^z and Tehran. The problems of collection and transport in the mountains would make this practice impossible in summer. Thus the ˆa@hsevan 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 Asála@ndu@z (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 Qara@èa-da@g@ 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 Tabr^z 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 qana@ts, 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 Tabr^z to the east being almost barren with the exception of the large oasis of the city itself located at the mouth of AÚè^-±a@y). 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-su@ to the north of Sabala@n) and in the high basins that are relatively well watered (south of the plain of Ardab^l). 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 ˆerva@n, Mog@a@n, and Karabakh. In 1914, the Romanov canal permitted the exploitation of 176,000 ha in the Mog@a@n 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-ˆerva@n 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-su@. They have made possible the irrigation respectively of 4,000 and 18,000 ha of the Mog@a@n steppe (discharge 4 and 17 m3 per second) and the settlement of the ˆa@hsevan (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 QeÞla@q, not far from the Soviet city of Nakòèava@n. The Asála@ndu@z dam was completed in 1972, at the confluence of the Qara-su@ shortly after the Araxes enters the lowlands of Mog@a@n; 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 Zarr^na-ru@d, with two canals of 28 m3 per second for the irrigation of M^a@ndoa@b plain to the southeast of the lake (perimeter of 85,000 ha); a reservoir on the Maha@ba@d river (Maha@ba@d-±a@y) for the irrigation of 21,000 ha in the plain of Maha@ba@d to the south of the lake; a reservoir on the Zolu@ river (Zola@-±a@y) for the irrigation of the plain of ˆa@hpu@r 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 Sabala@n. 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-su@ 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 Mog@a@n steppe, although it is to be found occasionally in higher areas (the M^a@ndoa@b 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. Ardab^l (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. K¨oy (population 70,000), to the north of the lake, remains somewhat outside the important international route from Turkey to Iran. Tabr^z 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 AÚè^-±a@y, between Sahand to the south and the Qara@èa-da@g@ 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 Mayda@n-ru@d, flowing down from Sahand, whose waters irrigate the gardens of the city. Tabr^z 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 Ôolfa@ 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, Tabr^z 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 AÚè^-±a@y.
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 ˆerva@Þa@hs whose principal residence was Shemakha (ˆema@kò^) 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.
Bibliography : I. Historical geography. The concept of Azerbaijan. Antiquity: F. Spiegel, Eranische Altertumskunde I, Leipzig, 1871, passim and especially pp. 125-37. Markwart, EÚra@nÞahr, 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 ËA II, pp. 91-118. M. F. Köprülü, “Azeri,” ibid., pp. 118-51. F. Sümer, “Azerbaycan én türkle¶mesi tarihine umumi bir baké¶,” Belleten 21, 1957, pp. 429-47. R. Housseinov, “Superpositions ethniques en Transcaucasie aux XIe et XIIe sieàcles,” 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 ¿A. Ka@rang AÚt¯a@r-e ba@sta@n^-e AÚdòarba@yèa@n I, Tehran, 1351 ˆ./1972. M. Ô. MaÞku@r, Nazáar-^ eèma@l^ ba ta@r^kò-e AÚdòarba@yèa@n, Tehran, 1349 ˆ./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 ge‚ographiques, Paris, 1894, pp. 279-88, 289-355 (the valley of the Araxes and the Qara-da@g@). Among the more recent travel accounts and descriptions see H. Binder, Au Kurdistan, en Me‚sopotamie et en Perse, Paris, 1887, pp. 43-107. P. Müller-Simonis and H. Hyvernat, Du Caucase au Golfe Persique aà travers l'Arme‚nie, le Kurdistan et la Me‚sopotamie, 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 ge‚ographie, 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 re‚gion 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. AÚzarba@ija@n) is a very general study and excludes any regional analysis. See also E. Ehlers, Iran: Grundzüge einer geographischen Landeskunde, Darmstadt, 1980, index, s.v. Kayha@n, Ôog@ra@f^a@ II-III. Razma@ra@, Farhang IV.
B. Physical geography. There are a few geological, geomorphic, and morpho-climatic monographs: H. Rieben, “Contribution aà la ge‚ologie de l'Azerbaidjan persan,” Bulletin de la Socie‚te‚ 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-Azerbai±an),” 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 Socie‚te‚ de ge‚ographie d'Egypte 28, September, 1955, pp. 195-299. Ch. Djavadi, Climats de l'Iran, Monographies de la me‚te‚orologie 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. Kayha@n, Ôog@ra@f^a@, 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 AÚB; AÚB-E GARM; AÚBYAÚRÈ.
C. Human geography. I. Nomadism and sedentarization of the ˆa@hsevan. Development of the Mog@a@n steppe: P. Bessaignet, “Shah Sevan: Un exemple de se‚dentarisation de tribu nomade avec transplantation culturelle,” Colloque sur la conservation et la restauration des sols tenu aà Te‚he‚ran 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 ¿AˆAÚYER.
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 ge‚ographes 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 ge‚ographie 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 Qara@ca Da@gμ: A Brief History,” Oriens 17, 1964, pp. 60-95 (primarily ethno-historical). M. Bazin, “Le Qara Da@g¡ d'apreàs Asghar Nazarian,” Revue ge‚ographique 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 chre‚tiens de l'Azerbaidjan occidental,” Revue de ge‚ographie de Lyon, 1968, pp. 291-331. Idem, “Chre‚tiens 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 communaute‚ Assyro-Chalde‚enne en Iran,” Revue de ge‚ographie de Lyon, 1968, pp. 333-56. Idem, “Les minorite‚s non-musulmanes dans la population iranienne,” ibid., 1973, pp. 165-206, cf. pp. 189-96. Idem, “Lieux de culte (anciens et actuels) des e‚glises "syriennes orientales" dans le dioceàse d'Ourmiah-Salmas en Iran (Azerbaidjan occidental),” Parole de l'Orient 3, 1972, pp. 313-51. Idem, Les assyro-chalde‚ens dans l'Iran d'aujourd'hui, Publications du Departement de ge‚ographie de l'Universite‚ de Paris-Sorbonne 6, Paris, 1978 (contains a very complete bibliography of previous works). J. M. Fiey, “Adòarba@yg¡a@n chre‚tien,” Le Museon, 1973, pp. 397-435.
5. Towns. M. Ô. MaÞku@r, Ta@r^kò-e Tabr^z ta@ pa@ya@n-e qarn-e nohom-e heèr^, Tehran, 1352 ˆ./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 Azerba¥dzhansko¥ Sovetsko¥ Sotsialistichesko¥ Respubliki, Akademiya Nauk Azerba¥dzhansko¥, 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. Gvozdetski¥, ibid., pp. 343-420. Some geomorphological monographic studies are collected in Voprosy istorii razvitiya rel'efa i landshafty Azerba¥dzhansko¥ SSSR, Akademiya Nauk Azerba¥dzhansko¥ 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 Ardab^l and the Sabala@n). 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'Arme‚nie 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 Ãzarbâyjân oriental, cartes et documents ethnographiques, Paris, 1982 (Institut français d'iranologie de Te‚he‚ran, Bibliotheàque iranienne 24).
(X. de Planhol)
The region to be discussed comprises the two Iranian provinces of West Azerbaijan and East Azerbaijan, with administrative centers at Urmia (before 1979 Rezμa@÷^ya) and Tabr^z 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 Tabr^z 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 Yan^k 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 H®asanlu@ project in the Soldu@z plain and at H®asanlu@ 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 Supple‚ment 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 S^ah ÙaÞma, and at Yakòval^, a fort settlement east of Ma@ku@ (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 Haftava@n Tepe and Yan^k 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.
Yakòval^, 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.
Bolu@ra@ba@d, northeast of Bestáa@m, 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 Makòand, Qara Z˜^a@÷-al-d^n/Bestáa@m, and Maryam northeast and east of Ma@ku@, and of a single tumulus at Va@r west of K¨oy, 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 MeÞk^nÞahr and Ardab^l and in the T®a@leÞ mountains on the Caspian west coast. The abundance of tumuli in the pastureland of the Aras plain between Ma@ku@ and Bestáa@m 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 Makòand being made of earth with stone trimmings (the commonest type), those at Maryam made of earth and stones, and those at Qara Z˜^a@÷-al-d^n/Bestáa@m 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.
Haftavta@n 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 T®a@leÞ 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 H®asanlu@ (q.v.). The adjoining settlement, already occupied from the third to the sixth millennium, was strengthened in a later period (H®asanlu@ 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 Bog¡azköy to the later Urartian architecture and thence to the Median halls at God^n Tepe west of Hamada@n (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 apada@nas (q.v.) at Persepolis and Susa (E. F. Schmidt, Persepolis I, Chicago, 1953). The layout of the H®asanlu@ 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.). H®asanlu@ 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 M^a@ndoa@b, 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 Bestáa@m/Rusa-i URU.TUR (Vanden Berghe, op. cit., nos. 2217-40 and 4278-300; on Sangar see also Istanbuler Mitteilungen 18, 1968, pp. lf.), Haftava@n Tepe (Ch. Burney, “Excavations at Haftavan Tepe 1969,” Iran 10, 1972, pp. 127ff.), Qal¿a-ye Esma@¿^l AÚqa@ (Pecorella and Salvini, Fra lo Zagros e l'Urmia, pp. 215ff.), H®asanlu@ and Agrab Tepe (O. W. Muscarella, “Excavations at Agrab Tepe, Iran,” The Metropolitan Museum Journal 8, 1973, pp. 47ff.), and Moháammada@ba@d 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.).
Bestáa@m 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 Bestáa@m to the Mu@za-ye Èra@n-e Ba@sta@n at Tehran, the name of the newly founded settlement was Rusa-i URU.TUR “Rusa's town.” Here a brief description of the Urartian site at Bestáa@m will suffice (see BEST®AÚM).
Bestáa@m 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. Bestáa@m/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 Bestáa@m 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 Bestáa@m 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 Bestáa@m, 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 Ma@ku@ (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 Dosog¡ near the pass between Urmia and OÞanav^ya, 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 Verakòram 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 Zenda@n-e Solayma@n, 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 Zenda@n-e Solayma@n resemble those found at Z^v^ya (Ziwiyeh) in the nearby province of Kurdistan (A. Godard, Le Tre‚sor de Ziwiye (Kurdistan), Haarlem, 1950, p. 136).
Armenian monuments. In connection with the Armenians, certain forts in the area north to northeast of Ma@ku@ 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 Èla@n Qara II and Qal¿a-ye H®a@èèesta@n (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 Èla@n Qara II and Qal¿a-ye H®a@èèesta@n 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 Bestáa@m 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 Bestáa@m and in its vicinity are Median. Investigations have shown, however, that the rock-tomb at Fakòraka 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 Takòt-e Solayma@n 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 Qal¿a-ye Z˜aháháa@k (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 T®a@leÞ district around Germ^ north of Ardab^l (Iranian excavations directed by S. Ka@mbakòÞ-e Fard, unpublished report). At Takòt-e Solayma@n, 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 Mara@g@a district. At Qal¿a-ye Z˜aháháa@k south of S^a@h Ùaman (Qara Ùaman) 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 Qal¿a-ye Z˜aháháa@k 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 Bestáa@m, by parts of mosques, such as the Masèed-e Ôom¿a 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 Salma@s (formerly ˆa@hpu@r). 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 ArdaÞ^r I and the crown prince ˆa@pu@r. The lowness of the relief sets it apart from the more sculptural Sasanian rock-carvings in other regions (W. Hinz, “Das Sasanidische Felsrelief von Salma@s,” Iranica Antiqua 5, 1965, pp. 148ff.). A Sasanian rock-inscription survives in the MeÞk^nÞahr district in East Azerbaijan (ibid., nos. 2266-67).
The German excavations at Takòt-e Solayma@n, the site of the Sasanian sanctuary of AÚdur GuÞnasp (q.v.), 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 arche‚ologiques aà Takht-i Suleiman, centre religieux royal sassanide,” Comptes rendus de l'Acade‚mie des inscriptions et belles-lettres, 1978, pp. 774ff.). The fire sanctuary, known as the sanctuary of ˆ^z, had originally stood at Ganzak (probably identifiable with the Layla@n) and was apparently moved to the plateau now called Takòt-e Solayma@n (Solomon's throne) by K¨osrow 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 Abu@ Dolaf Mes¿ar b. Mohalhel (q.v.), 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 Takòt-e Solayma@n plateau remained intact for only about one hundred years, from K¨osrow I's to K¨osrow II's reign. Before then, perhaps in the fifth century during the reign of Pe@ro@z 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 Takòt-e Solayma@n certainly reached its peak in the reign of K¨osrow I (531-79), when the AÚdur GuÞnasp fire was relocated and suitably housed at this site, then called ˆ^z. After the destruction by the Byzantines and the subsequent conquest of Iran by the Arabs, practice of the fire cult at Takòt-e Solayma@n continued for a long time, despite the establishment and gradual expansion of a Muslim settlement on the plateau in the ¿Abbasid period. Even so, Takòt-e Solayma@n 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 (Aba@qa@; q.v.) 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 (Masèed-e Ôom¿a) at Urmia is conceptually derived from the Sasanian ±aha@r-táa@q (dome on four arches over a fire altar) and evidently stands on pre-Islamic foundations. This mosque's mehára@b 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 mehára@b in the Masèed-e Ôom¿a of Isfahan. Also important are the remains of the Masèed-e Ôom¿a and its minaret at Ardab^l from the Saljuq or the Il-khanid period (12th or 13th century). The tomb-tower at MeÞk^nÞahr from the Il-khanid period or the time of T^mu@r (13th or 14th century) is the last big tomb-tower left in Azerbaijan since the destruction of the one at Salma@s 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 Tabr^z, nothing from the early Islamic period remains, and the Masèed-e Ôom¿a 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 Mara@g@a, the Qoy-borè (Tower of the ram) from the Timurid period has collapsed; three of those still standing are from the Saljuq period, namely the Gonbad-e Sorkò (Red dome) completed in 1148, which is the oldest, the Gonbad-e Kabu@d (Blue dome), and a round tower, while the fourth, known as the Gonbad-e GÚaffa@r^ya, is from the time of the Il-khans (early 14th century).
As already mentioned, the il-khan Abaqa (1265-81), whose capital was at Mara@g@a, had a hunting lodge, named Saturiq, built on the Takòt-e Solayma@n 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 Takòt-e Solayma@n, 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 Takòt-e Solayma@n indicate that the wall tiles were manufactured on the spot. Takòt-e Solayma@n 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 Tabr^z existed in pre-Islamic times, and the earliest date of its establishment given in a literary source is 175/791 during the caliphate of Ha@ru@n al-RaÞ^d (Nozhat al-qolu@b, 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. Tabr^z was the capital of the il-khans in the 7th/13th century and of the Qara Qoyunlu@ and AÚq Qoyunlu@ Turkman dynasties in the 9th/15th century. Surviving from the Turkman period are the remains of the Masèed-e Kabu@d (Blue Mosque) and from the Il-khanid period those of the Masèed-e ¿Al^Þa@h, 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 Tabr^z (see ARG-G ¿ALÈˆAÚH); 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 Moèomba@r near Tabr^z which probably dates from the 4th/10th century. The church of St. Thaddeus, locally called the Qara Kel^sa@, 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 K¨oy, 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 Sáaf^ at Ardab^l (q.v.) 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 Tabr^z, Azerbaijan was relegated to a subordinate role and all the artistic talent of Iran was drawn to the succeeding capital cities, first Qazv^n, 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 Tabr^z-Baku road and of a probably Safavid (17th century) bridge at K¨oda@-a@far^n 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 (Ôolfa@) on the road from Tabr^z to Yerevan (Èrava@n). A bridge east of Ma@ku@ bearing an Armenian inscription is still intact. The old bridge near Tabr^z and another near AÚdòarÞahr deserve mention, and the bridge called the Pol-e Qa@fla@n-ku@h over the Saf^d-ru@d near M^a@na 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 DaÞt-e Kav^r, and along the cross-desert routes. The main road from Yerevan through Ôolfa@, Marand, Tabr^z, and M^a@na to Qazv^n and Tehran was endowed with Safavid and Qajar caravanserais as well as the Ôolfa@ and Pol-e Qa@fla@n-ku@h bridges. Remains of the tile-adorned portal of a Timurid (14th-15th century) caravanserai can be seen between Ôolfa@ and Marand (Kleiss, AMI, N.S. 5, 1972, pl. 53.3). Most of the caravanserais are of the courtyard type with four ayva@ns (arched portals), the commonest form of caravanserai in Iran. On roads which cross the frontier to Turkey through high passes, particularly the Tabr^z-K¨oy-Van road, some caravanserais of the completely covered type remain, and there is also one close to the pass on the Tabr^z-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 Qal¿a-ye Dokòtar above the Pol-e Qa@fla@n-ku@h, have architectural peculiarities which suggest that they were built by the Assassins to secure the communications between their headquarters at Alamu@t northeast of Qazv^n 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.
Bibliography : Given in the text. On the pre-Islamic period, consult L. Vanden Berghe, Bibliographie analytique de l'arche‚ologie de l'Iran ancien, Leiden, 1979, and Supple‚ment 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 ¿A. Ka@rang, AÚt¯a@r-e ba@sta@n^-e AÚdòarba@yèa@n I: AÚt¯a@r o abn^a-ye ta@r^kò^-e Þahresta@n-e Tabr^z, Tabr^z, 1351 ˆ./1972, and S. Ô. Tora@b^ T®aba@táaba@÷^, AÚt¯a@r-e ba@sta@n^-e AÚdòarba@yèa@n II: AÚt¯a@r o abn^a-ye ta@r^kò^-e Þahresta@nha@-ye Ardab^l, Arasba@ra@n, K¨alkòa@l, Sara@b, MeÞk^nÞahr, Mog@a@n, Tabr^z, 2535 = 1355 ˆ./1976.
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 (Rezμa@÷^ya) (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 Tabr^z-Mara@g@a-M^a@na 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 “H®asanlu@ Project,” to the Soldu@z 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'arche‚ologie de l'Iran ancien, Leiden, 1979, and idem and E. Haerinek, Supple‚ment l: 1978-80, Leiden, 1981). Other excavations in Azerbaijan, e.g., by C. Burney at Yanik Tepe and later at Haftava@n 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 Bestáa@m (Bastáa@m) 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 Karaftu@, twenty km west of Taka@b, 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) AÚturpa@taka@n, (later) AÚdurba@daga@n) whence the New Persian AÚdòarba@yèa@n (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 B^sotu@n (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) states that a certain Mithridates, king of Media and son-in-low of the Armenian king Tiridates, 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 se‚leucides 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 Takòt-e Solayma@n 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 ArdaÞ^r, 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 Hamada@n) and in Azerbaijan, K¨u@zesta@n, 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 ArdaÞ^r (p. 749). In any case Azerbaijan submitted with little resistance to ArdaÞ^r once he had defeated and killed Artabanus in 226 (the date preferred by Widengren, pp. 748-49). The well-known Sasanian rock relief at Salma@s, not far from lake Urmia in which ArdaÞ^r and others are depicted, is in Widengren's opinion quite possibly a monument to this success (but see Chaumont, Recherches sur l'histoire d'Arme‚nie de l'aveànement des sassanides aà la conversion du royaume, Paris, 1969, pp. 173ff.); the opinion of W. Hinz (Iranica Antiqua 5, 1965, p. 159) that it commemorates ArdaÞ^r's conquest of Armenia seems less well grounded.
Sasanian period. The next information given in the sources is that ˆa@pu@r 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/AÚturpa@taka@n, 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 marzba@n (margrave) who had all the authority of a satrap. It was a religious center, the principal temple being at ˆ^z, now Takòt-e Solayma@n. This was the hearth of AÚdur GuÞnasp (q.v.), one of the empire's three most sacred fires. The name ˆ^z 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'Acade‚mie 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 guÞnasp, 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 Bahra@m Ùo@b^n and K¨osrow II was fought at Ganzak in Azerbaijan, ending in victory for K¨osrow. 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.
Bibliography : Given in the text.
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 (q.v.) formed a clear natural boundary between Azerbaijan and Arra@n (q.v.) or Caucasian Albania, whilst the low-lying region of Mu@g@a@n/Mu@qa@n (Mog@a@n; q.v.), 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 Saf^d-ru@d formed in general the boundary with the province of Ôeba@l, with the northwestern continuation of the Alburz (Alborz; q.v.) chain separating Azerbaijan from G^la@n (q.v.) 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 wela@yats of Haka@r^ 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 (q.v.) were often taken as one vast province—their configuration, as the term given to them of reháa@b “the upland plains, plateaux” shows, being essentially similar—and placed under a single governor; the geographer Moqaddas^, pp. 373-74, includes under the eql^m al-Reháa@b Azerbaijan, Arra@n, and Armenia, cf. A. Miquel, Ahásan al-taqa@s^m f^ ma¿refat al-aqa@l^m (La meilleure re‚partition pour la connaissance des provinces), Damascus, 1963, p. 318. However, at times, Azerbaijan might be linked also with Ôeba@l or with the provinces of Mosul and Ôaz^ra, 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