Iran, a Country of Mountains
The reliefs of Iran can be classified into four categories: the mountains of northern Iran, the Zagros mountains and its heights, the central mountain ranges and the mountains of the east of the country.
The reliefs of Iran can be classified into four categories: the mountains of northern Iran, the Zagros mountains and its heights, the central mountain ranges and the mountains of the east of the country. These mountains delimit a plateau of approximately 2,600,000 km².
The northern mountain ranges: this chain that, in the north, separates from the plateau of the Pamir (roof of the world), and under the name of Hindu-Kush (Hindu-Kuh) takes the direction of the south-west, is transformed into rolling hills north of Herat. The Aryans called this mountain range "Caucasus Indicus" and it is mentioned in the Avesta as Paropanisos.
It is to the west of the Tajan River, that this mountain range takes not only altitude but also a new name: the mountains Alborz (Haraiti-Barez in the Avesta). This narrow chain overlooks the Caspian Sea. The volcanic summit of Mount Damavand (5600 m) located in the center of Alborz, is not only the highest peak in Iran, but also the highest Eurasian mountain west of the Hindu-Kush. These mountains then extend to the north-west and take names such as Sahand and Sabalan to finally finish at Mount Ararat.
Mount Ararat: located near the border between Turkey, Iran and Armenia, Mount Ararat, "Aqridaq" for the Turks and "Masis" for the Armenians, is the highest mountain in Europe. Ararat is actually two summits: the largest, a snow-covered dome surrounded by glaciers, rises to 5156 m to the northwest. The "little Ararat" located to the southeast is 3914 m high and has the shape of a pointed cone. These two peaks are 11 kilometers apart. Mount Ararat is of volcanic origin and violent earthquakes occur in its surroundings. The last, in 1840, caused many losses. In October 1829, for the first time, Friedrich Parrot climbed the summit of the "Great Ararat" where according to the Bible, Noah's ark reached the mainland after the flood.
Zagros: The Zagros mountain range stretches all over the west of the country. These mountains are connected, in the north, to the mountains of Azerbaijan which, in reality, follow those of Armenia. Many peaks of this mountain range, from north to south, exceed 3000 and even 4000 m. The western part of this chain, from Kurdistan to Khuzestan, is called Posht-Kuh. Kabir-Kuh is one of the most important Posht-Kouh mountains. Its highest peak is Zard-Kuh, 3062m high.
Mount Alvand (3746 m) at Hamadan, Bisotun Mountain at Kermanshah and Oshtoran Kuh (4326 m) in Lorestan Province are the highest peaks to the east of the Zagros Mountains.
Two major rivers of Iran, Karoun in the west and Zayandeh rud in the east, take their sources in the Bakhtiar mountains, which are part of this mountain range.
The Kohgiluyeh mountain is also part of this chain and extends south to the Persian Gulf.
Mount Alvand:Alvand or Arvand in Persian, Orontes in Greek. Mount Alvand is actually made up of several granite peaks (8 according to the Avesta). These summits are covered with snow most of the year. Hamdollah Mostofi, in the year 740 of the lunar era, wrote: "Its summit was never empty of snow". Clouds coming from the Mediterranean, stopped by these mountains, cause many rains and snowfall, which are at the origin of multiple sources and rivers.
Although granite, it is not unusual to find on this mount quartz and marble of different colors. The stones used in the construction of the temple of the goddess Anahita in Kangavar and the mausoleum of Avicenna come from this mountain. The latter would have lived on this mountain for a while to look for medicinal plants.
Mount Alvand was the place of transhumance of many Kurdish and Turkish nomads. The remains found on and near this mountain prove the existence of a strong human activity in this region. To the south-west of Alvand, there used to be a bustling city where coins of different ages were found. The remains of a Parthian castle or temple, as well as the temple of Anahita are also part of the historical sights of this place.
Due to its strategic geographical location, Mount Alvand served as a refuge on many occasions. Among others, Fath Ali Shah, king of Qadjar, during his attack on Baghdad in the year 1237 of the lunar era, took refuge there to protect himself from cholera.
Engraved on the rocks of Mount Alvand, there are two cuneiform inscriptions dating from the Achaemenid era. These inscriptions, known as Ganj Nameh, are about two meters high and are written in three languages: Neo-Lamite, Neo-Babylonian, and Old Persian. There are also remains of the Islamic period, such as Imam Zadh Mohsen.
The Zagros mountains separate the Iranian plateau from the Dejleh plain. Alongside this main chain, there is a central mountain range, of lower altitude, about 4000 km long.
The central chains:This chain extends west of the salt lake (Daryacheh-ye Namak), passes east of Isfahan, west of Yazd and Kerman and joins the extinct volcano of Taftan in the province of Baluchistan. The main chains are those of "Ghohrud and Banan" which follow each other. The Qahrud mountains connect the city of Kashan with that of Kerman and the south of Kerman to Baluchistan, and extend the mountains of Banan.
The most important peaks of the central mountain ranges are those of Karkas south of Kashan, Shir Kouh at Yazd (4075 m), Barez and Shahsavaran at Kerman.
Between these mountains lie great arid plains. The Iranian plateau is one of the most barren lands in Asia and signs of life are very rare. This plateau looks like a bridge that connects East and West Asia, a crossroads making it possible to meet tribes of different origins. Tribes who have always had to deal with the incredible drought of this land.
The southern mountains: not far from the Persian Gulf, from the Arabian Sea and until Baluchistan, there are some low mountain ranges. The most important mountains of the south are located in the area of Tangestan and Larestan. They stretch eastwards until they reach the mountains of Bashagard (2161 m), south of the pond of Jazmurian and near the Arabian Sea.
The mountains of the east: from Khorassan in the north to Baluchistan in the south, there are many peaks that can be classified into three mountain ranges:
The mountains of Jam, including the peaks of "Bakhezr", Kuh-e Sorkh, Kuh-e Siah and Hashtadan, south of Khorassan.
The mountains of Qa'en, south of Jam, whose highest peaks are Kuh-e Kalat (2850 m), Kuh-e Ahangaran (2877 m) and Shah Kuh.
The mountains of Makran, at Baluchistan. They extend from Zabol in the province of Sistan to around Bam. Among its highest peaks are the Palangan Mountains, Malek Siah and the ancient Taftan volcano (4050 m).
The Barez Mountains, east of Jiroft, were in the fourth century covered with dense forests. At the time of the Islamic conquests, the Zoroastrians took refuge there to be safe from the armies of the Umayyad Khalifes.
The Aladaq Mountains, the highest peak of which is Shah Jahan (3091 m), are located in the north of Khorassan province in north-eastern Iran. Binalood Mountain (3425 m) takes over these mountains and is the natural border of the city of Neyshabur.
All these mountain ranges that outline the contours of present day Iran have seen countless nomadic tribes and many armies pass through their history. The borders of Iran have been transformed many times. At the golden age of the Achaemenid era, the Sindh (Indus) river to the sea and the Nile, the Seyhun (Syr-Daria), the Caspian Sea, the Caucasus Mountains and the Black Sea. to the Persian Gulf and the Sea of Oman formed the natural borders of Iran.