The mountain, symbol of splendor, strength, and grandeur, also evokes the divinity and eternity of the Creator.

The mountain, symbol of splendor, strength, and grandeur, also evokes the divinity and eternity of the Creator.

It was at the top of Mount Hira that the first revelations were manifested to Muhammad, the messenger of God. Jesus was crucified on the heights of Golgotha, Moses knew God on Mount Sinai and Zarathustra was born and wrote the Avesta on the heights of Sabalan. There the truth disputed him to myth and legend: the truth, because the prophet chose for this place the name evocative source of paradise; the myth, because the struggles between Keykhosrow, Fariborz Rad and Bahman Dej, put in verse by the scholar of Tus (Ferdowsi) had for scenery Mount Sabalan; the legend finally, maintained by the Azeris: "When the snow is scarce at the top of Sabalan, they tell us, it is that the famine is on our doorstep". Ardabil and Sabalan were the cradle of brave men and fighters. Babak koram din and Chah Ismail experienced their courage and bravery in Sabalan and committed their unforgettable rebellion to Ardabil.


We, the members of the mountaineering team at the Khatam-ol-anbia hospital in Tehran, chose the hot summer season to climb Mount Sabalan. Here we are on the road to the ancient city of Ardabil.

Formerly called Artavil, the holy city of the Zoroastrians was called, since the Sassanid period, Baran-Pirouz. The centuries passed. At the death of Sheikh Safi-al-Din Ardabil, the city metamorphoses Kaaba hopes, mecca of Sufism, a favorite place for followers of the mystical path. At the time of the Safavids, whoever committed a sin went to seek refuge in Ardabil. Thus the city also took the name of Dar-al-aman.

This historic land is home to an equally historic mountain, an extinct volcano located 48 kilometers west of Ardabil. It is an imposing mountain that extends from the Qareh-Su valley, northwest of Ardabil, to the heights of the "Qouss Daq" mountain, south of Ahar. From east to west, it stretches for 60 kilometers and an approximate width of 48 kilometers. The highest point of this mountain, is Mount Sabalan or Sultan Savalan, an altitude of 4811 meters. It is the second highest peak in the country, after Mount Damavand. This vast ensemble is at the center of a huge triangle formed by the cities of Ardabil, Meshkin-Shahr and Sarab.

There are many paths to access the summit of Sabalan; but the best and most popular is the hot springs of "Qutur Sui" and Shabil. To take this route, you must leave Ardabil and take the road to Meshkin-Shahr. 60 kilometers further, we enter a secondary road. After 30 kilometers, passing the village of "Lahroud", one reaches the famous hot springs of "Qutur Sui", then, a little further, those of Chabil.

This is the ideal place for the establishment of our first camp. But currently, the center of thalassotherapy Chabil, one of the best establishments of its kind, is out of service. On the other hand, "Qutur Sui", a small village whose sulfur smell from its hot springs fills the entire region, is more likely to welcome and please visitors. Around Sabalan, from Sar'ein to "Qutur Sui", there are scattered but easily identifiable, many hot springs. According to some geological studies, Mount Sabalan and its hot springs result from the volcanic activity of the soil of the region during the Tertiary era. These are also responsible for the appearance of other high mountains, such as Sahand. The chemical and hydrological analysis of these waters shows that they originate in the depths of the earth. Crossing the different layers of the earth, they become rich in minerals, especially carbonate and sulphate. These waters, in their quality of hot spring, would have therapeutic virtues. As such, they benefit many visitors and patients, and are an important source of income for the inhabitants of the region.

The splendor of the mountain is obvious from Chabil. From this distance, snowy Mount Sabalan looks like a white cone. Leaving Chabil, it takes 45 minutes to reach, by jeep, the first mountain refuge. However, it is advisable, to enjoy more of the sublime nature, to make the way on foot. The group begins its progression. The air is fresh and pleasant. Spring smells never leave this region. Everything is going well and the higher the altitude, the higher the beauty of the slope of the mountain. The green pastures are visible throughout the region. It is thanks to this mountain that many rivers flowing on the northern slope, such as "Anzan", "Kiav", Meshkin and "Qotur" flow into Qareh-Su. On the southern slope, flow rivers such as "Dari", "Zuru", "Zarnaq" and "Alan", which join "Talkeh-roud". These rivers are the source of soil fertility. The Moqan plain, for example, is rich in sediments and provides farmers and pastoralists with excellent pastures. The water of these rivers, coming from the snow, the constant rains and the melting of the glaciers of the mountain, is at the origin of the greenery of the plateaus.

According to a report by the National Institute of the Environment, more than 3000 species of plants have been recorded in this mountain, among others, mint, poppies, iris and buttercups. It is thanks to the profusion of flowers and plants on its slopes that the region produces the most famous honey of Iran. The presence of some rabbits on the surrounding hills, reminds that this mountain offers an ideal natural habitat for animals of the heights, for the ibex, the goat, the ram, the ewe, the brown bear, the fox, the wolf and the doe. Here and there, live villagers with simple "Abeh", accompanied by their cattle, their poultry and their faithful dogs.