Aras River

Also known as: Araz River, Araks River, Araxes River

Aras River, also Araz (Turkish) or Araks (Armenian) is a river on the border of Iran, Armenia and Azerbaijan. Aras is one of the largest rivers in this area with a length of about 1072 km. The river originates in Turkey and flows eastward and joins the Kura River and finally pours into the Caspian Sea.
Aras River has been chosen as the border between Persian Empire and Imperial Russia after two Russo-Persian wars in 19th century; the wars ended in Iran (Persia at the time) ceding Caucasian territories to Russia. 
This article is about the south bank of Aras River which is Iranian territory and some nearby attractions. 


Aras Dam and its lake

An embankment dam has been built in 1970 along the Iran-Azerbaijan border, in Poldasht City in West Azerbaijan Province, Iran and Nakhchivan, Azerbaijan. The artificial lake of the dam is the biggest lake of this kind in Iran with 100220 km2. The lake is 40 away from Jolfa City and is the main habitat of White-fronted Goose and a variety of freshwater fish like Erupian Catfish, Zander, Barbel fish, Common Carp, Aspe and Silver Carp. This dam is a favorite place for fishing lovers. 


Aras Mount Park

A 26 hectare park, located 5 km west of Jolfa, this tourist site includes an amusement park, accommodation suites, artificial lake and restaurants. The park was created for tourists to watch the amazing landscape of Aras River. They can also use pedal boats in the lake.


Saint Stepanos Monastery 

Located 16 km west of Jolfa City, 3 km away of south bank of Aras River, Saint Stepanos Monastery, a world heritage site, is located. The monastery is a sacred place for Armenians and other Christians. The building itself is of importance and dates back to 7th century.


Khaje Nazar Caravansary

As one of the many (allegedly 999) caravansaries built in Safavid Era, it was built upon the order of Khaje Nazar, an Armenian businessman, 5 km away from Jolfa and on the riverbank of Aras.
Khoda Afarin Bridges
Two historical bridges with 100 meter distance from each other, the first one was built in Seljuq Era (1037- 1194) with 15 arches and the second one in Safavid Era (1501-1722)  with 10 arches. 


Kiamaki Mountain 

Kiamaki Mountain is the second highest mountain in East Azerbaijan Province. There is also another volcano north of Jolfa, which its outburst in past has created a very good scenery of green marbles ornamenting the mountain. There are also other lofty mountains in the area that attract many climbers. 


Location

Taking the northwest border of Iran, from West Azerbaijan to Ardabil Province, most of the attractions associated with Aras River are located near Jolfa north of Tabriz, provincial capital city of East Azerbaijan. To get to the Jolfa, take Tabriz-Marand Road; after about 70 km you arrive at Marand, and then you have 70 more kilometers to Jolfa. Spring and summer are the best time to visit northwest of Iran.

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