For the Iranian Frigate Alborz see: Iranian frigate Alborz.
For Alborz High School (in Persian:دبیرستان البرز) see: Alborz High School.

Alborz (Persian: البرز), also written as Alburz or Elburz, is a mountain range in northern Iran stretching from the borders of Armenia in the northwest to the southern end of the Caspian (Mazandaran) Sea, and ending in the east at the borders of Turkmenistan and Afghanistan. The largest mountain in the Middle East, Mount Damavand, is located in the range.

The Alborz mountain range forms a barrier between the south Caspian and the Qazvin-Tehran plateau. It is only 60-130 km wide and consists of sedimentary series dating from Upper Devonian to Oligocene, prevalently Jurassic limestone over a granite core. Its higher elevations, in the Elburz Range forest steppe ecoregion, are arid with few trees, but its northern slopes, in the Caspian Hyrcani mixed forests ecoregion, are lush and forested.

Zoroastrians may identify the range with the dwelling place of the Peshyotan, and the Zoroastrian Ilm-e-Kshnoom sect identify Mount Davamand as the home of the Saheb-e-Dilan ('Masters of the Heart'). In his epic Shahnameh, the poet Ferdowsi speaks of the mountains "as though they lay in India." This could reflect older usage, for numerous high peaks were given the name and some even reflect it to this day. For example, Mount Elbrus in the Caucasus Mountains, and Mount Elbariz (Albariz) in the Kirman area above the Straits of Hormuz. As recently as the 19th century, a peak in the northernmost range in the Hindu Kush system, just south of Balkh, was recorded as Mount Elburz in British army maps. All these names reflect the same Iranian language compound, and share an identification as the legendary mountain Harā Bərəzaitī of the Avesta.

Also due to its great snowy winters there are several ski resorts, some consider that a few of these are among the best in the world. Some of most important ones are: Dizin, Shemshak, Tochal, and Darbandsar.


The name Elbrus is a sound metathesis derived from Alborz. The name Alborz is derived from that of Harā Bərəzaitī, a legendary mountain in the Avesta . Harā Bərəzaitī reflects Proto-Iranian *Harā Bṛzatī *Bṛzatī is the feminine form of the adjective *bṛzant- "high", the ancestor of modern Persian boland (بلند) and Barz/Berazandeh. Harā may be interpreted as "watch" or "guard", from an Indo-European root *ser- "protect". . In Middle Persian, Harā Bərəzaitī became Harborz, Modern Persian Alborz, which is cognate with Elbrus.

Mounts, summits, and attractions


  • North, S.J.R., Guide to Biblical Iran, Rome 1956, p. 50


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