People, Travel

Iran's Sabalan Region Famed for Its Vistas

Sabalan Famed for Its VistasSabalan Famed for Its Vistas

Sabalan region, Ardebil Province, is famed for its beautiful vista where the hiker feels like he’s walking in a land of dreams and wonder.

Mount Sabalan, the third highest in Iran, is a volcano with a permanent crater lake on its summit which is 4,752 meters high. The mountain is also called Savalan by locals.

The volcanic cone is considered quite old, as its rocks have been dated to millions of years ago, but its volcanic activity continued late into the Holocene epoch, less than 10,000 years ago.

On the slopes of the mountain there are many mineral water springs which attract thousands of tourists each year. The springs are famous for their healing properties. There are two famous hot springs close to Sabalan: Ghotursoui and Shabil, according to

Eroded volcanic outcrops resemble animals, birds and insects. The most stunning of such sculptures is an eagle statue known as Ghartal, seemingly gazing over its surroundings to maintain control over the Sabalan western slope from atop.

Such exceptional natural rocks can be seen also in Shirvan valley. The deep and wide valley is located north of Mount Sabalan. The valley is home to a rich biodiversity including boar, fox, wolf, ram, Armenian mouflon or Iranian red sheep, brown bear, and partridge.

Mount Sabalan is usually climbed on northern and southern tracks. Once on the summit, one can see a panorama of the beautiful landscape around as far as over hundred kilometers.

The crater lake is located on the southeast of the summit. It is elliptical, 145 meters long, 80 meters wide, and 25 meters deep. Between mid September and early June, the surface of the lake is frozen. Then the lake is an ideal ground for ice-skating – but caution is required.

Sabalan is mentioned in Avesta, the Zoroastrian holy book. Prophet Zoroaster is said to have written the Avesta when he retreated to Sabalan.

Ski resort and chairlift of Alvares, as well as spas of Sareyn town can be named among other attractions around Sabalan.

Hiking Sabalan is recommended specially in summer when nomads’ round tents dot the slopes. They belong to the friendly Shah-Savan tribe whose sheep, horse, and camels graze on the rich pastures of Sabalan.