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Karaj 22.jpg
امامزاده طاهر - panoramio.jpg
Amir kabir Dam.jpg
Banafshé Park - panoramio (1).jpg
Beheshti Ave. ^ Taleghani Blvd. intersection - panoramio.jpg
Azimiye karaj.jpg
Dizin Ski resort Tehran2.jpg
Images from Karaj
Official seal of Karaj
Karaj is located in Iran
Coordinates: 35°50′08″N 51°00′37″E / 35.83556°N 51.01028°E / 35.83556; 51.01028Coordinates: 35°50′08″N 51°00′37″E / 35.83556°N 51.01028°E / 35.83556; 51.01028
Country Iran
 • MayorAli Asghar Kamalizadeh
 • City Council ChairmanAkbar Salimnejad
 • City162 km2 (63 sq mi)
1,312 m (4,304 ft)
 (2016 Census)
 • Urban
1,592,492 [2]
 • Metro
2,512,737 [1]
 • Population Rank in Iran
Time zoneUTC+3:30 (IRST)
 • Summer (DST)UTC+4:30 (IRDT)
Area code(s)026

Karaj (Persian: کرج‎, pronounced [kæˈɾædʒ] (About this soundlisten)) is the capital of Alborz Province, Iran, and effectively a satellite city of Tehran. Although the county hosts a population around 1.97 million, as recorded in the 2016 census, most of the 1,419 km2 (548 sq mi) county is rugged mountain, the urban area is the fourth-largest in Iran, after Tehran, Mashhad, and Isfahan.[3] Eshtehard County and Fardis County were split off from Karaj county since the previous census.

The earliest records of Karaj date back to 30th century BC. The city was developed under the rule of the Safavid and Qajar dynasties, and is home to historical buildings and memorials from those eras. Until the second half of the 20th century, it used to be known mainly as a summer resort. Today, it is a major industrial city, with factories producing sugar, textiles and wire.


Shah-Abbasi Caravansary

Karaj has been hosting communities since 3000 years BC.[4][5] The Khurvin region of Karaj has been inhabited since the Bronze Age, and the Kelak region on the left bank of Karaj River since the Iron Age.

The stone built Takht-e Rostam, located on a mount in the west of Shahriar County, was built in the Parthian era as a Zoroastrian fire temple.

Until the late 20th century, the city was mainly crossed into by a stone bridge built in the Safavid era. The stone built Shah-Abbasi Caravansary, located at the southeast of Towhid Square, was built in the same era, under the rule of Šāh Esmāil.[5]

In the 1810s, the Palace of Soleymaniye, which included four towers surrounded by gardens and walls, was built as a summer resort by the order of Shahzaden Soleyman (Soleyman Mirza), an old prince governor of Kermānšāh.[5] Granted in the Pahlavi era by Rezā Šāh Pahlavi, it is now housing the Faculty of Agriculture of the University of Tehran.

The Morvārid Palace was constructed in nearby Mehršahr district, during the Pahlavi era. It was designed by the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation (Taliesin Associated Architects) on instructions from Shams Pahlavi, elder sister of Mohammad Reza Pahlavi. Majority of the structure is now controlled by the Basij Organization, and some sections of it are open to public under the operation of Cultural Heritage Organization of Iran.

Other historical sites of the city include the Mausoleum of Šāhzāde Soleymān, Emāmzāde Rahmān, Emāmzāde Zeyd, and Palang Ābād e Eštehārd.[6]


Karaj is situated 20 kilometres (12 mi) west of Tehran, at the foothills of the Alborz mountains.

Built on a wide plain with some gentle hills, the city is located north of the agricultural plain of Šahriār and east of the plains of Sāvoj Bolāq and Haštgerd.


A view of Taleghani boulevard towers

The downtown of Karaj is usually referred to Karaj Square, located hundred of meters to the west of Karaj River and the old Karaj Bridge. The villages Hesārak, Gowhar Dašt, and Šahrak e Azimie are located in the northern Greater Karaj. Mehršahr, an abortive residential luxury resort, and Šahrak e Fardis, a popular modern quarter close to the industrial facilities,[7] were designed by the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation in the late 1960s.

Meškin Dašt, a large agricultural area between Mehršahr and Fardis, lies outside the municipal limits of Karaj.

The following table includes the major districts of the city:

Gouhar Daŝt Mehrŝahr Kiānmehr Karaj e Now Hesārak Deraxti Azimie Ouj Ŝāhin Villā Bonyād Bāqestān Doulat Ābād
Garm Darre Ŝahrake Jahānŝahr Mesbāh Mehr Villā Dehqān Villā Māhdaŝt Ŝahrake Banafŝe Fardis Vahdat Kalāk o Hesār Estām Ābād Golŝahr
Golŝahr Villā Zibā Daŝt Zoube Āhan Sāsāni Homāyun Villā Mehrānŝahr Mehdi Ābād Ŝahrake Xātam Miān Jādde Heydar Ābād Sāwoj Bolāq Bahārestān

Open space recreational areas of Karaj include Irānzamin Park, Pārk e Xānvāde, Tennis Park, Pārk e Mādar, Tāleqān Gardens, Kordān Gardens, Jahānšahr Gardens, Pardis e Golhā, and the Tulip Garden of Gačsār.


The climate of Karaj is a bit cooler than Tehran's, and it receives 260 mm of rain annually (and like Tehran, the precipitation pattern is similar to those of Mediterranean climates). The Köppen-Geiger climate classification system classifies the city's climate as cold semi-arid (BSk).[8]

Climate data for Karaj (1985–2010)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 18.2
Average high °C (°F) 6.1
Daily mean °C (°F) 1.8
Average low °C (°F) −2.5
Record low °C (°F) −17.0
Average precipitation mm (inches) 30.8
Average precipitation days (≥ 1.0 mm) 6.3 5.7 6.7 5.8 3.7 1.0 0.7 0.3 0.3 3.2 4.8 5.8 44.3
Average snowy days 5.4 3.7 1.9 0.1 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.5 2.7 14.3
Average relative humidity (%) 67 60 53 48 43 34 35 34 36 44 56 66 48
Mean monthly sunshine hours 166.3 169.7 197.4 218.1 280.7 335.2 341.5 340.1 304.2 250.1 187.2 156.8 2,947.3
Source: Iran Meteorological Organization (records),[9] (temperatures),[10] (precipitation),[11] (humidity),[12] (days with precipitation and snow),[13] (sunshine)[14]

Amir Kabir Dam and some other small lakes are based in Karaj. The city is a starting point for a drive along road forced north through the Alborz mountain to the Caspian Sea.[15]


Ethnic groups of Karaj (Pars advanced research scholars)[16]
Ethnic groups Percent
Gilak and Tabari

The majority of the residents of Karaj are Persian-speaking people, with Azerbaijanis making up the second major ethno-linguistic group of the city. Kurds, Gilak, Tabari and Lurs include the other ethnicities among the population of Karaj.

Gender segregation population in 2016
Male Female Total Ref.
890,824 886,570 1,759,394 [17]
Population by age group in 2016 (%)
age (0–14 years) age (15–29 years) age (30–64 years) age (65 years and older)
20.3% 23.6% 50.2% 6.0%



Karaj is connected by railway and highways to Tehran 40 km east and Qazvin 100 km northwest, and by commuter rail to the subway system of Tehran.

The city is served by an urban railway organization established on 21 December 2001.[18][19] It is also served by the Karaj Metro Station which was established on 7 March 1999, and is located in the south-eastern Karaj, near Tehran–Qazvin Freeway.

Karaj Metro operational and under construction lines
Karaj 6 lines information
Line Line Route Length Stations
1 Germdareh - new city of Hashtgerd 43 km (26.7 mi) 6
2 Kamalshahr – Mallard 27 km (16 mi) 23
3 Karaj - Azimiyeh 14 km (9 mi) 12
4 Baghestan - Karaj(Payam) Airport 18 km (11.1 mi) 19
5 Shahid Moazen Boulevard – Mohamadshahr 12 km (7.5 mi) 10
6 Esteghlal Boulevard - Shahid Soltani Square 9 km(6 mi) 8
Total: 97 km (60 mi) 76


The highway system of Karaj includes Tehran–Karaj Highway, Karaj Special Road, and the old road of Karaj (Fath Highway). Bākeri Expressway is one of the main north-to-south routes in west Tehran, which is connected to the Tehran–Karaj Highway.[20] Tehran–Karaj Highway is one of the busiest sections in Iran with AADT of 217084.[21] Karaj–Qazvin has an AADT of 79606.

The aerial transport of Karaj is served by the Payam International Airport, which was established in 1990, and was officially opened in 1997.

A view of the Karaj-Chalous Road (Road 59) and the Karaj River


Currently, the total number of buses in Karaj and the suburbs are 1,600 units. More than 80 lines serve citizens.[22]

Preparing Alborz Card[23] can reduce the cost of travel tickets.


Karaj Metro is an efficient way to travel inside the city. One line connects west and east of the city (from Karaj Station to Golshahr Station). It continues eastward until Tehran. On its way to Tehran, it stops at Chitgar park and Azadi stadium. The second line of Karaj metro (north to south) is under construction.


Payam International Airport, is an international airport located in Karaj, 40 kilometres (25 mi) from Tehran, in the Alborz Province of Iran. The airport was established in 1990, but was not opened officially until 1997. Payam Aviation Services Co. operates the airport as part of Payam Special Economic Zone. Payam Air previously operated an air mail hub at the airport.


The economic base of Karaj is its proximity to Tehran. It is due to the transportation of products between Tehran and the Caspian Sea. Chemicals, fertilizers and processed agricultural goods are also produced in the city.

Karaj is a major industrial city, with factories producing sugar, textiles, wire, and alcohol. It has become a major area for middle class migrants from Tehran. This is due to the better environmental and cheaper housing conditions.

Zowb Āhan, the avenue leading to an industrial plant, is located at the south of Ostandar Square. Zowb e Āhan or Zowb Āhan, literally "steel mill", was a contract between the Pahlavi government and a consortium from Nazi Germany. The establishment of the factory Zowb Āhan e Karaj was halted by the beginning of the Second World War, and it was never launched.

Šahrak-e Jahānšahr was the first modern private industrial and housing complex of Karaj, built in the 1960s. The factories Jahān Čit (textile factory), Rowqan Nabāti e Jahān (oil factory), and Čāy e Jahān (tea factory), were established at the complex. It is one of the largest industrial zones of the nation, with a 20% share of the national GDP [citation?].

The special economic zone of Payam, with an area about 3,600 ha (36 km2; 8,900 acres) within the territory of Payam International Airport, was established in Karaj for development of air cargo and postal transportation, cold store, and packing services, as well as perishable and time sensitive exports. It is the only SEZ in the region with the privilege of its own airline.

Tourist attractions[edit]


Historical tourist attractions
Place name Image Era Notes
Gachsar Iron Road and Stone Bridge Islamic era
Imamzadeh Ahmad and Mahmoud Islamic era
Heljerd Mosque Qajar
Karaj Central Mosque Qajar
Kandovan Caravanserai Qajar
Old Cemetery Safavids
Plane trees Hesar 800 years
Cypress 1300 years
Agh Tapeh Ancient
Mahdasht Rashteh Hills (Mardabad Hills) 3rd millennium BC Historic stone carved dwellings.[24]
Yakh Morad Cave Ancient Walls of the cave are covered in ice and icicles during most seasons.[25] The name translates in English to "ice wishes" because it was thought that the ice from the pool near the end of the cave would cure diseases.[25]
Heydar Abad Bath Safavids
Mesbah Bathhouse Qajar Noted for its historical architecture.[26][27]
Pearl Palace Pearl Palace -Kakh e Morvarid- Karaj Iran.jpg Pahlavi Pearl Palace was designed by the Frank Lloyd Wright's Taliesin Associated Architects in the 1970s.[24]
Shah Abbasi Caravanserai Caravansarai Karaj.jpg Safavids A historical caravanserai.[28]
Suleymanieh Palace (Solaymāniya Palace) کاخ سلیمانیه ی کرج1.jpg Qajar In 1810, Soleiman Eskandari, the former prince governor of Kermānšāh, built the palace as a summer resort.[29] By 1860, this was no longer being used as a palace.[29] In 1917, the In 1917, the School of Farming, replacing the Moẓaffari Agricultural School (of Tehran), was established in the large gardens and the last remaining buildings.[29] Reza Shah Pahlavi formally granted the place to the new Faculty of Agriculture of the University of Tehran.[29]


Dizin Ski Resort


Educational and research centers of the city include:


Karaj was formerly home of the Persian Gulf Pro League club, Saipa, for several years and this club won its first league championship in this city, however in 2014 the team relocated to Tehran. Currently the only professional football team in city is Oxin Alborz that play in the Azadegan League. The Home stadium of Oxin Alborz F.C. is Enghelab Stadium that located in Karaj Enghelab sport complex and has a capacity of 15,000 people. Saipa volleyball team lost to Kalleh team in this stadium in 2011–12 and became the runner-up in the final match of the country's volleyball premier league.

Karaj also has an international tennis complex which is used to training and tournaments.

One of the international ski resorts of Iran The, Dizin ski resort, is located a few kilometers north-east of the city, in the Alborz. In Dizin, along with skiing facilities, there are tennis courtyards, a slope for skiing on turf, some altitudes for mountain climbing and walking as well as riding and some routes for cycling.[30]

Notable people[edit]

Ali Karimi
Shadi Amin
Mehran Rajabi
Kimia Alizadeh

Academia and scholars[edit]


Politicians and political activists[edit]



See also[edit]


  1. ^ [1]
  2. ^ "Statistical Center of Iran > Home". www.amar.org.ir.
  3. ^ City Population: IRAN: Major Cities
  4. ^ L. van den Berghe, La nécropole de Khūrvīn, Istanbul, Nederlands Historisch-Archaeologisch Instituut in het Nabije Oosten, 1964.
  5. ^ a b c Karaj i. Modern City
  6. ^ www.sirang.com, Sirang Rasaneh. "Karaj city in Alborz province, travel to iran, Visit Iran". itto.org | Iran Tourism & Touring.
  7. ^ Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation's deteriorating masterpiece in Iran, Nima Kasraie - June 4, 2004
  8. ^ "Climate: Karaj - Climate graph, Temperature graph, Climate table". Climate-Data.org. Retrieved 9 September 2013.
  9. ^
  10. ^
  11. ^
  12. ^
  13. ^
  14. ^
  15. ^ Iran. Ediz. Inglese by Andrew Burke, Mark Elliott, and Kamin Mohammadi, 2004
  16. ^ "Pars". Pars. Archived from the original on 2016-02-17. Retrieved 2016-02-12.
  17. ^ "درگاه ملی آمار". www.amar.org.ir. Archived from the original on 2019-09-06. Retrieved 2019-06-26.
  18. ^ "Karaj Urban Railway History". Archived from the original on 2016-03-04. Retrieved 2015-05-27.
  19. ^ "Iran Railways Map".
  20. ^ "Main Bridges on Tehran-Karaj Highway Commissioned". Tehran official web site.
  21. ^ "تردد بیش از یک میلیون خودرو از آزادراه تهران -کرج". Archived from the original on Aug 12, 2013.
  22. ^ "کرج - ویکی‌سفر". fa.wikivoyage.org (in Persian). Retrieved 2019-06-26.
  23. ^ "البرزکارت | البرزکارت: کارت بلیت الکترونیکی کرج". alborzcard.ir.
  24. ^ a b "Mahdasht Rashteh Hills registered on the national heritage list". Mehr News Agency. 2014-11-25. Retrieved 2021-04-06.
  25. ^ a b "Yakh Morad Cave: One of The Attractions of Iran's Chalous Road - Tourism news". Tasnim News Agency. Persia Digest. August 27, 2018. Retrieved 2021-04-06.CS1 maint: others (link)
  26. ^ "حمام تاریخی مصباح کجاست؟" [Where is the Historical Bath of Mesbah?]. ایسنا (in Persian). 2015-03-31. Retrieved 2021-04-06.
  27. ^ "حمام مصباح کرج؛ تجسم روح لطیف هنر در گذر تاریخ" [Mesbah Karaj Bath; Visualize the subtle spirit of art through history]. خبرگزاری مهر | اخبار ایران و جهان | Mehr News Agency (in Persian). 2012-03-26. Retrieved 2021-04-06.
  28. ^ "فیلم/ کاروانسرای شاه عباسی کرج یادگاری از دوره صفوی" [Shah Abbasi Caravanserai, Karaj, a relic from the Safavid period]. خبرگزاری مهر | اخبار ایران و جهان | Mehr News Agency (in Persian). 2016-03-16. Retrieved 2021-04-06.
  29. ^ a b c d Hourcade, Bernard (December 15, 2010). "Karaj i. Modern City". iranicaonline.org. New York City, New York: Encyclopædia Iranica, Vol. XV. pp. 537–538. Retrieved 2021-04-06.
  30. ^ "ITTO: Dizin Ski Slope". Archived from the original on 2012-03-07. Retrieved 2010-12-14.

External links[edit]