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Legends of “Mountain of Paradise” in Savalan

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Moslem Norouz-Zadeh 

Azarbaijan plateau is a highland which is located to the northwest of the Iranian Plateau and comprises Ardebil province.

Presence of high mountains and Mediterranean climatic conditions has led to high precipitation in the region, so that, some regions are covered with snow for 9 months of the year and there are many springs and rivers in the province.

Sabalan volcanic mountain range, which is called “Savalan” by local Turks, consists of a number of separate mountains like Saein, Narmiq, and Qoushadaq. Sabalan is like a beautiful cone which has a lake at its top and the lake is surrounded by an ice cap all through the year. The main summit is called “Sultan Savalan” by locals and is the highest point in Azarbaijan region (4,811 m) while being the second highest mountain in Iran after Mount Damavand.

Savalan is one of the most famous mountains in the region which is highly respected by local people. Savalan has been focus of attention in various historical periods including when Aryans poured into Iran and people around it have been known for their courage and power.

Various memories and stories of the past reveal that Savalan has gone through a turbulent history and people around it have learnt lessons of steadfastness from the mountain.

The beauty of Savalan and its role in the lives of local people has been reflected in Azarbaijan folkloric literature to such an extent that they regard Savalan the more pure of all mountains and “one of the seven mountains that exist in Paradise”.

According to some stories it is the burial place of many virtuous men and prophets. Some historians maintain that for more than 2,000 years, some prophets have scaled up the mountain to worship God and have considered it sacred. Therefore, each year a great number of local people along with nomads and villagers visit the mountain to avail of God-given bounties around it. In the eyes of regional people Savalan is not simply a resort or a pasture for their livestock, but is a symbol of manhood and heroism and a haven for the oppressed. Nomads tell their sufferings to Savalan and call it for help. They call it “Sultan Savalan”. Poems that have been recited since ancient times about the mountain clearly indicate the high position of the mount in the life of regional tribes and nomads.

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