The Kura–Araxes culture or the early trans-Caucasian culture was a civilization that existed from about 4000 BC until about 2000 BC, which has traditionally been regarded as the date of its end. The earliest evidence for this culture is found on the Ararat plain. Altogether, the early trans-Caucasian culture enveloped a vast area 1,000 km by 500 km, encompassed, on modern-day territories, the Southern Caucasus, northwestern Iran, the northeastern Caucasus, eastern Turkey, as far as Syria; the name of the culture is derived from the Araxes river valleys. Kura–Araxes culture is sometimes known as Shengavitian, Karaz and Yanik Tepe cultures, it gave rise to the Khirbet Kerak-ware culture found in Syria and Canaan after the fall of the Akkadian Empire. The formative processes of the Kura-Araxes cultural complex, the date and circumstances of its rise, have been long debated. Shulaveri-Shomu culture preceded the Kura–Araxes culture in the area. There were many differences between these two cultures, so the connection was not clear.
It was suggested that the Sioni culture of eastern Georgia represented a transition from the Shulaveri to the Kura-Arax cultural complex. At many sites, the Sioni culture layers can be seen as intermediary between Shulaver-Shomu-Tepe layers and the Kura-Araxes layers; this kind of stratigraphy warrants a chronological place of the Sioni culture at around 4000 BCE. Nowadays scholars consider the Kartli area, as well as the Kakheti area as key to forming the earliest phase of the Kura–Araxes culture. To a large extent, this appears as an indigenous culture of Caucasus, formed over a long period, at the same time incorporating foreign influences. There are some indications of the overlapping in time of the Uruk cultures; some scholars have suggested that the earliest manifestation of the Kura-Araxes phenomenon should be dated at least to the last quarter of the 5th millennium BC. This is based on the recent data from Ovçular Tepesi, a Late Chalcolithic settlement located in Nakhchivan by the Arpaçay river.
Rather elements of Kura–Araxes culture started to proceed westward to the Erzurum plain, southwest to Cilicia, to the southeast into the area of Lake Van, below the Urmia basin in Iran, such as to Godin Tepe. It proceeded into the present-day Syria, as far as Palestine, its territory corresponds to large parts of modern Armenia, Chechnya, Georgia, North Ossetia, parts of Iran and Turkey. At Sos Hoyuk, in Erzurum Province, early forms of Kura-Araxes pottery were found in association with local ceramics as early as 3500-3300 BC. During the Early Bronze Age in 3000-2200 BC, this settlement was part of the Kura-Araxes phenomenon. At Arslantepe, around 3000 BCE, there was widespread burning and destruction, after which Kura-Araxes pottery appeared in the area. According to Geoffrey Summers, the movement of Kura-Araxes peoples into Iran and the Van region, which he interprets as quite sudden, started shortly before 3000 BC, may have been prompted by the'Late Uruk Collapse', taking place at the end of Uruk IV phase c. 3100 BC.
Archaeological evidence of inhabitants of the Kura–Araxes culture showed that ancient settlements were found along the Hrazdan river, as shown by drawings at a mountainous area in a cave nearby. Structures in settlements have not revealed much differentiation, nor was there much difference in size or character between settlements, facts that suggest they had a poorly developed social hierarchy for a significant stretch of their history. Some, but not all, settlements were surrounded by stone walls, they built mud-brick houses round, but developing into subrectangular designs with structures of just one or two rooms, multiple rooms centered around an open space, or rectilinear designs. At some point the culture's settlements and burial grounds expanded out of lowland river valleys and into highland areas. Although some scholars have suggested that this expansion demonstrates a switch from agriculture to pastoralism and that it serves as possible proof of a large-scale arrival of Indo-Europeans, facts such as that settlement in the lowlands remained more or less continuous suggest that the people of this culture were diversifying their economy to encompass crop and livestock agriculture.
Shengavit Settlement is a prominent Kura-Araxes site in present-day Yerevan area in Armenia. It was inhabited from 3200 BC cal to 2500 BC cal. On, in the Middle Bronze Age, it was used irregularly until 2200 BC cal; the town occupied an area of six hectares, large for Kura-Araxes sites. In the 3rd millennium B. C. one particular group of mounds of the Kura–Araxes culture is remarkable for their wealth. This was the final stage of culture's development; these burial mounds are known as the Martqopi period mounds. Those on the left bank of the river Alazani are 20-25 meter high and 200-300 meter in diameter, they contain rich artefacts, such as gold and silver jewelry. The economy was based on livestock-raising, they grew grain and orchard crops, are known to have used implements to make flour. They raised cattle, goats, in phases, horses. Before the Kura-Araxes period, horse bones were not found in Transcaucasia. Beginning about 3300 BCE, they became widespread, w
Kaleybar. According to the 2006 census, with a population of 9,030 in 2,397 families, is the 25th most populated city of the province. In recent year the city has become a tourist destination thanks to its proximity to Babak Castle. In addition, as a result of geopolitical developments Kaleybar is replacing Ahar as the capital city of Qareh Dagh region. Kaleybar, known as Badd or Baddayn in Islamic chronicles, was the stronghold of Babak Khorramdin who, in 816 AD, revolted against Islamic Caliphate. Babak's resistance was ended in 836 when he was defeated by the Iranian General Afshin, acting on behalf of the Caliphate; the events of the two decades long tumultuous times subjected the town to the reports of early Islamic historians. The first reference to Kaleybar has been by Al-Masudi in The Meadows of Gold, Babak revolted in Bedh region with the deciples of Djavidan... Following a series of defeats Babak was blockaded in his native town... which now is known as Babak's country. Ibn Athir in his book, The Complete History, has devoted many pages to the description of battles which took place in Kaleybar between the Armies of Caliphate and Babak's forces.
Yaqut al-Hamawi, writing in early thirteenth century, describes Kaleybar as the followin, County between Azerbaijan and Erran. This is. We know these verses Bokhteri God protects you, great warrior who, in the days of Babak, have reversed the doors of the ungodly. There was a near Bedd, says the poet Mo'çer, a place of an area of about three acres, every time we say the name of God, a hidden voice responds; this is where the Red-Wearing Ones called the Khurramites raised the standard of revolt led by Babak', this is they expect EI-Mehdi. At the bottom, flows a large river which has the property of curing the most inveterate fevers; the Arax river flows on the border. This county produces pomegranates of incomparable beauty, excellent figs and grapes that are dried on fires. Hamdallah Mustawfi, writing in mid fourteenth century, mentions Kaleybar as, A village of Azerbaijan, in the woods near a mountain which comprises a fortress. Below flows a river; the country produces wheat and fruit, its inhabitants, who are Turks or Mongols, follow the rite of Schafey.
Kaleybar suffered enormously during Russo-Persian War and Russo-Persian War due to its proximity to the war zone. Moreover, through the involvement of Arasbaran tribes in armed conflicts during the Persian Constitutional Revolution, Kaleybar should have experienced a tumultuous period; the period has been described in the following books, which are dedicated to the contemporary history of Arasbaran region. H. Bayburdi "The history of Arasbaran", H. Doosti, "The history and geography of Arasbaran", N. Sedqi, "The contemporary political and social history of Arasbaran", S. R. Alemohammad, "The book of Arasbaran". "The Tribes of Qarāca Dāġ: A Brief History" by P. Oberling. Rezā Shāh, who deposed Ahmad Shah Qajar in 1925 and founded the Pahlavi dynasty, insisted on ethnic nationalism and cultural Unitarianism and implemented his policies with forced sedentarization of nomadic tribes, he renamed Qaradağ as Arasbaran to deny the Turkic identity of the inhabitants. In recent years, as a reaction to this oppressive acts, there has been an identity-seeking movement which emphasizes on the heroic resistance of Babak.
In 1998-2006 period Babak Castle considered a shrine for the movement and many cultural events were organized near Kaleybar. The dominant religion is Shia Islam. However, followers of Yârsân or Ahl-e Haqq constitute an appreciable minority in the town and the surrounding villages. Dr. Mohamad Ali, the only physician of the town until the 1970s, was a member of Bahaii faith; the spoken language in Kaleybar is the Azeri dialect of Turkish. Tough, until late seventies the older residents of some neighboring villages spoke Tati language, there is no evidence that Tati was spoken in Kaleybar. A cleric, the late Haji Mohammad Zakeri, told that the name Kaleybar was indeed a Tati word, meaning a town built on rocks. Kaleybar region with mountainous terrain and cultivation of hillside possess the isolating features for the development of a sophisticated whistled language; the majority of males are able, addicted, to masterfully mimic the melodic sounds of musical instruments using fingerless whistle. Melodic whistling, appears to be a private version of the Ashug music for personal satisfaction.
The mountainous region of Qaradağ, due to its remoteness and inaccessibility, was a guardian of Ashugh music. This frequent allusions of this music to mountains, with the intention of arousing an emotional state with a tone of mild melancholy, is consistent with the geography of Kaleybar; the first verses of an Ashugh song, composed by Məhəmməd Araz, may represent the essence of Ashugh music: Bəlkə bu yerlərə birdə gəlmədim duman səlamət qal dağ səlamət qal arxamca su səpir göydə bulutlar leysan səlamət qal yağ səlamət qal Aşıq Hoseyn Javan, born in Oti Kandi near Kaleybar, is the legendary Ashik, exiled to Soviet Union due to his revolutionary songs during the brief reign of Azerbaijan People's Government following the World War II. Hoseyn Javan's music, in contrast to the contemporary poetry in Iran
Armenia the Republic of Armenia, is a country in the South Caucasus region of Eurasia. Located in Western Asia on the Armenian Highlands, it is bordered by Turkey to the west, Georgia to the north, the de facto independent Republic of Artsakh and Azerbaijan to the east, Iran and Azerbaijan's exclave of Nakhchivan to the south. Armenia is a multi-party, democratic nation-state with an ancient cultural heritage. Urartu was established in 860 BC and by the 6th century BC it was replaced by the Satrapy of Armenia; the Kingdom of Armenia reached its height under Tigranes the Great in the 1st century BC and became the first state in the world to adopt Christianity as its official religion in the late 3rd or early 4th century AD. The official date of state adoption of Christianity is 301; the ancient Armenian kingdom was split between the Byzantine and Sasanian Empires around the early 5th century. Under the Bagratuni dynasty, the Bagratid Kingdom of Armenia was restored in the 9th century. Declining due to the wars against the Byzantines, the kingdom fell in 1045 and Armenia was soon after invaded by the Seljuk Turks.
An Armenian principality and a kingdom Cilician Armenia was located on the coast of the Mediterranean Sea between the 11th and 14th centuries. Between the 16th and 19th centuries, the traditional Armenian homeland composed of Eastern Armenia and Western Armenia came under the rule of the Ottoman and Iranian empires ruled by either of the two over the centuries. By the 19th century, Eastern Armenia had been conquered by the Russian Empire, while most of the western parts of the traditional Armenian homeland remained under Ottoman rule. During World War I, Armenians living in their ancestral lands in the Ottoman Empire were systematically exterminated in the Armenian Genocide. In 1918, following the Russian Revolution, all non-Russian countries declared their independence after the Russian Empire ceased to exist, leading to the establishment of the First Republic of Armenia. By 1920, the state was incorporated into the Transcaucasian Socialist Federative Soviet Republic, in 1922 became a founding member of the Soviet Union.
In 1936, the Transcaucasian state was dissolved, transforming its constituent states, including the Armenian Soviet Socialist Republic, into full Union republics. The modern Republic of Armenia became independent in 1991 during the dissolution of the Soviet Union. Armenia recognises the Armenian Apostolic Church, the world's oldest national church, as the country's primary religious establishment; the unique Armenian alphabet was invented by Mesrop Mashtots in 405 AD. Armenia is a member of the Eurasian Economic Union, the Council of Europe and the Collective Security Treaty Organization. Armenia supports the de facto independent Artsakh, proclaimed in 1991; the original native Armenian name for the country was Հայք, however it is rarely used. The contemporary name Հայաստան became popular in the Middle Ages by addition of the Persian suffix -stan.. However the origins of the name Hayastan trace back to much earlier dates and were first attested in circa 5th century in the works of Agathangelos, Faustus of Byzantium, Ghazar Parpetsi and Sebeos.
The name has traditionally been derived from Hayk, the legendary patriarch of the Armenians and a great-great-grandson of Noah, according to the 5th-century AD author Moses of Chorene, defeated the Babylonian king Bel in 2492 BC and established his nation in the Ararat region. The further origin of the name is uncertain, it is further postulated that the name Hay comes from one of the two confederated, Hittite vassal states—the Ḫayaša-Azzi. The exonym Armenia is attested in the Old Persian Behistun Inscription as Armina; the Ancient Greek terms Ἀρμενία and Ἀρμένιοι are first mentioned by Hecataeus of Miletus. Xenophon, a Greek general serving in some of the Persian expeditions, describes many aspects of Armenian village life and hospitality in around 401 BC, he relates that the people spoke a language that to his ear sounded like the language of the Persians. According to the histories of both Moses of Chorene and Michael Chamchian, Armenia derives from the name of Aram, a lineal descendant of Hayk.
The Table of Nations lists Aram as the son of Shem, to whom the Book of Jubilees attests, "And for Aram there came forth the fourth portion, all the land of Mesopotamia between the Tigris and the Euphrates to the north of the Chaldees to the border of the mountains of Asshur and the land of'Arara." Jubilees 8:21 apportions the Mountains of Ararat to Shem, which Jubilees 9:5 expounds to be apportioned to Aram. The historian Flavius Josephus states in his Antiquities of the Jews, "Aram had the Aramites, which the Greeks called Syrians. Of the four sons of Aram, Uz founded Trachonitis and Damascus: this country lies between Palestine and Celesyria. Ul founded Armenia. Armenia lies in the highlands surrounding the mountains of Ararat. There is evidence of an early civilisation in Armenia in the Bronze Age and earlier, dating to about 4000 BC. Archaeological surveys in 2010 and 2011 at the Areni-1 cave complex have resulted in the discovery of the world's earliest known leather shoe and wine-producing facility.
According to the story of Hayk, the legendary founder of Armenia, around 2107 BC Hayk fought against Belus, the Babylonian God of War, at Çavuştepe along the Engil river to establish the first Armenian state. This event coinc
Strabo was a Greek geographer and historian who lived in Asia Minor during the transitional period of the Roman Republic into the Roman Empire. Strabo was born to an affluent family from Amaseia in Pontus in around 64 BC, his family had been involved in politics since at least the reign of Mithridates V. Strabo was related to Dorylaeus on his mother's side. Several other family members, including his paternal grandfather had served Mithridates VI during the Mithridatic Wars; as the war drew to a close, Strabo's grandfather had turned several Pontic fortresses over to the Romans. Strabo wrote that "great promises were made in exchange for these services", as Persian culture endured in Amasia after Mithridates and Tigranes were defeated, scholars have speculated about how the family's support for Rome might have affected their position in the local community, whether they might have been granted Roman citizenship as a reward. Strabo's life was characterized by extensive travels, he journeyed to Egypt and Kush, as far west as coastal Tuscany and as far south as Ethiopia in addition to his travels in Asia Minor and the time he spent in Rome.
Travel throughout the Mediterranean and Near East for scholarly purposes, was popular during this era and was facilitated by the relative peace enjoyed throughout the reign of Augustus. He moved to Rome in 44 BC, stayed there and writing, until at least 31 BC. In 29 BC, on his way to Corinth, he visited the island of Gyaros in the Aegean Sea. Around 25 BC, he sailed up the Nile until reaching Philae, after which point there is little record of his proceedings until AD 17, it is not known when Strabo's Geography was written, though comments within the work itself place the finished version within the reign of Emperor Tiberius. Some place its first drafts around 7 BC, others around AD 17 or 18; the latest passage to which a date can be assigned is his reference to the death in AD 23 of Juba II, king of Maurousia, said to have died "just recently". He worked on the Geography for many years and revised it not always consistently, it is an encyclopaedical chronicle and consists of political, social, geographic description of whole Europe: British Isles, Iberian Peninsula, Germania, The Alps, Greece.
The Geography is the only extant work providing information about both Greek and Roman peoples and countries during the reign of Augustus. On the presumption that "recently" means within a year, Strabo stopped writing that year or the next, when he died, he was influenced by Homer and Aristotle. The first of Strabo's major works, Historical Sketches, written while he was in Rome, is nearly lost. Meant to cover the history of the known world from the conquest of Greece by the Romans, Strabo quotes it himself and other classical authors mention that it existed, although the only surviving document is a fragment of papyrus now in possession of the University of Milan. Strabo studied under several prominent teachers of various specialties throughout his early life at different stops along his Mediterranean travels, his first chapter of education took place in Nysa under the master of rhetoric Aristodemus, who had taught the sons of the same Roman general who had taken over Pontus. Aristodemus was the head of two schools of rhetoric and grammar, one in Nysa and one in Rhodes, the former of the two cities possessing a distinct intellectual curiosity of Homeric literature and the interpretation of epics.
Strabo was an admirer of Homer's poetry a consequence of his time spent in Nysa with Aristodemus. At around the age of 21, Strabo moved to Rome, where he studied philosophy with the Peripatetic Xenarchus, a respected tutor in Augustus's court. Despite Xenarchus's Aristotelian leanings, Strabo gives evidence to have formed his own Stoic inclinations. In Rome, he learned grammar under the rich and famous scholar Tyrannion of Amisus. Although Tyrannion was a Peripatetic, he was more relevantly a respected authority on geography, a fact significant, considering Strabo's future contributions to the field; the final noteworthy mentor to Strabo was Athenodorus Cananites, a philosopher who had spent his life since 44 BC in Rome forging relationships with the Roman elite. Athenodorus endowed to Strabo three important items: his philosophy, his knowledge, his contacts. Unlike the Aristotelian Xenarchus and Tyrannion who preceded him in teaching Strabo, Athenodorus was Stoic in mindset certainly the source of Strabo's diversion from the philosophy of his former mentors.
Moreover, from his own first-hand experience, Athenodorus provided Strabo with information about regions of the empire which he would not otherwise have known. Strabo is most notable for his work Geographica, which presented a descriptive history of people and places from different regions of the world known to his era. Although the Geographica was utilized in its contemporary antiquity, a multitude of copies survived throughout the Byzantine Empire, it first appeared in Western Europe in Rome as a Latin translation issued around 1469. The first Greek edition was published in 1516 in Venice. Isaac Casaubon, classical scholar and editor of Greek texts, provided the first critical edition in 1587. Although Strabo cited the antique Greek astronomers Eratosthenes and Hipparchus, acknowledging their astronomical and mathematical efforts towards geography, he claimed that
The Arpa is a river that flows through Armenia and Azerbaijan's Nakhichevan exclave. It is as a left tributary of the Aras, it runs through many cities and towns and is known for its beauty. Spandaryan Reservoir lies on the river; the length of the Arpa river is 7.95 mi. The Noravank church and canyon, as well as the Areni wine region, are in the wrong direction, but quite worthwhile. Yeghegnadzor has a few monuments in the surrounding area. Boloraberd, Mozrov Caves, such are not so accessible. Outside Yeghegnadzor are the ruins of the adjoining monastery. Around Vayk there are restaurants along the river which consist of terraces built on its bank set in beautiful surroundings; the Arpa valley continues south until a number of hairpin bends mark the steep ascent to the "Gates of Zangezur" monument, marking the highest point of the road, start of the descent towards Sisian. Rivers and lakes in Armenia Geography of Armenia http://findarmenia.org/eng/nature/arpa
Iran called Persia, the Islamic Republic of Iran, is a country in Western Asia. With over 81 million inhabitants, Iran is the world's 18th most populous country. Comprising a land area of 1,648,195 km2, it is the second largest country in the Middle East and the 17th largest in the world. Iran is bordered to the northwest by Armenia and the Republic of Azerbaijan, to the north by the Caspian Sea, to the northeast by Turkmenistan, to the east by Afghanistan and Pakistan, to the south by the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman, to the west by Turkey and Iraq; the country's central location in Eurasia and Western Asia, its proximity to the Strait of Hormuz, give it geostrategic importance. Tehran is the country's capital and largest city, as well as its leading economic and cultural center. Iran is home to one of the world's oldest civilizations, beginning with the formation of the Elamite kingdoms in the fourth millennium BCE, it was first unified by the Iranian Medes in the seventh century BCE, reaching its greatest territorial size in the sixth century BCE, when Cyrus the Great founded the Achaemenid Empire, which stretched from Eastern Europe to the Indus Valley, becoming one of the largest empires in history.
The Iranian realm fell to Alexander the Great in the fourth century BCE and was divided into several Hellenistic states. An Iranian rebellion culminated in the establishment of the Parthian Empire, succeeded in the third century CE by the Sasanian Empire, a leading world power for the next four centuries. Arab Muslims conquered the empire in the seventh century CE; the Islamization of Iran led to the decline of Zoroastrianism, by the country's dominant religion, Iran's major contributions to art and science spread within the Muslim rule during the Islamic Golden Age. After two centuries, a period of various native Muslim dynasties began, which were conquered by the Seljuq Turks and the Ilkhanate Mongols; the rise of the Safavids in the 15th century led to the reestablishment of a unified Iranian state and national identity, with the country's conversion to Shia Islam marking a turning point in Iranian and Muslim history. Under Nader Shah, Iran was one of the most powerful states in the 18th century, though by the 19th century, a series of conflicts with the Russian Empire led to significant territorial losses.
The Iranian Constitutional Revolution in the early 20th century led to the establishment of a constitutional monarchy and the country's first legislature. A 1953 coup instigated by the United Kingdom and the United States resulted in greater autocracy and growing Western political influence. Subsequent widespread dissatisfaction and unrest against the monarchy led to the 1979 Revolution and the establishment of an Islamic republic, a political system that includes elements of a parliamentary democracy vetted and supervised by a theocracy governed by an autocratic "Supreme Leader". During the 1980s, the country was engaged in a war with Iraq, which lasted for eight years and resulted in a high number of casualties and economic losses for both sides; the sovereign state of Iran is a founding member of the UN, ECO, NAM, OIC, OPEC. It is a major regional and middle power, its large reserves of fossil fuels – which include the world's largest natural gas supply and the fourth largest proven oil reserves – exert considerable influence in international energy security and the world economy.
The country's rich cultural legacy is reflected in part by its 22 UNESCO World Heritage sites, the third largest number in Asia and 11th largest in the world. Iran is a multicultural country comprising numerous ethnic and linguistic groups, the largest being Persians, Azeris and Lurs. Organizations including Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have criticized Iran's women's rights record; the term Iran derives directly from Middle Persian Ērān, first attested in a third-century inscription at Rustam Relief, with the accompanying Parthian inscription using the term Aryān, in reference to the Iranians. The Middle Iranian ērān and aryān are oblique plural forms of gentilic nouns ēr- and ary-, both deriving from Proto-Iranian *arya-, recognized as a derivative of Proto-Indo-European *ar-yo-, meaning "one who assembles". In the Iranian languages, the gentilic is attested as a self-identifier, included in ancient inscriptions and the literature of the Avesta, remains in other Iranian ethnic names Alan and Iron.
Iran has been referred to as Persia by the West, due to the writings of Greek historians who referred to all of Iran as Persís, meaning "land of the Persians", while Persis itself was one of the provinces of ancient Iran, today defined as Fars. As the most extensive interaction the Ancient Greeks had with any outsider was with the Persians, the term persisted long after the Greco-Persian Wars. In 1935, Reza Shah requested the international community to refer to the country by its native name, effective March 22 that year; as The New York Times explained at the time, "At the suggestion of the Persian Legation in Berlin, the Tehran government, on the Persian New Year, March 21, 1935, substituted Iran for Persia as the official name of the country." Opposition to the name change led to the reversal of the decision, Professor Ehsan Yarshater, editor of Encyclopædia Iranica, propagated a move to use Persia and Iran interchangeably. Today, both Iran and Persia are used in cultural contexts, while Iran remains irreplaceab
Kura (Caspian Sea)
The Kura is an east-flowing river south of the Greater Caucasus Mountains which drains the southern slopes of the Greater Caucasus east into the Caspian Sea. It drains the north side of the Lesser Caucasus while its main tributary, the Aras drains the south side of those mountains. Starting in northeastern Turkey, it flows through Turkey to Georgia to Azerbaijan, where it receives the Aras as a right tributary, enters the Caspian Sea at Neftçala; the total length of the river is 1,515 kilometres. People have inhabited the Caucasus region for thousands of years, first established agriculture in the Kura Valley over 4,500 years ago. Large, complex civilizations grew up on the river, but by 1200 CE, most were reduced to ruin by natural disasters and foreign invaders; the increasing human use, eventual damage, of the watershed’s forests and grasslands contributed to a rising intensity of floods through the 20th century. In the 1950s, the Soviet Union started building many canals on the river. Navigable up to Tbilisi in Georgia, it is now much slower and shallower, as it has been harnessed by irrigation projects and hydroelectric power stations.
The river is now moderately polluted by major industrial centers like Tbilisi and Rustavi in Georgia. The name Kura is related to the name of Cyrus the Great, emperor of Persia, The Georgian name of Kura is Mt'k'vari, either from Georgian "good water" or a Georgianized form of Megrelian tkvar-ua "gnaw"; the name Kura was adopted first by the Russians and by European cartographers. In some definitions of Europe, the Kura River defines the borderline between Asia; the river should not be confused with the Kura River, Russia, a westward flowing tributary of the Malka River in Stavropol Krai. It rises in northeastern Turkey in a small valley in the Kars Upland of the Lesser Caucasus, it flows west north and east past Ardahan, crosses into Georgia. It arcs to the northwest into a canyon near Akhaltsikhe where it starts to run northeast in a gorge for about 75 kilometres, spilling out of the mountains near Khashuri, it arcs east and starts to flow east-southeast for about 120 kilometres, past Gori near Mtskheta, flows south through a short canyon and along the west side of T'bilisi, the largest city in the region.
The river flows steeply southeast past Rustavi and turns eastward at the confluence with the Khrami River, crossing the Georgia-Azerbaijan line and flowing across grasslands into Shemkir reservoir and Yenikend reservoir. The Kura empties into Mingachevir reservoir, the largest body of water in Azerbaijan, formed by a dam near its namesake town at the southeastern end; the Iori and Alazani rivers joined the Kura, but their mouths are now submerged under the lake. After leaving the dam the river meanders southeast where it meets its biggest tributary Tartarchay in Barda rayon and continues across a broad irrigated plain for several hundred kilometers, turning east near Lake Sarysu, shortly after, receives the Aras, the largest tributary, at the city of Sabirabad. At the Aras confluence it makes a large arc to the north and flows due south for about 60 kilometres, passing the west side of Shirvan National Park, before turning east and emptying into the Caspian Sea at Neftçala. Most of the Kura River runs in the broad and deep valley between the Greater Caucasus and Lesser Caucasus mountains, the major tributary, the Aras, drains most of the southern Caucasus and the mountain ranges of the extreme northern Middle East.
The entirety of Armenia and most of Azerbaijan are drained by the Kura River, but the Kura does not pass through Armenia at all. In the Kura watershed are Turkey, a bit of northern Iran. Most of the elevation change in the river occurs within the first 200 kilometres. While the river starts at 2,740 metres above sea level, the elevation is 693 metres by the time it reaches Khashuri in central Georgia, just out of the mountains, only 291 metres when it reaches Azerbaijan; the lower part of the river flows through the Kura-Aras Lowland, which covers most of central Azerbaijan and abuts the Caspian Sea. The Kura is the third largest, of the rivers that flow into the Caspian, its delta is the fourth largest among the rivers that flow into the Caspian Sea, is divided into three main sections, or "sleeves", composed of sediment the river deposited during different periods of time. Before 1998, the river flowed all the way to the tip of the delta, where it discharged into the Caspian. In that year, the river escaped its channel and started to flow off to the west, leaving the last few kilometers abandoned.
The course change is believed to be the result of a rise in the level of the Caspian Sea coupled with a major flood of the Kura. About 174 kilometres of the river is in Turkey, 435 kilometres in Georgia, 906 kilometres in Azerbaijan. About 5,500 square kilometres of the catchment is in Turkey, 29,743 square kilometres in Armenia, 46,237 square kilometres in Georgia, 56,290 square kilometres in Azerbaijan, about 63,500 square kilometres are in Iran. At the confluence with the Aras River, the drainage area of the tributary is larger than the Kura by about 4%, it is longer. However, because of the more arid conditions and int