AskDefine | Define arran

Extensive Definition

Arran (), also known as Aran, Ardhan (in Parthian), Al-Ran (in Arabic) including the highland and lowland Karabakh), Mil plain and parts of the Mughan plain, and in the pre-Islamic times, corresponded roughly to the territory of modern-day Republic of Azerbaijan equivalent to the Greco-Roman Albania. It was known as Aghvania, Alvan-k in Armenian, and Al-ran
Today, the term Arran is mainly used in the Republic of Azerbaijan to indicate territories consisting of Mil and Mughan plains (mostly, Beylaqan, Imishli, Saatli, Sabirabad provinces of the Republic of Azerbaijan).

Origins of the name

According to some legends and ancient sources, such as Movses Kagankatvatsi, Arran or Arhan was the name of the legendary founder of Caucasian Albania, who in some versions was son of Noah's son Yafet (Japheth) and also, possibly the eponym of the ancient Caucasian Albanians (Aghvan), and/or the Iranic tribe known as Alans (Alani). The nearby Araks (Aras) river was known to Ancient Greek geographers as the Araxes, and has a source near from Mt. Ararat. Moreover, this region, long considered the earliest seat of the Zoroastrian faith, is traditionally (eg., in the Bundahishn 29:12) considered a likely candidate to be the place referred to in the Zend Avesta as the "First land" (Airyana Vaego). According to C.E. Bosworth:
Moreover in Kurdish language which is Median, Aran'' means lowland.


In pre-Islamic times, Caucasian Albania/Arran was a wider concept than that of post-Islamic Arran. Ancient Arran covered all eastern Transcaucasia, which included most of the territory of modern day Azerbaijan Republic and part of the territory of Dagestan. However in post-Islamic times the geographic notion of Arran reduced to the territory between the rivers of Kura and Araks..
Medieval Islamic geographers gave descriptions of Arran in general, and of its towns, which included Barda, Beylagan, and Ganja, along with others.

History of Arran

History of Arran is summarized in History of Azerbaijan section, where you can refer for detailed description.


see main Caucasian Albania


Following the Arab invasion of Iran, the Arabs invaded the Caucasus in the 8th century and most of the former territory of Caucasian Albania was included under the name of Arran. This region was at times part of the Abbasid province of Armenia based on numismatic and historical evidence. Dynasties of Parthian or Persian descent, such as the Mihranids had come to rule the territory during Sassanian times. Its kings were given title Arranshah, and after the Arab invasions, fought against the caliphate from the late 7th to middle 8th centuries.
Early Muslim ruling dynasties of the time included Rawadids, Sajids, Salarids, Shaddadids, Shirvanshahs, and the Sheki and Tiflis emirates. The principal cities of Arran in early medieval times were Barda (Partav) and Ganja. Barda reached prominence in the 10th century, and was used to house a mint. Barda was sacked by the Rus and Norse several times in 10th century as result of the Caspian expeditions of the Rus. Barda never revived after these raids and was replaced as capital by Baylaqan, which in turn was sacked by the Mongols in 1221. After this Ganja rose to prominence and became the central city of the region. The capital of the Shaddadid dynasty, Ganja was considered the "mother city of Arran" during their reign.
The territory of Arran became a part of the Seljuk empire, followed by the Ildegizid state. It was taken briefly by the Khwarizmid dynasty and then overran by Mongol Hulagu empire in the 13th century. Later, it became a part of Chobanid, Jalayirid, Timurid, and Safavid states.


see main Caucasian Albanians Caucasian Albanians were the aboriginal inhabitants of Arran. Prior to the Islamicization of the region, the Albanians had mostly been Christians. Albanians adopted the Sunni branch of Islam, which was later largely replaced by the Shia branch. Muslim chronicles of the 10th century reported that some of the population of Arran spoke al-rānīya, as well as Arabic and Persian languages. Due to the fact that there is no written evidence, some scholars have persumed al-rānīya to be an Iranian dialect while others have presumed it to be a remnant of a Caucasian Albanian language.
After the Turkification of the region, the population became Turkic speaking, and thus referred to by Europeans, particularly the Russians, as Tartars. They were later called Azerbaijanis.


  • Bashi, Munnjim, Duwal Al-Islam
  • Minorsky, V.,Studies in Caucasian history, Cambridge University Press, 1957
  • Volkmar Gantzhorn, Oriental Carpets


arran in Azerbaijani: Arran
arran in Catalan: Arran
arran in German: Aran
arran in Russian: Арран (область в Закавказье)
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