Alborz Mountains, also spelled as Albourz, Alburz, Elburz or Elbourz, with a length of 900 km is a major mountain range in northern Iran. Stretching from the borders of Azerbaijan and Armenia in the northwest to the southern end of the Caspian Sea, and ending in the east, near the borders of Turkmenistan and Afghanistan.
The term “Alborz Mountains” has been loosely used in reference to all of the mountains of northern Iran. The Alborz Mountains gain their maximum height and density along the southern shores of the Caspian Sea where they create a formidable barrier that separates the coastal plains from the internal plateau of Iran. Close proximity to the Caspian coast has created a steamy lush environment on the coastal plains and the northern-most slopes of the mountains. In some places (near the coastal towns of Ramsar and Noshahr), the strip of land between the mountains and the sea is no more than one kilometer wide.
The southern slopes of the Alborz drop onto the central plateau of Iran. The average elevation of this plateau at the base of the mountains is around 1500 m. In contrast to the lush northern slopes, the southern slopes of the Alborz Mountains are barren. Trees can be found only on stream banks at the bottom of the valleys. Grasslands, alpine tundra and permanent snow cover the higher slopes of the Alborz range. Winter brings a heavy coat of powdery snow, creating an ideal place for skiing. This much snow provides enough fresh water for the nearby cities including the 10 million mega-city of Tehran. The distance between 5671 m Mt. Damavand and Haraz Valley with an altitude of 1000 m in northeast of it, is less than 17 kilometers!