Painted Mountains of Tabriz – Tabriz, Iran - Atlas Obscura

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Painted Mountains of Tabriz

Colorful mineral deposits turn these mountains into an Impressionist fantasy. 


Because of abundance of mineral veins in the earth, these mountains in Iran’s East Azerbaijan Province are painted with a rainbow of colors. Bands of red, white, yellow, grey, orange, and other pastel hues tint the rocky landscape.

Located outside the city of Tabriz in the northwestern part of Iran, the Aladaglar Mountains are an otherworldly site. Like other painted mountains, such as those found in China’s Zhangye National Geopark or Peru’s Ausangate Mountains, these colorful stripes are said to be the result of minerals and sandstone being pressed together and oxidized over millions of years.

In the Azeri Turkish, the local language in Tabriz, “ala” means colorful and ”dag” means mountain (There is a mountain range called Aladaglar in Turkey as well, but it does not feature the same colorful geological formations). These mountains are one of Iran’s several naturally colorful sites, including the terraces at Badab-e Surt, the landscapes of Hormuz Island, and the waters of Lake Urmia.

Know Before You Go

There is a (defunct) parking area on the left side of the hi-way which leads to an old road/track deep into these colorful mountains/hills.

A drone is a useful tool to have as the splendor us best viewed from above, but wandering around and climbing to the top is also a good way to enjoy this mesmerizing scenery.

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