Zonouz (زونوز in Azari) and (زنوز in Persian), also known as Zonuz or Zounouz is a small Iranian South Caucasian village in the East Azarbaijan province of Iran. It is located on a mountain, and has very cold and snowy weather in winter and cool summers. Zonouz valley is located between two mountain ranges. They extended east-west direction. They are connected to each other in the east by Soltan Sanjar mountain. The height of this mountains from east to west are decreased. Soltan Sanjar with a height of 3,168 meters is located in the east. Other mountains namely, Nevasar, Gerdehowul,Diragah have a height of 2500 to 2200 meters respectively.

Geography

Topography

According to the study of French geologist Hubert Reibon, the land of Zonouz is formed by the rocks, their ages reach from Devonian to Quaternary period. The age of rocks is related to different geologic periods.

  1. Calcareous rocks, formation of Paleozoic begins from Devonian. Generally they are formed from calcareous rocks. They form symmetrical layers. The color and hardness of these Calcareous rocks are different. You can see Calcareous layers in the north wall and eastern parts of Diragah mountain. They are in red color and hard. Sometimes it seems to be light blue. In the south-west part of this mountain,black olive Calcareous layers can be distinguished. On the other hand, dark brown and blue limestone is laid in the upper part of Zounuz's dam. In this place, eruption of mineral springs through Calcareous rocks are seen. Unfortunately this place recently is submerged under water of dam.

It is mentioned that different colored limestone has been seen in the Zonouz area. On the western slopes of high altitude of Soltan Sanjar mountain, the limestone are in dark red, whereas on the eastern slopes of Zireh mount which is situated on the north part of Zonouz, you can see black limestones.

  1. Formations of Mesozoic period were similar to Paleozoic era. The layers of limestone are hard. Some of them were covered by blue silicated limes. However we observed this kind of limestone in Safe-Ali, Navasar and in some part of Deravan Daghi. Also the same kind of limestone have been seen in the western part of Soltan Sanjar.

Some of strata like conglomerate rock and rock-salt have built high elevations, therefore travertine stones lie over them. On the west part, near Ramana, entrance of Zonouz road, the thickness of conglomerate rocks reaches to 50 meters. In the third Cenozoic period, the strata of igneous rocks have been observed on high land of Soltan Sanjar mountain, east of Diragah also on the east part of Oyukhly mountain. In comparison to other layers they are mostly in vertical shape. In the eastern part of Zonouz the landscape of high wall of igneous rocks are extended to the east about 4 kilometers. This igneous rock wall is lying on sand-stone, salt-shale and gypsum formations.

  1. Quaternary period: In this period, horizontal travertine stones are lying on different formations of salt-shale. This karts travertine has lain in the east part of Zonouz on height of 1800-1900 meters also in the east of Zonouzag having altitude of 2000 meters. Many springs come out from these travertine stones, such as Kal-las-ser and Ali Suei springs.

Climate

Zonouz has continental climate with cold winters and cool summers.

Districts

Zonouz has been divided to 4 districts: Khan Khajeh, Meerjan, Seyedlar and Dibin.

 Demography

Race

Ethnicity: Caucasian/Azari or Azeri Turkish people.

Language

The predominant language in Zonouz is Azerbaijani Turkic which is belong to Altaic language family. Almost inhabitants of the city can speak and understand Persian as well.

Religion

Inhabitants of Zonouz and Zonouzakh originally were Zoroastrians. After the attack by Arab invaders most of the populated of Iran forcefully became Sunni Muslims the original and the popular Islamic faith. please see Islamic conquest of Persia. After creation of shiazm by Iranian forcing back the Arabs a way from Iran most of the population remained Shia Muslims. see Demographics of Islam. Currently the inhabitants of Zonouz like most of Iranians are born Shia Muslims with some Zoroastrians and newly converted Christians.There is no changes in religion of the people of zonouz 98%of the population are Muslims.A few family lives in Zonouz is Babi.

History

Ownership rights in Zonouz

Study of ownership of Zonouz land shows that many evens and changes have happened historically in land ownership. In History of Tabriz it is mentioned that Malek Mahmoud Tabrizi, son of Malek Mozaffar, contemporary with Khajeh Rashid-al-din Fazlollah lived in Eilkhane-Moghol time. Malek Mahmoud Tabrizi sold the Zonouz village to Rashid-al-din Fazlollah. After his death, history of ownership of Zonouz remains unclear until the late period of Zandieh-dynasty and beginning of Qajar dynasty. In that time, in many cities of Iran, there were serious disorders, social unrest and insecurity as a result of transferring governmental authority from Zand dynasty to Qajar dynasty. Therefore Zonouz village was one of the areas that encountered these problems. Zonouz was ruled by Donbali Khavanin. Many social and economic problems were happening in Zonouz during this time. Consequently many residents left Zonouz for other cities. Apparently it seems that they were supporting the people but secretly they were trying to lead people toward the poverty and slavery. On this case, this proverb is true, "The butcher shows a bunch of grass to the ship in order to direct the ship toward slaughter house". Consequently some loyalists did not accept this abasement and inferiority, so they decided to leave their homeland for other places. With the pressure of Donbali Khavanin "An illegal document was written on ownership of Zonouz lands". A few years later, Seyed Ali Mojtahed took this illegal document and kept it for a while. After his death again this document was given to Aziz Khan Donbali. After a while it was sold to Shoa al Saltaneh, uncle of Mozaffar al-Din Shah Qajar.

Shoa al Saltaneh did much oppression against the people of Zonouz. The oppressed people had to leave their homeland for Russia. His cruel behaviour and actions caused him to be murdered in Tabriz by tailor's worker. Finally successors of Shoa al Saltaneh sold this document to Mortazavi in spite of some money. Mortazavi, who used to live in Tabriz, was considered to be one of the greatest landlords in Azerbaijan. Mortazavi has selected some local powerful men as a commissary for collecting earnings related to farmer's products.

Therefore, a large share of farmers' incomes were gathered for him. Crops were divided between landowner and farmer based on one third of irrigated lands and one fourth 0f dry farming. Additionally, a lot of animal oil, butter, sheep, and cheese were collected for landlords. Mortazavi did a lot of oppressions on Zonouz' farmers. "The poem of harvest which is written by Eftekhari about oppressed farmers of Zonouz is the best evidence". These kind of inequalities, injustice have been continued to the Mohammad Reza Pahlavi period (1963). Fortunately, land reforms were done on that time. after that,the living conditions of farmers were improved. There was no more exploitation on farmers. As a result, the feudal systems were ended. In the ruling of Pahlavi period, the total ownership of zonouz were 90 shares. Each farmer had to buy his own share from successors of Mortazavi (Abdolvah hab). By buying the ownership's shares,the feudalism which was an ominous word for farmers ,gradually disappeared from zonouz society. Finally, the people of zonouz got free from inequality, injustice and inhumanity that landowners and commissaries were exerting on farmers.

Agriculture

Zonouz located in the 20 kilometer of  Marand-Jolfa road. It is well- known for its different types of apples - it is considered the apple capital of Iran with some types of apple trees that grow only in Zonouz.

Nearly 25 different types of apple trees grow in Zonouz, with half of them unique to the village. These include "Girde shirin" and "Baljeyi". Economy of zonouz based on producing apples. Zonouz is called an apple producer area not only in Azerbaijan but  throughout   Iran. Zonouz is known for having different kind of apples. Apple is a heaven fruit.Eating "An apple a day keeps the doctor away". Pleasant climate, fertile soil and adequate water for irrigation has made apple trees to be grown in the area. Apple trees which grow in Zonouz can be classified into two major groups. A.-local apples B-Foreign{imported}apples. Local apples are as follow: 1-Payezeh,taste good,sweet-smelling and pretty color. 2-Gabala; It is a ball shaped, taste-sour, combined with green and light red faces. 3-Torsh Alma: It is sour flavored apple, and can not be kept for longer time. 5-Baljeye: round-shaped with dark red color, sweet-smelling, taste good. It is called sweet-honey. 6-Gerdashirin: It is sweet and taste good apple for summer season.B.Foreign apple:There are two kind of apples,red and yellow Lobnani,trees of these apple are recently going to be replaced with the native apples.In the market,demand for buying Lobnani apple is much better than native ones.The annual production of Lebnani apples are 3000 tons.Domestic consumtion is about 75 tons,The main activities of farmers are related to developing apple gardens,especially Lobnani apples.The main incomes of farmers based on garden products.Other kind of apples are:Alangheh,Ag alma,Pir alma,Marand almasi,Asheg alma,Moshki,etc...A lot of agricultural lands were allocated for apple gardens,gradually, apricot trees are being cut,in their places new apple trees have been planted. Lobnani apple has a good-smellig and taste sweet,its weight is about 300-400 grams.At the end of September,apples are picked,then stored in the refrigerators.Apples are spoiled soon if they are not kept in a cool places. Zonouz also has a fruit called "Malachi". Zonouz has  interesting and beautiful places for  visitors and tourists such as Mahar can be considered  tourist attractions.Solta Sanjar mountain,with 3100 meters height in the east of Zonouz .Temple of a great religious man places on this mountain,for this reason is known  a holy mountain for pilgrims and mountain climbers every year.