Karaj (Persian: کرج, pronounced [kæˈɾædʒ] (listen)) is in the Central District of Karaj County, Alborz province, Iran, serves as the capital of the county, and is effectively a satellite city of Tehran.[3][4] Although the county hosts a population around 1.97 million, as recorded in the 2016 census,[2] most of the 1,419 km2 (548 sq mi) county is rugged mountain. The urban area is the fourth-largest in Iran, after Tehran, Mashhad, and Isfahan.[5] Eshtehard County and Fardis County were split off from Karaj County since the previous census.[6]

Soleymaniyeh Palace
Karaj Taleghani
Pearl Palace
Tulips Festival Held in Iran's Karaj
Aderan Karaj
Panoramic, Soleymaniyeh Palace, Taleghani Boulevard, Pearl Palace, Tulips Festival, Amir Kabir dam lake, Aderan Village
Official seal of Karaj
Karaj is located in Iran
Coordinates: 35°50′45″N 50°58′16″E / 35.84583°N 50.97111°E / 35.84583; 50.97111Coordinates: 35°50′45″N 50°58′16″E / 35.84583°N 50.97111°E / 35.84583; 50.97111
Country Iran
 • MayorMehrdad Kiani
 • City Council ChairmanJavad Chapardar
 • City162 km2 (63 sq mi)
1,312 m (4,304 ft)
 • City1,592,492
 • Density9,800/km2 (25,000/sq mi)
 • Urban
 • Metro
2,512,737 [1]
 • Population Rank in Iran
Time zoneUTC+3:30 (IRST)
Area code026

At the National Census of 2006, Karaj had a population of 1,377,450 in 385,955 households.[7] The latest census in 2016 counted 1,592,492 people in 508,420 households.[7]

The earliest records of Karaj date back to the 30th century BC. The city was developed under the rule of the Safavid and Qajar dynasties and is home to historical buildings and memorials from those eras. This city has a unique climate due to access to natural resources such as many trees, rivers, and green plains. After Tehran, Karaj is the largest immigrant-friendly city in Iran, so it has been nicknamed "Little Iran."


Shah-Abbasi Caravansary.

The area around Karaj has been inhabited for thousands of years, such as at the Bronze Age site of Tepe Khurvin and the Iron Age site of Kalak.[8][9] However, the present-day city of Karaj is mostly the result of modern industrial development in the 20th century.[9]

Historically, Karaj was mostly significant as a stage on the road between Tehran and Qazvin.[9] In Safavid times, a stone bridge was built that served as the main crossing into the town.[9] The large Shah-Abbasi Caravansary, located at the southeast of Towhid Square, was built in the same era, under the rule of Šāh Esmāil.

In 1810, the Qajar prince Soleyman Mirza built the Soleymaniyeh Palace at Kajar to serve as a summer resort.[9] The palace had four towers and was surrounded by gardens, and its reception room featured a pair of paintings by Abdallah Khan Naqqashbandi.[9] By 1860, however, the palace was described as abandoned and only used as a shelter for travelers.[9] Naser al-Din Shah Qajar later renovated the palace.[9] In 1917, a School of Farming was established on the site, replacing the earlier Mozaffari Agricultural School in Tehran.[9] Later, Reza Shah Pahlavi granted it to the University of Tehran's new Faculty of Agriculture.[9]

In the 1930s, plans were drawn up for a large industrial complex covering 216 hectares on the south side of the village.[9] This "Industrial Model Town of Karaj" was intended to be the site of the country's first steel mills, capitalizing on easy access to water and coal from the Alborz.[9] However, the construction equipment imported from Germany was seized by the British at the Suez Canal, and the planned complex was never built.[9]

A major industrial complex, the first privately-owned one in Karaj, was built in the 1960s by Mohammad-Sadeq Fateh.[9] This complex, called Shahrak-e Jahanshahr, included oil, tea, and textile factories as well as housing for the workers.[9]

The Morvārid Palace was constructed in nearby Mehršahr district, during the Pahlavi era. It was designed by the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation (Taliesin Associated Architects) on instructions from Shams Pahlavi, elder sister of Mohammad Reza Pahlavi. In this period it was a transit and industrial town.

Majority of the structure is now controlled by the Basij Organization, and some sections of it are open to public under the operation of Cultural Heritage Organization of Iran.

Other historical sites of the city include the Mausoleum of Šāhzāde Soleymān, Emāmzāde Rahmān, Emāmzāde Zeyd, and Palang Ābād e Eštehārd.[10]



Azimiyeh Karaj.

The downtown of Karaj is usually referred to Karaj Square, located hundred of meters to the west of Karaj River and the old Karaj Bridge. The villages Hesārak, Gowhar Dašt, and Šahrak e Azimie are located in the northern Greater Karaj.

Meškin Dašt, a large agricultural area between Mehršahr and Fardis, is near Karaj.

The following table includes the major districts of the city:

Gouhar Daŝt Mehrŝahr Kiānmehr Karaj e Now Hesārak Deraxti Azimie Ouj Ŝāhin Villā Bonyād Bāqestān Doulat Ābād
Garm Darre Ŝahrake Jahānŝahr Mesbāh Mehr Villā Dehqān Villā Māhdaŝt Ŝahrake Banafŝe Fardis Vahdat Kalāk o Hesār Estām Ābād Golŝahr
Golŝahr Villā Zibā Daŝt Zoube Āhan Sāsāni Homāyun Villā Mehrānŝahr Mehdi Ābād Ŝahrake Xātam Miān Jādde Heydar Ābād Sāwoj Bolāq Bahārestān

Open space recreational areas of Karaj include Irānzamin Park, Pārk e Xānvāde, Tennis Park, Pārk e Mādar, Tāleqān Gardens, Kordān Gardens, Jahānšahr Gardens, Pardis e Golhā, and the Tulip Garden of Gačsār.


The climate of Karaj is a bit cooler than Tehran's, and it receives 250 mm of rain annually (and like Tehran, the precipitation pattern is similar to those of Mediterranean climates). The Köppen-Geiger climate classification system classifies the city's climate as cold semi-arid (BSk).[11]

Climate data for Karaj (1985–2010)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 18.2
Average high °C (°F) 6.1
Daily mean °C (°F) 1.8
Average low °C (°F) −2.5
Record low °C (°F) −19.0
Average precipitation mm (inches) 30.8
Average precipitation days (≥ 1.0 mm) 6.3 5.7 6.7 5.8 3.7 1.0 0.7 0.3 0.3 3.2 4.8 5.8 44.3
Average snowy days 5.4 3.7 1.9 0.1 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.5 2.7 14.3
Average relative humidity (%) 67 60 53 48 43 34 35 34 36 44 56 66 48
Mean monthly sunshine hours 166.3 169.7 197.4 218.1 280.7 335.2 341.5 340.1 304.2 250.1 187.2 156.8 2,947.3
Source: Iran Meteorological Organization (records),[12] (temperatures),[13] (precipitation),[14] (humidity),[15] (days with precipitation and snow),[16] (sunshine)[17]

Amir Kabir Dam and some other small lakes are based in Karaj. The city is a starting point for a drive along road forced north through the Alborz mountain to the Caspian Sea.[18]


Ethnic groups of Karaj (Pars advanced research scholars)[19]
Ethnic groups Percent
Gilak and Tabari

The majority of the residents of Karaj are Persians, with Azerbaijanis making up the second major ethno-linguistic group of the city. Kurds, Gilak, Tabari and Lurs include the other ethnicities among the population of Karaj.

Gender segregation population in 2016
Male Female Total Ref.
890,824 886,570 1,759,394 [20]
Population by age group in 2016 (%)
age (0–14 years) age (15–29 years) age (30–64 years) age (65 years and older)
20.3% 23.6% 50.2% 6.0%



Karaj is connected by railway and highways to Tehran 40 km east and Qazvin 100 km northwest, and by commuter rail to the subway system of Tehran.

The city is served by an urban railway organization established on 21 December 2001.[21][22] It is also served by the Karaj Metro Station which was established on 7 March 1999, and is located in the south-eastern Karaj, near Tehran–Qazvin Freeway.

Karaj Metro operational and under construction lines
Karaj 6 lines information
Line Line Route Length Stations
1 Germdareh – new city of Mehestan 43 km (26.7 mi) 6
2 Kamalshahr–Mallard 27 km (16 mi) 23
3 Karaj–Azimiyeh 14 km (9 mi) 12
4 Baghestan – Karaj (Payam) Airport 18 km (11.1 mi) 19
5 Shahid Moazen Boulevard – Mohamadshahr 12 km (7.5 mi) 10
6 Esteghlal Boulevard – Shahid Soltani Square 9 km(6 mi) 8
Total: 97 km (60 mi) 76


The highway system of Karaj includes Tehran–Karaj Highway, Karaj Special Road, and the old road of Karaj (Fath Highway). Bākeri Expressway is one of the main north-to-south routes in west Tehran, which is connected to the Tehran–Karaj Highway.[23] Tehran–Karaj Highway is one of the busiest sections in Iran with AADT of 217084.[24] Karaj–Qazvin has an AADT of 79606.

The aerial transport of Karaj is served by the Payam International Airport, which was established in 1990, and was officially opened in 1997.

A view of the Karaj-Chalous Road (Road 59) and the Karaj River


Currently, the total number of buses in Karaj and the suburbs are 1,600 units. More than 80 lines serve citizens.[25]

Preparing Alborz Card[26] can reduce the cost of travel tickets.

Payam Airport


Karaj Metro is an efficient way to travel inside the city. One line connects west and east of the city (from Karaj Station to Golshahr Station). It continues eastward until Tehran. On its way to Tehran, it stops at Chitgar park and Azadi stadium. The second line of Karaj metro (north to south) is under construction.[citation needed]


Payam International Airport, is an international airport located in Karaj, 40 kilometers (25  mi) from Tehran, in the Alborz Province of Iran. The airport was established in 1990, but was not opened officially until 1997. Payam Aviation Services Co. operates the airport as part of Payam Special Economic Zone. Payam Air previously operated an airmail hub at the airport. Currently, this airport and its special area are used for purposes such as cargo transit, commercial transportation, and goods mail in the development of the country's communication and information technology industries.


The economic base of Karaj is its proximity to Tehran. It is due to the transportation of products between Tehran and the Caspian Sea. Chemicals, fertilizers and processed agricultural goods are also produced in the city.

Zowb Āhan, the avenue leading to an industrial plant, is located at the south of Ostandar Square. Zowb e Āhan or Zowb Āhan, literally "steel mill", was a contract between the Pahlavi government and a consortium from Nazi Germany. The establishment of the factory Zowb Āhan e Karaj was halted by the beginning of the Second World War, and it was never launched.

Šahrak-e Jahānšahr was the first modern private industrial and housing complex of Karaj, built in the 1960s. The factories Jahān Čit (textile factory), Rowqan Nabāti e Jahān (oil factory), and Čāy e Jahān (tea factory), were established at the complex. It is one of the largest industrial zones of the nation, with a 20% share of the national GDP.

The special economic zone of Payam, with an area about 3,600 ha (36 km2; 8,900 acres) within the territory of Payam International Airport, was established in Karaj for development of air cargo and postal transportation, cold store, and packing services, as well as perishable and time sensitive exports. It is the only SEZ in the region with the privilege of its own airline.

Main neighborhoodsEdit

Azimiyeh Karaj
Environment of Karaj
  • Azimiyeh
  • Mehrshahr
  • Shahinvila
  • Golshahr
  • Fardis
  • Baghestan
  • Jahanshahr
  • Asiab Borji
  • Islam Abad
  • Haji Abad
  • Heydar Abad
  • Ghezel Hesar
  • Hesar
  • Alley Karmandan Jonobi
  • Dehghan Villa
  • Kian Mehr


Kharazmi University (Karaj Campus)

Educational and research centers of the city include:


Karaj was formerly home of the Persian Gulf Pro League club, Saipa, for several years and this club won its first league championship in this city, however in 2014 the team relocated to Tehran. Currently the only professional football team in city is Oxin Alborz that play in the Azadegan League. The Home stadium of Oxin Alborz F.C. is Enghelab Stadium that located in Karaj Enghelab sport complex and has a capacity of 15,000 people. The stadium held a match between Iran and Indonesia in June 2009. The stadium also held an international match, on May 1, 2012, where Iran's National Football team played Mozambique.

Saipa volleyball team lost to Kalleh in this stadium in 2011–12 and became the runner-up in the final match of the country's volleyball premier league. Saipa has won the runner-up title of Iran Super League seven times.

One of the international ski resorts of Iran The, Dizin ski resort, is located a few kilometers north-east of the city, in the Alborz. In Dizin, along with skiing facilities, there are tennis courtyards, a slope for skiing on turf, some altitudes for mountain climbing and walking as well as riding and some routes for cycling.[27] Karaj also has an international tennis complex which is used to training and tournaments. Jahanshahr International Tennis Complex is located in Bagh Fateh. This park has eight practice courts and one competition court with a capacity of 1,200 people. It is the only tennis complex in Iran that has covered courts.[citation needed]

Notable peopleEdit

Academia and scholarsEdit


Politicians and political activistsEdit



See alsoEdit


  1. ^ https://alborz.mporg.ir/FileSystem/View/File.aspx?Mode=Download&FileId=e459d90c-57f7-48bb-b0f9-16620e16d768
  2. ^ a b "Census of the Islamic Republic of Iran, 1395 (2016)". AMAR (in Persian). The Statistical Center of Iran. p. 30. Archived from the original (Excel) on 28 January 2020. Retrieved 19 December 2022.
  3. ^ "Karaj | Iran | Britannica". www.britannica.com. Retrieved 9 April 2022.
  4. ^ Foundation, Encyclopaedia Iranica. "Welcome to Encyclopaedia Iranica". iranicaonline.org. Retrieved 9 April 2022.
  5. ^ City Population: IRAN: Major Cities
  6. ^ البرز. "شناسنامه استان | البرز". alborz.farhang.gov.ir (in Persian). Retrieved 9 April 2022.
  7. ^ a b "Census of the Islamic Republic of Iran, 1385 (2006)". AMAR (in Persian). The Statistical Center of Iran. p. 23. Archived from the original (Excel) on 20 September 2011. Retrieved 25 September 2022.
  8. ^ L. van den Berghe, La nécropole de Khūrvīn, Istanbul, Nederlands Historisch-Archaeologisch Instituut in het Nabije Oosten, 1964.
  9. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o Hourcade, Bernard. "KARAJ i. Modern City". Encyclopaedia Iranica. Retrieved 15 October 2022.
  10. ^ www.sirang.com, Sirang Rasaneh. "Karaj city in Alborz province, travel to iran, Visit Iran". itto.org | Iran Tourism & Touring.
  11. ^ "Climate: Karaj - Climate graph, Temperature graph, Climate table". Climate-Data.org. Retrieved 9 September 2013.
  12. ^
  13. ^
  14. ^
  15. ^
  16. ^
  17. ^
  18. ^ Iran. Ediz. Inglese by Andrew Burke, Mark Elliott, and Kamin Mohammadi, 2004
  19. ^ "Pars". Pars. Archived from the original on 17 February 2016. Retrieved 12 February 2016.
  20. ^ "درگاه ملی آمار". www.amar.org.ir. Archived from the original on 6 September 2019. Retrieved 26 June 2019.
  21. ^ "Karaj Urban Railway History". Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 27 May 2015.
  22. ^ "Iran Railways Map".
  23. ^ "Main Bridges on Tehran-Karaj Highway Commissioned". Tehran official web site.
  24. ^ "تردد بیش از یک میلیون خودرو از آزادراه تهران -کرج". Archived from the original on 12 August 2013.
  25. ^ "کرج - ویکی‌سفر". fa.wikivoyage.org (in Persian). Retrieved 26 June 2019.
  26. ^ "البرزکارت | البرزکارت: کارت بلیت الکترونیکی کرج". alborzcard.ir.
  27. ^ "ITTO: Dizin Ski Slope". Archived from the original on 7 March 2012. Retrieved 14 December 2010.

External linksEdit