Located on the south bank of the border river of Aras, this beautiful 80654 ha mountainous region in East Azarbaijan Province was first designated as a protected area in 1973. In 1976, it was recognized as biosphere reserve thanks to its variety of ecosystems, high biological richness and unique endemic animal and plant species. Mean annual precipitation and temperature of 275 mm and 10 C, respectively and the altitude range of 256 to 2896 m have resulted in semi arid to temperate sub-humid climates. Over half of the region is covered by more or less denseforest stands. 1028 plant species identified in the area are indicative of its high biodiversity and importance regarding the conservation o genetic reserves . species such as Persian oak, hornberam, walnut, plane tree, Montpellier maple, sumac, berberry, cherry tree, sour cherry, yew, snowball tree, juniper, cornel tree, plum, wild pomegranate, thorn ,hedge maple, scotch elm, astragal, Christ’s thorn, ephedra, labiatea, primrose, buttercup and grasses are the most important plant species of the region. The region is also home to animals such as wild goat, wild sheep, wild boar, brown bear, wolf, Eurasian lynx, common fox, cape hare, leopard, Caucasian black grouse, chukar partridge, Caspian snowcock, black partridge, pheasant, bearded vulture, different birds of prey, Montpellier snake, Armenian dwarf snake and Lavantine viper. In order to rehabilitate its generation, part of region has been allocated for the red deer. Historical ruins and monuments such as Qaleh Babak, Toumanians Castle and church are some of the outstanding features of the area to attract tourists. High biodiversity of the region has also interested scientific, educational and research activities.