BĀJARVĀN, a town in the medieval Islamic province of Mūḡān (q.v.), i.e., the area southwest of the Caspian Sea and south of the Kor (Kura) and Aras (Araxes; qq.v.) rivers. Its site is unknown, but it must have lain in what is now the extreme northeastern tip of the modern Iranian province of Azerbaijan, to the south of the Aras (the modern frontier with the Azerbaijan SSR) and in the Ḵorūslūdāḡ region, for the medieval geographers place it 20 farsaḵs north of Ardabīl and 4 farsaḵs north of Barzand, the other main town of Mūḡān.
It was apparently the chief town of Mūḡān, if Maqdesī’s (Moqaddasī’s) madīnat Mūḡān, which he says was verdant and fertile, is to be identified with Bājarvān; but by Mostawfī’s time (8th/14th century) both Bājarvān and Barzand were mere villages. Bājarvān seems to have played little part in history, except that in 112/730, during Hešām’s caliphate, the invading Khazars besieged it, but were repulsed by the Arab general Saʿīd b. ʿAmr Ḥarašī (Ebn al-Aṯīr, V, pp. 161-62; D. M. Dunlop, History of the Jewish Khazars, Princeton, 1954, pp. 72-74); and it must have witnessed fighting during the movement of Bābak and the Ḵorramīya (qq.v.), whose fortress of Baḏḏ (q.v.) lay very near. Bājarvān did, however, have a place in popular legend, which identified it with the village (qarya) mentioned in the Koran (18:77), where Moses and the “Green Prophet” Ḵeżr (or Ḵażer) were refused food during their journey to the confluence of the two seas and where the “Water of Life,” ʿayn al-ḥayāt, was located (Yaʿqūb, Boldān I, p. 454).
Maqdesī (Moqaddasī), p. 378.
Nozhat al-qolūb, p. 90; tr. Le Strange, pp. 91-92.
Le Strange, Lands, pp. 175-76, 230-31.
(C. E. Bosworth)
Originally Published: December 15, 1988
Last Updated: August 24, 2011
This article is available in print.
Vol. III, Fasc. 5, p. 533