Having been protected since 1965, Marakan is one of the oldest protected areas of Iran. With an area of 103983 ha, the region borders the Aras River in East and West Azarbaijan Provinces. The altitude range of 720-2100 m and mean annual precipitation and temperature of 280 mm and 12 C, respectively, have given rise to the development of a temperate semi-arid climate in the region which is divided into two eastern and western haves by the permanent river of Aghchay. Marakan is rich in animal and plant biodiversity. Some of the plant species are astragal,acanthofyllum, wormseed, brome grass, prickly thrift, ephedra, carnation, mullein, dog roes and various legominose species. The diverse habitates of the region have resulted in high animal diversity. Marakan is considered as the main habitat for Armenian sheep and their corridor to the adjacent heights. Other important animal species are wild goat, leopard, Eurasian lynx, wolf, wild cat, Caspian snowcock, chukar partridge, golden eagle, vulture, common crane, demoiselle crane, stork, different sandgrouses, Montpellier snake and transcaucasian meadow viper. Approximately 25% of the birds of the coutry have been observed in the region. Richness of the wildlife, stunning natural landscapes and historical monuments such as St. Stephanous chrch, Chupan church and Shah Abbas caravanserai are inviting characteristics for tourists and researchers.