With 5671 m is the volcano Damavand the highest summit in Iran and the Middle East. He is a stratovolcano, meaning a conical volcano built up by many layers (strata) of hardened lava, tephra, pumice, and volcanic ash. Due to sulfur emitting from fumaroles near the summit in 2007 Mount Damavand is classed as potentially active volcano.
Mount Damavand is part of the Alborz Mountains, a range which runs parallel with the southern coast of the Caspian Sea.
The mountain range acts as a climate and vegetation divide between the precipitation rich coastal areas of the Caspian Sea in the north and the desertlike inner Iranian plateau to the south.
Tehran, the capital of Iran, with its approximately 8 million inhabitants is situated at the foot of the Alborz mountain range, only 66 km west of Mount Damavand.
The southern slopes are called Alborz mountain forest steppe. Mainly juniper, pistachio, almond and maple grow here. The lush Caspian Hyrcanian forests on the northern slopes consist of beeches, oaks, wild cypress and olive trees.
The Alborz mountain range is the habitat of important animals and birds, like griffon vultures, eagles, the Syrian brown bear and the Persian leopard. The now extinct Caspian tiger also lived here.