Zanjan is the capital of Zanjan Province in northwestern Iran. It lies 298 km (185 mi) north-west of Tehran on the main highway to Tabriz and Turkey and approximately 125 km (78 mi) from the Caspian Sea. At the 2011 census, its population was 386,851, which is the 20th largest city in Iran. The population of Zanjan consists mostly of Iranian Azerbaijanis who speak the Azerbaijani language.
Zanjan is known for its beautiful handcrafts such as knives, traditional sandals, called charoogh, and malileh, a handcraft made with silver wires. Zanjani artists make many things like various decorative dishes and their special covers as well as silver jewelry. In ancient times, Zanjan was known for its stainless and sharp knives. But this tradition is gradually becoming extinct by introduction of Chinese-made knives into the market which are far cheaper, more abundant and of course less artistic. Many villagers today are traditional carpet weavers, perhaps Zanjan's most popular handcraft. Zanjan's population boasts the highest level of happiness among the people of 30 other provinces in Iran.