عنوان مقاله [English]
Castle monuments are one of the settlement types whose location, formation and space distribution are strongly influenced by natural factors and communicational factors. The present study, using field and documentary data and using the Geographic Information System (GIS) and Hierarchical Analysis Process (AHP), seeks to investigate the correlation between natural factors and castle settlements in Ardabil province and ranking of natural factors influencing the spatial distribution of these settlements. Based on the data obtained from field and documentary studies, 100 castles from different prehistoric, historical and Islamic periods in the geographical area of Ardabil province, which constitute the materials and statistical population of this study, were identified and studied. To analyze the data, after compiling the database, the distribution of identified castle settlements in relation to the variables of distance from the river, land shape, elevation, slope, aspect, climate, Land use/ vegetation and soil type were studied and measured. The results of the research indicate that natural factors have played a significant role in spatial distribution, determining the type of function and the importance of castle settlements in Ardabil province. The correlation analysis between natural factors and spatial distribution of the province’s castle settlements shows that the land shape (plain and mountainous), the distance from the river and the elevation have had the greatest impact on the amount and pattern of castle distribution. Other variables, namely slope, aspect, climate, Land use/ vegetation and soil type, have also been important and effective in the spatial distribution of these castles, respectively.