This special issue of Geological Magazine presents a collection of 17 papers dealing with different aspects of the Zagros orogen. Many, though not all, of these contributions were presented as part of a highly successful session devoted to the geodynamic evolution of the Zagros belt at the European Geosciences Union General Assembly 2010 in Vienna (Austria). The aim of this gathering was to assemble a broad group of Earth scientists interested in the Zagros orogen to discuss and disseminate new results and ideas efficiently. This volume presents a collection of some of the diverse research that is currently being carried out in the Zagros. We believe that these studies contribute to the understanding of the geodynamic evolution of the Zagros Mountains in particular, but in addition to orogenic processes in general.