The city is the capital of Azerbaijan province of Iran at the north west of Iran with an altitude of 1390m above sea level. Except for the western side, it is surrounded by mountains on every other sides and located between two rivers called Aji River and Quru River. This makes it both spectacular and enjoyable with likable climate in summer time although it is relatively cold in winter. The plain on the west leads to a water basin ending up in Urmia Lake.
There are approximately 1,618,000 people living in Tabriz and more are migrating to the city because of its fast industrialization process offering jobs to the inhabitants of other villages and towns living nearby. In terms of population, it ranks 5th city of Iran.
The face of the city has changed a lot in recent decade because of the city re-planning, further industrialization and urban developments making Tabriz an enjoyable city worth visiting.
History of Tabriz
The city has gone through lots of devastating foreign invasions as well as earthquakes. Despite all the natural and political destruction, it stands firmly and proceeds powerfully to create better future for its inhabitants in modern time and future. The name of the city has been mentioned in the documents discovered from Assyrians, first millennium B.C. Some skeletons and artifacts of the people living during that period at the northern part of the Blue Mosque, inside the city, has indicated the origin of the urbanism in this spot goes back as far as that time.
In pre-Islam period, most probably under Sassanians, Tabriz grew into a notable city and prospered until Arabs invasion in 7th century after which it was resided by the invaders. Mongols chose Maragheh as their capital city and Trabriz lost part of its importance and did not continue as the the most important city in the region. Only one of the Ilkhanid dynasty declared it as his capital city. Under other rulers of this period, as the location of the city being on the Silk Route could not be denied, it still played some major role in the politics of the time’s rulers.
Timur destroyed Maragheh when he attacked Iran after Ilkhanids’ era. Later Tabriz became the capital of Kara Koyunlu and Ak Koyunlu tribes ruling from that area in Iran. It gained more attention again under Safavids as another capital city of Iran. Although Safavid kings moved the capital from Tabriz later, it kept its importance because of the role it maintained in the foreign trade with Ottoman Empire, Russia, central Asia, and India.
During 19th century’s Iran-Russia wars, Tabriz went through a series of disturbances. However, because of special attention of Abbs Mirza, the Qajar crown prince, the city was lucky enough to be the launching pad for several modernization processes and later it went through the same urban and military modernization processes itself.
In early 20th century, Tabriz became the center of Institutional Revolution in Iran that lead to the establishment of parliament in the country. At the time of Reza Shah, founder of Pahlavi dynasty, the entire country went under a reunification leading to regaining territorial integrity, revitalizing national identity as well as cohesion. An integrated Iran was reborn and the industrial modernization process began to take huge leaps.
During World War I, Ottomans and Russians occupied the city and during World War II, the Allied Forces did the same. In 1979 revolution, the people of Tabriz played a major role in the revolutionary developments again. At the time of Iran-Iraq war, the people living there defended the country like other provinces of Iran.
Visit Tabriz Tourist Attractions inside the City
For the travelers who want to visit Tabriz tourist attractions, there are several opportunities inside the city. These are the highlights:
House of Constitution (Mashrooteh Museum): It used to be the gathering place of the leaders of constitutional revolution in Iran during early 20th century.
Azerbaijan Museum: This is categorized among national museums showcasing the items from different eras and all over Iran in a beautiful way.
Tabriz Grand Bazaar: This is a World Heritage Site worth exploring as the largest roofed bazaar in the world that used to be on the Silk Route playing an important role as a commercial and economic center.
Jameh Mosque: This large congregational mosque is attached to the grand bazaar with fabulous brick-works from Seljuk and stucco works from Ilkhanid periods.
Blue (Kabud) Mosque: This 15th century mosque was built during Kara Kolyunlu period with dark and bright blue tiles. There is a mausoleum in the southern section of the mosque where the builder, Jahan Shah, is buried.
Ark of Tabriz (Arg e Ali Shah): This is the massive remnant of Ilkhanid mosque built like a military castle or a mosque.
Saint Mary Church: This is the oldest church inside Tabriz, which dates back to 12th century. For several years, it was the seat of the Azarbaijan Armenian Archbishop.