Tabriz is the most populated city in Iranian Azerbaijan , one of the historical capitals of Iran and the present capital of East Azerbaijan province. The city is located in the Quru River valley, between long ridges of volcanic cones in the Sahand and Eynali mountains, Tabriz’s elevation ranges between 1,350 and 1,600 metres (4,430 and 5,250 ft) above sea level. The valley opens up into a plain that gently slopes down to the eastern shores of Lake Urmia, 60 kilometres (37 miles) to the west. With cold winters and temperate summers, Tabriz is considered a summer resort. It was named World Carpet Weaving City by the World Crafts Council in October 2015 and Exemplary Tourist City of 2018 by the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation.
With a population of over 1.73 million (2016), Tabriz is the largest economic hub and metropolitan area in Northwest Iran. The language is overwhelmingly Azerbaijani, though Persian is spoken by residents as a second language. Tabriz is a major heavy industries hub for automobiles, machine tools, refineries, petrochemicals, textiles and cement production industries. The city is famous for its handicrafts, including hand-woven rugs and jewellery. Local confectionery, chocolate, dried nuts and traditional Tabrizi food are recognized as one of the best in Iran. Tabriz is also an academic hub and a site for some of the most prestigious cultural institutes in Northwest Iran.
Tabriz contains many historical monuments, representing Iran’s architectural transition throughout its deep history. Most of Tabriz’s preserved historical sites belong to Ilkhanid, Safavid and Qajar. Among these sites is the grand Bazaar of Tabriz, which is designed a World Heritage Site. From the early modern era, Tabriz was pivotal in the development, movement and economy of its three neighboring regions; namely the Caucasus, Eastern Anatolia and Central Iran. In modern era city played a vital role in the history of Iran. As the country’s closest hub to Europe, many aspects of early modernization in Iran began in Tabriz. Prior to forced ceding of Iran’s Caucasian territories to Imperial Russia, following two Russian-Persian Wars in the first half of the 19th century, Tabriz was at the forefront of Iranian rule over its Caucasian territories. Until 1925, the city was the traditional residence for the crown princes of the Qajar dynasty.
Early history :
The early history of Tabriz is not well-documented. The earliest civilization signs in the city belongs to an Iron Age grave yard of 1st millennium B.C. which were unearthed in late 1990s in northern side of Blue Mosque. The city also inscribed as old as 714 B.C. on as Tarui or Tauris, on the Assyrian King Sargon II’s epigraph in 714 BC.
Egyptologist David Rohl suggested that the legendary Garden of Eden was near Tabriz. Archaeologist Eric H. Cline commented on Rohl’s views, writing that “his suggestions have not caught on with the scholarly establishment. His argument is not helped by the fact that it depends upon speculations regarding the transmission of place-names for both the various rivers and nearby related areas from antiquity to the present. In the end, while Rohl’s suggestion is not out of the question, it seems no more probable than any other hypothesis, and less likely than those suggested by Speiser, Zarins, and Sauer.
The earliest elements of the present Tabriz are claimed to be built either at the time of the early Sassanids in the 3rd or 4th century AD, or later in the 7th century. When the city in the Middle Persian used to be called T’awrēš.
From the Arab conquest to the Constitutional Revolution :
After the Muslims conquest of Iran, the Arabic Azd tribe from Yemen resided in Tabriz. The development of post-Islamic Tabriz began as of this time. The Islamic geographer Yaqut al-Hamawi says that Tabriz was a village before Rawwad from the tribe of Azd arrive at Tabriz. In 791 AD, Zubaidah, the wife of Abbasid caliph Harun al-Rashid, rebuilt Tabriz after a devastating earthquake and beautified the city so much as to obtain the credit for having been its founder.
After the Mongol invasion, Tabriz came to eclipse Maragheh as the later Ilkhanid Mongol capital of Azerbaijan until it was sacked by Timur in 1392.
Chosen as a capital by Abaqa Khan, fourth ruler of the Ilkhanate, for its favored location in the northwestern grasslands, in 1295, his successor Ghazan Khan made it the chief administrative center of an empire stretching from Anatolia to the Oxus River and from the Caucasus to the Indian Ocean. Under his rule new walls were built around the city, and numerous public buildings, educational facilities, and caravanserais were erected to serve traders traveling on the ancient Silk Road. The Byzantine Gregory Choniades is said to have served as the city’s Orthodox bishop during this time.
In the 13th century many western expediters who visit Tabriz on their way to the east were amazed by the richness of the city, its magnificent buildings and its institutions.
Marco Polo, who traveled thorough the Silk Road and passed Tabriz about 1275, described it as: “a great city surrounded by beautiful and pleasant gardens. It is excellently situated so the goods brought to here come from many regions. Latin merchants especially Genevis came to Tabriz to buy the goods which come from foreign lands.
From 1375 to 1468, Tabriz was the capital of Qara Qoyunlu state in Azerbaijan, until defeat of Qara Qoyunlu ruler, Jahan Shah by Ag Qoyunlu warriors. Ag Qoyunlus selected Tabriz as their capital from 1469 to 1501. Some of the existing historical monuments including the Blue Mosque belong to the Qara Qoyunlu period.
In 1501, Shah Ismail I entered Tabriz and proclaimed it the capital of his Safavid state. In 1514, after the Battle of Chaldiran, Tabriz was temporarily occupied by the Ottomans. Tabriz retaken by Iranian forces and it remained the capital of Safavid Iranian Empire until 1548. In that year Shah Tahmaseb I transferred the capital to Qazvin to avoid the growing threat of Ottoman army to his capital.
Panoramic view of Tabriz sketched by Jean Chardin, 1673
Between 1585 and 1603, Tabriz was under occupation by Ottomans. After it was retaken by the Safavids under Abbas I of Persia, the city grew as a major commerce center, conducting trade with the Ottoman Empire, Russia, and the Caucasus. Tabriz was occupied and sacked by Ottoman Murad IV in 1635, during the Ottoman–Safavid War (1623–39), before being returned to Persia in the Treaty of Zohab in 1639.
In summer of 1721, a large earthquake shocked Tabriz, killing about eighty thousands of its residents. The devastation continued in 1724–1725, when the city was invaded by an Ottoman army.
At the end of the 18th century the city was divided into several districts, each of which was ruled by a family, until 1799, when the Qajar Prince Abbas Mirza was appointed as the governor of the city. During the Qajar dynasty the city was the residence for the Crown Prince. The crown prince normally served as governor of Azerbaijan province as well. Some of the most important events in this period were the wars between Qajar Iran and neighboring Imperial Russia. Prior to the forced cession of Iran’s Caucasian territories—comprising what is now Georgia, After the retreat of the Russian army, Abbas Mirza, the Qajar Crown Prince, launched a modernization scheme from Tabriz, during which he introduced Western-style institutions, imported industrial machinery, installed the first regular postal service, and undertook military reforms in the city. He also began a rebuilding campaign and established a modern taxation system.
Capital of Iran :
Tabriz was chosen as the capital by several rulers commencing from the time of Atropates. It was the capital of the Ilkhanate(Mongol) dynasty since 1265. During the Ghazan Khan era, who came into power in 1295, the city reached its highest splendour. The later realm stretched from the Amu Darya in the East to the Egypt borders in the West and from the Caucasusin the North to the Indian Ocean in the South. It was again the capital of Iran during the Qara Qoyunlu dynasty from 1375 to 1468 and then during the Ag Qoyunluwithin 1468–1501. Finally, it was capital of the Iranian Empire in the Safavid period from 1501 until their defeat in 1555.
Tabriz has a humid continental climate with regular seasons (Köppen Dsa). The annual precipitation is around 280 millimetres (11 in), a good deal of which falls as snow during the winter months and rain in spring and autumn. The city enjoys mild and fine climate in spring, dry and semi-hot in summer, humid and rainy in autumn and snowy cold in winter. The average annual temperature is 12.6 °C (54.7 °F). Cool winds blow from east to west mostly in summer. The inhabitants’ overall evaluation of climate is pretty negative; there is a popular saying that “Təbrizin alti ayii qişdir, altisi də qəmişdir!” (in Tabriz, six months of the year are winter and the other six months are a nuisance).
Tourist attractions :
• Aji Chay Bridge
• Amir Nezam House (Qajar museum)
• Arg of Tabriz
• Azerbaijan Museum
• Baghmasha gate
• Bazaar of Tabriz, a world heritage site
• Behnam House (school of architecture)
• Blue Mosque (Goy Masjid)
• Boulourchian house
• Constitutional Revolution House of Tabriz(Mashrouteh museum)
• Daneshsara (faculty of education)
• Document Museum
• East-Azerbaijan State Palace
• Ferdowsi street
• Ghadaki house
• Qari Bridge
• Haidarzadeh house
• Hariree house
• House of Seghat ol Islam
• Imamzadeh Hamzah, Tabriz
• Imamzadeh Ibrahim
• Iranian municipalities
• Seventh-day Adventist Church, Armenian
• Seyed Hamzeh shrine
• Shahnaz street
• Sharbatoglu house
• Shahryar literature museum (house of Shahryar)
• Shohada Mosque
• Sorkheh-i house
• Tabriz Art University (former Charmsazi Khosravi)
• Tabriz Fire Fighting Tower
• Tabriz Museum of Natural History
• Tabriz Railway Station
• Tarbiyat street
• Two Kamals tomb
• Iron Age museum
• Jamee mosque
• Madrasah Akbarieh
• Maqbaratoshoara(tomb of poets)
• Mansoor bridge
• Measure museum
• Muharram museum
• Museum of Ostad Bohtouni
• Nobar bath
• On ibn Ali’s shrine
• Ordobadi house
• Pahlavi street (Imam St.)
• Pol Sanghi (Stone bridge)
• Post museum
• Pottery museum
• Protestant church
• Qur’an museum
• Roshdieh school
• Rug museum
• Ruins of Rabe RashidiUniversity
• Saheb ol Amr mosque
• Saint Mary Church(Armenian church)
• Salmasi house Measure museum
Tabriz as the representative of the Turkish ethnic of Iran got a very unique culture and as a result lots of souvenirs to show its rich history and culture. Carpet and shoe making are two most important traditional jobs of Tabriz beside all other handicrafts and variety of delicacies including its unique confectionery which is famous not only in Iran but whole the world.