Tabriz

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Tabriz
Ancient names: Tavarezh, Tavrezh, Tavrez
Official seal of Tabriz
Seal

Motto:

Tabriz City Hall.jpg Tabriz-BlueMosque-07.jpg TabrizBazar.jpg
Panomara of Tabriz.jpg
Arg-e Tabriz.JPG Sacramento Memorial Auditorium
Tabriz is located in Iran
Tabriz
Tabriz
Coordinates: 38°04′N 46°18′E / 38.067°N 46.300°E / 38.067; 46.300Coordinates: 38°04′N 46°18′E / 38.067°N 46.300°E / 38.067; 46.300
Country Flag of Iran.svg Iran
Province East Azerbaijan Province
County Tabriz County
District Central
Established date N/A
Government
 • Mayor Sadegh Nazari-Khazarlou
Area
 • City 190 km2 (70 sq mi)
 • Urban 2,356 km2 (910 sq mi)
Elevation 1,351.4 m (4,433.7 ft)
Population (2013)[1]
 • City 3,020,000
 • Density 16,000/km2 (41,000/sq mi)
 • Metro 3,500,000
 • Population Rank in Iran 4th
Demonym Tabrizian, Tabrizli, Tabrizi
Time zone IRST (UTC+3:30)
 • Summer (DST) IRDT (UTC+4:30)
Postal code 51368
Area code(s) 0411
Website Tabriz municipality

Tabriz (تبریز, pronounced [tæbˈriːz] ( )) is the fourth largest city[2] and one of the historical capitals of Iran and the capital of East Azerbaijan Province. Situated at an altitude of 1,350 meters at the junction of the Quru River and Aji River, it was the second largest city in Iran until the late 1960s, one of its former capitals, and residence of the crown prince under the Qajar dynasty. The city has proven extremely influential in the country’s recent history. Tabriz is located in a valley to the north of the long ridge of the volcanic cone of Sahand, south of the Eynali mountain. The valley opens out into a plain that slopes gently down to the northern end of Lake Urmia, 60 kilometres (37 miles) to the west. With cold winters and temperate summers the city is considered a summer resort.

The estimated population of the city is around 3,000,000[3] based on results of the Iranian census bureau. Tabriz is the fifth most populous city in Iran after Tehran, Mashhad, Isfahan, and Karaj. Tabriz is a major hub for heavy industries including automobile, machine tools, oil and petrochemical and cement production.[4]

With a rich history, Tabriz contains many historical monuments, but repeated devastating earthquakes and several invasions during frequent wars have substantially damaged many of them. Many monuments in the city date back to the Ilkhanid, Safavid, and Qajar periods,[5][6][7] among them is the large Tabriz Historic Bazaar Complex which is inscribed as a World Heritage Site in 2010.[8][9] The oldest signs of the civilization in the city is an excavation site and museum in the city center with a history that dates back 2500 years.

History[edit]

Early accounts[edit]

Zahhak's stucco found in Hashtrud, 200BC.

The early history of Tabriz is not well documented yet. Some archaeologists suppose that the Garden of Eden was probably located in Tabriz.[10] For the first time, Tarui or Tauris (History of Median Empire or Medes of Diakonov page 203 and Taurus in Wikipedia) are mentioned in Assyrian King Sargon II's epigraph in 714 B.C.[11] Tabriz has been chosen as the capital for some rulers commencing from Atropates era and his dynasty.

A recent excavation at the site of the Iron Age museum, in the north of the Blue Mosque site, uncovered a grave yard of first mellenium B.C. This connects the history of civilization in the city to the first millennium B.C.[12] It is more likely that the city was destroyed and rebuilt several times either by natural disasters or by invaders.

The earliest elements of the current city structure claimed to be built at either at the time of the early Sassanids in the 3rd or 4th century A.D., or later in the 7th A.D. century.[13] The Middle Persian name of the city was T'awrēš.

From the Muslim conquest till constitutional revolution[edit]

16th century map of Tabriz by Matrakçı Nasuh

After the conquest of Iran by Muslims, the Arabic Azd tribe from Yemen resided in Tabriz. The development of post-Islamic Tabriz began as of this time. The Islamic geographer Yaqut says that Tabriz was a village before Rawwad from the tribe of Azd arrive at Tabriz.[14] 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.[5][15]

After the Mongol invasion, Tabriz came to eclipse Maragheh as the later Ilkhanid capital of Azerbaijan until it was sacked by Timur in 1392.[16] Chosen as a capital by Abaqa Khan, fourth ruler of the Ilkhanate, for its favored location in the northwestern grasslands,[17] 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 caravansarais 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.[citation needed] In 13th century Many western expediters who visit Tabriz in their way to the east, all of them amazed by the richness of the city, its magnificent buildings and institutions.[18] Marco Polo who traveled thorough the silk road passed Tabriz about 1275 describe it as:

"...a great city surrounded by beautiful and pleasant gardens. It is excellently situated so the goods bring to here from many regions. Latin merchants specially Genevis go there to buy the goods that come from foreign lands..."[19]

During the Middle Ages, a Jewish community existed in the town. In the 16th century a Jewish Yemenite traveler to the town described the deteriorating conditions of Jewish life there.[20] From 1375 to 1468, Tabriz was the capital of Kara Koyunlu state in Azerbaijan,[21] and from 1469to 1501 the capital of Ak Koyunlu state. Some of the existing historical monuments including the Blue Mosque belong to the Kara Koyunlu 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, but remained the capital of Safavid Iranian empire until 1548, when Shah Tahmasp I transferred it to Qazvin.

Between 1585 and 1603, Tabriz was occupied by the Ottomans but was then returned to the Safavids after which it grew as a major commercial center, conducting trade with the Ottoman Empire, Russia, central Asia, and India. In 1724–1725 the city was again occupied by the Ottomans, and two hundred thousand of its inhabitants were massacared.[22] The city was retaken later by the Iranian army. In 1780, a devastating earthquake near the city killed over 200,000 which is regarded as 25th most deadly disaster of all times.[23]

During Qajar dynasty the city was the residence for the Crown Prince during. The crown prince normally served as governor of Azerbaijan province as well. One of the most important events in this period was the war between Iran and Russia. With the last series of the Russian-Iranian wars the city was captured by Russia in 1826. After signing the peace treaty the Russian army retreat from the city however the Russian political influence remained a major issue up to the fall of Russian empire. After retreat of Russian army Abbas Mirza, Qajar prince of crown, started a modernization scheme launched from Tabriz. He introduced Western-style institutions, imported industrial machinery, installed the first regular postal service, and undertook military reforms in the city. He rebuilt Tabriz and established a modern taxation system.[24]

Contemporary age[edit]

Tabriz Municipality Palace

Thanks to the closeness of the west and to communications with nearby countries' enlightenment movements, Tabriz became the center of the Iranian Constitutional Revolution movements between 1905 and 1911, which led to the establishment of a parliament in Iran. Sattar Khan and Bagher Khan two Tabrizi reformists who led Tabriz people's solidarity had a great role in achievement of this revolution.

During World War I the Iran declared neutrality. However despite country's neutrality, Tabriz was occupied by Russian and later by Ottoman troops. By the rising up the revolution in Russia and by the failure of the Ottomans in the war both forces retreated from the city. After this short period of occupation by the foreign forces a new area in the county's history has begun. By a coup d'état of the Reza Shah declared himself the king of the county. He started new modernization programs in Iran which was concentrated in the unification and uniforming of the country by the name of one country one nation. This include centralization of the power and restrictions on the local culture, local heritages, and local language of the Azerbaijanis in Iranian Azerbaijan, and Tabriz.[25] At the final phase of the World War II the country has occupied by the allied forces despite the neutrality declaration by the Iranian government. The allied forces forced abdicate the Reza Shah and installed his son Mohammad Reza as the new king of the country.

After World War II, aided by Soviets, a Federalist local government called Azerbaijan People's Government was set up in north-west Iran having Tabriz as its capital. The government, under the leadership of Ja'far Pishevari, held power for a year from 1946, giving more freedom to speech and education in local Azerbaijani language and promoting local cultural heritage. After withdrawal of Soviet forces, the federalist government was defeated by the Imperial Iranian army and Iran's central government took control of the city. This movement itself was a result of formation of Azerbaijani identity which has been ceased for decades by Reza Shah. One of the major establishments in this period was the opening the University of Tabriz. The university and its student movements played a major role in the later events in the region.[26][27] Part of Pishevari's program which most impressed the peasants was land reform. When Iranian army returned to Azerbaijan, on the heels of the soldiers came landlords. They caused a tragic situation, an account of which was later reported in western media.[28]

Tabriz enjoyed an almost stable conditions after the fall of the Azerbaijani federalist government till revolution on 1979. During this period the city enjoyed a lot of investment both by the government and private investors which turned the city to one of the major industrial hubs of the country. However with arrival of modern transportation and communication the city lost its historically dominance of being the gate for the west.

Starting with 1978 and with the heat of the revolution, Tabriz played a major role in revolution. After the revolution however the city was still unsatisfied mainly because of the demand for rights of the Azerbaijani minority and, on top of that, the city's support of the more liberal cleric grand Ayatollah Shariatmadari, who was basically resisting against most of the new government aim for combining of the religion and state. The resistance was crashed in February 1980.[29]

Aerial view of northeast Tabriz, May 2012

Influenced by the war in 1980s (Iraq-Iran war) as rest of the country, most of the construction and development projects in the city were ceased to found the war costs. In addition to the indirect effects of the war city's industrial zone, specially the oil refinery was also a major aim for air strikes by Iraqi's air forces because of the closeness to the Iraqi border lines, and their strategic roles in country's economy. This air attacks later turned to the random strikes to the residential areas of the city in later phase of the war.[30]

At the end of the war on 1988, like the rest of the country the large constructions projects commenced both in the residential area and the industrial areas, benefiting from the investment from the government and private sector. In recent years, Tabriz is much more stable and the new constructions in the city is rapidly changing the face of the city to a more modern one.

Capital of Iran[edit]

Tabriz was chosen as the capital for the couple of state by several rulers commencing from Atropates era. It was capital of Ilkhanate dynasty since 1265. During Ghazan Khan era, who came into power in 1295, the city reached to its highest splendour. The later realm was stretched from Amu Darya in the East to the Egypt borders in the West and from the Caucasus in the North to the Indian ocean in the South.[31] It was again capital of Iran during Kara Koyunlu dynasty from 1375 to 1468 and then during Ak Koyunlu within 1468–1501. Finally, it was capital of the Iranian Empire within the Safavid period from 1501 until their defeat in 1555.[32]

During the Qajar dynasty, Tabriz was used as residence center of Iranian Crown Prince (1794–1925).

Excavation sites[edit]

In 2002, during a construction project at the north side of the Blue Mosque (Part of Silk Road Project), an ancient graveyard was revealed. This was kept secret until a construction worker alerted the authorities. Radiocarbon analysis by Allameh Tabatabi University has shown the background of the graves to be more than 3800 years old. A museum of these excavations including the Blue Mosque was opened to public in 2006.

There is another excavation in Abbasi Street at site of Rab'-e Rashidi. This academic institution dates from more than 700 years ago and was established in Ilkhanid period.

Geography[edit]

Topography[edit]

Tabriz is located in northwest of Iran in East Azerbaijan province between Eynali and Sahand mountains in a fertile area in shore of Aji River and Ghuri River. The local area is earthquake-prone and during its history, the city has been devastated and rebuilt several times.

Climate[edit]

Tabriz has a semi-arid climate climate with regular seasons (Köppen BSk). The annual precipitation is around 380 millimetres (15 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 °C. Cool winds blow from east to west mostly in summer.[33] 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).

Climate data for Tabriz
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 16.0
(60.8)
18.5
(65.3)
25.0
(77)
27.0
(80.6)
32.1
(89.8)
39.0
(102.2)
42.0
(107.6)
40.0
(104)
35.2
(95.4)
30.0
(86)
22.0
(71.6)
17.0
(62.6)
42
(107.6)
Average high °C (°F) 1.2
(34.2)
3.8
(38.8)
10.1
(50.2)
16.5
(61.7)
22.5
(72.5)
28.6
(83.5)
32.9
(91.2)
32.3
(90.1)
28.2
(82.8)
19.9
(67.8)
12.1
(53.8)
4.9
(40.8)
17.75
(63.95)
Daily mean °C (°F) −3.2
(26.2)
−0.8
(30.6)
4.9
(40.8)
10.9
(51.6)
16.5
(61.7)
21.9
(71.4)
26.0
(78.8)
25.3
(77.5)
21.1
(70)
13.5
(56.3)
6.5
(43.7)
0.3
(32.5)
11.91
(53.43)
Average low °C (°F) −6.6
(20.1)
−4.5
(23.9)
0.3
(32.5)
5.7
(42.3)
10.6
(51.1)
15.2
(59.4)
19.6
(67.3)
19.0
(66.2)
14.3
(57.7)
8.0
(46.4)
2.1
(35.8)
−3.0
(26.6)
6.72
(44.11)
Record low °C (°F) −25.0
(−13)
−22.0
(−7.6)
−19.0
(−2.2)
−12.0
(10.4)
0.6
(33.1)
5.0
(41)
11.0
(51.8)
11.0
(51.8)
6.0
(42.8)
−4.0
(24.8)
−10.0
(14)
−18.0
(−0.4)
−25
(−13)
Precipitation mm (inches) 25.8
(1.016)
25.3
(0.996)
47
(1.85)
53.6
(2.11)
41.9
(1.65)
18.1
(0.713)
3.2
(0.126)
4.4
(0.173)
9.4
(0.37)
28.4
(1.118)
28.0
(1.102)
26.0
(1.024)
311.1
(12.248)
Avg. rainy days 11.1 10.4 13.4 13.7 13.0 6.2 2.0 1.8 2.5 9.0 7.9 9.7 100.7
Avg. snowy days 10.0 8.5 4.3 1.2 0 0 0 0 0 0.5 1.6 6.2 32.3
 % humidity 72 70 63 57 51 40 34 35 37 51 64 71 53.8
Mean monthly sunshine hours 122.4 137.7 172.6 195.3 267.0 337.5 354.5 335.1 302.2 228.3 174.8 128.3 2,755.7
Source: NOAA (1961-1990) [34]

Air pollution[edit]

Due to the emergence of vehicular traffic, and modern industries such as the Thermal Power Plant, Petrochemical Complex, and the Oil Refinery in the west of the city, air pollution levels have increased continuously, since the second half of the twentieth century. However, due to the efforts of local industries to comply with the new limits on pollution, as per the Environmental National Code, the level of industrial pollution has been reduced to 558,167 tons of pollutants per year. Although this is a significant improvement, air pollution remains a serious challenge.[citation needed]

An immediate environmental disaster is looming on Tabriz due to the rapid shrinkage of Urumya Lake. The lake has been facing a grave crisis since late twentieth century. Reduction of water depth, increasing water salinity to saturation level, and appearance of huge salt fields around the lake is alarming indications of gradual total desiccation of the unique ecosystem, which has occurred due to global warming and ever increasing demand for the inadequate fresh water sources in the basin are. It is feared that in foreseeable future low-lying cloud of airborne salt and minerals can hover over large areas around the lake including Tabriz and pose serious health hazards.[35]

Governance[edit]

Authority for the city, lies with the Mayor, who is elected by a municipal board. The municipal board is periodically elected by the city's residents. The Municipal central office is located at the Tabriz Municipality Palace.

Old districts[edit]

Tabriz is divided into 10 municipal districts. Each municipal district retains a number of the older neighbourhoods that are of cultural and historical interest. Please refer to the following table, for further details.

Modern districts[edit]

This is table of modern Tabriz districts.

Demographics[edit]

According to official census of 2006, the population of Tabriz is about 1,800,000.[36] The majority of the city's population are Azeris, followed by Persians, Armenians and Assyrians.

Language[edit]

The predominant language spoken in Tabriz is Azerbaijani or Azeri Turkish, which belongs to the Oghuz, or southwestern branch, of Turkic languages, alongside Modern Turkish, Turkmen, and to some extent, Crimean Tatar. Azeri and Turkish share a high degree of mutual intelligibility.[37] The language has a strong Iranian substrate since it has for many centuries been in close contact with Persian. Like every other part of Iran the lingua franca is Persian and teaching Azeri is not permitted in public schools. For the first time, an academic program on Azeri opened in Tabriz University in 1999.[38] Classical literature in Azeri was formed in 14th century, based on the Tabrizi and Shirvani dialects, which were used by classical Azeri poets and writers such as Nasimi,[39] Fuzuli[40] and Khatai.[41] Most inhabitants are familiar with Persian language, which is the official language of Iran and the sole language of education.[5]

A Page from the only manuscript of Safina-yi Tabriz. It contains a Persian and a Pahlavi poem

Before the expansion of Turko-Mongol peoples in the area, Iranian languages were spoken in Azerbaijan .[42][43][44] The 13th-century manuscript Safina-yi Tabriz has poems in what its Tabriz-born author has called the Tabrizi language (Zabān-e-Tabrizi).[45] Samples of the Tabrizi dialect of the wider Old Azari language include quatrains recorded in Tabrizi dialect by Abd al-Qadir Maraghi, phrases from Baba Faraji Tabrizi and poems in Tabrizi in the Safina-yi Tabriz, and poetry from Homam Tabrizi, Mama Esmat Tabrizi, Maghrebi Tabrizi and others.

Religion[edit]

After being crowned at Tabriz in 1501, Shah Isma'il Safavi determined that the Ithna Ashari branch of Shi'a should be the accepted sect in Iran, though adherents of Sunni sect (Shafi'ite interpretation) were at the time more numerous in the city.[46] At present, the majority of people are followers of Shia Islam. The city has a visible Armenians minority who follow Christianity. There used to be a small Jewish community, but most of them have moved to Tehran.[5] Tabriz is also home to a very large number of the followers of the Yarisan/Ahl-i Haqq religion. There is a small, embattled Baha'i community in the city where one of the founders of their faith, Ali Muhammad Bab, was executed on July 9, 1850.[47]

Culture and art[edit]

Literature[edit]

Sahand', o mountain of pure snow,

Descended from Heaven with Zoroaster

Fire in your heart, snow on your shoulders,

with storm of centuries,

And white hair of history on your chest ...

Yadollah Maftun Amini (born in 1926)[48]

The proximity to Sahand, a mountain in south of the city, has been a source of inspiration for contemporary revolutionaries and poets alike. The power of this inspiring source, however, goes to much earlier times. Tabriz was a house for numerous Iranian writers, poets, and illumination movements. In old times the city notables, supported poets and writers by organizing periodical meetings. Within its long history it was a residence for many well known Iranian writers and poets. The list can start from the old time Rumi, Qatran, Khaqani to recent years Samad Behrangi, Gholam-Hossein Sa'edi, Parvin E'tesami. The prominent Iranian Azeri poet Mohammad-Hossein Shahriar was born in Tabriz. The culture, social values, language and the music is a mixture of what exists in rest of Iran.

Tabriz also has a special place in Persian literature, as the following sample of verses from some of Iran's best poets and authors illustrates:

Music[edit]

A century long autocratic nation building policies of central governments in Iran has succeeded in cultural assimilation in the favor of a government sanctioned culture.[49] As a result Tabriz, by the turn of twentieth century had nearly become devoid of its once characteristic cultural identity. Thanks to the more liberal policies of Khatami era (1998-2006) a cultural renaissance took place and the local music was revitalized.

The traditional Azeri music is divided into two "distinct types", the music of "ashugh" and the "mugham". Mugham, despite its similarity to Persian classic music, was not common among Iranian Azeris. In recent years, however, mugham is gaining popularity among educated middle class young generation. For instance, Nasir Atapur, from Tabriz, was the laureate of “Mugam contest 2007” .

The ashugh music had survived in mountainous region of Qaradağ and presently is identified as the characteristic form of music in all Azerbaijan. The ashugh music, throughout its long history, had been associated with nomadic life in mountainous regions and used to be dismissed as back-country folklore. The recent identity renaissance of Azeri speaking people has elevated the status of ashughs as the guardians of national culture.The new found unprecedented popularity and frequent concerts and performances in urban settings have resulted in rapid innovative developments aiming to enhance the urban-appealing aspects of this ashugh performances. A main factor for this developments was the opening of academic style music classes in Tabriz by master Ashugs, such as Aşiq Imran Heydəri.

Ashugs (Aşiq in Azeri language stemmed from the Arabic word for lover) were travelling bards who sang and played saz, an eight or ten string plucking instrument in the form of a long necked lute. Their roots can be traced back to at least the 7th century according to the Turkic epic Dede Korkut.[50] Naturally, the music was evolved in the course of the grand migration and ensuing feuds with the original inhabitants the acquired lands. Still, the essence of the original epics, i.e. metamorphic description of life in pastoral terms withdirect reference to mountainous landscape, persists to the present time. The characteristic aspect of the Ashugh music is its frequent allusions to a mountain with the intention of arousing an emotional state with a tone of mild melancholy in a listener. The first verses of a contemporary Ashug song, composed by Məhəmməd Araz, may well represent the essence of Ashugh music[51] may clarify the said statement.

Bəlkə bu yerlərə birdə gəlmədim (I may not come to these mountains again)

duman səlamət qal dağ səlamət qal (Farewell to the Mist and to the mountain)

arxamca su səpir göydə bulutlar (Clouds sprinkle drops of rain)

leysan səlamət qal yağ səlamət qal (Farewell to summer days, farewell to the rain)

Tabriz style in Iranian miniature.

Painting[edit]

One of the Iranian painting styles is called "Tabrizian style" which has been shaped in the era of Ilkhanids, Kara Koyunlu and the Safavids.[52] The paintings dating back to early fourteenth century and originated from Tabriz, show singnificand influences from the Chinese and Chinese-influenced pictures. Over years the city became the center of the famous school of Persian miniature painting.[53] A fascinating fictional account of "Tabrizian style" painting in Safavids era is narrated by Orhan Pamuk in my name is red.

Cuisine[edit]

Some traditional Tabriz dishes are:

Ash is a kind of soup which are prepared with bouillon, various vegetables, carrot, noodle and spices.

Abgoosht or Shorva(آب‌گوشت) [54] is a hearty soup made of mutton (sheep meat) and chickpeas. It has been cooked in Persia for many thousands of years and, until recently, was the main dish of most families.

Chelow kabab, Kebab and roasted tomatoes (and roasted hot peppers occasionally) served on a plate of steamed rice[55], is the national dish of Iran. Tabriz is famous for the quality of its Chelow kabab.

A table of Tabrizi traditional foods (köfte, and Bonab Kababi with Sangak).

Dolma is a traditional delicious Azerbaijani food. It is prepared with eggplant, capsicum, tomato or zucchini filled with a mixture of meat, split pea, onion and various spices.

Garniyarikh (meaning "the torn abdomen" in Azeri) is a kind of Dolma filled with meat, garlic, almonds and spices.

Tabriz köfte is a special recipe from Tabriz with the appearance of big meatballs, which are prepared with a mixture of ground meat, rice, leeks and some other ingredients. The word kofta is derived from Persian kūfta: in Persian, kuftan (کوفتن) means "to beat" or "to grind".[56]

There are also confections, biscuits and cookies, some of which are Tabriz specialities including Ghorabiye, Tabrizi Lovuz, Eris, Nugha, Tasbihi, Latifeh, Ahari, Lovadieh, Lokum and others.

Main sights[edit]

Tabriz was devastated by several earthquakes during history (e.g., in 858, 1041, and 1721) and as a result, from numerous monuments only few of them or part of them have survived until now. Moreover, some of the historical monuments have been destroyed fully or partially within construction projects (e.g. Ark of Tabriz is in hazard of destruction now, because of ongoing construction project of "Mosal'laye Emam" close to it). Nonetheless, there are still numerous monuments remaining until now, which include:[citation needed]

Parks and gardens[edit]

Tabriz has 132 parks, including 97 small parks, 31 regional and 4 city parks. According to 2005 statistics, area of parks in Tabriz is 2,595 km2 also area of green spaces of Tabriz is 8,548 km2, which means 5.6 sq.m per person. The oldest park in Tabriz, called Golestan Baği, was established at first Pahlavi's era in city center. Tabriz has 8 traveler-parks with capacity of 10.000 travelers, as well.[citation needed]

An interesting park-like popular location is Eynally daği, a mountain at the north-east extremity of the city. Eynali was a barren mountain on top of which there was a huge white rectangular antenna facing Tabriz city. The old building was claimed to be a shrine that housed the burial site of an Imamzadeh (a descendant of the profit of Islam). In recent years trees have been planted on mountain slopes and the place has the appearance of a vast park. Every Friday morning many would walk the site to enjoy the relatively cleaner breezes and watch the ever growing jungle of high rise buildings on the flat arid plateau. Generally, the brief picnic ends with drinking few cups of tea that has been brewed on a smoking fire. Making fire is a challenge as the scanty vegetation consists of trees that have been planted in recent years and are jealously guarded behind barbed wires. However, the crowds enjoy the challenge as a pleasant part of the weekly ritual. In old days only group of young males would climb near the shrine. In recent years the presence of females is noticeable.

Economy[edit]

Industries[edit]

Modern industries in this city include the manufacturing of machinary, vehicles, chemicals and petrochemical materials, refinery, cement, electrical and electronic equipment, home appliances, textiles and leather, nutrition and dairy factories and woodcraft.[5]

There are hundreds of industrial complexes in Tabriz industrial area. Iran Tractor Manufacturing Co (ITMCO) is one of the biggest industrial complexes in the region. This complex has the highest foundry and forging capacity in middle east, the biggest manufacturer of tractor in Iran, which has some domestic & abroad branches too. Although initially the complex was established with the aim of producing tractor and agricultural machines as a starting point for modernization of traditional Iranian agricultural system, nowadays its products include a large variety from auto parts to machine tools and some domestic van and trucks. Behind ITMCO there are several other industrial complexes including Machine Sazi Tabriz Co, Iran Diesel Engine Manufacturing Co (IDEM), Pump Iran, Tabriz Petrochemical Complex, Tabriz Oil Refinery and couple of industrial regions which are including hundreds of small industries. Beside this Tabriz is a site for numerous food and some of the most famous chocolate factories in Iran which honored the city as chocolate city of Iran this includes Dadash and Baradar Industrial Co. with brand mark of Shoniz which is one of the biggest factories of its kind in the region.

Small businesses[edit]

A vast partition of the city's population are involved in small businesses like shoe making ateliers, stonecutting, furniture ateliers, confectionary, printing and dry nuts.

Handcrafts ateliers[edit]

Tabriz is a major center for production of the famous Iranian Rugs. Durability of Tabriz carpet and its famous designs made it a famous brand in the world's carpet markets. Tabrizi rugs and carpets usually have ivory backgrounds with blue, rose, and indigo motifs. They often have very symmetrical and balanced designs. They usually have a single medallion that is surrounded with vines and palmettos. One of the main quality characteristics of Tabriz rugs is the weaving style, using special ties that guarantee the durability of the rug in comparison for example with Kashan rugs.

Behind carpet the city is famous for couple of other handicrafts including silverwares, wood engraving, pottery and ceramics, Ghalamzani (Irania style of toreutics), Moarraq (Iranian style of Mosaic), Monabbat, embroider.

Shopping[edit]

Shopping centers are mostly located in city center, including Grand Bazaar of Tabriz, pedestrian malls on Tarbiyat street, Shahnaz street and Ferdowsi street. Also, there are some malls and a lot of elegant & luxurious boutiques of jewelry, rugs, clothes, handcrafts, confectionary and nuts, home appliances and so on in Abressan intersection, Roshdiyeh district and Kouy Valiasr.[7]

The special feature of Tabriz malls is that most of them are designated to a particular order, such as home appliances, jewelry, shoes, clothes, wedding ceremonies, ladies/babies/men specialties, leather products, handcrafts, agricultural products, computers, electronic components, industrial equipment, piping equipment, chemical materials, agricultural machines, stationery, books, rugs, construction stuff and others.

Likewise, there are seasonal/occasional shopping fairs opened mainly in Tabriz International Exhibition Center too.

Tabriz International Exhibition Center[edit]

Tabriz International Exhibition Center which is located in eastern part of the city holds tens of exhibition based on yearly schedule. The most famous fair is TEXPO[57] which is a general trade fair and established on 1992 and normally holds on August 4–9 every year.

Schools and libraries[edit]

Universities[edit]

Tabriz is the site for 14 of Iran's most prominent universities and higher education insititutes. Established in 1947, University of Tabriz[58] is the most prestigious university in north-western Iran. Tabriz University is also considered one of five mother universities in the country which works as regional hub of science for the region. Beside Tabriz University, there are couple of other public universities, operating in the city and its suburbs. Among them the famous ones are:

Tabriz University se seen from Applied Physics Faculty

There are couple of private universities and higher educational institutes serving student as well, including: Islamic Azad University of Tabriz,[60] Daneshvaran Higher Education Institute,[61] Seraj Higher Education Institute,[62] University College of Nabi Akram,[63] Khajeh Rashid university.

There are few technical colleges, which serve the students as well: Elmi-Karbordi University of Tabriz,[64] Tabriz College of Technology,[65] Roshdiyeh Higher Education Institute of Tabriz,[66] Jahad Daneshgahi (ACECR) Higher Education Institute, East Azerbaijan Branch, Azzahra College of Technology, State Organization of Technical and Vocational Training

There are a couple of research centers supported by Iranian government in the city including: East Azerbaijan Park of Science & Technology,[67] Islamic Azad University, Science and Research Branch, Tabriz.[68][69]

Furthermore, a couple of Iranian universities have branches in Tabriz, including: Imam Hossein University, Shahid Beheshti Training Teacher Center of Tabriz.[70]

Famous high schools[edit]

Hundreds of public and private schools serve students using the Iranian education system. Students attend primary school for five years, secondary school for three years, and high school for three more years. Those entering university must attend one year in college first. While the common language in Tabriz is Azerbaijani, Persian is used in school classrooms. Some of the high schools are famous because of their history or higher educational quality. Here is a list of most famous high schools in the city:

  • Memorial school (American School of Tabriz) was opened on 1891 and is one of the most famous schools of its type. After World War II, the school's name was changed to Parvin High School, under Iran education ministry's management. Currently, it is divided into three separate high schools, and the original building is under reconstruction. Howard Baskerville used to teach in Memorial school.
  • Roshdieh school is the first modern Iranian school, which was established by Haji-Mirza Hassan Roshdieh. Currently, its building is used as the Tabriz branch of the National Iranian Documents and Library Office.
  • Vahdat Technical College is another famous school in Tabriz. It was developed by the Germans before World War II.
  • Ferdowsi high school is one of the largest and most prominent high schools in Tabriz. The original building was constructed by German engineers before World War II originally as hospital with an aerial shape of H. Later on it used as Ferdowsi high school.
  • Mansur High School (established 1945) was one of the most highest-ranking schools in Tabriz. Later on the school divided into Mansur (Taleqni) High School and Motahari high school. The reconstruction of the school in 2010 has caused tension between alumnus of the school and administrators of the education office of Tabriz.[71]
  • Shahid Madani and Farzanegan or as it calls Tiz'houshan high schools (which are part of SAMPAD/NODET) were established in 1989. The students are admitted for these schools through a competitive entrance exam. These school are famous because of the higher rate of admission of their graduates through Iranian universities entrance exam.

Religious schools[edit]

Valiasr Religious School and Talebieh Islamic Science School are two major religious schools in the city which are used for teaching Islamic Science.

Libraries[edit]

Tabriz National Library, also known as Central Library of Tabriz, is the most famous library in the city. National library has the biggest collection of classic handwritten Farsi literature in northwest of Iran. The public libraries: Tarbiat library, Helal Ahmar, Shahid Motahhari, Shahriyar, Jafarieh, Farhangsara, and many small libraries.

Infrastructure[edit]

Health systems[edit]

The Ministry of Health operates most of the public hospitals in the Tabriz metropolitan region, some of which are aligned with Tabriz Medical School. There are also a number of private hospitals and medical centers in the city.[7]

Transportation[edit]

Most Tabriz residents travel by car through the system of roads and highways. Tabriz also has a taxi and public bus network. There are also some private groups, which provide services called phone-taxi.[7]

Tabriz is the second city in Iran after Tehran that in which the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system has been established. It includes an 18 km (11 mi) line from Baseej Square in the east to the railway station in the west of the city. There are 50 bus stops along the route of the B.R.T.

The Tabriz subway train network is still under construction and six years behind schedule.[72] The government of Iran had planned to finish 6 km (4 mi) of line No.1 of the network in 2006, but this was not achieved due to financial problems[73] and currently only half of the track for the metro line has been laid.[72]

Tabriz is linked to Europe through Turkey's roads and Bazargan (Azerbaijani, Persian: بازرگان ) border, also Tehran-Tabriz freeway is almost complete except for the last 20 km (12 mi) between Tabriz and Bostan Abad.

The city is linked to Iran National Railways (IRIR, Persian: رجا ) also to Europe by Turkey's railways via Ghotour (Azerbaijani, Persian قطور) bridge in West Azerbaijan province of Iran. Tabriz was the first city in Iran to be served by railways with the construction of the Tabriz-Jolfa line in 1912–1914 (later converted to broad-gauge in 1916). Tabriz Railway Station is located in the western part of the city, at the end of Khomeyni Street.

Tabriz International Airport opened in 1950 and is the only international airport in East Azerbaijan (since 1991). Recently, it became the first Iranian airport to gain ISO9001-2000.

Sport[edit]

Sahand, or Yadegar-e-Emam Stadium in a Tractorsazi F.C. match

Tabriz is a hub for the major sport events in the region. The city has couple of sport complexes. The major sport complex inside the city is Bagh Shomal complex which include a soccer stadium, swimming pool, an arena for basketball and volleyball. There is also a bigger sport complex which is named as Olympic village which has a soccer stadium and a cycling track. They are several other smaller complexes for martial arts, swimming pools and gymnasiums. Among many different sport activities soccer and cycling got more attention because of the cities teams and international events which are held in city.

Soccer[edit]

Soccer is a major part of the city's culture. The huge number of fans made Tabriz home to four Iranian major Football teams: Tractor Sazi F.C., Machine Sazi Tabriz F.C., Shahrdari Tabriz F.C., and Gostaresh Foolad. Tractor Sazi F.C. is playing in the Iran Pro League and is very popular in north western of Iran. The home stadium for these soccer teams are city's major stadium Sahand Stadium which has the capacity of 71,000. Some of the games are also held in the older stadium of Bagh Shomal Stadium which is located almost in downtown of Tabriz.

Tractor Sazi F.C. or Tirakhtor, as it called in the city, is an Iranian soccer club, based in Tabriz. They currently play in Iran's Pro League which is the highest domestic league in Iran.They also provided Iran with some of the most talented players during the nineties. In 2009, Tiraxtor, the most well-known team of the East Azerbaijan province, was promoted to the first football division of Iran (the Iran Pro League.) And according to surveys, the team has got the highest number of fans in the Iran Pro League.[citation needed] The team is sponsored by Iran Tractor Manufacturing Co. (ITMCO).

On June 1976 Bagh Shomal Stadium of Tabriz host part of final tournament of AFC Asian Cup games.[74]

Cycling[edit]

Tabriz is also is home for Azerbaijan Cycling Tour which is held on a yearly based calendar since 1986. This cycling tour is the most prestigious cycling tour in Iran. Tabriz is also home for Tabriz Petrochemical Cycling Team, a cycling team which is competing in UCI-sanctioned competitions through Asian continents.

Media[edit]

Sahand TV main building

Tabriz has one state television channel called Sahand TV that broadcasts in both the Persian and Azerbaijani languages. It broadcasts internationally through the Bardr 5 and Intelsat 902 satellites.[75][76]

The city has one government-controlled radio channel broadcasting in both Persian and Azerbaijani languages.[75]

The 14 weekly magazines and 8 main newspapers published in the city include: Amin, Mahd Azadi, Asr Azadi,[77] Fajr Azarbaijan, Saeb Tabriz, Peyam Noor, Navaye Misho and Saheb.[78]

Notable people[edit]

Within its long history Tabriz was always origin for many Iranian illumination and modernization movements. This is why the city was home town for numerous Iranian dominant figures including many Iranian politicians, revolutionaries, artists, and military leaders. Here a partial list of some of most notable people who born or lived in Tabriz.

For a complete list see: List of people from Tabriz

Sister cities and twin towns[edit]

Tabriz is twinned with the following cities:

Country City State / Province / Region / Governorate Date
Austria Austria Wien 3 Wappen.svg Vienna Flag of Wien.svg Vienna 2009[83]
Azerbaijan Azerbaijan WP baku siegel.png Baku Absheron Economic Region 1980[84][85]
China China Wuhan Hubei 2009[citation needed]
Croatia Croatia Coat of arms of Zagreb.svg Zagreb Flag of Zagreb.svg City of Zagreb [86]
Palestinian territories Palestine Gaza coat.png Gaza Gaza Governorate [78]
Russia Russia Coat of Arms of Kazan (Tatarstan) (2004).png Kazan Flag of Tatarstan.svg Republic of Tatarstan 2009[87]
Tajikistan Tajikistan Khujand Sughd Province [citation needed]
Turkey Turkey Istanbul Istanbul Province [citation needed]
Turkey Turkey Konya Konya Province [citation needed]
Vietnam Vietnam Ho Chi Minh City Municipality [88]

Consulates[edit]

Azerbaijan and Turkey have consulate offices in Tabriz. Formerly the Soviet Union and the United States had consulate offices in Tabriz. The US consulate office closed after the 1979 Islamic revolution and the USSR's office closed after the collapse of the USSR in 1991.

Panorama view[edit]

Panoramic view of Tabriz from El Goli, August 2010

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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North, S.J.R., Guide to Biblical Iran, Rome 1956, p. 50

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Ghazna
Capital of Khwarazmian Empire (Persia)
1225–1231
Succeeded by
-
Preceded by
Maragha
Capital of Ilkhanate (Persia)
1265-1306
Succeeded by
Soltaniyeh
Preceded by
-
Capital of Kara Koyunlu dynasty
1375–1468
Succeeded by
-
Preceded by
Amid
Capital of Aq Qoyunlu dynasty
1468–1478
Succeeded by
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Preceded by
Samarkand
Capital of Iran (Persia)
1501–1555
Succeeded by
Qazvin
Preceded by
Ardabil
Capital of Safavid dynasty
1501–1555
Succeeded by
Qazvin