Arg of Tabriz

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Coordinates: 38°04′20.63″N 46°17′18.05″E / 38.0723972°N 46.2883472°E / 38.0723972; 46.2883472

The Arg before the revolution, when it was used as Mellat park.

Arg-e AliShāh, also known as Arg-e Tabriz, Arch of Alishah, Arg Citadel, and Masjid AliShāh, is remnants of a big unfinished 14th century mausoleum and a 19th century military compound in city center of Tabriz, Iran.


The original construction was between 1318-1339, during Ilkhanate dynasty. Within the construction the roof of the mausoleum collapsed and the construction stopped afterward. By erupt of Russo-Persian_Wars in 1804-1828 the and Anglo-Persian War the compound quickly reconstructed as a military compound. During reconstruction of Arg compound a foundry factory for manufacturing of Cannon for Iranian Army, Iranian Army's military headquarter, a barrack for Iranian troops, and a small palace were added to the original plan of the Arg.[1]

Shelling of Arg by Russian troops, 1911[edit]

During Russian invasion of Tabriz in 1911 they shelled Arg in initial attacks. Once they captured city they used Arg as a central command center. During their occupation because of careless handling the artillery pieces they set fire on parts of Arg.

Destruction During Pahlavi era[edit]

During Pahlavi era Parts of Ark which have been constructed in 19th century Qajar dynasty is destroyed. This destruction was with the aim of purifying the original Arg construction from later developments. The southern part of the Ark is turned to a park, Mellat Garden before Iranian revolution in 1979.[1]

Destruction by revolutionaries, early 1980s[edit]

In early 1980s after suppression of uprising of supporters of Muslim People's Republic Party against the new establishment of mixing religion and state and neglecting of Azerbaijani minorities, Moslem Malakuti selected as new Imam Juma of Tabriz by revolutionary government. One of his first orders was destruction parts of Ark wall and the cultural institutes surrounding it to make a new mosque for Friday prayers. Some people believe this destruction of local heritage was a systematic destruction of local Azerbaijani identity.[2]

Renovation in recent years[edit]

In 1990s and 2000s a rehabilitation and renovation project was executed by the Iranian Organization for Cultural Heritages. During this rehabilitation however removed all of the remaining Qajar era development from Arg castle. Also by construction of a new mosque next to the Arg castle which has an elevation more than allowable elevation the architecture of Ark is dominated by the new mosque.[1]

Construction of a new mosque in frontage of Arg castle, 2013.

See also[edit]