Tabriz is the capital of East Azerbaijan province, in the Azerbaijan region of Iran. It is an ancient city with a history going back about 4,500 years. Archaeologists have found evidence for this in digs near the Blue Mosque.
It is 310 km southeast of Bazargan (Iran- Turkey frontier); 159 km south of Jolfa on Iran-Azarbaijan Republic border, and can be reached by good road; rail (742 km from Tehran, with connections to Europe and Moscow), and air from Tehran, Istanbul and other major cities.
Situated at an altitude of 1,340 meters above sea level, 619 km northwest of Tehran, the second largest city in Iran until the late 1960's and one of its former capitals (with a population of 1,400,000 according to 1992 census), Tabriz is in a valley to the north of the long ridge of Mount Sahand. The valley opens out into a plain that slopes down gently to the northern end of Lake Orumieh, 60 km to the west. The 160-km long Aji Chai or Talkheh River is the major river of the city, formed by merging of three smaller rivers, namely the Ab Nahand, Quri Chai, and Ojan Chai, all of which originate from the Sabalan Mountain and the heights in the southeastern part of the town. The river and streams join the Orumieh Lake after passing through the valleys between the Sorkhband and Yekkeh Chin mountain north of Tabriz and Osku district. Mehran River or Maidan Chai, also called Liqvan River, originates from the peaks between Karim and Sultan mountains overlooking the Liqvan village (a: major center of cheese production in Iran) near Esparakhoun and Qeshlaq. Its worst natural disadvantage, however, is its vulnerability to earthquakes, one of which utterly destroyed the city in 858. Rebuilt in a minor key, it was again devastated in 1041, when more than 40,000 people lost their lives.
By virtue of its situation, Tabriz has an agreeable summer climate, but the cold in winter is severe. Altogether it has a continental climate with low humidity. The average annual rainfall is 288 mm and the average snowfall days are 31.
The town has a long and checkered history: Although the early history of Tabriz is shrouded in legend and mystery, the town's origins are believed to date back" to distant antiquity, perhaps even before the Sassanian era (224-651 AD). The oldest stone tablet with a reference to Tabriz is that of Sargon II, the Assyrian King. The tablet referrers to a place called Tauri Castle and Tarmkis. The historians believe that this castle was situated on the site of the present Tabriz. It was the capital of Azarbin the 3rd century AD and again under the Mongol Ilkhanid dynasty (1256-13 53), although for some time Maragheh supplanted it. During the reign of Aqa Khan of the Ilkhanids, as well as under the reign of Ghazan Khan, Tabriz reached the peak of 1 glory and importance. Many great artists and philosophers from allover the world traveled to Tabriz. During this same period 1 Khajeh Rashid od-Din Fazlollah, the i..: learned historian and Minister of Ghazan , Khan, built the famous Rob'e Rashidi center. In 1392, after the end of Mongol rule, the town was sacked by Tamerlane. It was soon restored under the Turkman tribe of r the Qara Qoyunlu, who established a short-lived local dynasty. Under the Safavids it rose from regional to national capital for a short period, but the second of the Safavid kings, Shah Tahmasb, moved the capital to Qazvin because of the vulnerability of Tabriz to Ottoman attacks. The town then went into a period of decline, fought over by the Iranians, Ottomans and Russians and struck by earthquake and disease.
Tabriz was the residence of the crown prince under the Qajar kings, themselves of Turkish stock, but the town did not return to prosperity until the second half of the 19th century .The greatest boost to Tabriz came with the opening up of Persia to the West at the turn of this century, when it became the main staging post between the interior of Iran and the Black Sea and, for a short time, the economic capital. In 1908 it was the center of a revolt against Mohammad Ali Shah, which was only put down with the brutal intervention of the Russians.
El Goli (formerly Shah Goli) A superb park around a square artificial pond. In the center, a small hall is on an island and hosts a restaurant. Very nice for eating some tchelokebab or sip some tea while enjoying the freshness of the park in summer.
Blue Mosque Originally built in 1465, this mosque which was once certainly superb, but was severely damaged in an earthquake in 1778, leaving only the entrance Iwan. It was reconstructed at early 1900 by the Iranian Ministry of Culture. The inside of the mosque is tiled with superb blue ceramic, unfortunately, many pieces went missing during the quake and were simply replaced by painting instead of tiles - some of the original tiles can be found around the entrance. Entrance fee is 100,000 rials (~$3)
The Bazaar of Tabriz is one of the oldest bazaars of the Middle East and the largest covered bazaar in the world. It was inscribed as World Heritage Site by UNESCO in July 2010.
Tabriz has been a place of cultural exchange since antiquity and its historic bazaar complex is one of the most important commercial centres on the Silk Road. Located in the center of the city of Tabriz, Iran, this spectacular structure consists of several sub-bazaars, such as Amir Bazaar (for gold and jewelry), Mozzafarieh (a carpet bazaar), a shoe bazaar, and many other ones for various goods. The most prosperous time of Tabriz and it's bazaar was in 13th century when town became the capital city of Safavid kingdom. The city lost it's status as capital in 16th century, but it's bazaar has been being important as a commercial and economic center. Although, numerous modern shops and malls have been established nowadays, the bazaar of Tabriz has remained economic heart of both the city and northwestern of Iran. It is worthy of mention that Tabriz bazaar has been being an important political place, and one can point out its importance in the Iranian Constitutional Revolution in the last century and Islamic Revolution in the contemporary time.
Azerbaijan Museum comprises three main sections - the first contains the oldest archaeological finds from the 5th millennium BC until the Sassanian dynasty (212-656 AD), the second section contains more Islamic archaeology and coins and seals. The third section contains sculptures by Ahad Hosseini and a large collection of padlocks. There are good English signs for all the archaeological exhibits and sculptures with a panel explaining the sculptors history in English, Farsi and French. You can buy books including English copies of Lonely Planet's guidebook for Iran at the entrance. Entrance fee is 100,000 rials (~$3)
Ark-e-Alishah also known as Arg e Tabriz, is a remnant of a fortress built in the Ilkhanate period. Currently it was located in the center of Tabriz. Historians believe that it was used as a military castle but clerics claim that the structure was initially used as a mosque in its early days. After the Revolution, large parts of the building were destroyed by the clerics to prepare a new place for Friday prayers in Tabriz. The structure today stands 28 meters high, and is still used as part of a space for holding Friday prayers.
Constitution house a house retracing the story of the Iranian constitutional revolution in the early 20th century, Tabriz being a high place of the uprising. Quite well documented and well kept, although few English translations are available. The edifice is located next to the Tabriz grand bazaar, on Motahari Ave. During the years leading up to the Constitutional Revolution and afterwards, the house was used as the gathering place of the leaders, activists, and the sympathizers of the movement, among them Sattar Khan, Baqer Khan, Seqat ol-Eslam and Haji Mirza AqaFarshi. The two-story building was constructed in 1868 by Haj Vali Me'mar-e Tabrizi. It has numerous rooms and halls. The most beautiful parts of the house are a skylight and a corridor decorated with colorful glasses and mirrors.
Qajar period houses and Qajar museum there are a number of signposted historic houses dating from the Qajar period in the area south of the Municipality building (Saati square) and along Maqsudiyeh alley. Of these, Nikdel house and Heidarzadeh house (which houses the city's tourist office) are freely accessible and often have handicrafts markets. About four others along Ark-e Jadid street are currently occupied by the architecture faculty of Tabriz university and are only accessible after paying a fee. The grandest of such houses currently houses the Qajar museum and is situated in the north of the city, on Shahriyar street. The museum (paying entrance, 150.000 riyal) has a nice collection and is well worth a visit, but its elaborate facade can also be admired from the park at its entrance.
Eynali A wonderful hiking and recreational area directly north of the city. Several hiking paths head from the entrance and especially from the telecabine area towards a shrine but also continue further northward. There is also an easier paved road that goes up, as well as a telecabine that takes you to another area beyond the shrine. The area up until the shrine can be quite busy as can be the area where the telecabine ends, but once you get beyond that you get into the beautifully desolate and rough mountains of Azerbaijan on small mountain paths. You can also explore large areas closer to the city but away from the main areas along various dirt roads.
Kandovan a troglodytic village 2 hours away from Tabriz. Great for discovering both the odd beauty of the place and the daily life of an Iranian village, among sheep, donkeys, hens and cats... Women in printed chadors can go outside and playing kids are all around. Mullahs obviously don't bother going there too often. Resistant walking shoes are mandatory if you want to climb up the village. A living example of human adaptation to exceptionally unusual natural surroundings, Kandovan village is located 50 km to the south of Tabriz, Osku, on the northern slopes of a valley at the foothills of Mount Sahand. A river originating from the Sahand peaks passes through the valley. There are a number of natural springs to the north of the river, the water from which has traditionally been used for the treatment of kidney stones, according to the locals. The physical structure of the village looks like images from fairy tales. Natural cones, scattered over a vast area, serve as human dwellings on rock formations which themselves seem to have been the work certain sculptors. The road from Tabriz goes through this natural artwork. On getting nearer to the dwellings, the visitor finds out that large families are living inside two or three of these hollow interconnected cones with features such as openings on their surface playing the role of actual windows. The lowest cones are used as stables and those on top as the living quarters. The interiors of the dwellings, usually divided into a living and a bed room, are dimly lit; however, the villagers are used to it. The interconnecting corridors are very narrow. From the outside, the dwellings look so similar to each other that one may easily get lost in the village. Steep pathways and steps are made of rock pieces for animals as well as human beings. As the legend goes, the first people to settle here were the soldiers involved in military operations nearly 800 years ago, who found the cones by chance and used them as their temporary camouflage and accommodation. However, among archaeologists, it is considered to be of Pre-Islamic Period.
Mount Sahand big dome topping at around 3,700 m. Interesting to climb in summer, or for skying in winter (1 lift available, another in project)
Mount Misho Easily accessible mountain along the road heading north from Tabriz to Marand and Jolfa. Get off at the village of Payam (between Soufyan and Marand) and hike along the paved road heading northwest. The paved road will turn into a dirt road which will turn into a narrow valley, but just before trees start obstructing the path you should turn on a small path to the left, which will take you up on one of the foothills of the mountain after which the ascent is very straightforward and not too strenuous. Wonderful views throughout the walk and quite spectacular at the top. Walking sticks are recommended for the steep descent where you might slip regularly. Count about 4-5 hours from the village to the top and back and take enough water, as there is none to be found once you start ascending the foothills. Shared taxis to Marand which can drop you at Payam leave from the train station area in Tabriz. The train to Jolfa which runs a few times per week also has a stop in Payam. Just south of Payam along the Tabriz-Marand road there is a historic caravanserai that now serves as a hotel (prices unknown).
Marand is one of the large and main towns in East Azerbaijan province. This town is located at a distance of 65.km from north-west of Tabriz. Marand has a unique geographical situation because it is located on Iran-Europe link highway. Tabriz-Marand highway, Marand- Bazargan Road and Marand- Jolfa Roads are the most important main roads of this town.
There is a ski piste near Payam village in this town. This piste is located on Mishoo mountain range slope. Severe and deep snow winters are suitable potential to attract a lot of internal and external tourists to the Payam district.
This piste receives those are fond of joyful ski sport. The Gordeh technical route is one of the several climbing routes that reaches the Falah summit by this piste. Because of the pleasant summers in Payam tourist area, the weather, beautiful nature, running springs and nice landscapes attract a lot of people who are interested in nature and tourism. Payam sport complex owns a rest- house, 250 people capacity reception hall, suitable health services, drinkable water, electricity and the possibility for mobile call.
Mishoo is one of the East Azerrbaijan province mountain range that is located in the south of Marand.
Its highest summit is Ali Alamdar,3155 meters high. Its other summits are Goy Zangi(the great green mountain) 3120 high, Garyatan(snow remaining on the ground) 3070 high, Falah summit (sky mountain) 2850 high.
Goy Zangi summits are being interested by the technical mountaineers, because of heavy snowing in winter and its extreme cold.
There is a shelter near the summits of this mountain. There are several beautiful waterfalls in the Mishoo mountain vullies. Like Pir Bala waterfull(10m. high) and Eish Abad waterfull(15m. high).
Kiamaki Wildlife Sanctuary is located in the northwest of East Azerbaijan province, in Aras free Zone.
The Kiamaki summit (3397m.high from the sea level) is among the hard climbing mountains in Azerbaijan and owns a lot of sleeps that makes climbing and descending very difficult.
Kantal National Park is located in the north of East Azerbaijan province and the international bolder of Republic of Armenia with the extent of 7000 hectare.
This area is counted as the northeast part of Kiamaki Wildlife sanctuary.
Kantal is one of the most beautiful natural areas in East Azerbaijan province that is located in the southern border of Aras river.
Beautiful and arduos rocks, deep vallies and different vegetations are the unique specifications in Kantal area.
Kantal wildlife is different and include bear, wild cat, leopard, fox, jackal, wolf, snake and many other animals.
Kantal National Park has arduos rocks and walls that are counted as one of the best babitats for wild goat.
The height of Kantal summit is 2950 meters.