By Afshin Majlesi

Prime destinations: top 10 places to go in the city of Tabriz

February 7, 2022 - 21:41

TEHRAN – Once a buffer between empires, Tabriz is now turned into a bustling metropolis filled with scenic destinations.

For many visitors, its historical heritage and Silk Road pedigree are no more evident than what they feel in its UNESCO-designated marketplace, one of the world’s best.

Soaked in rich in Azari culture, Tabriz is famed for delicate carpets, museums and art galleries, teahouse hammams, love of music, excellent transport links, and above all its hospitable people that make it a perfect introduction to Iran for whom arriving the ancient land from the northwest wing.

The city is located in East Azarbaijan province. While the national language in the country is Farsi (Persian), the language spoken in this province along with West-Azerbaijan and Ardabil provinces, is Azari and Farsi is considered as the second one.

Situated on a high plateau amid Lake Urmia and lofty Mt Sahand, and bounded by stark, eroded hills, Tabriz has milder summers than cities further east, though its winters can be formidable.

Here is a selection of the top 10 places to visit in the historical city and its surroundings:

Masjed-e Kabud

Constructed in the 14th century, Masjed-e Kabud (the Blue Mosque of Tabriz) is known as the Turquoise of Islam due to its lavishly-decorative blue tiles.

An earthquake in 1772 severely damaged the place of worship, which was once one of the most magnificent mosques in the world. Restoration work is going on to this day, and some of the mosaics are still incredible. The mosque is a bit away from the center, but all taxi drivers will know how to get there.

Bazaar of Tabriz

One of the oldest surviving bazaars in the world, the UNESCO-registered Bazaar of Tabriz comprises labyrinthine vaulted passages full of old shops.

Moreover, the vast bazaar includes many mosques, caravanserais, museums, madrasas (schools), and bathhouses. The importance of Tabriz Bazaar was increased due to being on the Silk Road and it became the most important trade center in the world in the 19th century.

Shahgoli Park

A meeting point of nature and culture, the Shahgoli park is a bit away from the historical core but definitely worth the trek.

There are several food stalls around the park and outside the park’s perimeter, and an upscale restaurant in the center of it. An artificial lake rings the park walkway, making it particularly pretty in the evening.

The park is a Tabrizian favorite come evening time, and a great way to meet locals. Better yet, head there with one of the locals that you’ll inevitably meet while wandering around Tabriz.

Rocky village of Kandovan

A spot not-to-be-missed, Kandovan is a small village outside of Tabriz. Kandovan is also known as the “Cappadocia of Iran” due to its spiring troglodyte caves. It is an easy day trip away from Tabriz by public transport.

Located on the foothills of the Sahand mountain range and at 2200 meters of altitude, the 3000-year-old village is famous for the houses carved into rocks.

It is one of the two hand-carved villages in the world that are still inhabited. It is also possible to spend a night at the hotel located in this village and experience sleeping inside a hand-carved house.

Constitutional  House

Constitutional House is historically significant as being the headquarters of the Persian Constitutional Revolution that took place between 1905 and 1911.

It laid the ground for the foundation of the first legislature of Iran during the Qajar era. The movement involved many activists from all around the country including Tabriz.

Arg-e Tabriz

Arg-e Tabriz welcomes those who are interested to visit a centuries-old citadel. However, the original use of this impressive structure is still unknown. Narratives say it is estimated to once be a place of worship. 

The mudbrick fort was used for defending the city and storing food and ammunition during the wars between Iran and Russia in the Qajar era (1789–1925) and a large part of it was destroyed at that time.

In terms of architecture, the archway of Arg-e Tabriz is wider than the Archway of Ctesiphon and is one of the significant features of this structure.

Azarbaijan Museum

Collections of rare coins, pottery, statues, epigraphs, and traditional clothes have made Azaribaijan Museum one of the most important museums in the country.

It is the best place for learning about the rich history of the Azarbaijan region and its people.

Maqbaratoshoara

Located in the Surkhab district of Tabriz, Maqbaratoshoara (or the Mausoleum of Poets) is where classical and contemporary poets, mystics, and other notable people have been laid to rest.

Many Iranian poets chose the Sorkhab neighborhood for living and wished to be buried there after their death.

Qajar Museum

Qajar Museum was originally the house of Hasan Ali Khan Garroosy, one of the most famous politicians in the Qajar era.

In addition to museum objects, the house itself is a source of charm due to its beautiful architecture, colorful windows, stucco, and mirror work.

Masjed-e Jameh

Located in the UNESCO-registered bazaar, Masjed-e Jameh is one of the most important monuments of the ancient city.

The mosque was originally built during the Seljuk era (1037–1194) being restored in later eras.  The place of worship is interesting for the large sea of columns on the interior. It is also interesting for the brickwork on the columns and ceiling. Some say it is reminiscent of the mosque in Granada, Spain.

AFM

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