Heating options on agenda for UNESCO-designated market 

January 4, 2023 - 21:0

TEHRAN – The heating system of the UNESCO-registered bazaar of Tabriz, northwestern East Azarbaijan province, needs to be improved, the governor of Tabriz has said.

As a World Heritage site, the historical bazaar of Tabriz needs to be protected and organized with the participation of all organizations involved, CHTN quoted Ali Jafari as saying on Wednesday.

One of the most important issues in the bazaar is the protection and restoration of electricity wires and cables to improve the visual appearance and safety of the bazaar and shops, as well as the installation of a fire alarm system, the official added.

Tabriz Historic Bazaar Complex has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2010 and was mentioned by Marco Polo when he traveled the Silk Road in the Middle Ages.

A jumble of interconnected covered passages that stretches for about five kilometers, the bazaar has been a melting pot of cultural exchange since antiquity.

It embraces countless shops, over 20 caravanserais, and inns, some 20 vast domed halls, bathhouses, and mosques, as well as other brick structures and enclosed spaces for different functions. Its history dates back to over a millennium, however, the majority of fine brick vaults that capture most visitors’ eyes date from the 15th century.

Tabriz became the capital of the Mongol Il-Khan Mahmud Gazan (1295–1304) and his successor. Timur (Tamerlane), a Turkic conqueror, took it in 1392. Some decades later the Kara Koyunlu Turkmen made it their capital, it was when the famous Blue Mosque was built in Tabriz.

The ancient city retained its administrative status under the Safavid dynasty until 1548 when Shah Tahmasp I relocated his capital westward to Qazvin.

During the next two centuries, Tabriz changed hands several times between Persia and the Ottoman Empire. During World War I, the city was temporarily occupied by Turkish and then Soviet troops.

Bazaars in Persian towns

Bazaar is, originally, a public market district of a Persian town. The bazaar of the ancient Islamic world was vividly described in the folktales of “The Thousand and One Nights”. Located in a distinct quarter of a town, it was bustling and noisy by day in contrast to the quiet residential quarters. Access was forbidden after sundown.

Distinctive architecture characterized some bazaars—such as those built at Kashan and Isfahan in Iran in the 17th century. They were usually roofed for protection against the hot desert sun, either with a single roof, with individual vaulted cupolas or domes, or with awnings.

From another point of view, bazaars are also synonyms of foods, with their unmissable colorful stalls of vegetables, herbs, and spices. Yet, most of these ingredients might be mysterious to a foreign eye. Teahouses help punctuate the walk and a traditional restaurant is a perfect place for lunch.

Browsing through a traditional bazaar may provide new experiences and fresh points of view on the ancient land. Such excursions can be made either in person or by “off-the-beaten-track” tours. Not only it’s an opportunity to discover dozens of unique local ingredients, but it’s also a chance to taste street foods and delicacies, in some traditional bakeries known only by locals and shopkeepers.

People watching and even mingling with them in the bazaars is one of the best ways to take the pulse of the country. Bazaars have traditionally been major economic and social centers in any Iranian city.


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