Tabriz and Its Rich Historical and Cultural Background
Tabriz and Its Rich Historical and Cultural Background
Sepideh Afshar Rezaee
Translated by Shiva Shakib
Tabriz is the center of East Azerbaijan Province in Iran. Next to Tehran and Mashhad, Tabriz is the largest city of Iran which is located in North West or the Azeri region. Moreover, Tabriz is recognized and well known as the administrative, communicative, commercial, political, industrial, cultural and military hub of the whole region. According to the latest divisions made in Iran, Tabriz includes 4 cities, 6 rural districts and 67 villages. The population of Tabriz is estimated to be approximately around 1,800,000. This city is limited to Ahar from the north, Osco from the south, Haris and Bostan Abad from the east and Shabestar from the northwest. Tabriz is surrounded by highlands and hills including the Sahand Mountains. The weather is very cold during the winter while the summers are quite dry and hot. Since Tabriz is located in a quake region it has endured several serious earthquakes and been totally ruined in the past. The people of Tabriz speak in a Turkish-Azerbaijani language and have a particular accent and dialect.
Exclusive Location and Position
Throughout history the city of Tabriz has been demolished and reconstructed several times. Considering its excellent position, Tabriz has been among the prominent commercial centers in the past and nowadays it is observed as one of the industrial centers of Iran. During the last two decades, Tabriz has been the origin of numerous social, cultural, and industrial developments in Iran. For instance, it is known for its superior merit, as a city without beggars, a very healthy city and a relatively safe and reliable city for investment. In Iran, Tabriz has the second rank in the following issues: tourist attraction, industrial centers, education and universities, car manufacturing, etc. As it is known to be one of the most significant industrial and commercial centers, it is very active and productive in fields like weaving and looming, manufacturing of machines and petrochemical devices. Moreover, it has become a major center of arts and handicrafts, especially in pottery, ceramics, jewelry and other metals such as silver. The most outstanding commodity that Tabriz offers for export is rug, one of the city’s major handicrafts. Regarding its high quality and creative designs and patterns, it has earned global fame and hence it is considered as a valuable source of income. Also, Tabriz is pioneer in making leather products and the related industrial works; for instance, the leather shoes and bags have a very high quality.
Historical Locations and Tourism Attractions
Historically, Tabriz had eight gates and all the entry and exit ways run through them. Later on small markets were established alongside these gates so that people could provide their daily shopping through them without referring to the central markets. Gradually residential units were built near these markets and as a result these markets were attached to each other and new locations were established in diverse regions of the city. Amir Passage is among the most fabulous architectural buildings and most glorious markets in Tabriz. Also, the Mozzafarieh Market is among the most beautiful parts of the bazaar and one of the largest parts of the carpet market.
During the Ghajar Era, to mention one of the historical periods, as a result of severe earthquakes and wars, old parts of the city were destructed. So the Tabriz Citadel and Kaboud Mosque are among the exceptional historical monuments that have survived. For this reason, in comparison with other big cities of Iran, Tabriz has fewer historical monuments. Meanwhile several of the old historical monuments including the Maghsoudieh Complex, Behnam House, Amir Nezam House, among many other ones, are in the process of repair and renovation, in order to be used as museum or cultural centers in the future. It’s noteworthy to mention that there are various great mosques in Tabriz as well such as the Khazineh Mosque, Zahirieh Mosque, Alishah Mosque, etc.
Tabriz has raised several great historical and cultural figures throughout history including great scholars, poets, writers and calligraphers to mention a few. Among the contemporary great figures Seyyed Mohammad Hossein Tabatabaei, the great philosopher; Sheikh Abdul Hussein Amini, the author of Al-Qadir book; Seyyed Hassan Taghizadeh, politician and researcher; Mohsen Hashtroudi, mathematician, etc.
Traditional Foods and Handicrafts
Tabriz is very well-known for its original and traditional foods, in addition to nuts and sweets. Pottery, embroidery, carpet-weaving, weaving rugs, weaving crochets, among many other handicrafts are originally created in Tabriz. Traditional prints, glassworks, drawing on pottery and ceramics, painting, metalwork, miniature and illuminations are among the other artistic creations of Tabriz.
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