Tabriz

A Guide to Tabriz

Tabriz is located in Northwestern Iran on the hillsides of the Sahand Mountain as the capital of East Azerbaijan Province. As the fourth largest city in Iran, Tabriz is famous for going through the process of quick modernizations of the culture and development in city’s structure. Tabriz’s location near the three major countries of Armenia, Azerbaijan and Turkey has had much influence on the popularity and modernization of the city. Today, Tabriz is one of the top destinations for traveling and business purposes. The city holds various architectural monuments and witnesses to the historical changes of Iran. In this article, we will get more into the points that has made Tabriz an exceptional destination. Also, we are going to give you a special travel guide to Tabriz by telling its story, points of interest, special Handicrafts, local food, how to get around and more.

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The Story of Tabriz

The geographical location of Tabriz has caused several challenges for this city. Tabriz has gone through many earthquakes and wars in the past and every time it was rebuilt from the scratch. This city was also an important destination on the famous Silk Road. Tabriz was made the capital of the Mongol during the reign of Il-Khan Maḥmūd Ghāzān. It remained the capital of Iran even after it was taken by Timur, a Turkic conqueror. During the following dynasties of Safavid and Qajar, the capital of Iran was no longer Tabriz, yet this city kept its great administrative importance.

 During the Qajar era, Tabriz was the center of education and growth for Qajar kings’ princes. For its strategic location, it was also occupied by the Turkish and then Soviet army during World War I. After the World War II, Tabriz was on the verge of becoming an autonomous region in Azerbaijan. This was resolved after an agreement between Iran and the Soviet Union. Today, Tabriz continues to be an important center in Iran. Out of this complicated history of Tabriz, comes some of the most remarkable monuments and points of interests which we will be introducing below.

What Makes Tabriz Exceptional?

The city of Tabriz has been interestingly known to be ‘’a city without beggars ‘’ and also ‘’ the safest metropolitan city’’. Accordingly, these two statements represent the richness and luxury of Tabriz among other cities in Iran. Tabriz has been a pioneer in many areas such as having established the first school for the blind and the deaf, the first Cinemas, and theaters in Iran. Among the historical wonders of the city, Tabriz Historic Bazaar has been inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage list as one of the longest Roofed Bazaars that had played a strong role in being a part of the Silk Road. The cave-like houses of Kandovan Village are also of the rare attraction in Tabriz. Below, we are going to introduce more of these exceptional points of Interest along with the traditions, handicrafts, and signature dishes of Tabriz.

Need to Know

People & the cultural customs of Tabriz

The dominant language spoken by the Locals of Tabriz is Azerbaijani language (also known as Turki). However, like any other city in Iran, the official language is Persian which is the language of education. The Locals of Tabriz have special traditions and customs. They have specific rituals for holding mourning ceremonies during Muharram such as ‘’Sham Gardani’’ (a ritual with candles). They cook a special dish called ‘’Pokht Khashil’’ for Yalda night (longest day of autumn). Also, for celebrating Nowruz (New Year) and other ceremonies they have kept alive their old traditions.

What is the best time to travel to Tabriz?

Tabriz is surrounded by three mountains of Sorkhab, Rafieieh and Oghbeh and it borders Lake Urmia from the West. This special location provides Tabriz with changeable weathers through different seasons. Accordingly, the best time to travel to Tabriz is from June to the end of September when the summer weather is less warm and pleasant. If you want to enjoy the rich beauties of the jungle of Azerbaijan Province, we advise you to visit Tabriz from September to the early November.

During January and February, the cold winter weather and heavy snow falls prevails in Tabriz. From March to May, the weather is generally cool and rainy.

What is the best way to get to Tabriz

There are daily and charter flights from the main cities in Iran to Tabriz. You can also reach Tabriz by Train since Tabriz is one of the common train destinations in Iran. There are also intercity bus services to Tabriz from many cities in Iran.  If you need a private guide, driver or simply if you need to book domestic flights, trains or intercity buses, you can get the best deals through Travelopersia Here.

How to get around Tabriz

Most touristic attractions of Tabriz are located within a short walking distance of the Bus Stations. The bus services are available through different regions of the city. The Metro Service of Tabriz is still in hands of expansion. Yet, you can use the current Metro line to get around the city. Here is the latest Tabriz’s Bus Map and Metro Map. The best way to get around the city is by taking a Taxi in one of the Taxi stations around Tabriz or simply use the available Online Taxi Apps. Also, if you are looking for car rentals for your trips you can rent a car through Travelopersia.

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The City Map

Trip Ideas

Local Food & Signature Dishes of Tabriz

The special dishes of Tabriz range from delicious stews such as Ash Doogh, Dizi Sangi, Ash Mast and Goje ( yogurt with Tomato), and many more. You can also try a famous Tabrizi Kabab called Bonab Kabab and Kufteh Tabrizi while you are visiting Tabriz. You can try these signature dishes and local food in most of the restaurants located in Tabriz. Here is a list of hand-picked Restaurants and Cafes in Tabriz.

This city is also heaven for street food lovers. While exploring the beautiful Elgoli Park, you can find trollies selling Tabrizi Street Food. You can see several trays of cooked Potatoes and boiled eggs. A mixture of these is served on special bread with butter and tomato as Tabriz’s signature Street Food. You can also find several snacks and street food (such as the famous Tabrizi Liver stew) near the Grand Bazaar of Tabriz. While walking around Tabriz, you will find several bakeries where you can try fresh Tabrizi Sweet Breads. A famous Iranian cheese named Lighvan Cheese is also originally made in Lighvan Village in Tabriz.

The historic city of Tabriz is home to many stunning and historic buildings. Aside from the many historic palaces and museums, you can also enjoy a visit to the salted lake of Urmia and troglodytic Kandovan village. If you have decided to visit Tabriz on your trip to Iran, we recommend you to keep in mind these attractions and activities listed below. You can find more information on these attractions by checking out our Blog’s posts.

The UNESCO Recognized Site of Tabriz

The Grand Bazaar of Tabriz is one of the most significant Bazaars in Iran. The Bazaar is located on the famous east-western route of Silk Road. From the centuries ago until today, this Bazaar has been one of the most important points of commerce in Iran. The Grand Bazaar of Tabriz is known to be longest Roofed Bazaar with series of interconnected structures.

You can walk around this Bazaar and visit the several sections of Amir Bazaar (gold and jewelry section), Mozzafarieh (the carpet bazaar), a shoe bazaar, and many other Bazaars.

The Mosques of Tabriz

The Blue Mosque of Tabriz was built about 5 centuries ago. This mosque is famous for its beautiful tilework with shades of blue. Unfortunately, the decorations of the mosque has gone through much damage through the years. Yet, it stands as one of the magnificent mosques in Tabriz.

The Jameh Mosque of Tabriz, as the center of religion and social gathering, holds some of the unique examples of Stucco and Brickwork. The minarets and the whole structure of this mosque is different from any of the mosques that you might see in Iran.

Important Historic Houses

The Constitution House of Tabriz represents the important role of Tabriz in the Persian Constitutional Revolution. Among this mansion’s stained glass windows and eye-catching stucco works, you can get to know more about this revolution and its influential figures.

Behnam House is known as one of the most stunning traditional houses in Tabriz. This mansion is consisted of two summer and winter palaces. By visiting Behnam House’s public section, you can enjoy the beautiful paintings, miniatures, and stucco works.

Arg of Tabriz (Military Citadel) has been a witness to the most important historic challenges of Tabriz. During the two wars between Iran and Russia and the Persian constitutional revolution, this Arg was of much importance for the city.

Museums of Tabzriz

Tabriz with about 17 different museums is known as the city of museums after Tehran. One of the most important museums in Iran is the Azerbaijan Museum which is located in Tabriz. This museum holds artifacts and sculptures from the prehistoric times to the current modern era. Other notable museums of Tabriz are listed as below:

  • Qajar Museum of Tabriz
  • Iron Age Museum of Tabriz
  • Pottery Museum of Tabriz

Parks, Bridges and natural wonders

Elgoli or Shah Goli Park is one of the most significant Parks in Tabriz and Iran. In the heart of this great historic park there is a lake with a small palace in the middle of it. You can also visit Khaqani Park which is a historic park located near the Azerbaijan Museum and the blue mosque.

Just near the city of Tabriz you can see the Colorful Mountains and hills of Tabriz known as Ala Dagh Lar. The green, blue, red, and golden mountains of this era are a result of a series of soil Compositions.

Qari Bridge of Tabriz is known as the light bridge for its beautiful display of light at nights. This historic bridge with its beautiful arches connects the Grand Bazaar of Tabriz to the northern Tabriz.

Other Attractions near Tabriz

  • The Kandovan village is located in east Azerbaijan province, 60 kilometers south of Tabriz. This thirteen century village represent not only the village life of Iran, but also an unusual formation of its houses. Most of Its homes are naturally formed caves. They were formed from volcanic ash of Mount Sahand.
  • Lake Urmia is located within 90 kilometers of Tabriz. This lake is an endorheic salt lake in Iran with numerous islands and beautiful salt beaches.
  • Mount Sahand and Maryland Ski Resorts are located within 60 kilometers of Tabriz
  • Jolfa’s UNESCO recognized monastic ensembles of the Armenian Christian Saints are located within 230 kilometers of Tabriz. The Saint Stepanos Church is located on a wooded hill above the famous Aras River. The Armenian architectural traditions and elements can be seen in this church and the Saint Thaddeus Church.
  • Zahhak Castle is a 3000 year-old monument located within 145 kilometers of Tabriz. This Castle was named after the Persian Methodological figure, Zahhak.
  • Babak Castle is located within 204 kilometers of Tabriz. This fort was built by Babak Khorramdin, the leader of the Khurramites in Azerbaijan. It has been standing for 1200 years in the mountains of Arasbaran forests near Tabriz.

Handicraft & Souvenirs

Tabriz is one of the notable centers of handicraft in Iran. First and foremost, Tabriz has been a center of Carpet weaving from ancient times (according to some sources from third century AH). There are many diverse schools and pattern displays of Tabrizi Carpets. Accordingly, Tabriz became the World Carpet Weaving City by the World Crafts Council in October 2015. Aside from Carpet weaving there are many other handicrafts that Tabrizi Artists excel in which are introduced below:

  • Kilim which is a special rug made from silk, wool and goat hair
  • Leather as one the main productions in Tabriz. Leather carpets, shoes, Gloves and accessories are of the famous leather productions in Tabriz.
  • Textile Production such as Brocade and silk, velvet, and golden clothing are popular in Tabriz
  • Decorative Silver-Works
  • Needlework
  • Poetry and Ceramics
  • Basket Weaving
  • Traditional Printing on clothes by ancient techniques

You can purchase these handicrafts as souvenirs while visiting the Grand Bazaar of Tabriz. In this UNESCO recognized Bazaar, different sections are each specialized in different handicrafts of Tabriz.