Daily Archives: 2016-05-08

Azerbaijan Museum

Azerbaijan Museum

The Azerbaijan Museum, the major archaeological and historical museum in Tabriz, which was established on April 1958, situated next to the famous Blue Mosque, and it may be the nicest museum in Iran. It consists of three parts; in the entrance, you will find the archaeological department, which tells the story of Azerbaijan from the fifth century until the Sassanid era. (بیشتر…)

Arg-e Tabriz

Arg-e Tabriz

Arg-e Tabriz (Tabriz Citadel), also known as ‘Arg-e Alishah’, is a remnant of a big unfinished 14th-century mausoleum and a 19th-century military castle and barrack in the city center of Tabriz, East Azarbaijan Province, which was built during Ilkhanid era, between 1318 and 1339.This huge brick edifice is a chunky remnant of Tabriz Citadel. Criminals were once executed by being hurled from the top of the citadel walls. (بیشتر…)

Amir Nezam House (Qajar museum)

Amir Nezam House (Qajar museum)

House of Amir Nezam House (Qajar museum), one of the dignitaries of Qajar era in Tabriz, was transformed into a specialized museum of Qajar period in 2006. Due to its historical importance, the museum hosts a large number of admirers of art, culture and history.

The reason behind the importance of Amir Nezam House, situated on Sheshgalan Avenue, is because of Tabriz’s sensitive historical and political position. In various periods, Tabriz was of paramount importance and this glory reached its zenith during the rule of Ilkhanid and Qajar dynasties.


In 1218 AH (after hegira), crown prince of Fath Ali Shah, Abbas Mirza, resided in Tabriz, which was the country’s command headquarters during wars between Iran and Russia. Beautiful buildings from Qajar era remain in Tabriz. House of Amir Nezam is one of such building.

The building was built during the era of Naser al-Din Shah by Amir Nezam Garrousi, who was the king’s chief of staff. In the king’s memoirs about his third trip to Europe, many references have been made about this building. It should be noted that after Naser al-Din Shah’s era, governors of Azerbaijan also resided in this building.

Hassan Ali Khan Amir Nezam Garrousi, the former owner of this building, was among the affluent and renowned dignitaries of his time. He held important political and military posts for 64 years. Among his posts are ambassadorship in European countries and minister of Azerbaijan.

Amir Nezam House

Amir Nezam Garrousi had a deep understanding of modern ways of leadership. This important figure made moves that paved the way for bringing about fundamental social changes in Iran.

He took vast interests in arts and calligraphy. Due to his endeavors, distinguished literary figures and calligraphers emerged. A number of his students, who learned principles of calligraphy from him, are responsible for momentous developments in Iranian calligraphy.

Amir Nezam participated in Herat wars with the ranks of colonel and brigadier general with immense courage and gallantry, and was appointed Iran’s ambassador to London and also supervised and protected Iranian students studying in European cities. When Amir Nezam was ordered to kill the people of Azarbaijan, he refused to do so and went into exile in Kerman where he died.


Today, only parts of this building remain, as other parts have been destroyed throughout history. Due to its historical precedence and value, the house was purchased by East Azarbaijan’s Cultural Heritage, Handicrafts and Tourism Department in 2001. It was subsequently registered as national heritage and underwent renovation.

The house has two stories and covers an area of 3,000 square meters with a built-in area of 1,500 square meters. Like other historical and important buildings of Tabriz, the house has two courtyards that are decorated with small gardens and large ponds.

Since its pillars are embellished with plasterworks like other regional historical buildings, the balcony of this building also has 16 pillars. Plaster and mirror works in its halls enhance the beauties of this building. There is a large pond in the basement, which is one of its prettiest sections.

The museum has 11 halls for displaying different artistic endeavors. The historical articles kept in these halls have been categorized under sections named Chinese, metals, stone, coin, music, weapons and architecture.

Among the important and extraordinary articles in this museum are ceremonial clothing items of Haj Mohammad Hossein Haj Alilou (a nomadic tribe leader), a women’s jacket decorated with needlework and velvet decorated with patterns.
Chinese crystal candle-holder, vase and beautiful dishes kept in Chinese Hall indicate the cooperation of people who made available their Qajar-era works to the museum.

amir-nezam-house01Given the growth of music during Qajar period and presence of towering musicians in Tabriz, the Music Hall of the museum displays the traditional Iranian and Azeri music of the time. Visitors can become familiar with valuable specimens of Setar (a traditional string instrument), gramophone and piano, and observe the statues of Abolhassan Saba, a towering master of Iranian traditional music, and Abolhassan Khan Eqbal Azar, a master of singing and traditional music, and become acquainted with the governing ambiance of the Qajar era.


Since several wars were waged during the Qajar era, it was necessary to establish Weapons Hall in the museum. When visitors visit this hall, they can remember the historical events and bitter wars of this period.

amir-nezam-house004The Stone Hall has a very exquisite marble inscription made in memory of the reconstruction of Tabriz after a devastating earthquake destroyed the city in 1193 AH and a stone engraved in memory of the coronation of Mozaffareddin Shah.

Coin Hall displays Qajar era coins belonging to the eras of Mohammad Ali Shah, Mozaffareddin Shah and Ahmad Shah. Today, House of Amir Nezam is of great interest to visitors fascinated by cultural and artistic endeavors of the Qajar era.


Jameh Mosque

Jameh Mosque

Jameh Mosque is one of the historical monuments of Tabriz but its date of construction is not known. Since its foundation, it has been surrounded by a market. The most ancient part of this mosque is its vast roofed area. It has an arch and domes, based on octagonal brick pillars, and covered with delicate and artistic plaster work of the 5th century AH (after hegira).

This mosque was repaired during the rule of Mongol Ilkhanid Dynasty, which built additional sections to this mosque. Its high-altitude altar and plaster work are reminders of that era. During the rule of Ak Koyunlu, in the former undivided Azarbaijan province, a tall, tiled dome was built in the northern corner of this mosque–the remains of which can be currently observed.

During the 1193 AH earthquake, which damaged many Tabriz buildings, this mosque was partly damaged. The current mosque was constructed following the quake during the early years of the rule of Qajar Dynasty. It is one of the good works of art dating back to the Qajarid Era. Its height, solid structure and merited architecture makes for a compelling view and experts admire the skills of its architect.

Shah Gölü (El- Gölü, El- Goli)

Shah Gölü (El- Gölü, El- Goli)

Shah Gölü (El- Gölü, El- Goli) is the name of a large park in Tabriz,Iran. It has an square artificial lake surrounded by side walk in four sides. There is also a building in the middle of the lake, with traditional architecture of Iranian Azerbaijan. In South of the lake there is a hill covered by trees. Two beautiful stairways connecting the sidewalks to the top of the hill. At top of the hill, there is a building with modern architecture (Hotel Pars building). There is also a small Luna park next to the park.

Shah Gölü (El- Gölü, El- Goli)01

The early history of the Shah Gölü (El- Gölü, El- Goli) is not clear. However, it seems that the lake originally was used as a water resource for agricultural purposes. In old times there was an artificial island with a small palace in the middle of the lake, which was used as royal summer palace during the Qajar dynasty (when Tabriz was the official residence of the Prince of Iran). During 2nd Pahlavi’s the palace was reconstructed and a pass-way was built to connect the island to the sidewalks around the lake, constructed in Kara koyunlu era 1485 AD.

Shah Gölü (El- Gölü, El- Goli)02

During Pahlavi Dynasty Shah renamed the lake’s name from El Gölü to Shah Gölü but after the Iranian Revolution, the name of Shah Gölü was renamed to its original name El Gölü in official documents meaning People’s Lake.

Saat tower (Clock Tower)

Saat tower (Clock Tower)

Saat tower (Clock Tower), the symbol of Tabriz also known as Tabriz Municipality Palace, was built in 1934 and is located in the center of the city and on the left side of the Blue Mosque. After the 2nd world war, the building was used by the Azerbaijan Democrat Party as a government office. When Iranian troops regained control of Tabriz in 1947, the building was used again as the Tabriz municipal central office, and since then this function has not changed.


Saat tower (Clock Tower) are a specific type of building, which houses a turret clock and has one or more clock faces on the upper exterior walls. Many clock towers are freestanding structures but they can also be part of a church or municipal building such as a town hall.

Saat tower (Clock Tower) is called so because of the four-face clock at the top of the tower. In the 1990s, in an attempt of install an elevator, one of Saat’s patios was damaged. In 2008, the dome of the tower was reconstructed with a new khaki colored fiberglass to replace the original silver colored dome.


To use the whole potential of the building, some parts of the tower have been used in function of a museum in recent years. The museum includes historical maps and photos of Tabriz, as well as some antiques such as first taxi cars, and old firefighting trucks.

Since Saat tower (Clock Tower) in Tabriz is located in the center of the city, it has been used for various ceremonies and gatherings in the city. Nowruz, for instance, is celebrated in Tabriz by setting a big Haft-Sin behind Saat Tower, which attracts many visitors.

Constitution House (Khan-e Mashroute)

Constitution House (Khan-e Mashroute)

Constitution House (Khan-e Mashroute) of Tabriz belongs to the Iranian Constitutional Revolution originated in Tabriz and culminated during the reign of Mohammad Ali Shah of Qajar dynasty (1779-1925). Sattar Khan and Baqir Khan were the two most prominent leading figures behind the movement. Tabriz was occupied by Russians several times in the first half of 20th century, including most of both world wars. A railway line to the border at Jolfa, built by the expansionist Russians, was of little importance until recently, but it has increased in significance in the ’90s because of Iran’s friendlier relations with its northern neighbors.

With a very rich history, Tabriz used to house many historical monuments. Unfortunately, many of them were destroyed in repeated invasions and attacks of foreign forces, negligence of the ruling governments, as well natural disasters such as earthquakes and floods. What remains now mostly dates back to the Ilkhanids, the Safavids, and the Qajars. Some of the monuments are unrivaled masterpieces of architecture, such as the Constitution House.

Constitution House of Tabriz (Khan-e Mashroute) is a symbol of fighting despotism and reminiscent of struggles by Sattar Khan and Baqer Khan, the two key figures in the Iranian Constitutional Movement.

During the years, which led to Constitutional Revolution and afterwards the house, was used as a gathering place of the leaders, activists and sympathizers of the movement. Among them, the most famous people were Sattar khan, Bagher Khan, Seqat-ol-Eslam Tabrizi and Haji Mirza Aqa Farshi.

Located in Rasteh Koucheh District in the vicinity of the city’s historical bazaar, the two story building was constructed in 1868 by Haj Vali Me’mar-e Tabrizi. It has numerous rooms and halls. The most beautiful part of the house is a skylight and corridor decorated with colorful glass and mirrors.

The house is constructed by order of Haj Mehdi Koozekanani on 1868. It includes a two-floor building with internal and external part, with Qajar era architecture. Haj Mehdi Koozekanani was a merchant in the Bazaar of Tabriz. With initiating of Constitution revolution and rising up in Tabriz city, Haj Mehdi joined the revolution and became one of the major financiers of the revolution. At the same time, he used the house as a place for meeting of the revolution heads, and a place for publication of underground paper of the constitution movement. The house became important in the history once again just after World War II when it was used as a place for Azerbaijan’s Democrat Party meeting center (1946-1947). On 1975, the house was registered by Cultural Heritage of Iran.

Statues of Sattar Khan and Baqer Khan, known as Sardar-e Melli (national commander) and Salar-e Melli (national leader) respectively, are standing at the entrance of the building, reminding the passion for fighting at that era.

Sattar Khan’s revolver and examples of press from the Constitution movement era are among the items maintained at the museum.

The museum also features personal belongings of Seqat ol-Eslam Tabrizi, a Shia cleric who was hanged by Russian troops in Tabriz as well as photos of others who were campaigning presence of Russian troops in Tabriz. It includes sculptures of famous constitution revolutionaries, their personal belongings, their weapons, underground newspaper of the revolution, and numerous photos from the revolution. One of the rooms in the building is belonged to the woman’s role in the revolution.

Kandovan (Candovan)

Kandovan (Candovan)

Kandovan (Candovan) is an extraordinary ancient village in the province of East Azerbaijan, near the city of Tabriz, Iran. With it is at least 800 years existence, this remarkable place is inhabited by 670 people and offers scenic beauty for its travelers.

With homes carved inside rocks, some of them 700 years old, the Kandovan village is said to have been partially formed by volcanic remains from a strong Mount Sahand eruptions hundreds of years ago.

The structures were formed by ash and debris from Mount Sahand when the now-dormant volcano erupted sometime in the last 11,000 years. Over the course of thousands of years, the ash hardened and was carved out by the elements. In the surrounding region, the ash blanketed the land in a more traditional pattern.


Kandovan is a place where houses are not built on a mountain, but within the mountain. Another interesting aspect is the fact that the rock acts as an energy efficient material, keeping the house cool during summer and warm during winter. This is why most of the inhabitants here do not use heaters or air conditioning systems.

When you first come upon the houses, you might not notice them, as the stone used to expand the dwellings outside of the caves, mimics that natural color of the original stone. But once you get closer to the village, you can see the windows, power wires, doors, and chimneys jutting out of the rock face. Most communities have become modernized, with power and some even with running water, all while blending perfectly into the natural surroundings. The volcanic stone is both easy to manipulate and sturdy enough to support these ancient constructions.


What is particularly amazing about these homes is that they have supported life for centuries and centuries. They look like ancient cave dwellings because they are. The first inhabitants were from ancient tribes, but these homes have been updated and passed down from inhabitant to inhabitant.

Most communities have taken special precaution to preserve as much of the original cave as possible, so that both the exterior and the interior have that authentic Kandovan feel. Some houses rely on the natural cave formations, while others have been hollowed out into larger rooms, and have even been whitewashed to create a more modern look and feel. Decorated with colorful carpets and fabrics, these communities support almost 170 families.


The intriguing architecture of this village seems to defy all rules and travelers are usually fascinated by its incredible slopes and irreverent paths.  Recently a hotel was built, inspired by and connected to the “style” of the village. The “Rocky Hotel” features beautiful cave interiors with very comfortable living spaces. What we found interesting is that it takes ten months for four people to dig a room. Be sure to check out the video to see how these rooms look.