All About Tabriz
A fascinating bazaar, a deeply human heart and passionately helpful freelance guides make this gigantic, sprawling city (Tabriz) a sun rising positive introduction to Iran. It had a spell as the Iranian capital and has proven extremely influenced in the country’s recent history. Sometimes stiflingly smoggy and hot in summer, it can be freezing and hot in summer, it can be freezing cold in winter, but the Azeri welcome is generally very warm any time of year. Do not miss an excursion to Kandovan, Iran’s Cappadocia.
Biblical clues point to the Ajichay River flowing out of the Garden of Eden, which places Tabriz at the gates of paradise. More historically verifiable, Tabriz was a Sassanid era’s trade hub and came to eclipse Maraqeh as a later Mongol Ilkhanid capital of Azerbaijan. It recovered remarkably rapidly from Tamerlane’s 1392 ravages and, while the rest of Iran was vassal to the Timurids, Tabriz became the capital of a local Turmen Kara Koyunlu (Black Sheep) dynasty. That dynasty’s greatest monarchs were Jahan shah, under whose rule (1439-67) the city saw a remarkable flowering of arts and architecture culminating in the fabulous Blue Mosque.
Shah Ismail, the first Safavid ruler, briefly made Tabriz Persia’s national capital. However, after the battle of Chaldoran against the advancing Ottomans, Tabriz suddenly seemed far too vulnerable to Ottoman attack, so Ismail’s successor, Tahmasb (1524- 75), moved this capital to safer Qazvin. Fought over by Persians, Ottomans and (later) Russians, Tabriz went into a lengthy decline exacerbated by disease and one of the world’s worst- ever earthquakes that killed 77.000 Tabriz’s in November 1727.
The city recovered its prosperity during the 19th century. Shahgoli (Elgoli) on Tabriz’ southeast outskirts became the residence of the Qajar crown prince, but heavy-handed Qajar attempts to Persianise the Azeri region caused resentment. The 1906 constitutional revolution briefly allowed Azeri Turkish held out valiantly in 1908 when the liberal constitution was promptly revoked again. For its pains, it was brutally besieged by Russian troops.
Russian popped up again during both world wars and built a railway line of Jolfa (then the soviet border) before withdrawing in 1945. This left Tabriz as capital of Pishaveri’s short-lived Provincial Government (autonomous south Azerbaijan) which tried to barter threats of secession for better Azeri rights within Iran. The provincial Government was crushed in December 1946 and far from encouraging the Azeris, the shah did the opposite. Reaction against this discrimination put Tabriz in the forefront of the 1979 revolution well before the Antishah straggle was railroaded by more fundamentalist Muslim clerics.
The amazing attractions of Tabriz are as below: