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Tabriz

TABRIZ Tours

 It has a long and checkered history: Although the early history of Tabriz is shrouded in legend and mystery, the town’s origins are believed to date back” to distant antiquity, perhaps even before the Sassanian era (224-651 AD). The oldest stone tablet with a reference to Tabriz is that of Sargon II, the Assyrian King. The tablet referrers to a place called Tauri Castle and Tarmkis. The historians believe that this castle was situated on the site of the present Tabriz. It was the capital of Azarbin the 3rd century AD and again under the Mongol Ilkhanid dynasty (1256-13 53), although for some time Maragheh supplanted it. During the reign of Aqa Khan of the Ilkhanids, as well as under the reign of Ghazan Khan, Tabriz reached the peak of 1 glory and importance. Many great artists and philosophers from all over the world traveled to Tabriz. During this same period 1 Khajeh Rashid od-Din Fazlollah, the i..: learned historian and Minister of Ghazan , Khan, built the famous Rob’e Rashidi center. In 1392, after the end of Mongol rule, the town was sacked by Tamerlane. It was soon restored under the Turkman tribe of the Qara Qoyunlu, who established a short-lived local dynasty. Under the Safavids it rose from regional to national capital for a short period, but the second of the Safavid kings, Shah Tahmasb, moved the capital to Qazvin because of the vulnerability of Tabriz to Ottoman attacks. The town then went into a period of decline, fought over by the Iranians, Ottomans and Russians and struck by earthquake and disease.

Tabriz was the residence of the crown prince under the Qajar kings, themselves of Turkish stock, but the town did not return to prosperity until the second half of the 19th century .The greatest boost to Tabriz came with the opening up of Persia to the West at the turn of this century, when it became the main staging post between the interior of Iran and the Black Sea and, for a short time, the economic capital. In 1908 it was the center of a revolt against Mohammad Ali Shah, which was only put down with the brutal intervention of the Russians.

In the second Irano-Russian War the city was occupied by the Czar troops. However, it was returned to Iran following the signing of Turkmanchai Treaty, a peace and trade settlement that ended the Iran- Russian War of 1826-1828. The Iranian Constitutional Revolution originated in Tabriz and culminated during the reign of Mohammad Ali Shah of Qajar dynasty (1779-1925). Sat tar Khan and Baqer Khan were the two most prominent leading figures behind the movement. Tabriz was occupied by Russians several times in the first half of this 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 as a result of Iran’s friendlier relations with its northern neighbors.

El Goli

 (Formerly Shah Goli) A superb park around a square artificial pond. In the center, a small hall is on an island and hosts a restaurant. Very nice for eating some tchelokebab or sip some tea while enjoying the freshness of the park in summer.

Blue Mosque

Originally built in 1465, this mosque which was once certainly superb, but was severely damaged in an earthquake in 1778, leaving only the entrance Iwan. It was reconstructed at early 1900 by the Iranian Ministry of Culture. The inside of the mosque is tiled with superb blue ceramic, unfortunately, many pieces went missing during the quake and were simply replaced by painting instead of tiles – some of the original tiles can be found around the entrance

Azerbaijan Museum

Comprises three main sections – the first contains the oldest archaeological finds from the 5th millennium BC until the Sassanian dynasty (212-656 AD), the second section contains more Islamic archaeology and coins and seals. The third section contains sculptures by Ahad Hosseini and a large collection of padlocks. There are good English signs for all the archaeological exhibits and sculptures with a panel explaining the sculptor’s history in English, Farsi and French. You can buy books including English copies of Lonely Planet’s guidebook for Iran at the entranc

Ark-e-Alishah

It also known as Arg e Tabriz, is a remnant of a fortress built in the Ilkhanate period. Currently it was located in the center of Tabriz. Historians believe that it was used as a military castle but clerics claim that the structure was initially used as a mosque in its early days. After the Revolution, large parts of the building were destroyed by the clerics to prepare a new place for Friday prayers in Tabriz. The structure today stands 28 meters high, and is still used as part of a space for holding Friday prayers

Babak Castle

Breathtaking castle, nested on a rocky peak at an altitude of 2,700 m. Babak was apparently one of the last Zoroastrian heroes fighting the Islamic invasion, 1400 years ago. A 2-hours walk to get up there, but definitely worth it. What a view.

Kandovan

Troglodytic village 2 hours away from Tabriz. Great for discovering both the odd beauty of the place and the daily life of an Iranian village, among sheep, donkeys, hens and cats… Women in printed chadors can go outside and playing kids are all around. Mullahs obviously don’t bother going there too often. Resistant walking shoes are mandatory if you want to climb up the village. A living example of human adaptation to exceptionally unusual natural surroundings, Kandovan village is located 50 km to the south of Tabriz, Osku, on the northern slopes of a valley at the foothills of Mount Sahand. A river originating from the Sahand peaks passes

through the valley. There are a number of natural springs to the north of the river, the water from which has traditionally been used for the treatment of kidney stones, according to the locals. The physical structure of the village looks like images from fairy tales. Natural cones, scattered over a vast area, serve as human dwellings on rock formations which themselves seem to have been the work certain sculptors. The road from Tabriz goes through this natural artwork. On getting nearer to the dwellings, the visitor finds out that large families are living inside two or three of these hollow interconnected cones with features such as openings on their surface playing the role of actual windows. The lowest cones are used as stables and those on top as the living quarters.

 The interiors of the dwellings, usually divided into a living and a bed room, are dimly lit; however, the villagers are used to it. The interconnecting corridors are very narrow. From the outside, the dwellings look so similar to each other that one may easily get lost in the village. Steep pathways and steps are made of rock pieces for animals as well as human beings. As the legend goes, the first people to settle here were the soldiers involved in military operations nearly 800 years ago, who found the cones by chance and used them as their temporary camouflage and accommodation. However, among archaeologists, it is considered to be of Pre-Islamic Period.