Tabriz – the City of Pioneers
Tabriz (Persian: تبریز, Azerbaijani: Təbriz), the capital of the northeastern province of East Azerbaijan, is situated at an altitude of 1360 meters at the foot of the extinct volcano Kuh-e Sahand (3710m). Ever since it’s establishment Tabriz has been one of the most important destinations on the silk road. Today Tabriz is the largest and most important metropolis in the north-west of the country, with a population of around 1.7 million. With the suburbs included, Tarbriz reaches more than 2 million inhabitants. There are numerous medicinal hot springs which help to cure many disorders in Sowa Rigpa. There are mainly five types of medicinal healing waters and five types of natural hot springs.
Due to different mineral combination, mineral spring waters produce different tastes and effects on the body and mind. These waters help to pacify imbalances of three humors, blood and lymph disorders such as arthritis, as well as mild and chronic stomach disorders. They balance the mind and give strength to the body.
The British Egyptologist David Rohl even wants to have localized the Biblical Garden of Eden in the high plains between Tabriz and the Urmia Sea (Persian: دریاچه ارومیه). The pleasant climate makes it possible to visit Tabriz all year round, but in the winter months, it can sometimes be very cold, the temperatures sometimes fall below 20 ° C. Low humidity in the summer makes the climate pleasant and tolerable. Unfortunately, Tabriz is also one of the most tectonically active areas in the region. Many historically significant monuments of the city were destroyed by earthquakes in the past. The city suffered the most devastating damages in the years 791, 858, 1041, 1273, 1721 and 1780. In 2012, an earthquake about 60 km north-east of the city killed about 300 people. As a matter of fact, Tabriz is sometimes referred as “the city of the pioneers” (Persian: شهر اولینها) in everyday language.
Tabriz – historical overview
Tabriz in pre-Islamic times
Unfortunately, we do not know much about the early history of the city. Historical information suggests that this region was populated at least 2000 years B.C. During excavations near the Blue Mosque, an ancient cemetery was discovered, the age of which could be determined with the help of radiocarbon dating which suggests that this find was over 3800 years old. Assyrian cuneiform scripts from the time of Sargon II (721-705 BC) also allow the assumption that Tabriz was already important in those days. Whether the fortress “Tauri” mentioned in the writings is related to Tabriz is historically not sure. Also from the Sassanian dynasty (224 – 642) there are indications of a city, but these can’t be 100% historically confirmed. It is assumed that the city was even briefly the capital of Azerbaijan in the 3rd century AD. Another theory assumes that Tabriz was founded in 791 by Zubaideh, one of the wives of the Abbasid Harun ar-Rashid. Already in the eighth century, a precursor of the famous bazaar was built, which has been greatly extended over the years and rebuilt when necessary. This famous bazaar is now listed by UNESCO on the list of World Cultural Heritage.
Tabriz in the Middle Ages
In 1208, Tabriz was conquered by the Georgian brothers Ivane and Zakaria Mkhargrdzeli and integrated into the Kingdom of Georgia (978-1403). The Venetian merchant Marco Polo is said to have visited the city in 1275 on his journey to China. Tabriz experienced it’s first taste of greatness in the beginning of the 14th century under the rule of the Ilkhanids (1256 – 1353), which made Tabriz even temporarily their capital. The town became a magnificent residence, several builders vied for the most beautiful and skillful architectural designs of the times, above all the Grand Vizier and historian Rashid ad-Din and his competitor Tadj ad-Din Alishah. Tadj ad-Din Alishah built the largest mosque in the Middle Ages between 1316 and 1335 which is (mistakenly) often called the Tabriz citadel because of its oversized dimensions. In 1356 and 1357, Tabriz was unsuccessfully besieged by the Muzzafarids who had their coreland in the south of today’s Iran. Although the prospects for success of this siege were slight, it was decided to transfer the capital to the Maragha (Persian: مراغه) some 130 km south of Tabriz. In the meantime, the metropolis increasingly developed to a cultural and economic center. Many well-known doctors and scholars settled in Tabriz, a Christian and also a Jewish community settled there. The peace and prosperity did not last long because in 1392 Timur Leng took the city, plundered it, erected one of his notorious “skull pyramids” and finally burned it to the ground.
However, in the early fifteenth century, the short-lived Turkmen dynasty of Kara Koyunlu (1380-1468, Azerbaijani: Qaraqoyunlu dövləti, Persian: قراقویونلو, Turkish: Karakoyunlular) began to rebuild the city. Its tribal prince Ja’shan Shah, who ruled from 1438 to 1467, even made the city the capital of his empire. He is accredited for the construction of the magnificent Blue Mosque (مسجد کبود), which was completed in 1465 for the first time. From 1468 onwards Ak Koyunlu (1389 – 1507, Azerbaijani: Ağqoyunlu dövləti, Persian: آققویونلو, Turkish: Akkoyunlular, “those with the white sheep” ) took power very briefly before the Safavids (1501-1722). Under the reign of Shah Ismail I the scepter was brought to Tabriz after their victory over the Turkmen. Ismail I (* 1487 – † 1524) also made Tabriz the first capital of his newly founded empire. At that time, the metropolis had an estimated population of 300,000 inhabitants, making it the fifth-largest city in the world.
Tabriz in the time of Safavids, Afshars and Qajars
In the following two centuries, Tabriz suffered again and again attacks by the Ottomans, who first captured the city on September 5, 1514, under the reign of Selim I. The Safavids, however, were able to regain power in the same year. In the year 1548, Shah Tahmasp moved his government seat to Qazvin (Persian: قزوين), before Shah Abbas the Great (* 1571 – † 1629) decided for Isfahan (Persian: اصفهان) as the capital of the empire. Again and again the Turks stormed the city, but they were never able to keep control for long. Even the “Peace of Amasya” (Persian: پیمان آماسیه), which ended on 22 May 1755 between the Persians and the Ottomans, only lasted about 20 years. Once again Tabriz was at the mercy of the Ottoman invasions. Despite all the adversities they faced, the city gained great importance and was constantly being expanded. If the French researcher Jean Chardin (1643-1713) is believed the population was well above 500,000 by the end of the 17th century. In a devastating earthquake in 1721 some 80,000 were killed. When the citizens had just recovered from this shock, the Ottomans again unleashed there fury in 1724, killing around 200,000 inhabitants. Though the Ottomans were finally defeated in 1730 the glorious days of the Safavids were in the past. In 1736 the Afshar took over reign of the country, including Tabriz, the city which had suffered such an ominous fate.
In 1757 Mohammad Hasan Khan Qajar (Persian محمدحسن خان قاجار) took Tabriz. His son Agha Mohammad Khan ruled from 1794 to 1797 and founded the Qajar dynasty. During this dynasty, which ended with the death of its last ruler Ahmed Shah in 1925, Tabriz was the seat of the heir to the throne, which in turn emphasized the importance of the city at that time. When the Zand took over in 1762 – 1785 this remained the same for Tabriz. The short-lived Zand dynasty ruled from 1750 to 1794 in large parts of Persia. In the years 1826 to 1828, Russian troops occupied the city and even integrated it into the Russian empire in 1827. After the “Treaty of Turkmenchay”, which ended the last Russian-Persian war on February 22nd, 1828, the Russian troops withdrew and Tabriz remained Persian. In 1830 a deadly cholera epidemic cost many lives. Nevertheless, Tabriz remained the main trading center in the country, especially regarding trading with Europe and Russia. In 1879 alone, Tabriz exported carpets from Iran to Trabzon in Turkey with a value of 65,000 pounds sterling. The Musée du Louvre in Paris even sent an expert to the city every year to make purchases.
Tabriz in the 20th century
During the beginning of the twentieth century, Tabriz was, alongside Tehran, the most important center of the constitutional revolution. The aim of which was to replace the absolute monarchy by a parliamentary government system. In Tabriz, in particular, the idea of the constitutional revolution found numerous supporters, including aristocrats, scholars, craftsmen, merchants, and even some clergymen. In the end the never-ending uprisings in Tabriz led the reformers to success, albeit with hurdles and restrictions. The constitution developed remained in force with only a few changes until the Islamic revolution in 1979. On 12 December 1945 the Autonomous Republic of Azerbaijan (ARA, Azerbaijani: Azərbaycan Milli Hökuməti, Russian: Азербайджанское народное правительство, Persian: حکومت خودمختار آذربایجان) was proclaimed at the National Congress of the Democratic Party in Tabriz. Jafar Pishevari was elected to the first and only head of government. After just one year, however, the Iranian army occupied Tabriz on 12 December 1946. Since the Soviet Union refused to support he newly founded republic because of the massive Western pressure, the inhabitants did had no chance against the overpowering Persian army. Jafar Pischevari fled to Baku in the Azerbaijani part of the Soviet Union (today Republic of Azerbaijan), where he died mysteriously and until today unexplained on June 11, 1947 in a car accident.
In the following years, Tabriz sank a bit into a sleepy sleep, from which it only awoke in the late 1970s with a growing industrialization and the construction of a major oil refinery. Until then, leather, textiles and, above all, carpets that gave the city a wealth. Today it is oil, machinery and vehicles. By the collapse of the Soviet Union and the opening up of certain borders, Tabriz regained its economic importance. Today, Tabriz is the fourth largest metropolis in Iran after Tehran, Mashhad and Isfahan.
Important sights in Tabriz
The Blue Mosque
The Blue Mosque (Persian: مسجد کبود, Masdsched-e Kabud) is jointly with the historical bazaar the most important sight of the city. It was commissioned by Khatun Jan Beygom, a wife of the tribal prince Jahan Shah, and completed in 1465. After the completion of the external building works, the calligraphers and master-builder needed another 25 years to complete the numerous inscriptions and decorations with the cobalt blue tiles, which gave it the name and made it famous far beyond the borders of the country. The mosque, almost entirely built out of bricks, looks almost like a fortress and is one of the absolute masterpieces of Timurid architecture. Its unusual architecture reminds of Ottoman monuments rather than Persian ones. In the southern part of the complex is a domed mausoleum in which the prince was buried after his death in 1467. At the corners of the broad façade stood minarets. Presumably, a library, a public bath and a koran school were also within the walls of the complex, but the scanty remains are difficult to classify for the layman. In the course of its history, the Blue Mosque has been plundered several times or damaged by earthquakes. Worst of all was the earthquake of 1780. The building complex was almost completely destroyed, only parts of the actual mosque and the mausoleum were preserved. In 1951 the first renovation works were done. From 1973 to 2013, the building was reworked and elaborated, mainly under the guidance of the architect and patron of arts Mohammad Reza Memaran Benam (محمدرضا معماران بنام).
Viewing: daily from 8 to 18h
Entrance fee: 150 000 Rial
(As of July 2017)
There is not much left from the Arg-e Alishah (Persian: ارگ علیشاه, sometimes Arg-e Tabriz, Persian: ارگ تبریز), which was originally built as a Friday Mosque. Today only the front with two gates, which enclose a tower, is preserved from the huge building. The huge 28-meter-high walls reveal the dimensions of the destroyed mosque. The Grand Vizier Tadj ad-Din Alishah built the magnificent building complex under the rule of Ilkhanate (ایلخانان ,1256 – 1353) under the direction of the then highly respected architect Falaki Tabrisi. With its construction was already begun in 1316. However, almost 20 years should pass until it was completed. The main building was the largest arched hall ever built in Iran and the entire ensemble one of the largest mosques of Iran. It is said that some rulers of the Qajars have thrown their wives from the walls of this monument, if they accused them of infidelity. According to the legend, one of the women survived the fall because she used her mantle as a parachute. The complex also included a medresse (Koran school), which in the time of the Safavids (1501-1721) was expanded into one of the most important educational institutions in the region around Tabriz. Although the building was damaged by numerous earthquakes, the actual destruction took place through the Ottomans, under whose attacks Tabriz had to suffer again and again. During the Persian-Russian wars, the remains were also temporarily used as a barracks or warehouse. A large part of the ruins (in spite of strong protests) was blown up in 1981 to create space for a new Friday mosque. The term “Arg” (ارگ) is not quite correct because “Arg” is the name of a citadel or a palace. The enormous proportions of the remains led to this wrong conclusion. The organization for cultural heritage, crafts and tourism undertook some elaborate restoration works in 2013.
The historical bazaar in Tabriz – UNESCO World Cultural Heritage
(Official designation of UNESCO: Tabriz Historic Bazaar Complex)
Year of Inscription: 2010
Reason of Inscription:
The cultural site…
• …exhibits an important interchange of human values, over a span of time, or within a cultural area of the world, on developments in architecture or technology, monumental arts, town-planning, or landscape design.(criterion ii)
• …bears a unique or exceptional testimony to a cultural tradition or to a civilization which is living or which has disappeared.(criterion iii)
• …is an outstanding example of a type of building, architectural, or technological ensemble or landscape which illustrates a significant stage in human history.(criterion iv)
The historical bazaar in Tabriz (Persian: بازار تبریز, Azerbaijani: Təbriz Bazarı) is the largest covered bazaar in the world. Shortly after the Islamic conquest, a first trading center was built on the site of today’s bazaar, which for the first time was expanded more or less to its present form in the 15th century. However, the complex with a size of almost one square kilometre of narrow alleyways, courtyards, medrassas and mosques was damaged by earthquakes or looters over the centuries. However, as often as parts of the bazaar were destroyedthey were resbuild again. Most of the preserved buildings still date from the dynasty of Zand (1750-1794, Persian: سلسله زند). For centuries, the historical bazaar of Tabriz was one of the most important trading centers on the Silk Road and still today it is the city’s life-line. The ensemble is subdivided into several smaller areas, each of which could be regarded as a separate bazaar. Particularly interesting here are the Amir bazaar (Persian: بازار امیر) for gold, jewelery and precious stones, the bazaar-e Mozzafarieh (Persian: بازار مظفریه), the main hub for carpets that are accurately sorted according to type and quality, and the district of the Armenian silversmiths. The bazaar, however, is rather more than just a trading center. It is also a place of encounter and cultural exchange. In addition to gold and silver, numerous plans were forged here, which made the bazaar an important base for the constitutional and Islamic revolution. During the Ashura (عاشورا), the day when the Shiites commemorate the death of their third imam Husain in the battle of Kerbela, the businessmen in the bazaar do not trade for ten days and the strores remain closed. Commemorations, devotions, lectures and prayers are held.
Since 2010 the historical bazaar of Tabriz is listed by the UNESCO on the list of world cultural heritage. UNESCO justifies the inscription as follows:
Criterion (ii): Tabriz Historic Bazaar Complex was one of the most important international trade and cultural centres in Asia and the world between the 12th and the 18th centuries, thanks to the centuries-old east-west trade routes. Tabriz Bazaar is an exceptional example of an architectural-urban commercial area, which is reflected in its highly varied and integrated architectural buildings and spaces. The bazaar is one of the most sustainable socio-economic structures, and its great complexity and articulation attests to the wealth in trade and cultural interaction of Tabriz.
Criterion (iii): Tabriz Historic Bazaar bears witness to one of the most complete socio-cultural and commercial complexes among bazaars. It is an exceptional physical, economic, social, political, and religious complex that bears an exceptional testimony to a civilization that is still living. Over the centuries, thanks to its strategic location and to wise policies of endowments and tax exemptions, Tabriz Bazaar has developed into a socio-economic and cultural system in which specialized architectural structures, functions, professions, and people from different cultures are integrated into a unique living environment.
Criterion (iv): Tabriz Historic Bazaar is an outstanding example of an integrated multi-functional urban complex in which interconnected architectural structures and spaces have been shaped by commercial activities and related necessities. A large number of specialized buildings and structures are concentrated and reciprocally connected in a relatively compact area to form what is almost a single integrated structure.
The Azerbaijan Museum
Not far from the Blue Mosque is the Azerbaijan Museum (Persian: موزه آذربایجان), which on three levels presents interesting archaeological and ethnological exhibits. The name may be somewhat misleading because the collection includes items from all over Iran. The museum was built by the French archaeologist and architect André Godard (born January 21, 1881,† July 31, 1965), who also designed the plans for the National Museum in Tehran. On the ground floor of the building, the exhibition is oriented towards the pre-Islamic period. On the first floor, visitors will find exhibits from the Abbasid era (749-1258). In the basement, mostly contemporary sculptures are shown. Particularly worth be seen are the precious gold works from the time of the Achaemenids (559 – 330 BC). The huge gravestone on the wall of the staircase was originally intended for the great mosque in Medina. But as the stonemason could not agree on the methods of payment, the mighty stone remained in Tabriz.
Summer: 8:00 – 14:00 and 16:00 – 20:00
Winter: 8:00 – 17:00
Entrance fee: 150 000 Rial
(As of July 2017)
The tomb of the poets
The Tomb of the Poets (Persian: مقبرتشارا), also known as a poet’s cemetery, is a steel monolith planned in 1962 and inaugurated in 1988 in the center of Tabriz. Around 400 mainly Azerbaijani personalities from art, politics and science are buried here. Currently, the gigantic monument is extensively rebuilt and expanded. Among the most prominent personalities berried here are the poets Asadi Tusi, Qatran Tabrizi, Anvari Abivardi, Homam Tabrizi, Aziz Khan Mukri and Poet Aziz Dowlatabadi, who died in 2009 and is alsi known under the pseudonym Darvish.
The Saheb-ol-Amr Mosque
The Saheb-ol-Amr Mosque (Persian: مسجد صاحب الامر) was commissioned by the ruler of the Safavids Shah Safi I (1611 – 1642, Persian شاه صفی) and completed in 1636. First the mosque was named Tahmasp Mosque in honor of the second ruler of the Safavids. The mosque, however, was not built by him, as is often falsely reported (Shah Tahmasp I died already 60 years before on May 14, 1576). No two years later, it was plundered and almost completely destroyed by the Ottomans who once again drove mischief in Tabriz under Murat IV. hardly rebuild was destroyed again by an earthquake. After its reconstruction, it was renamed to honor the so-called Twelfth Imam Muhammad ibn Hasan al-Mahdi (Farsi: محمد بن الحسن المهدي ), also known as Imam Zaman (Persian: امام زمان ) who bore the title Saheb ol Amr (“the commander”). The patron Mirza Ali Akbar Khan, an interpreter at the Russian consulate, donated a lot of money for the renovation of the mosque in 1850 and also extended it with a school.
The Friday Mosque
At the southern end of the historical bazaar is the Frejus mosque from the Seljuk period, which has always been restored, expanded and sometimes even rebuilt its history. There is not much left from the original mosque. The mosaic domes are supported by a total of 24 columns divided into four rows.
The El Goli Park
The El Goli Park (Persian: ائل گلی Azerbaijani: El Gölü) is located about 7 kilometers southeast of the city center. An artificial lake was added magnificent park presumably in the time of Akoyunlu (1389-1507). The hexagonal construction on the peninsula was also built by the Ak Koyunlu, and later expanded by the Safavids. The building was generously renewed and extended by the Qajars. Today there is also a restaurant which is said to offer the longest skewer of Iran. From the terrace of the restaurant you can enjoy a breathtaking view over southern part of the city and its surroundings. The park is one of the most popular recreation facilities of Tabriz. In summer, pedal boats can be rented here for little money.
More sights in Tabriz (Selection)
Tabriz’s landmarks include, in addition to the mighty remains of the Arg-e Alishah, the town hall and its clock tower. Both were built in the 1930s according to the Russian model. The Muze-ye Sanjesh (Persian: موزه سنجش) was set up in an old private house and shows things everyday life, as well as old weights and lengths. The architecture museum belongs to the University of Tabriz and has only open on Fridays. Also the museum of the poet, musician and calligraphist
Shahriyar (actually Mohammad Hossein Behjat Tabrizi) is worth a visit. In the house, where Shahriyar lived until his death, personal objects, like glass, ceramics, clothing, musical instruments, coins and weapons are exhibited.
At a very early stage, a Christian community – mostly Armenian – has also established itself in Tabriz. The coexistence between Muslims and religious minorities works comparatively well on the part of the population (on the part of the regime, the story looks a bit different in turn – just as a side mark). Tabriz has a total of six churches, of which the Armenian St. Mary’s Church (Persian: کلیسای مریم مقدس) is the most remarkable. It was completed in 1785 and has recently been extensively restored.
Selection of important personalities from Tabriz
The mystic Shams Tabrizi (Persian: شمس تبریزی, also Shams al-Din Mohammad) was born probably in 1164 as the son of the scholar Ali ibn Malik Dad in Tabriz. Other sources indicate 1185 as his birth year. He is especially revered as the spiritual teacher of the Sufi mystic Rumi (actually Jalal ad-Din Muhammad Rumi), to whom the Mevlevi dervish order, based in Konya (Turkey), is due. Shams Tabrizi spent his first years of life in his hometown and also enjoyed an excellent school education. Despite his extensive autobiography, only a few things about his later life are really credible, some of the sources contradict each other. Before settling in Konya, where he met his famous disciple, he was said to have moved from place to place. He earned his livelihood as a basket-maker and by selling belts. According to the legend, he was mysteriously disappeared from Konya and did not show up anymore since then. Leaving the realm of legends, it is most likely that he left Konya and settled in Khoy (Persian: خیی, now Iranian province of West Azerbaijan), where he also died. A magnificent tomb was built to honor him.
Nasser al-Din Shah
Nasser al-Din Shah (Persian: ناصرالدین شاه قاجار, born July 16, 1831 in Tabriz, † May 1, 1896 in Tehran) was the last absolutist ruler of Iran. He was a descendent of the dynasty of the Qajars and ruled fas for 48 years from September 5, 1848 until his death. Only the Sasanide Shapur (reigns 309 – 379) and the Safavide Tahmasp I (reign 1524 – 1576) reigned longer. Nasser al-Din Shah was the first Persian Shah to visit Europe officially. Three times (1873, 1878 and 1889) he went on the long journey. He recorded his experiences in a diary, which was translated into numerous languages (including English, French and German). On his last visit, he was knighted by Queen Victoria to a Knight of the Order of the Garter, the highest Order of the United Kingdom. Nasser al-Din Shah was fascinated about modern Europe and, above all, its technology. In his homeland, he carried out far-reaching reforms, but still ruled his country with authoritarian harshness. He had the first Persian newspaper published and provided the country with a well-developed telegraphic system. The road network was also extensively expanded under its regency. The first well-functioning postal system was established. Less successful was Nasser al-Din Shah’s regarding the foreign policy. He lost wide areas of the Caucasus and had to surrender Herat to Afghanistan. Nasser al-Din Shah fell victim to an assassination on 1 May 1896 at the age of 64 years. A total of 25 wives gave him 14 sons and a not known number of daughters.
Iraj Mirza (Persian: ایرج میرزا , born October 1874 in Tabriz, † 14th March 1926 in Tehran) was a Persian poet, calligraphist and translator. He was a great-grandson of the second Qajar ruler Fath-Ali Shah (born 5 September 1772, † 23rd October 1834). His father, Prince Gholam-Hossein Mirza, was court poet for the later ruler Nasser al-Din Shah. At first the young Iraj Mirza was privately taught at home, later his father sent him to the very prestigious and famed Dar al-Fonun University in Tehran. The Dar al-Fonun (“House of Science”) University was founded in 1851 by Nasser al-Din Shah and was the first modern university according to a western model in Iran. Because of his enormous talents, he was awarded the title Sadr os-So’ara (“the head of the poets”) with only 14 years. With only 15 years, Miriam Mirza spoke fluently Arabic, Azerbaijani, French and Persian – later he also learned Russian. After the death of his father in 1893, he took over his position as a poet at the Court of the Crown Prince. In his work, Iraj Mirza was critical of ancient traditions and strongly supported women’s rights – which was extremely unusual at that time. As a translator, he transferred numerous important works to Persian, among others Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. From 1905 he was a driving force of the constitutional revolution. Iraj Mirza died in Tehran on 14 March 1926 at the age of 51.
Mohammad Taqi-Khan Pesyan
Mohammad Taqi-Khan Pesyan was born in 1892 as the son of an aristocrat family. The family originally came from the Caucasus and emigrated to Iran about ten years before his birth. Many of his relatives were high-ranking military officers. First Pesyan studied Arabic, Persian, and natural sciences in his home town Tabriz. From 1907 he continued his studies at the Tehran Military College. Having suffered a strong defeat against the Russian armed forces in 1916 (at that time already with the rank of a major), he fled in the exile to Berlin. In Germany he joined the German army and completed an education as a combat pilot for the at the Deutsche Luftwaffe (German Air Force). Pesyan is said to have destroyed 25 enemy aircraft and was awarded the Iron Cross for his successes.
In 1920 Pesyan returned to his homeland, where he continued his military career. He was soon promoted to Colonel. In 1921 Prime Minister Seyyed Zia al Din Tabatabai appointed him as military governor of the province of Khorasan in the north-east of Iran. There on April 2, 1921 he proclaimed the short-lived Autonomous Government of Khorasan. Not really amused about the secession, the Iranian government sent an army of some 1,000 Cossacks led by Reza Khan (the later Reza Shah Palavi), who simply overrun the 150 followers of Pesyan. Therefor Mohammad Taqi-Khan Pesyan was executed on October 3, 1921 and the Autonomous Government of Khorasan was history.
In addition to his military career, Mohammad Taqi-Khan Pesyan also worked as a translator and writer. His two most famous works “The Life of a Young Patriot” (Persian: سرگذشت یک جوان وطن دوست) and “The Holy War from Baghdad to Iran” (Persian: جنگ مقدس از بغداد تا ایران) he wrote during his time in Berlin.
Other important personalities from Tabriz
Sattar Khan (Persian: ستارخان , born 20 October 1866 in Tabriz, † November 17, 1914 in Tehran) was a freedom fighter and revolutionary who has made a special contribution to the constitutional revolution. He is still revered as a national hero.
Farhad Fakhreddini (Persian: فرهاد فخرالدینی , born March 11, 1938 in Tabriz) is a Persian conductor and composer. In 1998 he founded the Persian National Orchestra (Persian: ارکستر ملی ایران), which had to be given up in October 2012 due to financial difficulties.
Shahriar (born 1906 in Tabriz, † 18 September 1988 in Tehran, Persian: شهریار , actually: Mohammad Hossein Behjat-Tabrizi, Persian: محمدحسین بهجت تبریزی) was a Persian-Azerbaijani poet. His works, written both in Persian and Azerbaijani, are particularly popular in the Turkish world. Many of his poems served as a model for theater plays.
Gholam-Hossein Sa’edi (born 4 January 1936 in Tabriz, † 23rd November 1985 in Paris, Persian: غلامحسین ساعدی) was one of the most versatile and productive writers of Iran. He has published more than 40 books, including dramas, novels and short stories. He has also worked as a screenwriter and has written numerous social critic texts as well as travel literature
Samad Behrangi (born 24 June 1939 in Tabriz, † 31 August 1967, Persian صمد بهرنگی ) was a Persian civil rights activist, journalist and writer. Behrangi wrote numerous social-critical writings as well as a variety of children’s books. He was one of the strongest critics of Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi. He died on August 31, 1967 in a swimming accident. From parts of the population there were accusations that the regime was responsible for his death. These assumptions, however, could neither be confirmed nor invalidated.
Hossein Shahabi (born 28th November 1968 in Tabriz, Persian: حسین شهابی) is an Iranian screenwriter, film producer and director. His most famous film “The Bright Day” (Persian:روز روشن) has received several awards, including the Special Jury Prize of 28th Mar del Plata International Film Festival in Argentina and an award at the Chicago Film Festival.
Tahmineh Milani (born 1960 in Tabriz, Persian: تهمینه میلانی ) is also a Persian screenwriter, film producer and director. She directed in a total of 12 films (as of July 2017). Her film debut she had in 1989 with the socially critical film “Children of Divorce” (بچه های طلاق). In her films she focuses on the Islamic revolution and the situation of women in Iran.
Karim Bagheri (born February 24, 1974 in Tabriz, Persian کريم باقری) is a former Iranian football national player. For the Iranian national team he scored 47 goals in 80 matches. In 1997 he was second in the world rankings list with 20 goals – after Ronaldo who scored 22 goals. In 1998 he took part in the World Cup in France for Iran.
Universities in Tabriz
14 of the most prestigious universities in Iran are located in Tabriz. Among the most important are:
The University of Tabriz (Persian: دانشگاه تبريز) was founded by Ja’far Pishevari as of University of Azarabadegan on June 12, 1946, and is the second oldest University in the country after Tehran University. After the Islamic revolution in 1979, it was renamed the University of Tabriz. Today, about 10,000 students are enrolled.
The Tabriz University of Medical Sciences (TBZMED) (Persian: دانشگاه علوم پزشکی تبریز) was part of the University of Tabriz until 1980. About 5,000 students are enrolled.
The Sahand University of Technology (SUT) (Persian: دانشگاه صنعتی سهند) is located about 20 kilometers southwest of Tabriz in the suburb of Sahand. It was founded in 1989 and is one of the leading universities in the field of engineering.
The Azarbaijan Shahid Madani University (Persian: دانشگاه شهید مدنی آذربایجان) was founded in 1987 and initially named Tabriz University of Tarbiat Moallem, later Azarbaijan University of Tarbiat Moallem. In the beginning, the focus was on studies of lecture courses. Since 2012 the university has its present name. About 7500 students are enrolled.
The Tabriz Art University is a private art college in the north-west of Tabriz. It was founded in 1997.
Sister cities and twin towns of Tabriz
Baku, Azerbaijan (since 1980)
Erzurum, Turkey (since 2001)
Ganja, Azerbaijan (since 2015)
Gaza, Palestine (since 2013)
Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam (since 2015)
Istanbul, Turkey (since 2010)
Izmir, Turkey (since 2010)
Kazan, Russia (since 2009)
Khujand, Tajikistan (since 2011)
Konya, Turkey (since 2013)
Mogilev, Belarus (since 2012)
Wuhan, China (since 2010)
Consulates in Tabriz
Previously, the USSR and the US had consulates in Tabriz. The US Consulate was closed after the Islamic revolution in 1979, the USSR after the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. Today only the Azerbaijan and Turkey have a consulate in Tabriz:
Consulate of the Republic of Azerbaijan
Phone: +98 411 333 48 02
General Consulate of Turkey
Phone: +98 411 33 00 95
Useful information for your trip to Tabriz
It is not worth it changing money at the airport.
At the Meydan-e Shohada, about 200 meters north of the Arg-e Alishah, in the first floor.
Mahmud Abidan Exchange has very good exchange rates. Unfortunately the exchange office is not easy to find and also not signposted. It is located in the northeastern part of the bazaar. The tourist information at the main entrance of the bazaar gives an exact description in how to get there and also provides a map.
Information for tourists
In the first floor right at the main entrance to the bazaar. The extremely friendly and helpful staff provides the traveler with free city maps and useful information in English, French and Russian (and of course also in Persian). Phone: +98 411 52 72 502.
In the building of the passport authorities also the foreign police is located. It is close to the city center in the Saeb Tabriz St (tel: +98 411 477 66 66). The staff is also very friendly and helpful.
Hospitals in Tabriz (small selection)
Jumhuri-e Eslami St
Phone: +98 411 525 23 07
Shahid Ranjbar St
Phone: +98 411 807 263-6
Phone: +98 411 578 51-3
Official website of the city
Iran Chamber Society
The World Heritage in Iran
Sources and further literature
- Ehsan Yarshater – Encyclopædia Iranica (Teheran 1982)
- Michael Dumper, Bruce E. Stanley – Cities of the Middle East and North Africa: A Historical Encyclopedia (2007)
- William Bayne Fisher; J. A. Boyle – The Cambridge History of Iran: The Land of Iran (1 ed.), Cambridge University Press (1968)
- Tabriz University – Introduction to Tabriz city (2013)
- UNESCO World Heritage Centre – Tabriz Historic Bazaar Complex (2012)
- Hasan Javadi, Edward Granville Browne – Letters from Tabriz: The Russian Suppression of the Iranian Constitutional Movement (2012)
- Mahmoud Rashad – DuMont Kunst-Reiseführer Iran (2011)
- Peter Kerber – Islamische Republik und jahrtausendealte Kultur (2015)
- Walter M. Weiss – Iran (2015)
- Claudia Stodte, Beate Schermbeck – Iran (2015)
- Michael Axworthy – Weltreich des Geistes. Von Zoroaster bis heute (2011)
- Hans-Peter Raddatz – Persische Hochkultur und irrationale Macht (2006)
- Hartmut Niemann, Ludwig Paul – Reise Know-How Iran, Reiseführer für individuelles Entdecken (2014)
- Kurt-Michael Westermann, Walter M. Weiss – Reise durch Iran (2014)
- Samieh Hezari – Trapped in Iran: A Mother’s Desperate Journey to Freedom (2016)
- Sarah Sinnreich, Behrouz Khosrozadeh – Iran – Republik der Täuschung, Tricks und Propaganda (2015)