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Tabriz Bazaar Closed on Weekend, Holidays

Shops are privately owned and proprietors decide whether or not they want to open their stores.Shops are privately owned and proprietors decide whether or not they want to open their stores.

Public holidays and weekends provide an ideal opportunity for people to visit cultural heritage sites, unless one such site you want to visit happens to be Tabriz Bazaar.

Officially inscribed as Tabriz Historic Bazaar Complex on the UNESCO World Heritage List, the market is among the largest in the world, tracing its roots back to the years following the Muslim conquest of Persia in 651 AD.

According to Morteza Abdar Bakhshayesh, director of East Azarbaijan Province's office of Iran's Cultural Heritage, Handicrafts and Tourism Organization, the mushrooming of malls and shopping centers in Tabriz over the past 35 years has dissuaded shop-owners in the bazaar from opening their stores on holidays and weekends.

He told Mehr News Agency that his office has discussed the matter with the bazaar's board of trustees and has even taken it up with the East Azarbaijan Governorate, but to no avail.

"Problems still persist and tourists are still critical," he said.

Hossein Esmaeili, the manager of the world heritage site, said it is "impossible" to force shopkeepers to come in whenever they are asked.

"The shops are privately owned and proprietors decide whether or not they want to open their stores on holidays," he said.

Esmaeili said the locals are familiar with the scheduling of the bazaar and are not bothered, but this poses a problem for tourists.

"For now, they can visit the site on any day except Friday [the weekend]," he said.

Selected as the capital of Islamic tourism in 2018, Tabriz must live up to its reputation and history when it hosts high-profile international events next year, but the problem with Tabriz Bazaar could potentially cause problems.

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