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Top Places to Visit in Tabriz, East Azerbaijan - Iran Travel Hub

Such was the description of the people of Tabriz by the celebrated Persian poet Shahriyar. In addition to good climate and deep roots in history, the city is also famous for hospitality of its people. The way they treat guests creates fond memories for the visitors.
Having been the origin of the Persian Constitutional Revolution, East Azerbaijan Province, especially its capital Tabriz, is home to many historical monuments and buildings of this cataclysmic movement that led to the establishment of parliament during the Qajar era.

  Museums
Adjacent to Goy Masjid in Tabriz, lies Azerbaijan History Museum, which ranks second after Tehran National Museum. The priceless Xerxes Tablet is one of the museum’s properties.
Salmasi House in Tabriz was turned into Sanjesh (measurement) Museum. It displays a variety of tools and apparatuses used for measuring things; from delicate gold scales to large weighing instruments used in wholesale trade. There are oil gauges, weight-stones, astronomy devices and astrolabes, meteorological instruments, compasses, and clocks in the famous museum.
Other museums are Qajar Museum in the Sheshgolan district of Tabriz; Aqalar Mausoleum in Maraghegh, which is in fact a museum of stone art; Iron Age M museum in Tabriz; Museum of the Safavid era in Bonab; Muharram Museum in Sehati House, and Constitutional Museum in Tabriz; archaeology museum in Khomarlu, capital city of Khada-Afarin county; anthropology museum of Sahand city in the central district of Osku County; Museum of Ilkhanid era in Maragheh; Hadaya (gifts) Museum in Khamaneh city; Qur’an Museum in Saheb-ol-Amr building, Museum of Azerbaijan Nomad Tribes in Sarab city; and Museum of Literature and Mysticism in Ahar.

  Monuments
Due to their special status among the masses, historical monuments have so far remained safe despite urban expansionism. There are over 5,000 historical monuments in this Iranian province alone.
The old part of Tabriz is intact, captivating both domestic and foreign tourists. The largest domed bazaar also is in this historical city. Constitutional House is near the main bazaar.  Arg Tabriz (Tabriz Fort) or Arg Ali-Shah is one of the country’s tallest adobe architectures.
Khoda-Afarin bridge is in Kaleybar, and the broken bridge of Qiz Korpusu (Persian: Pol-Dokhtar) is in Mianeh. Some 28 km east of Ajabshir city stands the historical fort of Qale-Zahak. The fort dates back to the Parthian era. Another fort is Qale-Babak in Kaleybar. It once belonged to Babak Khoramdin, a revolutionary leader of a local freedom movement, fighting against the Abbasid caliphate. Kaleybar is home also to another historical fort, named Avarsin.
Among the noteworthy stand-alone architectures, Ghafarieh in northwest of Maragheh; Seljuq era Rounded Tower in Maragheh; and farther south, Gonbad-Kabud, built during the the Ilkhanid era,  can be named.
Then there is Maragheh’s  Mehr Temple. It is one of the oldest temples in the country, situated underneath a historical graveyard. However, East Azerbaijan is more than a collection of great monuments. With several shrines, it is a major hub of religious tourism.

  Shrines
The shrines include tomb of Seyed Hamzeh is in the Sorkhab district of Tabriz, near Maqbare-Shoara (Poets Graveyard) where 400 scholars, poets, and scientists are laid to rest, including the world famous poets Khaqani and Shahriyar.
Another religious site is the shrine of Seyed Muhammad Kojjani located in Kojjan village, 15 km southeast of Tabriz. The shrine is near a historical graveyard dating back to the 12th century AD. An inscription on the shrine’s tombstone is a masterpiece of craftsmanship.
The Safavid era Shrine of Ismaeel is located in the Sarcheshmeh neighborhood of Mianeh city. In the veranda adjacent to Ismaeel’s tomb, there is a marble gravestone inscribed with the name of Lotf Ali Khan Zand. As the name denotes, the grave can be the burial place of the last king of the Zand dynasty.

  Mosques
Goy Masjid (Blue Mosque) is a noteworthy monument whose construction was commissioned by Jahan Shah, leader of Qara Qoyunlu Oghuz Turks tribe in Azerbaijan and Arran. In 1467, he was killed at the Battle of Chapakchur and was buried in the southern part of Goy Masjid. Having survived two severe earthquakes, the mosque looks like an old craggy-faced warrior from the outside. Once inside, visitors marvel at the turquoise tile-work and masterpieces of calligraphy.
Historical sources speak of another significant mosque in Tabriz named Masjid Jameh Kabir. It has been the congregational mosque of the city since inception. The mosque, generally known as Masjid Jameh of Tabriz, is a significant gathering place. Later, the Grand Bazaar of Tabriz was gradually formed around the mosque.

  Churches
As far as religious tourism is concerned, Saint Stepanos in Jolfa has a prominent place, especially for Armenians. The church is situated in the middle of charming scenery.
St. John’s Church in Maragheh deserves mention. The Catholic church is the only one of its kind in the city. The church building dates back to the 5th century, but the last renovation was undertaken in 1840 by Russian and French builders.

  Villages
Tourism of East Azerbaijan is further empowered by the unique village of Kandovan, carved in a rocky mountain 50 km southwest of Tabriz. The historical village of Zonuzaq, north of Zonuz city is also worth a visit. The village is famous for its terraced arrangement of houses. The historical village of Kardasht in central Jolfa County is home to rare monuments including a famed bath-house. Ushtabin, another rural attraction in Jolfa, is located between three high mountains. Some buildings of the village date back to the Parthian era. The sound of nearby river fills the air. Vast gardens stretch on both sides of the river.

  Eco-Tourism
As for natural attractions, the famous Arasbaran Forests simply cannot be ignored.  Waterfalls in East Azerbaijan are numerous: Sarkand-Dizaj waterfall in Shabestar county; Eyshqabad waterfall in Marand; Golakhor in Varzaqan; and the most famous, Asiab-Kharabeh (ruined mill) waterfall in Jolfa.
For those who do not find culture and nature very interesting, East Azerbaijan has other ‘delicious’ surprises. One will have a hard time choosing between the legendary kebab of Bonab or mighty meatballs of Tabriz. Sweets such as qorabieh, nuqa, rees, basloq and its Urumian cousin sujuq can hardly be found elsewhere.

 

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