When constructed for ruler Jahan Shah in 1465, the Blue Mosque with its intricate turquoise mosaics was one of the most famous buildings of its era. Unfortunately, it was badly damaged in an earthquake in 1773, leaving only the main iwan (entrance hall) and Jahan Shah’s tomb intact. Restoration has been slow, and though the main structure is complete again, the once-brilliant external mosaics are only visible on the original iwan.
Once the mosque was built, artists took a further 25 years to cover every surface with the blue majolica tiles and intricate calligraphy for which it was nicknamed. The interior is also blue, and missing patterns have been laboriously painted onto many lower sections around the few remaining patches of original tiles. A smaller domed chamber away from the entrance once served as a private mosque for the Qareh Koyunlu shahs.
This museum’s entrance is a great brick portal with big wooden doors guarded by two stone rams. Ground-floor exhibits include finds from Hasanlu (an Iron Age town that developed into a citadel over 4000 years), a superb 3000-year-old copper helmet and curious stone ‘handbags’ from the 3rd millennium BC. Found near Kerman, these are understood to be symbols of weath once carried by provincial treasurers.
The basement features Ahad Hossein’s powerful and disturbing sculptural allegories of life and war. The top floor displays a re-weave of the famous ‘Ardebil’ carpet, reckoned to be one of the best ever made; the original is beautifully displayed in London’s Victoria & Albert Museum.
The magnificent, labyrinthine, Unesco-listed Tabriz bazaar covers some 7 sq km, with 24 caravanserais (sets of rooms arrranged around a courtyard) and 22 impressive timches (domed halls). Construction began over a millennium ago, though much of the fine brick vaulting dates to the 15th century. Hidden behind innocuous shopfronts, it’s surprisingly easy to miss, but the open Ferdosi mall is a good entry point. Take a GPS waypoint below the tourist information office, then abandon yourself to the closest laneway.There are several mozaffareih (carpet sections) according to knot HYPERLINK “https://www.lonelyplanet.com/pois/1452960” HYPERLINK “https://www.lonelyplanet.com/pois/1452960” HYPERLINK “https://www.lonelyplanet.com/pois/1452960″sizeand type. The Amir bazaar, with gold and jewellery, is immediately behind the tourist-information office. The spice bazaar has a few shops selling herbal remedies, henna and natural perfumes. A couple of hat shops (in the Kolahdozan bazaar) sell traditional papakh (Azeri hats) made of tight-curled astrakhan wool. Other quarters specialise in leather, silver and copper, general household goods and fruit and vegetables.
This huge brick edifice off Imam Khomeini St is a chunky remnant of Tabriz’ early-14th-century citadel (known as ‘the Ark’). Criminals were once executed by being hurled from the top of the citadel walls. The Russians used it as a command post during their 1911 invasion. Unfortunately, it’s being dwarfed by the even more humongous Imam Khomeini HYPERLINK “https://www.lonelyplanet.com/pois/1453067” HYPERLINK “https://www.lonelyplanet.com/pois/1453067” HYPERLINK “https://www.lonelyplanet.com/pois/1453067″Mosalla being built next door and the whole area is presently closed
Poet Ostad Shahriyar is ostentatiously commemorated by the strikingly modernist Poets’ Mausoleum. Its angular, interlocking concrete arches are best viewed across the reflecting pool from the south. The complex also commemorates more than 400 other scholars whose tombs were lost in the city’s various earthquakes. Take bus 116.
Elgoli Park, 8km southeast of the centre, is popular with summer strollers and courting couples. Its fairground surrounds an artificial lake, in the middle of which a photogenic restaurant-pavilion occupies the reconstruction of a Qajar-era palace. The park can be reached by metro line 1.
Enter a time warp to late-’70s Tabriz in the preserved house of much-loved poet Ostad Shahriyar (1906–88). Surrounded by his everyday belongings, you almost expect the late poet to wander out of the bedroom. He is buried in the Poets’ Mausoleum.
A trio of impressive 230-year-old mansions with two-storey colonnades, inner courtyards and decorative ponds makes up the Architecture Faculty of the Islamic Arts University. You might be lucky enough to find someone willing to show you around, but be prepared to tip them.
This stadium-sized mosalla (prayer hall) has been under construction forever and the sporadic works have been blamed for undermining the foundations of the neighbouring historic Arg-e Tabriz.
The iconic 1930s German-designed Municipal Hall, still the bastion of city power, dominates Sa’at Sq. There’s a museum in the basement with various city-related collections, such as old maps, photos, carpets and even antique vehicles.
At the bazaar’s western end an exit passage hidden by a curtain leads to Tabriz’ impressive Seljuk-era Masjed-e Jameh, with a magnificent brick-vaulted interior and twin, multiturreted minarets.
The surefire way locals protect themselves against inflation is with a chunk of the yellow stuff from the jewellery section of the Tabriz bazaar.
The elegant Qajar Museum is within the palatial 1881 Amir Nezam House, Tabriz’ most impressive Qajar mansion, with a split-level façade.
One of the best in Iran, Tabriz’ spice bazaar has a huge selection of dried herbs, spices, natural remedies and henna.
The sound of hammers echoes through the laneways of the photogenic coppersmith section of the Tabriz bazaar.
Inside the Tabriz bazaar, the mozaffarieh is one of the best places in Iran to buy a carpet.
This charming Qajar-era (1868) courtyard house is historically significant as a headquarters during the 1906–11 constitutional revolution, but, although many labels are in English, the numerous photos and documents are unlikely to excite non-specialist visitors.
The measurement museum is hidden down a small, walled alley in a beautifully restored 160-year-old Qajar mansion. Skip it if you’re not into rococo German clocks and commercial scales. Ring the bell if it’s closed
Dating from the 12th century, St Mary’s is a still-functioning Armenian church that was mentioned by Marco Polo. It was once the seat of the regional archbishop. Ring the bell if you want to look inside.
The most intriguing exhibit here is the scripture-covered undershirt worn by Qajar monarchs during coronations. The museum is housed in the well-proportioned former Saheb Ul-Amr Mosque.
This small garden honours 12th-century Azeri-Persian poet Shirvani Khaqani and is a favourite haunt of students looking to practise their English.
A burst of sunshine beckons you out of the warren of the Tabriz bazaar past whiffy fruit and delectable juices onto Motahhari St.
The relatively central Sarkis Church serves the Armenian community. It’s hidden in a basketball court behind high white gates.
Behind high gates, the curious Anglican Church has a tower of four diminishing cylinders.
Within the Tabriz bazaar, whole laneways are dedicated to footwear.
You’ll find the produce section in the north of the Tabriz bazaar.
This octagonal late-Qajar fire tower is 23m high.
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Persiansurfing as full-service travel holding located in Isfahan, Iran, offering a variety of travel packages and services. Our team consists of a group of young Iranians, who have educated in tourism as well as tourism management . We are aiming to present Iran in a different light and promote the country’s rich culture heritage and architecture to the world.
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