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|Tuesday, 24-Apr-2007 02:35
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Tabriz at a glance, Fotos by Saman
Tabriz (Persian and Azeri: تبریز/Təbriz Armenian: Թավրիզ) is the largest city in north-western Iran with a population of 1,523,085 people (2006 est.). Tabriz is situated north of the volcanic cone of Sahand south of the Eynali mountain. It is the capital of East Azarbaijan Province.
Historically, the founding of the city is shrouded in mystery. Most sources mention the Sassanid era, while others believe it to be even further back in history. The present-day city has been built and rebuilt on the site of the ancient settlement of Tauris, which prospered as a trade center and was the capital of Armenia in the 3rd century. After the Mongol invasion of Iran, Tabriz became the capital of the Ilkhanate empire from about 1270 to 1305, of the Aq Quyunlu dynasty from about 1469 to about 1502, and of the Safavids from 1502-1548. It also fell under Ottoman rule for some time during the time of the Safavids.
In his book Legend: The Genesis of Civilisation (later made into a documentary for the Discovery Channel) the British Egyptologist and historian David Rohl suggests that the Biblical Garden of Eden was situated here.
Violent earthquakes have wiped out most of the historic monuments of Tabriz. One important monument that has survived these earthquakes is the Tabriz Citadel (Ark-e Tabriz or Ark-e Ælishah), a ruin of vertical book-shaped elements. The Blue Mosque of Tabriz (Göy-Mæčid), is another important monument in the city.
Tabriz is where the constitutionalists of Iran were centered during the early 20th century. An American who died defending the Constitutional Revolution, Howard Baskerville, is buried in Tabriz. The famous Iranian historian and philosopher, Ahmad Kasravi, was born in a nearby village called Hokmavar. Samad Behrangi, a famous writer and musicians, along with Ali Salimi, Vahid Houseini, and Bigjeh-Khani were tar specialists from this city.
Daytime temperatures usually reach at least 30 degrees Celsius (high 80s Fahrenheit) in July and August and drop below freezing in January.
The origin of the name "Tabriz" is debated. Some say Armenian, and some Assyrian.
The popular etymology of the name Tabriz from tab=fever, riz = pourer away (verb, rikhtan = pour away, flow; German rieseln?), hence "fever-destroying," is erroneous and was invented in modern times. It is related that Zobeideh, the wife of Harun-al-Rashid, founded the town in 791 after recovering there from fever, but the earlier chronicles give no support to this statement, and it is nowhere recorded that Zobeideh ever visited Azerbaijan, and the name Tabriz was known many centuries before her time. In 1842 Hammer-Purgstall correctly explained the name as meaning the "warm-flowing" (tab= warm, same root as tep in "tepid") from some warm mineral springs in the neighbourhood, and compared it with the synonymous Teplitz in Bohemia. In old Armenian histories the name is Tavresh, which means the same. The popular pronunciation to and tau for tab has given rise to the spellings Toris and Tauris met with in older travellers and used even now. The name of the town's origin is believed to date back to distant antiquity, perhaps even before the Sassanian era (224 - 651 A.D.). The oldest stone tablet with a reference to Tabriz is that of Sargon the second, the Assyrian King. The tablet refers to a place called Tauri Castle and Tarmkis. The historians believe this castle was situated on the site of the present day Tabriz. It was the capital of Azarbaijan in the 3rd century A.D. and again under the Mongol Ilkhanid dynasty (1256 - 1353)
During mid-third century it is believed by some to have been called "Ta-e-Vrezh", which meant "This is revenge". Some say[attribution needed] it was given that name by King Chrosroes I of the Armenians, who sacked the town near the middle of the third century.
Historically, much of the city's importance has resulted from its strategic position for trade to the north (now the Commonwealth of Independent States) and to the west (now Turkey). It was sacked by the Oghuz Turks in 1029, but by 1054 Tabriz had recovered and was a provincial capital.
In 1295, Ghazan Khan, the Mongol ruler of Persia, made it the chief administrative center of an empire stretching from Egypt to the Oxus River and from the Caucasus to the Indian Ocean. Under his rule new walls were built around the city, and numerous public buildings, educational facilities, and caravansaries were erected. The Byzantine Gregory Choniades is said to have served as the city's Orthodox bishop during this time.
Tabriz was captured by Timur in the late 14th century. Later Shah Ismail made it the capital of his empire from 1501 until his defeat in 1514 by the Ottoman Turks. The Ottomans occupied Tabriz on a number of occasions thereafter, including the period from 1585 to 1603. Nevertheless, by the 17th century it was a major commercial center, carrying on trade with Turkey, Russia, central Asia, and India. Later, the city was again occupied (1724) by the Ottomans, and it was held by Russia in 1828. Tabriz played an important part in the Persian constitutional movement at the beginning of the 20th century. After World War II, the Soviets set up the communist Azarbaijan People's Government in North Western Iran with its capital at Tabriz. The new communist government, under the leadership of Jafar Pishevari, held power for a year from 1946, then was retaken by Iran (on 1947) after the forced Soviet withdrawal. The city has often been devastated by earthquakes (e.g., in 858, 1041, and 1721).
Tabriz has been settled since ancient times.
4th century BCE: It is the capital of Atropatene, named after Iranian governor of the province (appointed by Alexander the Great).
3rd century: It becomes the capital of Armenia.
791: Tabriz is rebuilt after being destroyed by an earthquake.
858: An earthquake destroys large parts of Tabriz.
1041: An earthquake destroys large parts of Tabriz.
1296: The Mongol Il-Khan Mahmud Ghazan makes Tabriz his capital.
1548: Tabriz is replaced by Qazvin as the capital of the Safavid kingdom. Tabriz was considered to exposed to a potential Ottoman invasion.
1721: An earthquake destroys large parts of Tabriz.
1780: Another earthquake destroys large parts of Tabriz.
1826: Tabriz is occupied by the Russians.
1828: Iranian troops take back Tabriz.
1850: The Báb, Founder of the Bábí Faith and Forerunner of Bahá'u'lláh is executed in Tabriz.
1908: Tabriz becomes the centre of the Iranian Constitutional Revolution.
1927: An earthquake destroys large parts of Tabriz.
1941: Tabriz occupied by the Soviets.
1945: December: Becomes the capital of the short lived, Soviet backed, Azerbaijan People's Government.
1946: Tabriz University is opened.
1947: Iranian troops take back Tabriz.