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Tabriz (تبریز)

Tabriz (Persian: تبریز) is the largest city in northwestern Iran – (38°04′N 46°18′E). It is situated north of the volcanic cone of Sahand, south of the Eynali mountain. It is the capital of East Azarbaijan Province. Tabriz lies at the junction of the Komur River (Mehran River) and the Aji River.

The founding of Tabriz is shrouded in mystery and myth. Various sources name the city as the possible site of the Biblical Garden of Eden.

Tabriz Map

According to some sources, including Encyclopedia Britannica, the name Tabriz derives from “tap-riz” (“causing heat to flow” in Iranian languages), from the many thermal springs in the area. Other sources claim that in A.D. 246, to avenge his brother’s death, king Khosraw I of Armenia defeated Ardashir I of the Sassanid Empire and changed the name of the city from Shahistan to Tauris, deriving from “ta-vrezh” (“this revenge” in Grabar). In A.D. 297, it became the capital of Tiridates III, king of Armenia.

Tabriz was the city where the Constitutional Revolution of Iran started in 1906 and where its leaders, Sattar Khan and Bagher Khan came from. An American who died defending the Constitutional Revolution, Howard Baskerville, is buried in Tabriz.

Tabriz City Hall

Tabriz City Hall, built in 1934, by Arfa’ol molk

Because of the location of Tabriz (as a gate to the west for Iran), many signs of modern life in Iran have first appeared in this city. Because of this, Iranians have described Tabriz as a “City of firsts”.
These include:

  • The first printing house of Iran was founded in Tabriz (1811).
  • The first modern school of Iran was founded in Tabriz by Hassan Roshdieh (1888). The language of instruction was Persian and Azari Turkish.
  • The first Iranian special school for deaf children was founded in Tabriz by Jabbar Baghcheban (1924).
  • The first Iranian special school for blind students was founded in Tabriz by a German mission (1926).
  • The first Iranian kindergarten was founded in Tabriz by Jabbar Baghcheban (1923).
  • The first modern-style municipality and city hall in Iran were founded in Tabriz.
  • Tabriz Chamber of Commerce was the first of its kind founded in Iran (1906).
  • The first public libraries in modern Iran were founded in Tabriz.
  • The first movie theater in Iran was founded in Tabriz (1900). Also the first movie theater in Tehran was founded by a Tabrizi (1921).
  • Tabriz was the first city in Iran that got a Telephone system (about 1900).

The famous Iranian historian, Ahmad Kasravi, was born in a nearby village called Hokmavar.
Samad Behrangi, a famous writer and musicians, as well as Ali Salimi, Vahid Houseini, and Bigjeh-Khani were Tar (lute) specialists from this city.

Tabriz Revolutionaries, Sattar Khan & Bagher Khan
Constitutionalists of Tabriz.
The two men in the center are Sattar Khan & Bagher Khan

After World War II, the communist Azerbaijan People’s Government in North Western Iran established with its capital at Tabriz. The new communist government, under the leadership of Jafar Pishevari, held power for a year from 1946 to 1947.

Tabriz shah goli

With a population of 1,600,000, Tabriz is Iran’s Fourth largest city, after Tehran, Mashhad and Esfahan.

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