Located in the heart of Tabriz’s ancient city center, the Tabriz Bazaar is a must-visit for anybody coming to Iran. It’s the world’s biggest covered bazaar and one of the oldest in the Middle East. It’s also a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of Iran’s most visited attractions. The Tabriz Bazaar Complex, one of the most well-known sites along the Silk Road, is a witness to the centuries-long flow of goods that has taken place between the East and the West. For more than a thousand years, the Bazaar in Tabriz’s city center served as a vital crossroads for the interchange of products and cultures, serving as a central trading hub between Iran and the rest of the world. However, even though it’s one of the oldest markets in the Middle East, it continues to operate in the typical medieval Iranian marketplace, with all of its bustle and grandeur.
Historically, Tabriz has served as a crossroads for cultural exchange. In terms of economic importance, the city’s medieval bazaar complex is one of the most important commercial centers on the Silk Road. There has been a market in this location since the beginnings of Iranian urbanization following the arrival of Islam. When the Venetian traveler Marco Polo claimed to have gone through the Tabriz bazaar while traveling along the Silk Road. The ancient Tabriz Bazaar development started more than a thousand years ago. While the bazaar used to be in the heart of the city’s boundaries, now it’s in the north of its center, where it remains a bustling commercial sector.
Even though it was enormously popular between the 12th and 18th centuries, the Bazaar Complex reached its commercial zenith in the 16th century, at the height of the political power of the Safavid Empire, a Shi’a Islam-governed Empire with roots in modern-day Iran that dominated the region at the time. Political influence was centered in Tabriz during the Safavid Empire’s supremacy, resulting in a massive influx of riches and power to the bazaar under their rule. However, when its power diminished, so did commerce at the Bazaar Complex.
Earthquake in Bazaar
The Tabriz Earthquake of 1780, which killed tens of thousands of city people, caused significant damage to the Bazaar Complex. Construction crews recreated the bazaar in the style of the ancient center, preserving the devastated complex’s original look and materials. The Bazaar Complex’s magnificent design has served as a model example of Persian city architecture throughout history. This fact has remained an essential part of its identity as a remnant of Tabriz’s cultural and historical heritage.
What Will You Face in Tabriz Bazaar?
While strolling around the bazaar, you’re likely to come across shop owners who are selling intricately woven carpets, spices, cuisines, and souvenirs, among other things. A combination of safety concerns and its protected status as a UNESCO World Heritage site has resulted in the bazaar no longer facilitating the same number of tourists and visitors as it did centuries before. Despite this, a brief walk through the massive arches within will demonstrate that the location continues to be popular with both local shoppers and visitors. It’s possible to purchase souvenirs like traditional Tabriz sweets, nuts, and other items at the market. A center of political importance, the Tabriz Bazaar has played a role in Iranian history, including the Iranian Constitutional Revolution and the current Islamic Revolution.
Tabriz Bazaar Architecture
Tabriz Bazaar is magnificent, and the harmonious architecture of its portions is genuinely unsurpassed. Words cannot convey how elegantly the chambers and stores have been placed together in Tabriz’s old market. The length and breadth of the structures are appropriately built, ideal for Tabriz’s weather. To put it simply, the masters made the roofs shorter due to the cold weather. Tabriz’s ancient bazaar, like other Persian Bazaars, contains a vast number of chambers known as “Hojreh,” and it has around 6500 Hojrehs. Within the ancient market complex of Tabriz, you may also discover 35 caravansaries, often known as “Sarai.” Previously, they served as lodging for guest traders who brought valuable products. Tabriz big market has 25 rooms called Timcheh, used to display and sell items. The most well-known of them are Mozaffariyeh Timcheh, Amir Timcheh, Haji Mohammad Gholi Timcheh, and Ghand Forooshan Timcheh.
When the Safavid dynasty rose to power, Tabriz reclaimed its former status as Iran’s capital. It’s hard to miss Amir Timcheh amid the Tabriz old market. As ancient as the Qajar era, this Timcheh is where you can find gold jewelry trading. The most enormous brick dome in the bazaar is here, and it’s beautiful and eye-catching in its own right. Mozaffariyeh Timcheh is a carpet market in Tabriz Bazaar where you can see hand-woven carpets, an essential part of the city’s commerce. The bazaar sparkles with the elegance of the rugs, which include a variety of vibrant hues.
For centuries, Tabriz carpets have always been famous as some of the finest examples of ancient Persian rug craftsmanship. To this day, no other Iranian city can match Tabriz’s record as Iran’s longest-running carpet manufacturing hub. As a result, the carpets woven there have maintained the highest levels of craftsmanship and the widest range of designs. Classical medallion motifs and various allover patterns are available in a wide range of colors, from vibrant reds and oranges to pastels. The quality of these Persian carpets sets them apart from the others.
Tabriz Palace (Sa’at Tower)
Sa’at Tower, also famous as the Tabriz Municipality Palace, is a building in Tabriz, Iran. It’s the city hall and the principal office of the municipal government of Tabriz in the province of East Azarbaijan. Locals in Tabriz refer to the structure as the Saat tower or just Saat for short. It consists of three parts: an entrance hall, a clock tower, and a tiny garden on the southwest side of the building. Central to the garden is a circular pool with fountains that circle it. The municipality building, designed by architect Avedis Ohanjanian and constructed in 1934 as the Tabriz municipal central office and city hall, is a landmark in the city. Before World War II, it was utilized as the Government Office by the Azerbaijan Democratic Party, and its main hall was the site of cabinet meetings. When Iranian forces retook control of Tabriz in 1947, the building was repurposed as the city’s municipal central offices, a role that it served until the early 2000s, when it was converted into a municipal museum.