Tabriz Bazaar Complex, the Largest Covered Bazaar in Iran

August 18

One of the most important cities in Iran which is known for a cultural exchange since antiquity is Tabriz which is located in the northwest part of Iran. The city is one of the most important commercial centers on the Silk Road and therefore one of the most historical bazaar in the country is located at the heart of Tabriz.

The Tabriz Bazaar Complex registered as a World Heritage Site of UNESCO in 2010. It was the first Bazaar to be nominated as a valuable monument.

History

The bazaar complex has been existed at the same location in the city for centuries and was mentioned by the famous traveler; Marco Polo, who claimed he has passed through it while traveling on the Silk Road.

The city became famous in the 13th century when the Safavid kingdom considers the city as their capital city. However, the city lost its status as capital after 3 centuries in the 16th century but remained important as a commercial hub until the end of the 18th century.

The Tabriz Bazaar Complex has not only been a place for commercial aspects but also been a place of political significance. It has a significant role during the Iranian Constitutional Revolution which took place between 1905 and 1911 and led to the establishment of a parliament in Iran during the Qajar Dynasty.

Building

The magnificent complex covers about 7 kilometer2 with 24 caravanserais (sets of rooms sets around the courtyard), and 22 impressive sub-bazaars which are known as Timcheh (domed halls). Construction of the bazaar began over a millennium ago, however much of the fine brick vaulting dates to the 15th century.

Bazaar of Tabriz

The structure covers about 67 acres with almost 4 miles of covered shops and product-specific “sub-bazaars”. It consists of series interconnected, covered, brick structures, buildings, and enclosed spaces for different functions. Each sub-bazaar is dedicated for selling one type of item, as an example, you can find a wide range of gold and jewellery at Amir Bazaar or different types of handmade carpet at Mozzafarieh. There is a spice bazaar with few shops to sell herbal remedies, henna, and natural perfumes. At Kolahdoozan Bazaar you can find hat shops that sell traditional Azeri hats names papakh made of tight-curled astrakhan wool. There are also bazaars specialized in leather, silver, copper, general household goods, fruit, and vegetables.

Although numerous modern shops and malls have been established in the city nowadays, the grand bazaar still has remained as the economic heart of the city and the country.

Tabriz Bazaar is an exceptional prototype of an architectural-urban commercial area, which is reflected in its highly-integrated architectural buildings and spaces. The bazaar is one of the most sustainable socio-economic structures, and its great complexity attests to the richness in trade and cultural interaction of Tabriz.

Ceremonies

Besides commercial usage of Bazaars in Iran, they also used for some of the important religious ceremonies too. The most famous ceremony which is held in Tabriz Bazaar is the Day of Ashura while merchants cease the trade for about 10 days and religious ceremonies are held inside the Bazaar.

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