The Bazaar of Tabriz, a historical market situated in the city center is one of the beautiful and oldest bazaars in the Middle East and the largest covered bazaar in the world. It is one of Iran's UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
The bazaar is used for some important religious ceremonies. The most famous one is Day of Ashura during which merchants cease trading for about 10 days and religious ceremonies are held inside the bazaar. Like other bazaars in Middle East, there are several mosques constructed behind the bazaar, the most notable of them being Jome' Mosque.
Tabriz Historic Bazaar Complex consists of a series of interconnected, covered, brick structures, buildings, and enclosed spaces for different functions. Tabriz and its Bazaar were already prosperous and famous in the 13th century, when the town, in the province of Eastern Azerbaijan, became the capital city of the Safavid kingdom. The city lost its status as capital in the 16th century, but remained important as a commercial hub until the end of the 18th century, with the expansion of Ottoman power. It is one of the most complete examples of the traditional commercial and cultural system of Iran.
In 2000, the Historical Heritages Organization of Iran begin a restoration project of the Bazaar, with the full participation of the shop owners. The rehabilitation project won the Agha-Khan Award for Architecture in 2013.
You can find 40 kinds of occupations in the bazaar.
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.
The bazaar is an exceptional physical, economic, social, political, and religious complex that provides evidence to a civilization that is still flourishing. Over the centuries, Tabriz Bazaar developed into a socio-economic and cultural system in which specialized architectural structures, functions, professions and people from various cultures integrated into a unique living ambiance.
The historic Tabriz Bazaar is an outstanding example of an integrated multi-functional urban complex in which interconnected architectural structures and spaces have been shaped by commercial activities. A large number of specialized buildings and structures are concentrated and interconnected in a relatively compact area to form what is almost a single integrated structure.History of Tabriz Bazaar:
There are some documents of tourists mentioning the bazaar in the 10th century. The other significant point of the bazaar is its location on the Silk Road.
Archeological evidence bears witness to human settlement in Tabriz since the Bronze Age.
Tabriz was an important military base in the ninth century CE. The city began to prosper as an economic and business center. It was the capital of the country in the 12th and 13th centuries CE.
The destruction of Baghdad by the Mongols in 1,258 CE increased the importance of Tabriz as a trading hub. Tabriz attained its zenith in economic and social fields between 1316 and 1331 CE. Globetrotters such as Marco Polo and Ibn Battuta described it as one of the richest trading hubs in the world.
The town's prosperity rose thanks to its strategic location during the 14th and 15th centuries CE.
The remarkable point about this bazaar is that besides all the goods you can buy in the bazaar, it has preserved its historical, social, and architectural aspects.
Sahebabad, the first vast official and ceremonial space, was created in Tabriz in 1258 CE ― around which the most important public buildings were built. The Safavid rulers chose Tabriz as the capital in early 16th century CE. The city became a powerful government headquarter, even though the capital was moved first to Qazvin in 1548 and then to Isfahan, which were considered safer in the face of threats by the Ottoman empire.
Tabriz witnessed economic depression in the last quarter of the 17th century. Nonetheless, the city's revenues earned from travelers depicted Tabriz as an important trading spot.
The 18th century brought a period of political instability triggered by Ottoman attempts at expansion. The most destructive earthquake in the intense seismic history of Tabriz totally ruined the town in 1780, at the beginning of Qajar reign. It was, however, rapidly rebuilt.
Another earthquake in 1817, caused a great deal of damage to the mosques and to the town. Tabriz was occupied by the Russians in 1826, but was retaken by the Qajar rulers two years later.
Recognized as the world’s biggest covered bazaar, this ancient monument still holds the traditional center for trade of supplies.
Several changes were made in the town during the 19th century. The governmental headquarter moved from Sahebabad ― where public buildings were arranged around a vast square in north of Mehranroud River ― to its present location, south of the river, near Aala Gate. Saheb-ol Amr Square was built in the historical area of Sahebabad, and Tabriz Jame' Mosque was restored.
A flood caused extensive damage to the bazaar in 1871, which was mapped and evaluated by means of a field survey. These records provide information about the condition of the bazaar at that time. Renovation works were conducted for various structures in the following years. For example, Mozaffarieh Timcha (Carpet Bazaar of Tabriz) was completed in 1905.
Tabriz became the center of the Iranian Constitution Movement in 1906: The bazaar was closed and the people demonstrated against the government since the constitution was signed by the king and the first Parliament was established.