The mountainous township of Ahar can be said to be as one of the oldest sections of Azarbayjan in East Azerbaijan Province in IRAN. The center of which being the city of Ahar located 103 km. northeast of Tabriz. Ahar experiences cold and snowy winters and moderate summers. Dense forests cover a major portion of its valleys and the Ahar Chay River flows through this vicinity. This sector being of importance both politically and from the military point of view has proved to be historically sound too.
In the early 3rd century AH., this territory was for twenty years one of the bloodiest battlefield between Babak Khorram Din and the Arab warriors. During the reign of the Qajar dynasty, the city of Ahar was the center of command of Abbas Mirza (the Crown Prince of Fathali Shah) being the commander of Iranian forces during the Iran-Russian war.
Until the early 1960s Ahar was the economic hub of Arasbaran region. Arasbaran nomadic tribes bartered their produce in Ahar's bazaar. The charcoal produced in villages adjacent to Arasbaran forests was carried by muleteers to Ahar and from there was transported to Tabriz. In addition, Ahar was a distribution center for the Arasbaran rug. The gradual settlement of nomads, widespread use of fossil fuels, changing life-styles, and establishment of new marketplaces such as Kaleybar through facilitated transportation, have diminished Ahar's economical importance.
The main tourist site in the city is the mausoleum of Sheikh Shaabe-deen, who was the teacher of Safi-ad-din Ardabili, the founder of the family of Safavid dynasty. The monument has been described by James Morier in early nineteenth century as the following, "The mausoleum is of brick, with a foundation of stone, and faced by an elevated portico, flanked by two minors or pillars encrusted with green tiles.
A little wooden door was opened for us in the back of the building, which introduced us into the spot that contained the tomb of the Sheikh, which was enclosed by a stone railing, carved into open work, and surrounded by a sculptured arabesque ornament, of very good taste. The tomb is distinguished by a marble cover, on which is an Arabic inscription in relieve."
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