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Tabriz

Travel Guide Middle East Iran Tabriz

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Introduction

Square outside the Blue Mosque, Tabriz

Square outside the Blue Mosque, Tabriz

© All Rights Reserved TLWH

Tabriz is located in the north west of Iran. Indeed, it was once Iran's capital backbone during the Safron period (AD 1502-1736). The town has a long history and once housed many historical monuments. Unfortunately, repeated invasions and natural disasters destroyed many of these treasures.

Tabriz is also the first, or last, major city you will pass through coming from or going to Turkey on the overland route. The city gives the feeling that it is not set up for mass tourism. Which in itself can be a relief, but there is actually quite a bit to see if you interested.

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Neighbourhoods

The Quri Chai river runs through Tabriz. Most places that would interest a visitor are on the southern side of the river. Tabriz' city center is located around the bazaar.

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Sights and Activities

Renovating the blue mosque

Renovating the blue mosque

© All Rights Reserved TLWH

  • The Blue Mosque - Destroyed by an earthquake, renovations are currently under way inside this beautiful building. It's one of the few places you can walk around as architects and archaeologists work together in the restoration process.
  • The Main Bazaar - Built by Jomhun-ye Eslami St is the oldest in Iran. Its gold market is a great place to meet and talk with some of the local merchants. It's also one of the thriving areas for currency exchange. Well worth a visit just to see people walking around with huge wads of Rial.
  • Ark-e-Alishah (or Arg e Tabriz is the remains of a fortress dating back to the Ilkhanate period in the 13th-14th centuries.
  • El Goli is a park sprawling around a square artificial pond. A restaurant on an island in the middle of the pond serves tchelokebab and is a good place to relax on a warm summer's day.

Further Afield

  • Kandovan - A small village about 50 kilometres out of Tabriz.
    Children playing in Kandovan Village,

    Children playing in Kandovan Village,

    © All Rights Reserved TLWH

The village is similar to Goreme in Turkey because the village houses have been carved out of the soft surrounding rock of the mountains.

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Events and Festivals

Due to Tabriz's ancient Safron period there are many great poets, writers and artists linked to the former capital. Check with the tourist office as their is nearly always something going on.

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Weather

Like most of Iran, Tabriz is a year round dry city. Though in winter the day and night temperatures can get pretty low, sometimes below zero at night. While in summer temperatures can rise up to 40 °C and although it's still fairly dry air, this is not the best time to visit.

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Getting There

By Plane

Tabriz International Airport has a number of flights serving the city. Iran Air flies to Istanbul, Tehran, Mashad, Esfahan, Kish, Ahwaz and Bandar Abbas. Other destinations with other airlines include Dubai, Damascus, Rasht, Asalouyeh and Mahshahr.

By Train

There is an overnight train to Tehran. Also international train routes link Iran to Turkey and Syria. The station is 5km west of the city centre.

By Car

You need to have your license plate changed to Farsi. The tourist office will help you here. Also beware of the metering system for fuel, again the tourist office can help you.

By Bus

Buses link Tabriz to the rest of Iran in a large sprawling network. They are incredibly cheap and quite comfortable. Often having snacks and drinks.

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Getting Around

By Car

Traffic is not so crazy out side of the city center. But again you need to be aware of the laws. Taxi's have meters, but English is not spoken.

By Public Transport

Language will be you main issue here. But it's worth hoping on a local bus just for the interest alone.

By Foot

Most of Tabriz can be walked in but in the heat you may want to hail a cab.

By Bike

Possible if you have your own.

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Eat

There are countless eateries around Tabriz. From burger joints to Kebabs. For a more upmarket yet still incredibly cheap out try Modern Tabriz Restaurant on Imam Khomeini street. Other wise ask at the tourist office for their local recommendations, and be prepared for a treat.

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Drink

No Alcohol. But you can buy Malt lemon beer. Takes a while, but refreshingly different. Bepsi, is their version of Cola and is quite sweet.

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Sleep

Budget

Hotel Mashad offers basic shared bathroom rooms at a reasonable price €4-5. The shower is extra. And like most hotels in Iran they need to hold onto your passport so don't be alarmed.

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Learn

Make it a priority to visit the Tourist Information Office right in front of the Main Bazaar. It's located in the archway that you can't miss. Nassem and his Brother are two of the best tourist information officers in the world. That's a claim backed up my the many many signatures and comments in their guest books. They are gentlemen that will offer you the best of hospitality. Their tours are good, and they will help you change money for no commission.

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Keep Connected

Internet

You'll find internet cafes in most cities and even smaller towns now have access to the world wide web. Like other countries with a very strict censorship, the country has strict rules about using the internet and also has a very restricted domestic version, highly unlikely to be used by travellers. There are not so many obvious internet cafes around. You will need to roam the many shopping centers around Jomhun-ye Eslami St. They are not so fast, but are quite well run.

Phone

See also International Telephone Calls

The international country calling code of Iran is +98. Special numbers include 110 for the Police, 115 for Ambulance, 125 for the Fire Department and 112 for calls from mobile phones. Iran Telecom is the main telecommunication company in the country and provides, together with Irancell, almost all mobile services as well.
You can find a complete list of telephone codes at Farsinet.com.

Post

The I.R. Iran Post Service is the national postal service in Iran. Services are fairly reliable and cheap, but rather slow. It usually takes at least several weeks for your letter or postcard to arrive in European countries, longer for other Western areas. Post officies generally are open from around 7:30am to 3:00pm Saturday to Thursday, so the main offices in big cities tend to have somewhat longer hours. Your best bet is to visit in the morning if you need to use their services. Stamps can usually be bought at small shops and kiosks as well. Sending parcels is more expensive but also quicker and more reliable with international companies like FedEx, DHL, TNT and UPS.

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This is version 17. Last edited at 14:08 on Oct 14, 11 by Utrecht. 9 articles link to this page.

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