Historic Tabriz Bazaar Complex

Historic Tabriz Bazaar Complex is one of the UNESCO’s World Heritage sites as a valuable cultural heritage located in the center of Tabriz, East Azerbaijan Province at the north western of Iran. Tabriz and its bazaar flourished, became famous and prosperous during the Safavid period in 13th century when Tabriz became the capital of the Safavid Dynasty.

It is one of the oldest and the most important economic and commercial heart of Tabriz as a historical market. It can be likened to a melting pot of tradition, trade, and culture. Grand Bazaar of Tabriz, a historic heritage complex and the largest interlinked, covered and roofed brick structure bazaar in the world is used for some important religious ceremonies such as Day of Ashura.

Tabriz bazaar architecture
Tabriz bazaar architecture

Historic Tabriz Bazaar Complex elements

Nowadays numerous modern shops and malls have been established inside the bazaar. Historic Tabriz Bazaar Complex structure with a lot of vendors, consist of gold and jewelry bazaar, carpet bazaar (hand-woven Persian carpets and rugs with different knot density and other features) , shoe bazaar and many others ones for various household items and goods such as metal works, toys, clothing, kitchen appliances, traditional spices in abundance, nuts, dried fruits, mountains of tea, herbal remedies, natural perfumes, colorful grocery stores, bookbinders, blacksmiths, tinsmiths, copper smiths, tobacconists, tailors, flag sellers, broadcloth sellers, carpenters, shoemakers, and knife-makers.

Tabriz bazaar interior design
Tabriz bazaar interior design

As it is one of the most complete examples of the traditional commercial and cultural system of Iran it embraces countless shops, caravansaries and inns, vast domed halls, bathhouses, and mosques. You can spend hours there and enjoying cultural observations.

Why Tabriz bazaar?

  • One of Iran’s registered works on the UNESCO World Heritage List.
  • Named as one of the largest indoor markets in the world and the world’s largest interconnected brick complex.
  • Timcheh Mozafarieh and enternce of Qaisarieh in Tabriz market are among the most famous and most beautiful architectures among various Iranian markets.
  • Tabriz bazaar is a good place to buy top quality goods such as handmade carpets, nuts, leather goods, textiles, spices, handicrafts and … at reasonable prices.
  • It has the most complete social organization among Iranian markets and has an interconnected set of different social structures.
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Tabriz bazaar complex
Tabriz bazaar complex

Introduction to Tabriz Historical Bazaar complex: Iran ‘s largest indoor market

Tabriz Bazaar Complex is Iran’s largest indoor market, and the world’s largest brick-and-mortar complex. An ancient 1 kilometer-long market that has passed through various historical events and events and is with us today as a precious legacy. A market with 6500 cells, 40 types of jobs, 20 classrooms, 35 halls, 25 Timche and 11 corridors and several schools, mosques, inns and baths that together create the most complete social organization among Iranian markets. Most of the items sold in Tabriz market have a traditional atmosphere, and there is no such thing as advanced goods such as computer equipment and so on. The most important items sold in the historical market of Tabriz can be handmade carpets of Tabriz and Azerbaijan, leather bags and shoes, spices, herbal and medicinal products, nuts, fabrics, glass and … Due to its important architectural and commercial features, it was registered in the National Monuments List of Iran in 1354 SH with the nomber of 1054, and in 1389 SH, its name was listed on the UNESCO World Heritage List, making it the largest registered  globalized heritage of Iran.

Historic Tabriz bazaar
Historic Tabriz bazaar

position of Tabriz market in Tabriz

Central core of Tabriz located within a quadrilateral and the market is in the middle of this quadrilateral. bazaar reaches from the east to AlQapu (Crown Prince’s palace complex), from the west to Jame Mosque, and from the north to parts of Chai Square (Mehranrood). Chai Square River separates two parts of Tabriz bazaar complex. The two northern and southern sections are connected by wooden bridge along the market. However, the northern part of the market has lost its importance and influence due to falling apart from other collections and transferring businesses to the surrounding streets. Unfortunately, construction of these streets destroyed parts of the market and partially separated it from the entire southern complex.

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Is Tabriz market really the world’s largest indoor market?

If you research about Tabriz grand bazaar, you find various sources and websites that this market is the largest indoor market in the world. A feature that makes it very distinctive and attractive. Although in more researches it revealed in some sources that Grand Bazaar Istanbul is the world’s oldest and largest indoor market. This issue led us to do a comprehensive review of Tabriz market size, and the fact that it really is the largest market in the world.

The first resource we searched for was UNESCO World Heritage Site. Among the evidences of Tabriz’s global registration on this website, there is a mention to its importance, its age and its size, but there is no mention of being the world’s largest indoor market. But on the website of Iran’s World Registration website, Tabriz historic Bazaar complex is the largest registered heritage in the country and the largest interconnected brick and mortar complex in the world.

Tabriz bazaar History

There is no specific information about Tabriz bazaar before Islam, and even until the fourth century AH. The earliest references of market date back to the writings of tourists in this period (the fourth century AH) which makes it the most historic market in the Middle East. What made Tabriz historic bazaar complex as one of the most important markets of Iran, and One of the most important trading centers in the past was its position on Silk Road. In general, the influence of Tabriz market in the past was like the gates of this market became the main gates of the city.

But the name of Tabriz historic bazaar complex came from Seljuk era. The paintings obtained from this period show that Tabriz bazaar was the current site of the same function, but it gained much fame when it was selected as the capital of Iran during Ilkhanid period of Tabriz. There were three main places along Silk Road at that time, one in China, one in Iran and Tabriz, and another in Rome. This prosperity continued during Safavid era, and many cities in neighborhood came there to trade. In general, Tabriz historic bazaar complex has been refurbished several times and various buildings have been added several times.

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Tabriz bazaar history
Tabriz bazaar history

Tabriz Bazaar Architecture

The main texture of Tabriz Bazaar consists of two covered rows, North-South and East-West. The width of the market is between 4 to 5 and the height of the roof is between 5 to 6 meters. The roofs of the rows are made of multiplicative and brick domes which are very well suited to the cold climate of Tabriz. Above these ceilings, there are holes through which light enters the market environment and creates the same lighting conditions in the space. These vents are also suitable for market ventilation. When we study the architecture of Tabriz Bazaar, we realize that the whole bazaar was not created in a codified way, but architects and designers have added sections to it over time.
Of course, as you have seen and read before, every market in Iran is composed of different segments. The more you become familiar with these segments and their concepts, the more attractive experience of visiting these markets will give you.

Haj Ali Restaurant

Another important attraction of Tabriz Bazaar is Haj Ali Restaurant which has become very famous over the years and has become part of the market identity. Most of all, this restaurant is famous for its delicious kebabs, along with free soup and drinks, and its old and cozy atmosphere. If you want to complete your visit of Tabriz Bazaar, be sure to check this 100-year-old place, just note that this restaurant serves food only for lunch from 12:00 onwards. There is no table to sit on.
To get to this restaurant and eat in it, you have to go to Kolahdozan Bazaar.