Tabriz pronounced [tæbˈriːz] (Azerbaijani: تبریز, Təbriz, Persian: تبریز), is the most populated city in the Iranian Azerbaijan, one of the historical capitals of Iran, and the present capital of East Azerbaijan Province. Located in the Quru River valley between the long ridge of the volcanic cones of the Sahand and Eynali mountains, Tabriz’ elevation range between 1,350 and 1,600 meters above sea level. The valley opens up into a plain that gently slopes down to the eastern shores of Lake Urmia, 60 kilometres (37 miles) to the west. With cold winters and temperate summers, the city is considered a summer resort.
Tabriz has a population of 1,549,453. The population consists mostly of Iranian Azerbaijanis who speak the Azerbaijani language. It is a major heavy industry hub for automobile, machine tools, refineries and petrochemical, textile, and cement production industries. The city is famous for its handicrafts including hand-woven rugs and jewelry. It is known for locally made confectioneries, chocolates, dried nuts, and traditional food. Tabriz is also an academic hub and a site for some of the most prestigious academic and cultural institutes in the northwest of Iran.
The city has a long and turbulent history with its oldest civilization sites dated back to 1,500 BC. It contains many historical monuments representing the transition of Iranian architecture in its long historical timelines. Most of the preserved historical sites in the city belong to Ilkhanid (of Mongol Empire), Safavid, and Qajar area, among them is the grand Bazaar of Tabriz which is inscribed as a World Heritage Site in 2010. From the early modern era, the city was pivotal in the development, movement, and economy of three neighboring regions, namely that of the Caucasus, Eastern Anatolia, and central Iran. From the 19th century, it became the most important city in the country in numerous respects. As the closest Iranian hub to Europe, many aspects of the early modern modernisation in Iran started in Tabriz. Prior to the forced ceding of Iran’s Caucasian territories to Imperial Russia following the two Russo-Persian Wars of the first half of the 19th century, Tabriz was the main city in the implementation of Iranian rule for its Caucasian territories due to its proximity. During almost the entire Qajar period (up to 1925), it functioned as the seat for the crown prince as well.