Blue Mosque or Masjidi Qebud Mosque in Tabriz

Getty Images/Lonely Planet Images


Biblical clues point to the Ajichay River flowing out of the Garden of Eden, which places Tabriz at the gates of paradise. Long a buffer between empires, Tabriz' historical heritage and Silk Road pedigree is no more evident than in its thriving bazaar, one of the world's best. This sprawling city, rich in Azeri culture, with its famous carpets, teahouse hammams, love of music and excellent transport links, makes a perfect introduction to Iran. Situated on a high plateau between Lake Orumiyeh and lofty Mt Sahand, and bounded by stark, eroded hills, Tabriz has milder summers than cities further east, though its winters can be formidable.


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