Tabriz is the first major Iranian city that overland travelers coming from Turkey see. It was the Mongol capital in the 13th century, and again under the Black Sheep Dynasty who ruled from Tabriz in the 15th century. Jahan Shah (1436-1467 AD) was an active ruler who extended and beautified Tabriz, building the Blue Mosque in 1465. Ravaged by centuries of invasions and severe earthquakes, only fragments of the original tile work survived, hinting at the glory that was.


The Blue Mosque is one of the few completely covered mosques in Iran and has exquisite polychrome ornamentation. The flavor of old Tabriz is preserved in the covered bazaar where jewelry and carpets, among the finest in Iran, are found. Another site to be visited is the Shah-Goli Pavilion built in the middle of an artificial lake. Tabriz boasts at least two museums, the archaeological and the anthropological, both displaying artifacts produced during the long course of human habitation in Azarbaijan.