The Grand Bazaar of Tabriz, a historic complex located in Iran’s northwestern province of East Azarbaijan was named as a World Heritage site by the UNESCO World Heritage Center, the official IRNA news agency reported on Sunday.
The decision was made in the 34th meeting of the World Heritage Committee which is being held in Brasilia, Brazil, from July 25 to Aug. 3, head of the East Azarbaijan’s Cultural Heritage, Handicrafts and Tourism Organization Torab Mohammadi told IRNA on Sunday.
“This is the first time that the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) World Heritage Center selects a ‘ bazaar’ as a valuable cultural heritage,” Mohammadi was quoted as saying.
Located in the center of the city, the Bazaar of Tabriz is one of the oldest bazaars of the Middle East and the largest covered bazar in the world. This spectacular structure consists of several sub-bazaars and has different economic and cultural spaces.
Although numerous modern shops and malls have been established recently, the Bazaar of Tabriz remains the economic heart of the city and northwestern Iran.
Bazaar in Iran is used for some of the important religious ceremonies too. The most famous one is Day of Ashura while merchants cease the trade for about 10 days and religious ceremonies are held inside the Bazaar. Like other bazaars in the Middle East, there are several mosques constructed behind the bazaar.
Tabriz has been a place of cultural exchange since antiquity and its historic bazaar complex is one of the most important commercial centres on the Silk Road. Tabriz Historic Bazaar Complex consists of a series of interconnected, covered, brick structures, buildings, and enclosed spaces for different functions. Tabriz and its Bazaar were already prosperous and famous in the 13th century, when the town, in the province of Eastern Azerbaijan, became the capital city of the Safavid kingdom. The city lost its status as capital in the 16th century, but remained important as a commercial hub until the end of the 18th century, with the expansion of Ottoman power. It is one of the most complete examples of the traditional commercial and cultural system of Iran