Encyclopædia Britannica, Ninth Edition/Tabríz

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TABRĺZ, Tavris, or Tavriz, a town of Persia, capital of the province of Adarbaiján (Azerbijan, ancient Atropatene), is situated in 38° 4' N. lat. and 46° 18' E. long., more than 4000 feet above the sea, at the eastern end of a wide valley, through which runs a river whose waters irrigate the gardens that encircle the town. In 1812 the walls had a circumference of 3 1/4miles. Overlooking the valley on the north-east and east are bold bare rocks, while to the south rises the more regular peak of Sahand. The town possesses few buildings of note, and of the extensive ruins but few merit attention. Mounsey in 1866 mentioned the blue mosque; the ark or citadel, containing the palace of the heir-apparent,— a large frowning building near the centre of the town; the Great Maidan, an open square; and the bazaars. The mosque, which he ascribes to Sháh Abbas, is that of the Turcoman Jahan Sháh (1410–1468). Abbas Mirza converted the citadel into an arsenal. Among the ruins of old Tauris the sepulchre of the Mogul sultan, Ghazan Khán, is no longer to be distinguished, except as part of a huge tumulus. It is situated about 2 miles south-west from the modern town, but far within the original boundaries. The "spacious arches of stone and other vestiges of departed majesty with which Porter found it surrounded in 1818 were possibly remains of the college (madrasa) and monastery (záwίya) where Ibn Batuta found shelter during his visit to the locality. In spite of the cholera visitation of 1822 and other occasional ravages of sickness, and the severe cold of winter, the climate of Tabriz is proverbially healthy. Its orchards and fruit gardens have a high reputation, and its running streams make amends for ill-paved and narrow streets and sorely defective municipal arrangements. General Schindler estimated the population in 1886 at about 170,000,—a number agreeing with the latest local census. The same authority states that the city contains 8 tombs of imámzádehs, 318 mosques, 100 public baths, 166 caravanserais, 3922 shops, 28 guard-houses, and 5 Christian (Armenian) churches; but this account must comprise in some of its items more buildings than are actually in use. There are said to be nearly 3000 Armenians in the place.

Tabrίz is a city of extensive commerce, a great emporium for the trade of Persia on the west, and the special mart between Turkey, Russia, and Persia. It possesses an international telegraph station, and the line passes hence to Tiflis and Europe on one side and to Teheran on the other. Subsidiary lines have been constructed to near Astara on the Caspian (136 miles long) and to Saujbulak on the Kurdish frontier (125 miles long). Eastwick in 1860 estimated the value of the exports to Turkey at about £600,000 and to Russia at about £400,000, exclusive of smuggling. The chief imports were British, and some Swiss—coloured cotton goods, grey calicoes, and broadcloth,—with miscellaneous goods from Germany. In 1881 there was a marked improvement in the trade of Tabrίz, mainly in increased imports from Constantinople. In 1885 the imports amounted to £721,730 and the exports to £306,687. The principal items of the former were cottons (from England), woollen cloth (from Austria and Germany), sugar (from France), and tea (from Holland); of the latter dried fruits (to Russia) and silk (to France, Austria, and Switzerland). There are lead mines near Tabrίz, and cobalt and copper are obtainable from the Sahand.

There is perhaps no city in Persia on which so much has been recorded by native and foreign writers as Tabrίz, Among the former Ibn Batuta, the Arab, and Hamd Ullah, the Persian, are notable. Of the latter may be mentioned Chardin, Porter, Ouseley, Tancoigne, Morier, Du Pré, Malcolm, Lady Sheil, Eastwick, Mounsey, Schindler, and Madame Dieulafoy (in Tour du Monde, 1883). The name Tabrίz has been a subject of much comment and conjecture, but there is no doubt that it is taken from the ancient name of Tauris. The history of Tabriz is a long and painful record of sieges and conflicts, of earthquakes and destruction by natural causes. Of late years it has recovered to some extent its former high position, and is in many respects a worthy rival to the capital.