Welcome to Tabriz, the perfect introduction to Iran

Tabriz is a big but relaxed city, filled with proud people and a UNESCO-listed bazaar to explore. It’s the perfect introduction to Iran for people crossing over the border from Armenia… or anyone, for that matter. Welcome to Tabriz!

 

We climb out of the taxi, laden with bulging backpacks, unsure as to where we are.

“Is this Mohaqqeqi Street?” we ask the driver, completely butchering the pronunciation.

He looks at us quizzically, says something in Farsi, and motions for us to give him the money we owe him. Are we lost already? we think to ourselves while fumbling with 50,000 rial notes. But we’ve literally just arrived! Then, two teenage guys walk up to us.

“Hello! Can we help you?”

“We’re looking for Mohaqqeqi Street.”

“This is Mohaqqeqi Street. Which guesthouse are you looking for?”

We give them the name. They discuss for a moment.

“Ah we know that one, just follow us. And welcome to Tabriz!”

 

A panoramic view of Tabriz, Iran right after sunset.

A breathtaking view of Tabriz, just after sunset.

Welcome to Tabriz

Tabriz is the fifth biggest city in Iran, but we wouldn’t have guessed from being there for three days–the city feels more like a large town. Not only is the city center very walkable, the people are also extremely friendly, something not particularly common in big cities.

Tabriz is a great introduction to Iran due to its laid back aromatherapist. . Its bazaar, one of the oldest in the world, is an endless maze filled with bustling shoppers and friendly shopkeepers. It’s on the UNESCO World Heritage list, and deservedly so. You could easily wander around for an entire day (or two) without actually buying anything. Just observing the daily bazaar life is attraction enough.

Wandering around the UNESCO-listed Grand Bazaar in Tabriz

The Grand Bazaar in Tabriz is quite relaxed–loads of people selling their wares, but not in an intense or aggressive way.

Another spot not-to-be-missed . This park is a ways out of the center, but definitely worth the trek (a trek by taxi, that is). There are several food stalls around the park and outside the park’s perimeter, and an upscale restaurant in the center of it. An artificial lake rings the park walkway, making it particularly pretty in the evening. The park is a Tabrizian favorite come evening time, and a great way to meet locals. Better yet, head there with one of the locals that you’ll inevitably meet while wandering around Tabriz.

People strolling at night at Shahgoli park in Tabriz, Iran

Local Tabrizians out and about in Shahgoli park.

This brings me back to the people, because Tabrizians are incredibly warm and hospitable. Within an hour of being in the city, we were greeted and welcomed to Iran at least a dozen times. We were practically getting whiplash from looking over our shoulders so often to see who was shouting a greeting to us.

Looking for off beat places in Iran? Check out our off the beaten path Iran itinerary!

Sebastiaan and Bezhat, a local Tabrizian that made us feel welcome to Tabriz.

Bezhat, one of the many uber-friendly Tabrizians that welcomed us to Iran.

A boy names Behzat showed us around on our second day in Tabriz. Behzat’s a witty 21 year-old who wanted to practice his already-excellent English. An hour later, we were invited to the home of a girl named “Butterfly” and her giggly friend, Rozhan.

Needless to say, we had a blast. They were all extremely friendly and curious, and refused to let us pay for anything. I offered several times, always getting a tsst! or a “You are our guest, we cannot let you pay for anything!”

Feeling Tabrizian

Tabriz is a great introduction to Iran, or, if you’ve already been in Iran for a while, a great place to go and wander for a couple of days. The city’s inhabitants make you feel like a long lost friend–someone they haven’t seen in years, but with whom they can still continue like it was only yesterday that you last sat down for a cup of chai. A warm family will adopt you, curious to know everything about you and the place you’re from, and you will feel that you have become a bit of a Tabrizian by the time you leave.

 

Tabriz is a major city in the north of Iran, and a perfect introduction to the country for those traveling from Armenia. With its Grand Bazaar, relaxed atmosphere, and friendly people, you'll feel welcome in Tabriz in a matter of minutes.

 

Have you ever visited the city of Tabriz? What did you think? What was your favorite part about the city?

Sebastiaan

Just another Dutchie. Extrovert with introverted tendencies. Some say I'm lazy, I say I'm masterfully inactive.

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9 thoughts on “Welcome to Tabriz, the perfect introduction to Iran

    Sally Garrett says:

    Happy to hear it! thanks for nice article.
    I’m planing to go for hitchhiking in Iran with friends(Tabriz and Tehran). Lot’s of people keepin’ saying, it’s not safe enough… what can you say? any recommendations?

    Sally Garrett says:

    and I just read your story about Mestia, so nice, I’m from the region 😀 ^_^

    Hi Sally. If you’re hitchhiking with friends, it shouldn’t be a problem. It might be a bit awkward if you’re a solo girl, but with a group of people it’s fine. Just use common sense, and don’t be overly friendly to young men. They might consider it an advance. If you hitchhike, try to learn the word for no money, or hitchhiking. It’s not that common yet, and people might expect money for picking you up.

    Sally Garrett says:

    thanks for reply. my trip is almost here and I hope I’ll experience it well ^_^

    We’re sure you’ll have a great time. Cheers.

    Joanna says:

    Hi! Your blogs have been super useful in planning my trip to Iran. My partner and I plan to stay in Tabriz for a few days. Any suggestion of guesthouses or hotels?

    Sebastiaan says:

    Hi Joanna, glad to hear the blog is useful. Don’t have any specific tips. The guesthouse we stayed in, Darya Guesthouse, was meh, and a bit overpriced. However, Mohaqqeqi Street is full of hotels and guesthouses. You should aso check out Tripadvisor, as they usually have up-to-date reviews. Good luck and have fun!

    mahdis says:

    hello sebatiaan iam iranian and i live in zanjan city tabriz is near for us and i will never travel to tabriz i read your notes and i think it is the super full and amazing city if you can travel to our city i promise you ، you have fun time there here is not famous but it had some old mosque and kind people ، good bye

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