Tabriz (تبریز, pronounced [tæbˈriːz] ( listen)) is the fourth largest city and one of the historical capitals of Iran and the capital of East Azerbaijan Province. Situated at an altitude of 1,350 meters at the junction of the Quru River and Aji River, it was the second largest city in Iran until the late 1960s, one of its former capitals, and residence of the crown prince under the Qajar dynasty. The city has proven extremely influential in the country’s recent history. Tabriz is located in a valley to the north of the long ridge of the volcanic cone of Sahand, south of the Eynali mountain. The valley opens out into a plain that slopes gently down to the northern end of Lake Urmia, 60 kilometres (37 miles) to the west. With cold winters and temperate summers the city is considered a summer resort.
The estimated population of the city is around 2,000,000 based on results of the Iranian census bureau. Tabriz is the fourth most populous city in Iran after Tehran, Mashhad, and Esfahan, and is also a major Iranian heavy industrial and manufacturing center. Some of these industries include automobile, machine tools, oil and petrochemical and cement production.
With a rich history, Tabriz contains many historical monuments, but repeated devastating earthquakes and several invasions during frequent wars have substantially damaged many of them. Many monuments in the city date back to the Ilkhanid, Safavid, and Qajar periods, with the large Tabriz Historic Bazaar Complex being named as a World Heritage Site in 2010. In addition to all of this there is an excavation site and museum in the city center with a history that dates back 2500 years, which is also regarded as one of the most historic cities in ancient Iran.
The early history of Tabriz is not clear yet. Some archaeologists suppose that the Garden of Eden was probably located in Tabriz. For the first time, Tarui or Tauris (History of Median Empire or Medes of Diakonov page 203 and Taurus in Wikipedia) are mentioned in Assyrian King Sargon II’s epigraph in 714 B.C. Tabriz has been chosen as the capital for some rulers commencing from Atropates era and his dynasty.
A recent excavation at the site of the Iron Age museum, in the north of the Blue Mosque site, uncovered a grave yard of first mellenium B.C. This connect the history of civilization in the city to the first millennium B.C. It is more likely that the city was destroyed and rebuilt for several times either by natural disasters or by invaders.
The earliest elements of the current city structure claimed to be built at either at the time of the early Sassanids in the 3rd or 4th century A.D., or later in the 7th A.D. century. The Middle Persian name of the city was T’awrēš.