The city of Maraaqeh
The city of Maraaqeh, which is of paramount historical importance, is situated southwest of the East Azarbaijan Province, south of the city of Tabriz and within a vast, fertile plain; and is engulfed between Uremia Lake and Sahand Volcano. This city consists of two separate parts. Its northern region, which covers the southern foothills of Sahand Mountain, is a mountainous region, while the central and southern regions of this city are in the form of plains.
This city maintains a mild and relatively humid climate. The climate of the plains and lake’s coastal belt is warm, and is mild throughout the mountainous region.
The economic mainstay of this important city of East Azarbaijan Province is agricultural and livestock products.
Given its highly fertile land, the city of Maraaqeh has long been a site for production of different kind of agricultural and livestock products. This city is in fact situated in a fertile valley which is fed by a number of rivers that originate from Sahand Mountain. The Muslim geographer, Ebn-e Hoqel, thousand years ago, and the renowned historian, Hamdollah Mostofi, six hundred years ago, have praised and lauded this city due to its fruit orchards and agricultural products. In the orchards of this city different types of fruit are cultivated. In fact, more than 26 different kinds of grapes are produced in this region’s vineyards, which are sold in the form of dried fruits.
Note that this city has reached self-sufficiency in production of agricultural and livestock products in addition to production of fruits, especially dried fruits and is also considered as one of the main centers for export of dried fruits of Iran.
The city of Maraaqeh is home to more than 300 historical monuments and over 110 works, remaining from previous historical periods, and has provided appropriate bedding for promotion of literary figures, scientists, and artists throughout the course of history.
It is one of the most ancient cities of Iran and Azarbaijan. Although the history of this city is not clear but based on existing evidence, the development of this city dates back to BC years.
Millions of years ago, throughout the second and third geological periods, and prior to eruption of Sahand Volcano, this city has been home to huge animals. The fossils discovered in this city are related to 32 mammal species and 2 bird species.
The population of this city stands at 260,000 people, making Maraaqeh the second largest city of East Azarbaijan, after the historical city of Tabriz. In the post-Islamic era, the city of Maraaqeh has been of paramount importance and it was elected as the capital of Iran in mid-13th Century to mid-14th Century AD. Concurrent with this period, this city was of importance; and with the foundation of a large university and an observatory in this city, numerous scientists gathered in the city.
Maraaqeh Observatory was founded under the supervision of famous Iranian scientist, Khaje Nasir Ed-Din Tousi, and has been one of the well-known buildings of this city. The observatory was constructed over one of the northern hills of this city in 657 AH. Based on existing evidence, this building existed until 703 AH, but was later on destroyed to the ground in the wake of an earthquake and currently only its ruins have remained.
Meanwhile, other historical monuments exist in this city, which manifest the significance of Maraaqeh. One of these important buildings is “Gonbad-e Sorkh”, which is situated southwest of this city. Based on the inscriptions of this historical monument, this building dates back to 542 AH and it has been constructed on the order of one of Maraaqeh rulers, Abdul-Aziz bin Mahmoud bin Sa’ad. It is a square-shaped building; is based over a stone-made pillar; and is accessed through a stairway. It has been constructed with red bricks. The main gateway of this building is situated in the northern corner of a tomb.
The upper section of this building’s gateway is decorated with blue tiles and is covered with delicate brickworks and plasterwork, in addition to brick-made inscriptions and a variety of patterns and paintings. In fact, one of the positive aspects of this historical monument is its decorations. The usage of blue tiles in this building manifests an important period of Islamic architecture. These tiles are a prelude to depiction of a major art, and the architect of this building has intended to add to the beauty of this work of art, through the usage of these tiles. This 900-year old historical monument has stood the test of time to prove the originality of Iranians’ art.
One of the other important monuments of city of Maraaqeh is the Ovhedi Maraaqei Tomb, in which Rokn Ed-Din Abul-Hassan Maraaqei, popularly known as “Ovhedi Maraaqei” has been laid to rest. He was one of the well-known poets and mystic figures of the Ilkhanid Period, which penned the well-known Jaam-e Jam elegy. Born in Maraaqeh in 670 AH, he was a mystic and pious figure as of a young age and attained perfection in the Islamic sciences and mysticism. He first used the penname “Saafi”, but later on changed his penname to Ovhedi, which was rooted in the name of his teacher, Ovheddin Kermani. His eternal work, Jaam-e Jam, includes 5,000 couplets, which have been written in 733 AH. One of the other works which he has left behind is the book: “Deh Nameh”. The name of Ovhedi and his death of death have been engraved on the northern and southern walls of this building.
Note that next to this tomb is the Maraaqeh Museum. It was inaugurated in 1996 and a collection of objects, including pots, coins, and books belonging to the Islamic era are kept in it. The Ilkhanid Era is popularly known as the golden era of pottery in the Islamic period and examples of priceless pottery works are kept in this museum.
There are other valuable historical monuments, such as mosques, motels, and “Dokhtaraan” Castle in the city of Maraaqeh.
Province of East Azarbaijan
Do you know Tabriz city?
Monuments in Tabriz