Thursday, September 25, 2008

Tabriz Bazaar Eyes Global Registration

Tabriz Bazaar Vaulted Ceiling
Tabriz Bazaar Eyes Global Registration
The Tabriz Bazaar is in the process of being registered as a global heritage site.
Over the years, in addition to being the economic hub of the region, the bazaar was also a center of sociopolitical development in Azarbiajan and the country, especially during the Constitution Movement.
After several centuries, the bazaar continues to play an influential role in the regional economic, political, social and cultural domains.
Given its special features, since the beginning of the current Iranian year (started March 20) Iran’s Cultural Heritage, Handicrafts, and Tourism Organization (ICHHTO) has eyed the bazaar as a candidate for registration at the international level.
Deputy head of ICHHTO, Fariborz Dolatabadi said.
“Currently the case is being compiled. Concurrently, the files for Sheikh Safioddin Ardebili Complex and the historical texture of Yazd are also being compiled.“
Tabriz bazaar Iran

Inception Unknown
The exact year of establishment of the bazaar is not known. However, writings of domestic and foreign tourists and historians such as Hamdollah Mostofi and Marco Polo suggest that the bazaar complex was originally built in the fourth century (AH).

An official of East Azarbaijan’s Cultural Heritage, Handicrafts, and Tourism Department, Majid Chatr-Rouz referred to the renovation of the bazaar in the recent past and said, “The present-day bazaar belongs to the Zandieh era and was rebuilt after the devastating earthquake in 1193 (AH). The roofed bazaar complex covers an area of one square kilometer.“
He recalled that based on available statistics there are about 8,000 shops in the ancient bazaar.
“If we assume that at least two people work in each shop, the bazaar has direct job opportunities for 16,000 people and indirect employment opportunities for about 35,000 people,“ he noted.
He added that, “Based on available data, every day over 20,000 people visit the bazaar for purchasing or trading goods. Therefore, the bazaar is one of the most crowded in the world.“
It was registered as a national heritage in 1975.

Tabriz Bazaar, in comparison with similar bazaars at the international level, has unique characteristics, which show the importance of its global registration.
Head of East Azarbaijan’s Cultural Heritage, Handicrafts, and Tourism Department Torab Mohammadi said, “The historical bazaars in Iran and the rest of the world are no more an economic hub. But the Tabriz bazaar still remains an economic hub of the northwestern parts of the country.“
Chatr-Rouz referred to the architectural features of the bazaar and said, “Since the bazaar was expanded from the Zandieh era to Qajar period, it has a diverse architectural style. It is designed in such a manner that it is cool in the hot summers and warm in the winters.“

He recalled that in addition to being a major venue for commerce, the bazaar supplied the everyday needs of people in olden times.
“Existence of a historic bathhouse, mosque and school and other public places are sufficient proof to this effect.“

Protective Measures
Mohammadi said with the cooperation of his department and Tabriz Municipality it is expected that height of buildings which may harm the landscape of the bazaar will be lowered.
He emphasized that the bazaar should be immune from any kind of harm or damage that endanger its registration as a global heritage.
“Hence, no new permits have been issued for constructing buildings in the precincts of the bazaar,“ he noted.
The floor of the bazaar is being renovated and its irrigation system rebuilt for preparing the bazaar for the important registration.
There also have been reports about an agreement between Iran and Japan to improve the bazaar’s resistance to natural disaster.
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