TEHRAN – A total of 96 tourism-related projects are currently underway across Iran’s East Azarbaijan province, the provincial tourism chief said on Monday.An investment value of 100 trillion rials (about $2 billion at the official exchange rate of 42,000 rials per dollar), has been channeled into the projects, Ahmad Hamzehzadeh added.
The northwestern province is ranked third in terms of attracting investments in the tourism sector behind Tehran and Khorasan Razavi provinces, the official said.
“The tourism infrastructure of East Azarbaijan is the critical element in attracting investors, and the more we improve it, the greater the chances of attracting tourists,” he noted.
East Azarbaijan’s historical monuments and tourist attractions are great, but without supporting infrastructure, it will be impossible to attract tourists, he explained.
Moreover, tourism-related projects worth five trillion rials ($119 million) were launched across the province during the recent visit of Iranian tourism minister Ali-Asghar Mounesan, the official said.
Soaked in history and culture for millennia, Tabriz, which is the capital of East Azarbaijan, embraces several historical and religious sites, including the Jameh Mosque of Tabriz and Arg of Tabriz, and UNESCO-registered Tabriz Historic Bazaar Complex to name a few. The city became the capital of the Mongol Il-Khan Mahmud Gazan (1295–1304) and his successor. Timur (Tamerlane), a Turkic conqueror, took it in 1392. Some decades later the Kara Koyunlu Turkmen made it their capital, it was when the famous Blue Mosque was built in Tabriz.
The city retained its administrative status under the Safavid dynasty until 1548 when Shah Tahmasp I relocated his capital westward to Qazvin. During the next two centuries, Tabriz changed hands several times between Persia and Ottoman Empire. During World War I, the city was temporarily occupied by Turkish and then Soviet troops.
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