Tabriz, the capital of East Azarbaijan province, is located in the northwest of Iran. Known as the city of the first, this mountain city is extremely rich in history. For this reason, you can find many Tabriz tourist attractions. For several periods, the city has been the capital of Iran and was always confronted with important historical events. Tabriz, being the fifth most populated city in Iran, has warm and friendly people who speak Turkish. Tabriz attractions (of which there are many) draw many tourists from around the world to this beautiful and historic city every year. While there are many sightseeing and tourist places in Tabriz, some people may be interested in visiting the tourist places around the city on a day trip from Tabriz. For this reason, we will introduce the 7 best places for a day trip from Tabriz in this article.
The best places to visit on a day trip from Tabriz
A historical city, Tabriz is the tourism center of the northwest of the country, always considered one of the most important trades and commercial centers of West Asia during the past centuries thanks to its unique and privileged geographical and historical location and its positioning on the Silk Road. Its beautiful nature, magnificent mountains, the city itself, and its surroundings are counted among the tourist destinations of Azerbaijan. Its rich cultural heritage can be seen in the exceptional mosques, churches, and castles of Tabriz and its surroundings. However, that's not all, and while traveling in this region you can visit many interesting places in the surroundings of Tabriz. The following article will introduce you to some of the best places for a day trip from Tabriz.
Day Trip from Tabriz: 1-Kandovan Village
Kandovan is one of the best places to visit near Tabriz, a beautiful rock village that is known by everyone and it is a must-see for every traveler in Tabriz. This village has retained its special architecture even after 7000 years and the people (117 households) are still living in the same way, making it like a marvel. Kandovan is very special and unique among the sights around Tabriz because other similar examples like Cappadocia in Turkey and Dakota in America are all uninhabited.
You might wonder about the reason for choosing the name of the village Kandovan. Because of the resemblance of the village's stone houses to beehives, it has become known as Kandovan, as in Iran beehives are called Kandoo. On the other hand, the most important edible souvenir of Kandovan is honey. The village of Kandovan is among the most beautiful and picturesque places around Tabriz, which is included in the list of national monuments and is 60 km away, and you should not miss it.
Why do the houses in Kandovan village have the shape of a beehive? Well, the village of Kandovan is situated near the Sahand Mountains, which used to be an active volcano whose volcanic melts hit the slopes of these mountains and dried up. With the passage of time, sunlight and weathering changed these parts into irregular geometric shapes, and the people who settled here never touched them and now they are home to them.
To arrive at the village of Kandovan on your day trip from Tabriz, you need to drive 60 km southwest of Tabriz. Following this route, you will first reach the town of Oskou and then drive to Kandovan. There are 40 kilometers from Tabriz to Oskou and another 20 kilometers from Oskou to the village of Kandovan.
Day Trip from Tabriz: 2-Khoshgnab Village
Khoshgnab village in East Azarbaijan is well known as one of the different attractions in the surroundings of Tabriz. The village is a part of Bostan Abad city and is situated in the Tikmehdash district of this city. It attracts many nature lovers for its mild and temperate weather in the year's first half and unspoiled and spectacular nature. This village was once the home and birthplace of the great Iranian poet Mohammad Hossein Behjat Tabrizi, known as Shahryar, and nowadays enthusiasts of this great poet visit Khoshgnab village to visit his birthplace and to share their love for Shahryar.
Khoshgnab village is on the slopes of the Bozgoosh Mountains and enjoys a mild and pleasant climate in spring and summer and a cold one in autumn and winter. This village is located 1810 meters above sea level. In the past Khoshgnab used to be one of the most prosperous villages of the Bostanabad region of Azerbaijan, but today it is considered one of the least populated villages.
You have to go from Tabriz to Bostan Abad to reach this village as part of your day trip from Tabriz. Having passed Bostan Abad and Tikmehdash, Khoshgnab village will be on our way and the sign "Khoshgnab, the birthplace of Shahryar" will appear on the side of the road. This sign is on the right side of the road and the left side and fifty meters away is the village of Qezaljeh.
Continuing the way to Khoshgnab, we first have to go uphill. This road is made of gravel and boulders. As we get up higher, we can see flat land. Then the road goes downhill until we reach a valley with a village called "Emamieh". Then the road goes uphill again and the village called "Dash-Atan" comes. Going uphill again, the next descent leads to Khoshgnab.
Day Trip from Tabriz: 3-Saint Stepanos Monastery
This is probably one of Iran's most beautiful and important churches amid the untouched and green nature of Jolfa and between the border mountains of Jolfa and the Republic of Azerbaijan. The church is called St. Stephen's or Saint Stephen's Church. The St. Stepanos Church is the second most important church of Armenians in Iran after Qarakelisa, and it is respected by all Christians and even by other religions. Many Armenians from all parts of Iran visit this place every year.
St. Stephen's Church, a place of Christian worship, was also a meeting place for artists, philosophers, historians, and scientists, and also a place for training Christian priests and monks. Because of its architectural style and cultural aspects, this church is regarded as one of Armenians' renowned religious and cultural centers. There have been many artists and calligraphers who were present in this place and wrote books. Nowadays, a large number of books that were written in this church are kept in the libraries of the Republic of Armenia and Italy.
We do not know the exact age of St. Stephen's Church. The earliest source in which St. Stephen's Church is mentioned dates back to 649 AD. Several people attribute this church too early Christianity. Also, some believe that in 976 AD, during the reign of Ashut Bagradoni, the king of Armenia, Catholicus Khachik, a religious leader of Armenians, elected the Archbishop of Balcon under the supervision of St. Wang Stepanos and he established a church in this area at the king's expense.
St. Stepanos Church is among the sights of Jolfa, located in a place called Qezel Wang or Red Monastery in East Azarbaijan Province. That church is located near the border with the Republic of Azerbaijan and within the Aras Free Zone and is three kilometers away from the southern bank of the Aras River. Saint Stepanos is also approximately 17 kilometers away from the city of Jolfa. You have to drive from Tabriz to Jolfa to visit St. Stepanos Church. The distance from Jolfa to the center of East Azarbaijan province, Tabriz city, is 136 kilometers and it takes one hour and 40 minutes by car. You can go by car from your hometown to Tabriz and from there take the route to Jolfa to reach this city and its famous church. If you don't have a car, you can arrange a car rental in Tabriz from Navaran.
The church of St. Stepanos is located about 20 kilometers west of Jolfa and can be reached by car in about 30 minutes as part of your day trip from Tabriz. It is on the border with Azerbaijan, and on the way you can see the Aras River on the right side. The path from Jolfa to the church of St. Stepanos is very green and beautiful. You can visit the Aras Free Zone Mountain Park on the way. You can also find many Tabriz day tours taking tourists to Jolfa.
Day Trip from Tabriz: 4-Babak Fort
Babak Fort is considered to be one of the ancient monuments and Places to visit in Tabriz and its surroundings, dating back to the Sassanid and Parthian periods, according to historians. The pottery and objects found in this castle have been used to determine the age of the building. Also known as "Babak Fortress" and "Presidential Castle". It is located on a mountain with an altitude of 2700 meters above sea level and surrounded by valleys with a depth of 400 to 500 meters. Babak Castle's name is derived from the stay of Babak Khorramdin and his companions in this fortress. No evidence exists that this fortress was used by rulers and warriors after Babak Khorramdin.
On the four sides of the Babak fortress, you can see cylindrical guard columns. You have to go through a small entrance if you want to enter the main fortress. Offering three floors, the building has a main hall with seven rooms. Additional parts of the fortress can be found in the northwest and have been built with impenetrable brick mortar. In the past, this fortress' special location prevented enemies from entering it. It is necessary to climb the mountain for visiting Babak Castle. Its beauty and the view of the surrounding area enhance the pleasure of climbing this path. During the spring and autumn, this path is covered with fog, while in the summer the weather is mild and cool.
It is necessary to go from Tabriz to Ahar and Kaleybar to reach this castle as part of your day trip from Tabriz. The access road to the foot of Babak Castle is curvy and dangerous; therefore, be careful. You can take three different ways to reach the fortress. The first path starts from the Babak Hotel and goes up a series of stairs. The second route leads from the tourist camp "Qala Darasi" to the top of the mountain. Finally, the third route begins at a side road, 6 km after Babak Castle, and reaches the nomad camp. You need a 4WD off-road vehicle to take this route. You will reach Babak Castle after an hour of climbing on this mountain road. A visit to this ancient castle will give you a lasting memory despite its difficulties.
Day Trip from Tabriz: 5-Aladagh Mountains
Aladagh Lar Mountains are a collection of colorful mountains and hills not far from the capital of East Azerbaijan, which makes them a perfect place for a day trip from Tabriz. These mountains have a wide spectrum of colors from yellow, orange, red, and white to green and blue. You can photograph the most beautiful scenery with the reflection of the sun on these mountains in the warm seasons. There are several villages around Aladagh Lar Mountains, and their nature is one of the most beautiful landscapes of East Azerbaijan.
There are only a few examples of Aladagh Lar Mountains in the world, which is why this region can be considered one of the most important regions of interest for geologists. The ponds filled with iron deposits that were formed during the rise of the mountains have had a significant impact in creating the red coloration in different parts of these mountains. Other colors are also formed by combining different mineral substances in the mountains of Aladagh Lar. The age of these mountains is about 15 million years. No amenities are available around the Aladagh Lar mountains and spending half a day is enough to visit this area.
Located 25 km from Tabriz city to the northeast, you will see these rainbow mountains with a unique view; mountains with colorful layers of copper, red, orange, yellow, and green soils attract every observer's attention. This area covers more than 70 square kilometers and extends from Zanjan to Mianeh and from Tabriz to Ahar.
Day Trip from Tabriz: 6-Maragheh Observatory
Maragheh Observatory is considered to be the first observatory in the world and the oldest scientific institution in the Islamic world. This observatory was established in the 7th century AD by Nasir al-Din al-Tusi during the Ilkhanid reign. This building was one of the most important gathering centers for scientists in the Islamic world during the reign of Hulagu Khan, leading to extensive scientific research being conducted there. Some of the most important scientific figures who were active in this observatory include "Qutb al-Din Fakhreddin Maraghi", "Muhyi al-Din al-Maghribi" and "Qutb al-Din al-Shirazi".
It took almost 15 years to build the Maragheh Observatory and throughout this time, scientific books and astronomical calculation instruments were accumulated in this place by the order of Hulagu Khan, who was the grandson of Mongol Genghis Khan and the king at that time. Maragheh Observatory's library was home to more than 400,000 handwritten books, which remain unrivaled today. Maragheh Observatory was in use until the reign of Muhammad Khodabandeh, then it started to decline due to the rulers' neglect.
The building of Maragheh Observatory is composed of a cylindrical central tower, a library, and another room. A corridor with 6 rooms was established inside the main tower, built with hewn stones, crushed stone, and plaster mortar. The building served as a model for the world's scientists to construct other observatories in different parts of the world, and Chinese scientists were commissioned by the Chinese Emperor to build an observatory based on the Maragheh Observatory. The year 2009 has been declared the Year of the Maragheh Observatory by UNESCO. Visiting this historical monument on your day trip from Tabriz can be very exciting.
Day Trip from Tabriz: 7-Arasbaran Protected Area
Arasbaran is considered one of the attractions of East Azarbaijan Province, which is one of the most popular tourist areas in the northwest of Iran thanks to its exceptional natural landscapes and valuable historical monuments. Needless to say, we should not forget that this beautiful mountainous and forested area is lesser known than other forested areas in the north of the country and has been explored much less.
One should also keep in mind the structural similarity of the Arasbaran forest with the country's northern forests, having a Hyrcanian-type structure. As a result of all these characteristics, every year this forest region attracts many tourists and travelers from all over Iran and around the world, who travel to East Azerbaijan to see the amazing natural sights and also to visit the historical monuments of this beautiful region.
Arasbaran is today famous as a national park, where there is a great variety of animals. It is worth noting, however, that because of its fragility and pristine landscape, in 1972 and 1974 this area was first declared a restricted area and then a protected area, subject to protection and supervision. There are 220 species of birds, 38 species of reptiles, 5 species of amphibians, 48 species of mammals, and 22 species of fish living in this area. Deer, goats, wild boars, brown bears, Caracal, and leopards are among the mammals of the Arasbaran forest.
There are valuable historical monuments in the Arasbaran region, visited by travelers and tourists. Among these historical and ancient monuments are the "Tomasiyash" fortress, the "Nazini" church, and the "Babak" castle. The presence of many green plains has not only given this area a beautiful, eye-catching, and impressive landscape but has also made it a suitable and ideal location to learn about the culture of the nomadic people of this land.
Located in the north of East Azarbaijan province, Arasbaran is regarded as one of the most beautiful areas in the northwest of the country and one of the most beautiful places in Kaleybar. If you plan to travel by car on your day trip from Tabriz, drive via Ahar to Kaleybar and the Arasbaran nature reserve. As a tourist, you can easily rent a car in Iran using the services of Navaran company.
In this article from Navaran Magazine, we have presented you with 7 places suitable for a day trip from Tabriz and we have also explained the route to reach these areas from Tabriz. Azerbaijan region is undoubtedly one of the best and richest regions of Iran in terms of tourist destinations, and if you travel to this region, you will surely find many more places for a day trip from Tabriz.
If you have traveled to Tabriz by plane and want to make a day trip from Tabriz after visiting the city, we recommend you rent a car from Navaran company and make a road trip to the Azerbaijan region. To rent a car in Tabriz, you can pick up your desired car at the airport of this city as well as at the International and Gostaresh in Tabriz from Navaran with easy rental terms and without the need to present a check or promissory bill. Undoubtedly, Navaran is one of the best companies working on car rental in Iran.