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East Azerbaijan
The province of East Azerbaijan is 45,481 km2 in area and is located in the northwest of Iran. It has the Republics of Azerbaijan and Armenia to its north with which it shares Aras river as the border. On its west and southwest lies the province of West Azerbaijan, on its south the province of Zanjan and on its east, that of Ardebil. The capital of this province is the historic city of Tabriz and its other major towns are: Ahar, Bonab, Bostanabad, Haris, Hashtrood, Kaliber, Maraghe, Marand, Mianeh, Sarab, and Shabestar.
According to the last census carried out in 1996, the population of this province then, was 3,325,540. East Azerbaijan is one of the major economic regions of Iran. It has fertile land, large rivers with abundant water which make its agriculture prosperous. Cereals, rice, grains, vegetables, and fruits are the major agricultural products of East Azerbaijan.
The province is also an industrial center and there are many major plants that produce machines, tractors, engine pistons, wood products, textiles and yarn, soft drinks, petrochemicals, and oil products.
East Azerbaijan also has important mining and mineral processing industries that produce coal, decorative stones, gravel and sand, salt, kaolin and diatomaceous earth.
Poultry and livestock farming, honey bee breading, and dairy production are other major economic activities of this province.
The province's climate varies from one part to another, but overall this province has a cool climate, with cold winters and relatively mild summers.
The average temperature in Tabriz is 14.8°C in spring, 24.8°C in summer, 9.3°C in autumn, and 0.2°C in winter.
In a 30-years study carried out on the province's climate, the minimum absolute temperature in Tabriz was established to have been -25°C and the maximum absolute 42°C, a difference of 65°C. The average annual temperature in this province is 12.3°C; average relative humidity at 06:30 hours is 67% and at 12:30 hours, 44%; average annual rainfall, 295.5 mm; maximum amount of rainfall on a single day, 63 mm; average number of days with the temperature below 0°C, 103.1; average number of hours of sunshine over an entire year, 2,729.9 hours; maximum wind speed, 29 meters per second, blowing in the direction of 360°.
Tabriz City
Tabriz, the capital of this province, lies at a point 1,366 m above sea level and 624 km from Tehran. It is one of the most prominent cities of Iran. There are different views regarding the history of Tabriz: some believe its history goes back to centuries before Christ, and some hold the opinion that it only became prosperous and flourished after Islam came to Iran. Archeological excavations carried out close to Tabriz have discovered objects dating back to 5,000 years ago.
Tabriz was conquered by the Moslem army circa 642. During the early Islamic period it was a prosperous city whose bazaar was prominent and renowned. This city is one of the few Iranian cities that was not ruined by the Mongol army. Indeed, following the Mongol invasion it became the official capital of Iran and even more prosperous. Some of the historic monuments in Tabriz - such as the Tabriz Arg (Citadel) - remain from this period. Most of the historic monuments of this area, however, have been destroyed in the many earthquakes that have shaken this city, since then.
During the Safavid era Tabriz was again the capital of Iran and during the Qajar era, the second capital, the seat of the heir to the throne. It was during this (Qajar) period that Tabriz repeatedly suffered invasions by the Ottoman and Russian empires.
During the past 100 years, the inhabitants of Tabriz have played very decisive roles in the political sphere, helping to shape the politics of the country. The Constitutional Uprising of 1906, the oil nationalization movement of 1950 and the Islamic Revolution of 1978 are among the developments in which Tabriz played significant historic roles.
Although Azari (a dialect of Turkish with many Persian words adopted by it) is the language predominately spoken in Tabriz, the city has offered many a great poet and writer to the nation who have composed in the Persian language, among them Saeb Tabrizi, Khaghani Shervani, Ohadi Maraghei, Assadi Tossi, Anvari, Qatran Tabrizi, Sheikh Mahmoud Shabestai and the great contemporary poet Mohammad Hossein Shahriar. The people of the entire Azerbaijan region (East and West) also have a large collection of folkloric verses known as "Bayati".
The major handicraft of this province is carpet weaving which has become famous throughout the world. Other handicrafts of East Azerbaijan are pottery, ceramics, basketwork, silk, blanket and jajim weaving