TABRIZ , capital of the Third Province, N.W. *Iran. A Jewish community existed in Tabriz in the Middle Ages. Samauʾal b. Yahya al-Maghribī, 12th-century author of Ifhām al-Yahūd, mentions Tabriz, together with Salmas (Shahpur) and Khoi, as a place where the followers of the pseudo-messiah David *Alroy continued to adhere to his movement. From the time of Hulagu Khan, Tabriz became the capital of the realm of the Ilkhan dynasty. There the Jewish physician *Sa ʿ d al-Dawla was appointed vizier of the Il-khan ruler Arghūn, exercising considerable power until his assassination in 1291; and the vizier, historian, and physician *Rashid al-Din served three rulers until his tragic death in 1318. As attested by Hebrew manuscripts written by scholars in Tabriz and the vicinity, the Jewish community consisted of both Karaites and Rabbanites. The *Karaite physician Nafis b. Daud at-Tabrizi moved in 1354 from Tabriz to *Cairo, where he was converted to Islam. In the 16th century the Yemenite traveler *Zechariah al-Ḍāhiri visited Tabriz and described in his Sefer ha-Musar the deteriorating conditions of Jewish life there.
The wave of persecutions which swept over the whole of *Persia under the Safavid rulers *ʿ Abbas i and ʿ Abbas ii severely affected the Jews of Tabriz also, as indicated by the Armenian historian Akel and the Judeo-Persian chroniclers *Babai ibn Lutf and Babai ibn Farḥad. However, the Jewish community survived these persecutions, since between 1711 and 1713 R. Judah b. Amram Diwan, an emissary from Hebron, included Tabriz among his visits to Jewish communities in Persia. Between 1790 and 1797, Jews in Tabriz were accused of a blood libel and massacred. When *David d'Beth Hillel visited Persia in 1828, the Jewish community in Tabriz had already ceased to exist.
Fischel, Islam, passim; idem, in: paajr, 22 (1953), 1–21; Mann, Texts, 1 (1931), 477–549. add bibliography: H. Levy, The History of the Jews of Iran (in Persian), 3 (1960), 540–2; A. Netzer, "The Fate of the Jewish Community of Tabriz," in: Studies in Islamic History and Civilization in Honor of Professor David Ayalon (1986), 411–19.
[Walter Joseph Fischel /
Amnon Netzer (2nd ed.)]
Provincial capital in northwestern Iran.
Tabriz, the capital of East Azerbaijan, is Iran's fourth largest city, with 1,191,000 inhabitants according to the 1996 census. The city dates back to the Parthian period (approximately 238 b.c.e. to 224 c.e.). The Blue Mosque, built in the fifteenth century, and the Rubʿe Rashidi, constructed by the famous Mongol vizier Rashid al-Din Fazl Allah, are among its archaeological sites. In 1295 the Mongol ruler Ghazan Khan made Tabriz the capital of his empire. In the fourteenth century Tamerlane conquered Tabriz. The Safavid Shah Ismaʿil I made it his capital in 1501. At that time, Tabriz, with a population estimated at 250,000, was one of the world's largest cities. Most of the city was destroyed in the massive earthquake of 1721, which left it devastated, and according to some accounts, caused 80,000 to 100,000 casualties. In the Qajar period (between 1779 and 1925) Tabriz was the seat of the crown prince and a major military headquarters against the Russian frontier. During the Constitutional Revolution (1905–1911) it was a site of anti-government activity, and Russians occupied the city from 1911 to 1917. Soviet troops occupied the city in 1941 and in 1945 supported the Autonomous Government of Azerbaijan, a secessionist movement headed by Jaʿfar Pishevari. The Soviets withdrew in 1946, and subsequently Iranian forces occupied Tabriz and put an end to Pishevari's government. As an important commercial center, Tabriz also played a prominent role in the revolution of 1979.
Tabriz is one of Iran's most important centers for manufacturing industries, producing chemicals, metals, machinery, and textiles. Hand-knotted carpets made in the city have had an international reputation for quality and design for more than a century. Agricultural products from the Tabriz region include wheat, barley, potatoes, and onions; this region is also a considerable producer of fruits and nuts exported from Iran. The variety of agricultural products has contributed to Tabriz becoming a major food-processing center.