Maraghe is a charming city in the East Azerbaijan province that is located on the bank of the Safi Chay river. The population is mainly composed of Azerbaijani-speaking Iranian Azeris. Maraghe is the thriving center of a vast fruit growing area and exports a lot of dried fruit and its modern development has accelerated in recent decades. In the Middle Ages, Maraghe played a prominent role under various Turkish princes of the Middle Ages and the Mongol chieftain Hulagu Kan (1256-65), who chose this city as his capital. The city was destroyed by the Mongols in 1221. Among the notable monuments of Maraghé are a few funerary towers: Gonbad-e Sorkh, Gonbad-e Kabud (or Gok-Giinbez) and Gonbad-e Sharaffiya.
Gonbad-e Sorkh (Red Dome)
The construction of this monument dates back to the Seljuk dynasty around 1172. The Gonbad-e-Sorkh of Maraghé was built as a memorial building based on a special type of Iranian architecture called the Razi style. Gonbad-e-Sorkh, with its special window and holes in the walls, is believed to function as a calendar. The structure of the building is made of bricks and tiles. Gonbad-e-Sorkh has a square plan, consisting of a chamber and a main hall that stands on a rocky base. The name of the dome is due to the color of the bricks used in the construction of the so-called red dome.
Mithraism, which was part of the ancient Iranian culture and religion during the Arsacid Dynasty (248 BC – 224 AD), had developed and many temples have been discovered so far in Iran and eastern Azerbaijan. The Mehr temple, in Maraghe, is one of those that has preserved its original style and shape. Maraghé is one of the oldest cities in Iran that in the past had several temples related to Mithraism.
It was built during the Ilkhani dynasty (1217-65) under the supervision of Nasir al-Din Tusi, a famous Iranian scientist and astronomer. In its day it was considered one of the most worthy observatories in the world, located in the western part of Maraghe. At present, a monument has been erected on the base of the old observatory with the same function as the scientific legacy of Khajeh Tusi.
Isti Balagh Hot Springs
Typically hot springs are high in mineral content because hot water can contain more dissolved solids than cold water. These minerals include calcium and lithium. The hot springs are frequented by people due to their pharmaceutical uses.
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Sahand is the name of a dormant volcano located in Maraghe, in the province of East Azerbaijan. This mountain range has 17 peaks over 3,000 meters high. The highest peak in the Sahand Mountains is 3707 meters which is also the highest point in the province. Many mountaineers from other countries travel to Iran and this city to experience the illusion of climbing to the top of the mountain. Sahand, famous for its flora, has become a fascinating and famous place for those who want to enjoy natural landscapes.