One of the main features of Iranian-Islamic architecture that cannot be found anywhere else is bazaar(market), a building full of Iranian architects’ creativity with its splendor dazzling the eyes of every beholder. Bazaar of Khoy is one of the best examples of the market in Iran that we want to get to know more about.
West Azarbaijan Province
West Azerbaijan province with 43,660 km (including Lake Urmia) is located in the northwest of our country "Iran". Majority of the province inhabitants are Turks, who usually live in the central, northern and southeast plains of Vakrad, as well as western and southern parts of the province. A small number of Christian, Armenian, Assyrian and Zoroastrian minorities live in West Azerbaijan. While the majority of people in the province speak Azeri Turkish, Kurdish Armenian and Assyrian are other common languages in West Azerbaijan.
West Azerbaijan has a border with three countries of Azerbaijan, Turkey and Iraq in the north and east, Kurdistan province in the south, Zanjan province in southwest and Azerbaijan province in the east. West Azerbaijan province has 17 cities, 36 districts, 36 counties, 109 villages and 3728 small villages with Urmia as the capital. This province, including Lake Urmia, is located in northwestern Iran and constitutes 2.25 percent of the total area of Iran.
The diversity of ethnicities and religions has led to a variety of the customs in West Azerbaijan. People living in this province celebrate Chaharshanbe Souri (the last Wednesday of the year) in a very glorious way, and especial traditions are observed on this day, especially in the villages, among which we can mention shawl Andazi. In this ceremony, young people go to the roofs of acquaintances' houses and hang handkerchiefs from the window to encourage the house owner to fill the napkin with nuts and fruits and pray for the young. In another tradition, women stand in the corners, put a key under their feet and start fortune-telling for the people who pass by. Urmia has a famous street food called Yer Alma Kebab, which can be found in various stalls and shops. This dish is prepared with baked potatoes, boiled eggs and local vegetables.
West Azerbaijan has a variety of souvenirs. Carrot and walnut halva are the most famous souvenirs of the province, especially Urmia. Bastakh or Luzanak is another famous pastry in the city that is prepared with starch. The honey and sunflower seeds of this region are also of high quality and are known as souvenirs. Carpet and kilim weaving are common in most cities of West Azerbaijan as two of the famous handicrafts of this city. Woodcarving and wooden statue making are also among the handicrafts of this province. Ruduzi (an art similar to needlework but made of silk threads), traditional printing and pottery are also known as part of the arts and handicrafts of this province.
Extensive fertile mountains, high mountains, mild and fresh weather, flowing rivers, fertile vineyards, orchards full of various fruits, lush pastures and forests, plains and valleys full of wild flowers and azure lake have turned West Azarbaijan to one of the most beautiful and pleasant regions of Iran. West Azerbaijan is the second most water-rich province of the country with 23 permanent and seasonal rivers in West Azarbaijan province, the most important of which are Simineh River, Zarrineh River, Vogdar Chai, Mahabad River, Baranduz Chai, Shahrchai Urmia, Zola Chai Vazab Kuchak, etc. It has natural attractions like Prison of Solomon, Kazim Dashi, Lake Urmia, Basaltic Prisms, Kani Gravan Mineral Spring, Saholan Cave. Besides natural attractions, West Azerbaijan houses many historical attractions such as Khoy Bazaar, Sorp Serkis Church, Khoy Stone Gate, Jameh Mosque of Urmia, Farhad Crypt, Tomb of Shams-e Tabrizi, Chapel of Dzordzor, Takht-e Soleyman, Monastery of Saint Thaddeus, The Tomb of Seyyed Sadr al-Din, Teppe Hasanlu, Se-Gonbad Tower, and Maku Baghcheh Jugh Museum and Palace.
Khoy city in West Azarbaijan province is one of the oldest centers of human civilization dating back to 7000 years ago, with traces of different periods of human life found all over it. One of these attractions is a stone gate on the south side overlooking Khoy market, which was a part of the city's great wall in the past centuries.
Mixed with romantic legend and history, Farhad Crypt takes us to the depths of time. This crypt, believed by historians and archaeologists to be 2700 to 3000 years old, is located at a distance of 9 km from Sarsang village in Mako city (West Azarbaijan province).
West Azarbaijan province is the southern neighbor of Armenia; this proximity has caused West Azerbaijan to be called the province of churches. A large number of Christian churches adorn the cities of this province; one of these churches, which dates back to pre- Islamice era (2200 years ago), is called Sorp Serkis Church.
After Islam conquered the Zoroastrian and Christian lands, instead of destroying fire temples and churches, Muslims converted these holy places to mosques. One of the most beautiful supreme examples of this change is Jameh Mosque of Urmia in West Azarbaijan province.
Mountain, prison, fire temple, lake, place of worship, Prophet Solomon; these are all different names of a mysterious place three kilometers west of Takht-e Soleyman in West Azarbaijan, a phenomenon that bears the burden of legend. This mountain (nowadays known as Prison of Solomon) is 110 meters high with a 76-meter pit having a diameter of 64 meters. A round and ruined tower can be seen around it.