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Huge blaze threatens Iran's historic Tabriz bazaar Open in fullscreen

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Huge blaze threatens Iran's historic Tabriz bazaar

The Bazaar of Tabriz was a major trading point along the historic Silk Road [Getty]

Date of publication: 9 May, 2019

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A fire at the 1000-year-old Bazaar of Tabriz was successfully put out by firefighters, having injured 16 people and damaged 150 shops.
Iran’s firefighters managed to put out a blaze that erupted at the historic market in the northwestern city of Tabriz on Wednesday evening, official media reported.

Sixteen people were reported injured in the fire, according to Thursday's report by the official IRNA news agency, which added that the blaze broke out around 9pm on Wednesday at the Bazaar of Tabriz, which dates back 1,000 years.

IRNA says it took six hours to extinguish the fire. About 150 of the market's 5,500 shops were damaged.

Read more: The dangers of destroying Iran's middle class through sanctions

Videos posted on social media showed firefighters battling enormous flames and some shops that had collapsed.

The Bazaar of Tabriz, which is known for its intricate brickwork and domed ceilings, has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2010 and was mentioned by Marco Polo when he travelled the Silk Road in the Middle Ages.

The bazaar was one of the key commercial hubs on the historic trade route, Tabriz being the capital of Iran during the Safavid dynasty in 13th until 16th centuries. According to UNESCO, the bazaar is one of the best preserved examples of the traditional commercial and cultural system of Iran.

It is among the oldest bazaars in the Middle East and the largest covered bazaar in the world, covering some 7 square kilometers. In 2000, restoration of the historic marketplace was initiated by the Historical Hermitages Organisation which won an architectural award from the Aga Khan Development Network in 2013.

There was no word on what started the fire. The Bazaar of Tabriz has seen several fires over the past years due to poor safety measures.

Agencies contributed to this report.

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