The structure was originally used as a mosque, but during the Qadjar period it was used as a military post and as a storage place for weapons. The citadel also played an important role in Iran's constitutional revolution in the early twentieth century against Mohammad Ali Shah.

Arg e Ali-Shah also known as Arg e Tabriz: It's a vestige! (right in the center of Tabriz).

An immense brick building, the remains of a 14th century fortress built in the Mongols around 1310, of which only one imposing building remains, and which in the past had a madrasa and a zawiya.

Criminals were once executed by being thrown from the top of its walls into a ditch below, and the local legend speaks of a woman condemned here, miraculously saved by the parachutist effect of her chador...

It is the symbol of the city of Tabriz. There is not much left, but we know a lot of things about its history.

Historians believe it was a military castle, but the monks say the fortress was built on the site of a massive mosque that collapsed five centuries earlier and must have been one of the largest never built.

The original construction dates from 1318-1339, in the early days of the Mongol occupation, during the Ilkhanid dynasty, founded in 1256 in Iran by Hulagou Khan (Hülegü), grandson of Genghis Khan.

The construction of the mosque began under the direction of Minister Ilkhanide, Tajeddin Alishah, (Taj ol Dine Ali Shah). The building was destroyed in part due to earthquakes and the passage of time, and was stopped after the death of the minister and the collapse of the roof of the mosque.

The building was used as an educational center during the Safavid era (early 16th). Inside were historical monuments such as the school of Najat, one of the first schools of Tabriz, and the amphitheater lounge of the lion and the sun. The remains have suffered further destruction during the occupation of Tabriz by the Ottoman Turks.

The 1778 earthquake provoked the destruction of the cupolas and arches of the Kaboud Mosque.

During the Russo-Persian wars in 1804-1828 and the Anglo-Persian War, the building became the military headquarters of the Iranian army, and was rebuilt as a military ensemble: a smelter factory for the manufacture of cannon for the Iranian army, a barracks for the Iranian troops and a small palace were added to the original plan of the citadel.

The heavy bastion rose to more than 40 m in height, reinforced by two powerful cylindrical towers and pierced by two tall narrow doors. The thickness of the walls (10 m) and the quality of the fittings testify to the mastery of the military art of the Mongol rulers in these exposed frontier towns.

During the Qadjar period, it served as a military post and as a storage place for weapons.

The citadel played an important role during Iran's constitutional revolution (1905 - 1911) in the early 20th century against the despotic rule of the Qadjar shahs, and against Mohammad Ali Shah.

It was attacked and bombed by 4,000 Russians in December 1911. The Persians held it for four days.

During the Pahlavi dynasty parts that had been built under the Qajar dynasty in the 19th century were destroyed. The southern part of the arch is open to a park, the Mellat Garden, before the Iranian Revolution of 1979.

After the victory of the Islamic Revolution of 1979, large parts of the building were destroyed in the time of Ayatollah Malakouti's imamate, with bulldozers and explosives, in order to create a new place for prayer Friday in Tabriz. The citadel is transformed into a new mosque.

In the 1990s and 2000s a rehabilitation and renovation project was launched by the Iranian Cultural Heritage Organization. This rehabilitation removed everything that had been built under the Qajar era.

The most recent restoration was carried out by the Cultural Heritage, Crafts and Tourism Organization of Iran in 2013.


The building is unfinished and is divided into two parts, old and new section. The oldest part that was destroyed in 1360 is to the north and the new part of what has remained now is built to the south.

There remains only the only part of the massive walls and a very long part of the sanctuary of the southern nave of the mosque.

Inside the Citadel, there are only two arches and an indication of the position of the mihrab. The court of Ali Shah was covered with buildings, the walls of the sanctuary were rebuilt and supported.

The structure of the building is now 28 m high, and the building is threatened by the construction of an adjoining shopping mall.

A new mosque was built in front of the arch, which dominates the Ark by its height.

The space around is used to keep the prayer on Friday and the Great Feast of Tabriz at this place.

The new mosque

It overlooks the immense courtyard where the fortress is situated, and from which it is easier to see it than from the avenue.

Its construction in the large courtyard facing the fortress dates from 2013. But the minarets are still under the scaffolding ...

In the little street that leads to the mosque, called Arg Alley, there are paintings on the walls.

So we will now mention some of the most important quotations from the historians of the world who visited this citadel during their journey:

Hamdollah Mostofi:

Minister Taj ol Din Ali Shah Jilani had built a giant mosque in Tabriz and outside the Narmyan neighborhood, which includes a screen of two hundred gaez out of two hundred with a large porch larger than Ivan de Kasra. But his vessel has come down; a marble stone has been placed in this mosque, where important ceremonies are offered, the description of which is of great importance.


There are two hundred and fifty mosques in Tabriz ... the mosque of Ali Shah is almost ruined and destroyed. The lower parts dedicated to prayer and the minaret which is very high and long, have been renovated. When arriving from Ivan, the most prominent effect of Tabriz is the same minaret. It was four hundred years ago that this mosque was built by Ali Shah. Ghazan Khan, Shah of Iran, had the seat of his reign in Tabriz, where he was also buried. His tomb is still evident in a huge ruined minaret called in his name, Minaret "Ghazan Khan".

Shafi Javadi:

During the reign of Abbas Mirza Qadjar, this building was transformed into armory and the depot of weapons; this is why it is called Arg or castle. All that remains are a wreck of this citadel. The current height of the building is 25 to 26 meters and extends 38 feet from the altar and 69 steps between two eastern walls that can be moved to the top of the building. At the time of Reza Shah, one made of a part of the surrounding area as a public garden and national park and a theater lounge was built next to it. Recently it was considered in the programs of the municipality to extend the vicinity of the citadel in the shape of the square and the street so that the remaining building is located in the center which is the symbol of Tabriz.

The magazine of art and people:

When I arrive in Arg, I saw one of the open doors where you can see the flowing water in the center of a large garden in front of the enormous Arg wall of which Hamdollah Mostofi, Jean Chardin and the other. Clear and flowing in both trees and grass. To the left is a building on which was written: "The theater of Azerbaijan. It was built at the time of Reza Shah. In front of me was an altar in the middle of three large walls and on the left, 69 stairs by the distance of more than 20 centimeters which made it difficult to climb. Staircase turned once and then by the same distance arrives at the top of the wall. The wall is 25 meters long and its thickness is about 10 meters (exactly 10.40) with tiles or marble wore maybe in the past, but I have seen no trace of either. Around the walls, from high, I saw holes where the birds frequented and then I understand that these holes were the beginning of the underground paths that were used in different times especially during the Qadjar period, as the roads secrets to escape and move faster than possible.

Ahmad Kasravi:

Ghozukhan (Ezatollah Khan) takes advantage of the chaotic situation of the time of Mohammad Ali Shah and for the plunder of Tabriz, contributed with dictators to attack Tabriz. The liberals attacked under the same tunnel behind the enemy and won. In the Blue Mosque in Tabriz in the second opening to the floor I saw a large hole that behaved at the Citadel of Ali Shah.

Ali Akbar Sarfaraz:

The Arg building is unfinished and is divided into two parts, old and new. New section added by Taj ol Din ol Ali Shah in the old part. The oldest part that was destroyed in 1360 is to the north and the new part of what has remained now is built to the south.