(Persia Digest) – The city of Tabriz in Azerbaijan Province, northwestern Iran, has been selected as the Tourism Capital of Islamic Countries 2018. The opening ceremonies for the year-long event will take place on Wednesday 25 April by President Rouhani.

At a press meeting, Deputy to the President and Head of the Cultural Heritage, Handicrafts and Tourism Organization of Iran, Ali-Asghar Munesan, pointed to the event and explained the reasons behind choosing Tabriz as the Tourism Capital of Islamic Countries, and said: “Tourist attractions, adequate infrastructures including hotels and other accommodations, two Unesco registered sites (the bazaar and churche), recreational facilities, museums, natural landscapes, cultural events, copious historical sites, and customs and traditions all culminated in the selection of Tabriz.”

Tabriz Governor, Majid Khodabakhsh, said at the press meeting: “The 2018 event has led to interest being taken in certain sites; “Rab’e Rashidi” is one of these which is now being excavated with the help of German archaeologists. Alongside the attention paid to historic sites, tourism in the city is also a major target for the Province. This will, of course, happen over the course of time. For instance, a change in the working hours of Tabriz Bazaar, which is a Unesco registered site and a tourist attraction, is on the agenda of making Tabriz a tourist friendly city.”

He added: “Sister cities for Tabriz have also been invited for the 2018 event. Also, nineteen areas for village tourism have been designated for larger numbers of people to visit.”

According to Mohammad-Hassan Talebian, Cultural Heritage Organization’s Deputy, nineteen museums in the Province have been revamped for the occasion.”

Talebian also announced that tomans 50BN have been allocated to excavations in parts of “Rab’e Rashidi”, where work will begin soon for excavations and renovations.

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