Tabriz in northwest Iran seeks to step out of the twilight with a spectacular gala which is set to attract heads of state, business leaders and gurus of the hospitality industry to the biggest tourism event of Muslims states in 2018.
A key location on the Silk Road and a gateway to Europe and East Asia, the city has been named by the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) as the 2018 tourism capital of Islamic countries.
The recognition has induced once the center of culture and Islamic civilization and the seat of many diplomatic, political and international missions to reinvent itself.
Tabriz is fabled to have been the historical site of the Garden of Eden. It is one of the most ancient and largest cities in Iran, with a history of some 4,000 years.
According to the 13th century travelogue of Venetian merchant and adventurer Marco Polo, Tabriz attracted merchandise from India and Iraq, the Persian Gulf and many other places. At the time, it was the capital of the Persian empire which stretched from Egypt to Central Asia and from the Indian Ocean to Armenia.