City in the north-west of Iran. The centre of the Eastern Azerbaijani province. The population is over 1,5 million (est. 2006). Tabriz is one of the most ancient political, economic and cultural centres of Azerbaijan. It was the capital of the Azerbaijani states of ancient Atropatena, medieval Hulakids, Kara Koyunlu, Ak Koyunlu, Sefevids. It has always been of great importance because of its location in the crossroads of the trade routes. Tabriz is the hometown for a lot of prominent Azerbaini people who played a great role in the history of Azerbaijan and Iran such as philosopher Shems Tabrizi, poet Gatran Tabrizi, democratic movement leaders Sattar Khan, Baghir Khan, Mohammad Khiabani, Seyid Jafar Pishevari.