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Azarbaijan Museum, Tabriz,East Azerbaijan,Iran

This museum is 50m west of the Blue Mosque. Enter through a great brick portal with big wooden doors guarded by two stone rams. Ground-floor exhibits include finds from Hasanlu (an Iron Age town that developed into a citadel over 4000 years), a superb 3000-year-old copper helmet and curious stone ‘handbags’ from the 3rd millennium BC. Found near Kerman these were supposedly symbols of wealth once carried by provincial treasurers.

The basement features Ahad Hossein’s powerful if disturbing sculptural allegories of life and war. The top floor displays a re-weave of the famous ‘Ardebil’ carpet, reckoned to be one of the best ever made; the original is beautifully displayed in London’s Victoria & Albert Museum.

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