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town in the Azerbaijan region of northwestern Iran. It lies in the shelter of Mount Sahand (12,100 feet [3,700 metres]) in a well-watered valley. The town is the prosperous centre of a large fruit-growing area and exports dried fruits. Its modern development has been accelerated in recent decades. Once a Persian-speaking city, Maragheh played a prominent role under several Turkish princes in the Middle Ages and also under the Mongol leader Hulegu (1256-65), whose capital it was. Five tomb towers dating from the 12th to the 14th century are the most notable monuments in the town; the earliest, the Sorkh Tomb (1147), is one of the finest examples of brickwork in Iran. West of the town are traces of an observatory (1259). The local building stone, known as Maragheh marble, is of mainly yellow, pink, greenish, or milk-white colour, streaked with red and green veins; it is quarried mainly at Dehkhvaregan (Azar Shahr). Pop. (2006) 149,929.

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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