About 50 miles southeast of Tabriz by road and 40 miles as the crow flies lies one of the most intriguing and unspoiled weaving areas of Persia, referred to as the Heriz area, but it could also be named the Geravan, Mehriban or Bakshaish area. The names of these and other villages are commonly used in the Tabriz bazaar for their famous carpets, some of which are also well-known in the West. Heriz is the largest and most significant of the thirty villages in the district and it is here that the finest carpets are woven, solidifying its reputation as a leader in the area.
The Heriz district, which is approximately 35 x 35 miles in size, is located to the west and south of the massive Savalan massif and has a predominantly Turkish population, who are renowned for their weaving skills and use of the Turkish knot. Although the area is not particularly rich in agriculture, with no significant wheat exports, the thriving carpet-weaving industry has brought considerable wealth to some of its villages. The Heriz area is known for producing those remarkable and durable carpets, which are full of character, yet reasonably priced, and have been familiar to the world for over half a century as Georavans or Heriz.
The art of carpet weaving in the Heriz area has a long history, dating back to the early 19th century, and possibly even earlier, although there is no concrete evidence to support this. Bakshaish, the village with the longest history of weaving, still occasionally produces old kellegis, usually in the Herati design and woven in shades of blue, buff, and mauve. If the buffs are carefully examined, they are likely to have originally been dyed red but have oxidized over time. The limited number of old pieces from the Heriz area clearly indicates that the current extensive weaving industry, with its annual output of around 10,000 carpets and an equal number of rugs and strips, is a relatively modern development, having only existed for a little over half a century.
The Heriz area can be divided into three parts: the Karaja district in the northwest, the Heriz area proper, and the Saräb district. The Karaja District is home to a group of about half a dozen villages, with the attractive and prosperous village of Karaja being the most well-known. Karaja is located on the Tabriz-Ahar road, about 35 miles from Tabriz, and has a weaving history that dates back over a century. The village is famous for its unique and unmistakable type of rug and strip, which is single-wefted, tightly woven, and well-finished. All the villages in this group weave the same design, usually with madder red grounds and dark blue borders, and two of the three medallions are typically cream or green, with the central one being dark blue. The annual output of the Karaja area is estimated to be around 80 pieces, mostly rugs, and strips.
The Heriz Area Proper is located 5 miles beyond Karaja on the Tabriz-Ahār road and is accessible from the main highway by a track that leads through the villages of Bilverdi, Kildit, Mina, Paräm, Turkish, and Burazi to Heriz itself. The first village in the Heriz area proper is Bilverdi, which weaves carpets that are not particularly high quality but is noteworthy for being the only village in the area to use the regular Heriz medallion design in a single-wefted fabric, while all other villages make double-wefted carpets.