Maragheh märägä´ [key], city (1991 pop. 117,388), East Azerbaijan prov., NW Iran, on the southern slopes of Mt. Sahand. It is the trade and transportation center of a fertile fruit-growing region; dried fruits are shipped from there. After the Arab conquest in the 7th cent. Maragheh developed rapidly as a provincial capital. In 1029 it was seized by the Oghuz Turks, but they were driven out by a Kurdish chief who established a local dynasty. The city was destroyed by the Mongols in 1221, but Hulagu Khan held court there until the establishment of a fixed capital at Tabriz. The city was temporarily occupied by Russia in 1828. Maragheh's celebrated observatory (13th cent.) is now in ruins. The city is also known as Maragha.
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