Ardebil, capital of the province of the same name, whose prominent archaeological sites and pleasant, cool climate during spring and summer attract many tourists annually, is located in northwestern Iran. The language spoken in Ardebil is Azeri from the Oghuz branch. Ardebil contains 8 hot springs and the Sabalan stratovolcano with a height of 4848 meters of the Lesser Caucasus mountain range is located in this province. Among the tourist charms of this province we can mention: the mausoleum of Sheikh Safi Al Din, the church of Santa Maria, the caravanserai Shah Abbasi, Shorabil Lake, Khosro Castle, Dokhtar Castle, and the lovely vaulted bazaar.
As you stroll through the streets of the city, you may see women in traditional dresses with a floral shawl on their shoulders. The city is known for its silk fabrics and carpets. Thanks to the high level of rainfall, Iranian Azerbaijan is considered an important agricultural center. The name of the province derives from the Zoroastrian term in Avesta, which literally means “holy place”. Given the existence of the mausoleum of Sheikh Safi-al-din Ardebili, the city is a place of pilgrimage.
Sheikh Safi Al Din Mausoleum
The existence of the mystical figure of Sheikh Ishaq Safi-al-din Ardebili, mentor and teacher of the Sufi-Islamic brotherhood at its headquarters in Ardebil, resulted in the strength of the Safavid dynasty. This figure is recognized for his religious ideology that later became the official religion of the Safavid empire. In fact, Shiite Islam and its development in Iran have their origin in the ideological study and school of thought of the mentor of the Ardebil religious school.
The complex of the Khanegah and the shrine of Sheikh Safi Al Din, built in the year 765 of the lunar calendar, includes both the shrine of Sheikh Safi al Din Ardebilí and that of Shah Ismail Safavi, founder of the Safavid dynasty. This set was registered as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2010. Some characteristics such as the turquoise tiles, the gold, the goldwork, the inscriptions and the calligraphy of the artists of that time make the building a spectacular monument.
The site incorporates a path leading to the sanctuary in seven segments reflecting the seven stages of Sufi mysticism. The different parts of the mausoleum are separated by eight doors, representing the eight attitudes of Sufism. As this place was considered sacred in the time of the Safavids, all those who took refuge there were safe, even if they had been sentenced to death by the king.
The commercial junction that connected the Tabriz highway with the towns on the edge of the Caspian Sea. Both the strategic position and the mountains and extensive plains of Ardebil enrich the history of its old bazaar with its carpet shops, herbalists and a wide variety of honey.
Ardebil Museum of Anthropology
The museum building was originally a bathhouse called Zahir al Islam, belonging to the pre-Safavid period in 1450. In 1999, the Iranian Cultural Heritage Organization modified it to become the museum of anthropology. The museum offers us the possibility to know the Azerbaijani culture, the history of the colors, the clothes and especially the way in which the inhabitants of the area lived. Given the mountainous position of the city, the museum exhibits the peculiar style adopted by the locals in the cold.
It is a natural lake located in the mountainous area south of the city of Ardebil with a total area of 120 hectares which is covered with a thin white layer of minerals that are useful for curing skin disorders and rheumatism. The water from the lake is used for both drinking and irrigation. The Shorabil leisure complex is located near the lake where it offers us a wide variety of entertainment activities such as cycling, boating and the zoo.
Meshkin Shahr and its suspension bridge
An interesting place for those who yearn to experience excitement by walking on a suspension bridge, which crosses the Khiav River and is the largest suspension bridge in the Middle East with a height of 80 meters and a length of 365 meters.