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Capital of Ardabil Province in northeastern Iran with an area of 18,011 square kilometers bordering on the (former Soviet) Republic of Azerbaijan to the north and north east, Guilan province to the east and south east, east Azerbaijan to the west, Zanjan province to the south, a little inland from the shores of the Caspian Sea, and 588 km to the northwest of Tehran, Ardabil can be reached both by road and air.

It is located in an altitude of 1,300 m above sea level and is 210 km northwest of Bandar-e Anzali and 70 km from Astara on a good asphalt, twisting scenic mountain road. The town is a market center for a fertile agricultural region; carpets and rugs are being produced there.

Other towns of the province of Ardabil are: Bileh Souar, Germi, Khalkhal, Meshkin Shahr, and Pars Abad. The province has a population of 1,165,025 deeply religious inhabitants. Because of being situated at the foot hills of Mount Sabalan, 4,860 meters above sea level, the town has a pleasant weather in different season, thus attracting huge number of visiting guests from all parts of Iran.

Ardabil was probably founded in the 5th century AD. It became (10th century) the capital of Azerbaijan, but was soon superseded by Tabriz. In 1220 AD it was destroyed by the Mongols.

Ardabil is best known as the birthplace of the eminent religious leader Sheikh Safi od-Din (1251-1334) from whom the Safavid dynasty was descended. Sheikh Safi was the founder of a Sufi order and monastery in Ardabil, the prime mover of Iranian culture during the 15-16th century and the center of the theocratic community of Dervish Brotherhood.

Dervishes, after coming together under the same organizational structure, managed to attract and retain the attention of large masses in the towns and in the country.

Ismail, a descendent of Sheikh Safi and who was later crowned as the Shah of Persia in Tabriz (1501), was himself a member of this order.
The main objectives of Dervish Brotherhood were the elimination of the then rampant anarchy and the reorganization of a new state that could respond to the demands of the urban and the rural disinherited of Iran and satisfy the people's thirst for justice.

Shi`ism began to spread through mosques, monasteries and Dervish centers, and very soon conquered the masses.

Shah Ismail created an immense empire; he succeeded in subjecting the many principalities that had formed after the fall of Timurid state.
In 1510 he defeated the khan and conquered Baghdad.

The decision to uphold Shi`ism might be interpreted as an extreme endeavor to prevent the Iranian nation from becoming absorbed by the west (ottomans) and the east (Uzbeks).

The town was occupied by the Turks in 1725 and the Russians in 1828. Its proficient library was taken to St Petersburg by the Russians.


Pileh savar nature-ardebil


Sights to See

  • Mausoleum of Sheikh Safi
    14-century tomb in Ali Qapu Square.



  • Ardabil Museum
    Originally called Chini Khaneh (Porcelain House) and part of Sheikh Safi Complex.




  • Historic Bridges
    1-Jejin 2-Ebrahim Abad 3-Ya`ghubieh 4-Seyed Abad 5-Kalkhoran 6-Nir 7-Ghra Su 8-Almas Most of them date back to 15 century AD (Safavid Period).

Haft Cheshmeh Bridje - Ardebil


Excursions around Ardabil

  • Mount Sabalan
    4860 meters above sea level.

A View of Sabalan Nature




Sabalan Mountain


Lake in Sabalan Mount


eagle stone near western shelter


Lake in Sabalan Mount


Sunset in Sabalan


  • Kalkhoran
    A village with the mausoleum of Sheikh Safi`s father.

Wind Village - Kalkhoran - Ardebil


Sheikh Gabriel Tumba


  • Sar`e Ein
    A really tourist town 29 km west of Ardabil, it is one of the most important hot spring spa centers in Iran.

Sarein Road - Arjestan - Ardabil


kanzagh village - Sarein


Vila dareh - Sarein


Hydrotherapy Building - Sarein