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Thursday, 7-Dec-2006 11:15 Email | Share | Bookmark
Ardebil- Azarbaijan(Fotos by Pilot Ahmad KH)

Dorfak Summit
Sabalan summit
Sheikh Safi's Tomb
Sheikh Safi's Tomb
Sheikh Safi's Tomb
Sheikh Safi's Tomb
Sabalan Lake on sabalan summit
Combined Serbian/Iranian expedition at lake on the top
Ardabil (Persian: اردبیل; Azeri: اردبيل; also known as Ardebil; ancient name: Artavil) is a historical city in north-western Iran. The name Ardabil comes from the Zoroastrian name of "Artavil" (mentioned in Avesta) which means a holy place [1]. Ardabil is the center of Ardabil province. Its population is estimated to be around 340,386, the majority of whom are ethnic Azerbaijanis . Famed for its silk and carpet trade tradition, Ardabil is also known as the seat of the sanctuary and tomb of Shaikh Safî ad-Dîn, eponym of the Safavid Dynasty. Its geographic coordinates are 38°15′N 48°17′E.

Ardabil is located about 70 km from the Caspian Sea, 210 km from the city of Tabriz and 25 km from Republic of Azerbaijan's border. It has an average altitude of 1263 m and total area of 18011 km². Neighboring on the Caspian Sea and the Republic of Azerbaijan, this city is of great political and economical significance. The province of Ardabil has been blessed with splendid natural beauty and numerous sights. It is located on an open plain 1,500 m above sea level, just east of Mount Sabalan (4,811 m), where cold spells occur until late spring.
Cold and semi-arid, many tourists come to the region for its cool climate during the hot summer months maximum temperatures reaching to 35 °C . The winters are long and bitter cold, with a temperature plummeting to -25 °C. The annual rainfall is around 380 mm.


The province is believed to be as old as the Achaemenid era 2500 BC. It is mentioned in the Avesta, where Prophet Zoroaster was born by the river Aras and wrote his book in the Sabalan Mountains. During Parthian era the city had a special importance among the cities of Azarbaijan. Some Muslim historians attribute foundation of Ardabil to king Peroz I of Sassanid Empire. The Persian poet Ferdowsi also credits the foundation of the city to Peroz I. Ardebil suffered some damages caused by occasional raids of Huns between 4th to 6th century AD. Peroz repaired those damages and fortified the city. Peroz made Ardabil the residential of provincial governor (Marzban مرزبان) of Azarbaijan.
During the Islamic conquest of Iran, Ardabil was the largest city in North Western Iran, and remained so until the Mongol invasion period. Ardabilis fought the Mongols three times, however the city fell after the third attempt by Mongols. They massacred not only the Ardabilis but inhabitants of neighboring villages and killing everyone they could find. Incursions of Mongols and Georgians left the city in ruins for nearly three centuries til the advent of Safavids.
Shah Ismail I started his campaign to nationalize Iran's government and land from here, but consequently announced Tabriz as his capital in 1500CE. Yet Ardabil remained an important city both politically and economically until modern times

The complex of Sheikh Safi-ad-Din-e-Ardabili : is an impressive ancient monument, comprising the following components: the mausoleums of Sheikh Safi and Shah Isma'il, Chini khaneh (meaning the house of chinaware), a mosque, Jannat Sara (meaning the house of paradise), Khanaqah (the house of Dervishes), Cheragh Khaneh (the house of lamps), Shahid khaneh (the house of martyrs) and Chelleh Khaneh (the place where devotees shut themselves up during the forty days of Lent). The mausoleum of Sheikh Safi, the famous dome of which is called "Allah-Allah" has an octagonal interior.
Masjid Jameh : Ruins of once magnificent and unique Mosque.
Mirza Ali Akbar mosque and school : This comlex dates back to Qajar period
Ardebil bazaar : This beautiful Persian bazaar was built during Safavid period and in addition to main bazaar hall with open vaults has a hammam and a small yet mystifying mosque.
Ardebil bridges : Ardebil host numerous historical bridges namely Pol-e Gilandeh, Pol-e Nayer, Pol-e Haft Cheshmeh, Pol-e Panj Cheshmeh and Pol-e Seh Cheshmeh most were built during Safavid era.
Imamzadeh Saleh mausoleum : The mausoleum of Imamzadeh Saleh who is a descendant of a Shia Imam was built 250 years ago.
Saint Mary church : This Armenian orthodox church has a beautiful wooden main door and painted dome built in 1876.
Being a city of great antiquity, the origins of Ardabil go back 4000 to 6000 years (according to historical research in this city). This city was the capital of Azerbaijan province in different times, but its golden age was in the Safavid period.

The other significant historical monuments are as follows: the mausoleum of Sheikh Jebra'il, located 2 km north of Ardabil, the old but always lively bazaar, the babadavood anbaran the Friday mosque, and a few ancient bridges. In addition to these, in many villages of Ardabil, relics of ancient monuments, including tombs have been found.
It has many hot springs and beautiful natural landscapes and these attracts tourists. The mineral springs of Ardabil are Beele-Darreh, Sar'eyn, Sardabeh and Booshloo, being famous for their medicinal qualities throughout Iran.

It has also many beauty lakes: the largest of which are Ne'or, Shorabil, ShoorGel, NouShahr and Aloocheh that are the habitats of some species of water birds. The beautiful Lake Ne'or is located in a mountainous area 48 km south-east of the city of Ardabil. It covers an area of 2.1 km² and has an average depth of 3 metres. It is fed by springs in the lake bed.

Lake Shorabil is located in a hilly area south of the city of Ardabil and covers an area of 640,000 m². The surface of the lake is covered with a thin white layer of minerals, being useful for healing skin diseases and rheumatism. Near the lake there is the leisure complex of Shorabil.

Baliqly Chay River :
Meaning "a river with many fish" in Azarbayjani language, this river originates from the Sabalan Mountains and passes through Ardabil city. As a result, many villages and townships have settled around this river. It also irrigates much of the agricultural lands in this province
Sabalan (in Persian سبلان Sabalân ;also called Sāvālān in Azerbaijani) is an inactive volcano in Ardabil province of Iran. Sabalan is the third highest mountain of Iran and a permanent lake has formed at the summit. Sabalan possesses a ski resort (Alvares) and different touristic areas such as the Sarein(Sareyn)spa.

The mountain is known for its beautiful vistas, including the Shirvan gorge, where few climbers ever venture.

A moderate degree of fitness puts the climber at ease to climb it (Class 2).
One or two days of acclimatization in Tehran or Ardabil may be advisable. Mountaineering has been popular among the youth in Iran. On a Friday during the climbing season (late June to mid August), one may find hundreds of people on the mountain. Guides can also be found in Ardabil. Almost any young person would be willing to be a guide and will appreciate his climbing expense (usually including a taxi to the base camp) covered. Adequate climbing equipment can be purchased in Ardabil or Tehran.
The climbing surface includes (Class 2) rocks of various sizes, pebbles and soil. The climb from the base camp starts easy, becomes challenging in mid way until the climber reaches a low grade climb near the top. The lake on the top remains frozen except for about four weeks in late July to early August.
Some climbers have start by driving to hot water springs of Meshkin Shehr, where they start their climb. This climb takes about two days, reaching to the base camp on the first days. Others take one of the Iranian made Land Rover taxis to the base camp, early in the morning, and climb the mountain in one day, returning to the hot water springs by the same Land Rover taxis by late afternoon or early evening. In 2006, there was talk of improving the road to the base camp. If this is done, a regular car should be able to make it to the base camp during the climbing season. The road goes through multiple nomadic encampments of shepherds.
A visit to Sheikh Safi Al-Din Ardebili mausoleum and masjid in Ardabil is a must. In 2004 - 2006, the area around the masjid was being renovated. The gardens are frequented by elderly Ardabilis. Across the street from Sheikh Safi, one can buy honey and cream produced on Sabalan.
The area around Sabalan, particularly near Meshkin and Dasht-eh Moghan produces large quantities of grain, including wheat. Thanks to the climate produced by the mountain, Ardabil remains pleasantly cool in the summers.

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