Sheikh Safi Ensemble
Sheikh Safi Ensemble is the main tourist attraction of Ardebil and is a splendid showcase of Iranian architecture. In addition to the shrine of Sheikh Safi Al-din Aradabili, the spiritual leader of Safavid dynasty. the ensemble includes the core building of the first Safavid capital including a library, mosque, water cistern, hospice, kitchen, bakery and courtrooms.
After the death of Shah Esmail, the founder of Safavid dynasty, his body was also buried next to Sheikh Safi’s tomb. A 2nd dome was built over his tomb. Some other Safavid kings were also buried in this shrine and this ensemble started to gain importance as a centre for publishing Safavid religious and political ideology. This was also an assembly for the nobles of Safavid dynasty deciding about important issues of the country.
The ensemble was under special attention of Safavid kings and was extended to 21,000 m² by the end of the Safavid kingdom. The complex was delicately designed and decorated and was known as a heavenly place by Safavids.
Tomb of Shah Ismail’s wife (mother of Shah Tahmasb), some Safavid nobles and generals, and a number of Chaldoran battle martyrs are also buried in this site.
The ensemble includes the following sections :
- The Shrine
- Jannat-Sar Mosque, an octagonal building which was cover with a wooden roof during Qajar era after its dome collapsed.
- Ghandil-khane, one of the main parts of the ensemble, in 2 stories, with 5 wooden windows on each floor and magnificent decorations
- Chini-Khane, build by the order of Shah Abbas the Great and designed by Sheikh Bahai, contained a collection of chinaware gifted by Chinese emperors to Shah Abbas. This building has an amazing architecure design.
- Refuge, like many other holy shrines in Iran, this was a safe place for those seeking asylum, even those sentenced to death by the king/
- Tomb of princes, east of the Shrine
- Dar-ol-Hadis great Ivan, containing a number of tombs
- Old & New Courts of Sheikh Safi (Chelle-Khaneh)
- Tomb of Shah Ismail’s wife
- Maqsurah (wooden box) opposite to Dar-ol-Hadis Ivan
- Shahid-gah (Martyrs’ place), north to Dar-ol-Hadis dome
- Court of Sheikh Sadruddin Moosa
- more than 40 Hojras (Rooms)
- platform tombs of Safavid Amirs and nombles
- Kitchen complex
- Hojra (Room) facing Sheikh Safi’s tomb, containing tombs o Sufi Sheikhs
- Sharbat-khane, with access to water spring and pond
- Khonche-khane with storage rooms in two stories
- Daftar-khane (office building)
- Astaneh (Outdoor space)
The famous Ardabil Carpet, the world’s oldest dated carpet and one of the largest, most beautiful and historically important carpets in the world, now kept in London’s V&A museum, was originally woven for this shrine as was here, in Ghandil-khane, till 1843