Ardabil is one of the cold cities in northwestern Iran that is bordered by the Republic of Azerbaijan to the north, East Azerbaijan Province to the west, Gilan Province to the east, and Zanjan Province to the south.
Origin of the Name Ardabil
Ardabil has been called by various names throughout history, including “Dar Al-Irshad”, “Dar al-Mulk”, “Dar Al-Erfan”,” Dar Al-Aman” and “the Holy City (Artavil)”.
The name ‘Ardabil’ comes from ‘Artavil’ which consists of two parts of ‘Arta’ meaning ‘holy’ and ‘vill’ meaning the ‘city’. In fact, Ardabil is named as “the Sacred City or Region”.
History of Ardabil
According to the historical findings found in Moradlu region, Ardabil dates back to over 40 thousand years ago.
Exploring the area shows a 3,000-year-old civilization in the region. Since located along the Silk Road, Ardabil has many caravanserais reflecting the economic boom in the region.
During the reign of the Umayyad dynasty, the city was the center of kingdom of Azerbaijan, and in Abbasid Caliphate, it was the center of Bābak Khorramdin’s rebellion.
In the 13th century, Ardabil was attacked by Mongols. In the ancient time when Iran was divided into four provinces, Ardabil was the capital of Bakhtar including Azerbaijan, where, during the Timurid and Safavid periods, the Shi’ite movement (one of the main branches of Islam) and political movements rose.
During the reign of Safavid dynasty, Ardabil regained its former glory and greatness and began to prosper again.
However, after the extinction of the dynasty, in the historical development of Nader Shah era, the early Qajar era, during the Constitutional Revolution, the province changed again.
Ardabil has been the provincial capital of Azerbaijan Province in different historical periods. It has also been of utmost importance and prosperity since it was situated along the Silk Road. Among the most important caravanserais in Ardabil are the Saein Stone Caravanserai in Nir, Shur Gol Shah Abbasi in Bile Savar, Abbasi Naghdi Kandi and Khanli Bolagh in Meshgin Shahr.
Historical Tourist Attractions of Ardabil
Ardabil Province has various historical tourist attractions including:
Shorabil is the name of a lake in a hilly area south of the city of Ardabil that is named as such for its salty water. However, it should be noted that the lake water is not salty now and with its fresh water it has become a place for breeding fish (trout).
The best time to visit the lake is late November and early December because that is when migratory birds visit the beautiful lake.
One of the beauties and attractions of Ardabil is Neor Lake. The streams and rivers in the area join each other and form this freshwater lake.
Fandoqlu Forest is a part of the Hyrcanian forests near the city of Ardabil and Heyran Pass. Fandoqlu Forest are covered by chamomile flowers in spring, and a variety of fruit trees such as hazelnut, wild apples, tomatoes, greengage, medlar, raspberries and strawberries are seen in this forest, but because of the numerous hazelnut trees this forest has, it is named Fandoqlu which means ‘hazelnut’.
Sheikh Safi al-Din Khānegāh and Shrine Ensemble
This holy place is one of the extraordinary monuments in Ardabil. The mausoleum of Sheikh Safi has been registered as one of the UNESCO world heritage sites.
This monument is the mausoleum of Sheikh Safi who was the ancestor of the Safavid dynasty kings and was highly regarded by the kings.
Sheikh Safi al-Din Khānegāh and Shrine Ensemble, is one of the monuments of this country with many kinds of Persian well-known artworks such as tiling, mosaic, Mogharnas, Stucco, inscription, calligraphy, carving, illuminated manuscript, gilding, silversmith, paintings, etc.
Mausoleum of Amin al-din Jebrail
Ardabil Jome mosque
Ardabil Historical Bazaar
Weather in Ardabil
Situated in a mountainous area, Ardabil has a cold and dry climate and is one of the coldest areas in Iran. Ardabil receives rainfall and atmospheric precipitation almost all year round, mostly in autumn and spring.
Ardabil is located in a region with both Yaylak (summer highland pasture) and Qeshlaq (wintering place) areas.
The best time to travel to Ardabil is in summer when the moderate weather and, in some parts, cold weather, brings indescribable pleasure to the visitors.
How to reach Ardabil
Ardabil is easily accessible by land and air.
Ardabil airport is one of the international airports in Iran which hosts international flights from different countries.
One of the best land routes to reach this city is from the city of Tehran (capital of Iran) as follows:
-Tehran, Karaj, Qazvin, Zanjan, Sarcham intersection, Khalkhal-Ardabil Road, Ardabil: about 590 km
-Tehran, Karaj, Qazvin, Rasht, Asalem, Astara, Heyran Pass, Ardabil: about 580 km
It should be noted that the roads mentioned above (Heyran Pass, Khalkhal-Ardabil Road) are the most beautiful roads in Iran.
Ardabil is also accessible through alternative routes.
The 22nd province of Iran is Ardabil, one of the three provinces in Azerbaijan region of Iran.
Ardabil province shares borders with the Republic of Azerbaijan to the north (282 km of common sea and land borders).
It also shares borders with the provinces of East Azerbaijan to the west, Gilan to the east and Zanjan to the south. It is bordered by Sabalan Mountains and Qara-sou (black water) River, Meshgin-Shahr and Sarab to the west, by the Caucasus to the north, by Talysh Mountains and the Caspian Sea to the east and by the city of Khalkhal to the south. The city of Ardabil, the capital of the province, is 1260 meters above sea level and is located in a plain between Sabalan and Talysh mountains.
Geography of Ardabil Province
Ardabil is located in a mountainous area. The highlands of the province include:
The highlands from the East to Dojag Defile in the north, Talysh Mountains and Vilkij border Heighlands in the northeast, Heyran Defile (Haj Amir) in the east, Talysh Highlands in the southeast, Baghrou Mountains in the south (west of Talysh Mountains), Saien Defile in the southwest, and Mount Sabalan in the west.
Talysh Mountains, like a wall, prevent humid air coming from the Caspian Sea to penetrate into the province. Heyran Defile is the only route, through these mountains, that connects Azerbaijan to the Caspian Sea shore. Due to the warm and humid climate, the slopes of these mountains which are adjacent to the Caspian Sea, are covered with forest.
The eastern highland of Talysh Mountains is the Talysh tribe’s summer place and its western highland is Fouladlou tribe’s summer place. Ardabil province is located on the border between Iran and the Republic of Azerbaijan and has an important strategic position.
Ardabil has a variety of ancient and historical monuments and tourist attractions, including:
Bahman castle, Friday Mosque was built in the early Islamic era, on the fire temple of the Sassanid era.
Sheikh Safi al-din Khānegāh and Shrine Ensemble, Qara-Sou Bridge, Samian Bridge, Red Bridge, Ardabil Bazaar, Gheisariyeh, Safavid Bath, Vakil-ol-Roaya House, Talar-e Hekmat (Hekmat Hall), Sarein Hot Springs (spa), Sardabe, Qutur-Sui, Neor Lake, Shorabil Lake, Fandoqlu Forest, Meshginshahr suspension bridge (the longest suspension bridge in the Middle East), etc.