The Mausoleum of Sheikh Safi al-Din
Sheikh Safi-ad-din Is'haq Ardabili, was the Kurdish and Sunni Muslim eponym of the Safavid dynasty, founder of the Safaviyya order, and the spiritual heir and son in law of the great Sufi Murshid Sheikh Zahed Gilani.
Ardabil is a place of pilgrimage because of the presence of this mausoleum where the body of Sheikh Safi al-Din (1252 - 1334) rests a highly revered Sufi spiritual leader in the region.
Safi al-Din Ardabili (1252-1334)
Safi al-Din Ardabili, of Kurdish origin, is the founder of the Safavieh brotherhood , from which came the Safavids who ruled Iran in the 16th and 17th centuries.
Its name indicates that it is native of the city of Ardabil.
Sheikh Safi al-Din was very influential in Azerbaijan and also on Rachideddin, the grand vizier of Oldjaytu.
The Khānegāh Ensemble and Sheikh Safi al-Din Shrine has been inscribed on the World Heritage List since 2010.
The tower "Allah-Allah"
The room under the dome of Sheikh Safi's mausoleum is called "Allah-Allah".
The Patriarch is buried with lesser notables in this conical tower of 1334 called the Tower of Allah because the apparently geometric blue pattern is in fact the name of Allah constantly repeated over the whole of the facade.
When one enters, one is struck by the golden color. The other mausoleums that we could see in other cities had the walls and ceiling covered with indigo blue or pink mosaics, but here, it's gold! And the intensity of gold is staggering.
The Khānegāh as a whole and the shrine of Sheikh Safi al-Din is an exceptional example of a 16th century religious ensemble associated with social, charitable, cultural and educational functions, which contains all the important elements that characterize Safavid architecture .
It was the largest and most complete of the Khānegāh of Iran and the most important Sufi shrine because it also housed the tomb of the founder of the Safavid dynasty.
It was built as a small microcosmic town with its bazaars, public baths, public squares, places of worship, houses and offices.
For these reasons, it became a place of exhibition of works of art and architecture sacred from the 14th to the 18th century and a center of Sufi religious pilgrimage.
This place is a Sufi spiritual retreat. There is a library, a mosque, a school, a mausoleum, a cistern, a hospital, kitchens, a bakery and a few offices.
The tomb of Sheikh Safi has been protected by Iranian law since 1932.
In August 2010, the site became part of UNESCO's heritage.
The site leads to the Sheikh sanctuary in seven stages that reflect the seven stages of Sufi mysticism, separated by eight gates that represent the eight attitudes of Sufism.
The Sheikh Safi-ad-Din-e-Ardabili complex is an impressive monument, made up of several buildings:
→ The mausoleums of Sheikh Safi and Shah Ismail I
→ a mosque
→ The Chini Khaneh (meaning the house of porcelain)
→ The Jannat Sara (the house of paradise)
→ The Khanaqah (House of Dervishes)
→ The Cheragh Khaneh (House of lamps)
→ Shahid Khaneh (the house of martyrs)
→ The Chelleh Khaneh
To see the beautiful wooden sarcophagus of Sheikh Safi al-Din it is necessary first to enter the "Ghandil Khaneh" ("house of the lantern" or "house of the lamps"). This is where the Koran was recited. On the walls the scriptures contain verses from the Koran.
The Chini Khaneh
The Chini Khaneh ("chamber of China"), is the room that hosts the porcelain museum created in 1612.
It is riddled with hundreds of niches cut into the walls and painted with pink, blue and golden hues.
They were originally designed to display the royal porcelain collection. Most porcelain items were taken to St. Petersburg at the Hermitage Museum, when Russia invaded Iran in 1828.
There are showcases that contain a remarkable collection of ancient objects.
A pretty enclosed garden (free entrance, access from the courtyard) is a peaceful refuge.
The statue of Sheikh Safi al-Din preaches in its midst.