Sheikh Safi al-Din Khānegāh and Shrine Ensemble
The highly precious monument in Ardebil was developed after the death of Shah Esmail, the first king in the Safavid dynasty. His family decided to move his corpse beside Sheikh Safi’s tomb; Sheikh Safi-ad-din Is’haq Ardabili was a mystic and poet and the Safavid respectable ancestor. It all started with building a dome for the gravesite in 1335. Gradually, it turned into a graveyard for the Safavid monarchs and dignitaries. Later on, it gained reputation as a place to disseminate religious and political thoughts; high-ranking people of the dynasty would gather there and take the government under their control. In the reign of the dynasty, it was expanded into a building of 21,000 square meters and was also so finely decorated that they called it Divine Heaven.
The huge complex has served for functions such as a baker’s, school, mosque, library, hospital and the like over the years.
The mausoleum is also home to the tombs of Shah Esmail’s wife, Shah Tahmasb’s mother, and the soldiers who were killed in Chaldiran Battle.
UNESCO World Heritage Site, the peerless shrine boasts iconic Iranian architecture; exquisite works of mosaic tiles, intricate Muqarnas_ a style used in Islamic arches and vaults_ magnificent stucco, silver works, gorgeous gilding, striking paintings as well as glamorous calligraphy works by the great calligraphers of the time including Mir Emad, Mir Ghavamoddin, and Mohammad Esmail are all a testimony. The showpiece is its impressive domes, popular in the Safavid architecture.
The magnificently built structure, which has survived hundreds of years, is an attractive tourism hub in Ardebil, northwest of the country. To learn more about Iran’s unrivaled architecture, you should put the mausoleum on your must-see spots.
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