Ardabil or Ardebil is the capital of the province of Ardabil, located in the northwest of Iran close to the Iran - Azerbaijan Border. This city is 220 kilometers away from Tabriz and 580 kilometers away from Tehran, located on an open plain, 1400 meters above sea level with a cool and fresh climate. According to the last official census in Iran, the population of Ardabil is about 650,000, and most of the population are followers of Shia Islam. The dominant majority in the city are Iranian Azerbaijani and the language of most of the people is Azerbaijani-Turkish.
According to historians and some archeological excavations, the history of Ardabil goes back to the Achaemenid period, and also some evidence from the Moradlou archeological site which is in the same area as Ardabil are related to 40 thousand years ago. It is also one of the historical cities located on the ancient Silk Road and is home to many historical caravanserais. But the known history of Ardabil does not start until the Islamic period. The city was the residence of the Sasanian governor when the Muslim Arabs invaded Iran and the city was taken by Ali (600–661), the fourth caliph of the Muslims. During the Umayyad Dynasty (661-750), the Umayyad governor chose Ardabil as his capital, but the Arab hold on the region did not last for a long time. Local rulers fought continuously in the area until the Mongol conquest in 1220 when the town was almost destroyed.
Ardabil became an important center of Sufism (Islamic Mysticism) when Sheikh Safi-ad-din Ardabili (a principal Sufi master and leader and the ancestor of the Safavid kings) made the city his main residence. The golden period of this city was during the Safavid Period (1502- 1736) when the Safavid kings enriched the city with money and gifts in honor of their ancestor (Sheikh Safi), and during the kingdom of Shah Ismaeil, it became one of the holy cities among the Muslims like Najaf, Mashhad, Karbala, etc. Ardabil was attacked by Russians and lost most of its treasure like a big part of the library of the Sheikh Safi al-din Shrine, during the Iran-Russia war which was during the Qajar Dynasty (1827).
Being located on the foothills of the 4811-meter Sabalan Peak, Ardabil is known as one of the cold cities of Iran with long winters and snowy days. During winter the temperature reaches -33°C and during summer the average temperature is around 30.
This magnificent world heritage monument was built between the beginning of the 16th century and the end of the 18th century. The ensemble includes well-preserved and richly decorated facades and interiors. There is a remarkable collection of antique artifacts. The famous Ardabil carpet - now it is kept in V&A museum London- this fascinating was woven and dedicated to this mausoleum in the 17th century during the Safavid period.
This lake with an area of around 640,000 is located south of the city of Ardabil. Because of the high concentration of salt no fish live in this lake.
A beautiful traditional bazaar where you can see lots of locals are busy with trade and shopping for different objects.
With a height of 4811, Sabalan is the third highest peak of Iran. it is an inactive volcano. There are hot springs around the foothill of this mount and it can be a stunning place for hiking and climbing for professional mountain climbers.