The Complex of Sheikh Safi – Al- Din Ardebili

This spectacular complex, located in the city of Ardabil in Ardabil Province, houses the sanctuary of the prominent Iranian Sufi Master, Sheikh Safi al-din Ardabili. The 16th-century complex was built by the Ilkhanid Mongols and Timurids, influenced by Sufi philosophy.

Amongst the stunning architectural structures in the complex is the tomb of Sheikh Safi (Allah Allah Dome), the tomb-chamber of Shah Ismail I (founder of the Safavid dynasty), the Prayer room, Porcelain room, the Dar al-Hefaze Hall, the Shahidgah Cemetery, the Haram – Ladies Quarters, and the main courtyard. There were many other sections in the complex too which served a variety of functions and included a library, a mosque, a school, a cistern, a hospital, kitchens, public baths, and some offices and the Shrine of the Sufi Master. The ornamented facades and interiors of the complex are very well preserved and it houses a remarkable collection of antique artifacts.

 

The Mausoleum of the Sheikh was an important site of pilgrimage throughout the Safavid period (1501-1722). It is one of the most beautiful historical and Islamic structures of the country. It is a tall, domed circular tower decorated with blue tile and about 17 meters in height. Beneath the dome, there is a vault that is one of the valuable works of the tomb, and around its edges there is an inscription carved in Reqa style calligraphy. One of the unique features of the tomb of Sheikh Safi al-din Ardabili is that it contains several prized works of art including the perfect type of mosaic tiles, vaulted tiling with painting, stuccos, precious inscriptions with the calligraphy of the greatest calligraphers of Safavid period (Mir Emad Hassani, Mir Qavamoddin, Mohammad Ismail, and others), precious wood-carvings, silversmithing, illuminated manuscripts and goldsmithing, and paintings.

 

The Mausoleum of the Sheikh is divided into seven segments, which represent the seven stages of Sufi mysticism. It is separated by eight gates, which represent the eight attitudes of Sufism. There are three towers that hold the mausoleums of the most important Sufis that are honored here, and their splendor is the most special thing about this complex. The oldest tomb tower which is Sheikh Safi al-din’s tomb lies half-hidden behind the other two.
The prayer room is beautifully decorated with the colors of gold, dark red, and blue and surrounded by several niches containing the tombs of the deceased who are honored here.

 

 

In addition to the main prayer room, the Porcelain Room is also very notable. This is a large space in the shape of a cross, with beautiful stuccos. The walls are covered with small niches in a variety of shapes (formed like a violin or a vase). In 16th and 17th century these niches were filled with Chinese porcelain received as gifts by the Safavid rulers. Most of them are now kept in the great museums in Tehran. The famous Ardabil carpet that formerly covered the entire floor of this room is kept in the Albert and Victoria Museum in London.
The tomb-chamber structures of Sheikh Safi’s mausoleum are considered among the most magnificent and glorious complexes of the Safavid era.

The Complex of Sheikh Safi – Al- Din Ardebili

This spectacular complex, located in the city of Ardabil in Ardabil Province, houses the sanctuary of the prominent Iranian Sufi Master, Sheikh Safi al-din Ardabili. The 16th-century complex was built by the Ilkhanid Mongols and Timurids, influenced by Sufi philosophy.

Amongst the stunning architectural structures in the complex is the tomb of Sheikh Safi (Allah Allah Dome), the tomb-chamber of Shah Ismail I (founder of the Safavid dynasty), the Prayer room, Porcelain room, the Dar al-Hefaze Hall, the Shahidgah Cemetery, the Haram – Ladies Quarters, and the main courtyard. There were many other sections in the complex too which served a variety of functions and included a library, a mosque, a school, a cistern, a hospital, kitchens, public baths, and some offices and the Shrine of the Sufi Master. The ornamented facades and interiors of the complex are very well preserved and it houses a remarkable collection of antique artifacts.

 

The Mausoleum of the Sheikh was an important site of pilgrimage throughout the Safavid period (1501-1722). It is one of the most beautiful historical and Islamic structures of the country. It is a tall, domed circular tower decorated with blue tile and about 17 meters in height. Beneath the dome, there is a vault that is one of the valuable works of the tomb, and around its edges there is an inscription carved in Reqa style calligraphy. One of the unique features of the tomb of Sheikh Safi al-din Ardabili is that it contains several prized works of art including the perfect type of mosaic tiles, vaulted tiling with painting, stuccos, precious inscriptions with the calligraphy of the greatest calligraphers of Safavid period (Mir Emad Hassani, Mir Qavamoddin, Mohammad Ismail, and others), precious wood-carvings, silversmithing, illuminated manuscripts and goldsmithing, and paintings.

 

The Mausoleum of the Sheikh is divided into seven segments, which represent the seven stages of Sufi mysticism. It is separated by eight gates, which represent the eight attitudes of Sufism. There are three towers that hold the mausoleums of the most important Sufis that are honored here, and their splendor is the most special thing about this complex. The oldest tomb tower which is Sheikh Safi al-din’s tomb lies half-hidden behind the other two.
The prayer room is beautifully decorated with the colors of gold, dark red, and blue and surrounded by several niches containing the tombs of the deceased who are honored here.

 

 

In addition to the main prayer room, the Porcelain Room is also very notable. This is a large space in the shape of a cross, with beautiful stuccos. The walls are covered with small niches in a variety of shapes (formed like a violin or a vase). In 16th and 17th century these niches were filled with Chinese porcelain received as gifts by the Safavid rulers. Most of them are now kept in the great museums in Tehran. The famous Ardabil carpet that formerly covered the entire floor of this room is kept in the Albert and Victoria Museum in London.
The tomb-chamber structures of Sheikh Safi’s mausoleum are considered among the most magnificent and glorious complexes of the Safavid era.

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Design by Ali Moghadas / 2020