Sheikh Safi-od-Din Mausoleum

Top choice in Iran

Western Iran’s most dazzling Safavid monument, and a World Heritage Site, the Sheikh Safi-od-Din Mausoleum is relatively compact. The patriarch is buried with lesser notables in an iconic 1334 Allah-Allah tower, so named because the apparently geometrical motif in blue-glazed brick is actually the endlessly repeated name of God. Much of the area around the complex is being excavated and an attractive walled garden makes a peaceful reading refuge.

To see the beautiful wooden sarcophagi, enter a small turquoise-tiled courtyard, then the Ghandil Khaneh (lantern house), where the intensity of the gold and indigo decoration is quite striking. The delicate 1612 Chini Khaneh (China Room), off to the left, is honeycombed with vaulted gilt niches originally designed to display the royal porcelain collection, most of which Russia took home with it after the 1828 invasion – it now resides in St Petersburg's Hermitage.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Iran attractions

1. Archaeology Museum

0.03 MILES

This small two-storey museum houses pottery, coins and other artifacts dating from pre-Islamic times.

2. Haji Fakr Mosque

0.08 MILES

Stroll the back alleys to find the handsome little Haji Fakr Mosque with its squat, Bukharan-style pepper-mill minaret.

3. Mirza Ali Akbar Mosque

0.17 MILES

The attractively brick-vaulted Mirza Ali Akbar Mosque has a blue Kufic-tiled exterior frieze and a lighthouse-style minaret.

4. Anthroplogy Museum

0.17 MILES

Lifelike wax dummies in traditional Ardabil costume inhabit this restored Ilkhanid (Mongol)–era hammam.

5. Maryam Church

0.24 MILES

Just off Taleqani St, this Church of the Virgin Mary has an unusual old stone pyramid as its central dome.

6. Covered Bazaar

0.33 MILES

The covered bazaar is extensive and attractive, covering the triangle between Imam Khomeini and Beheshti Sts.

7. Pol-e Ebrahimabad

0.59 MILES

The most appealing of Ardabil's restored bridges is the cute three-arched Pol-e Ebrahimabad.

8. Pol-e Jajim


The seven-span Pol-e Jajim is the most famous of Ardabil's restored bridges across the Baliqli Chay (Fishy River).