Sheikh Safi al-Din Khānegāh and Shrine Ensemble

Sheikh Safi al-Din Khānegāh and Shrine Ensemble (Persian: مجموعه آرامگاه و خانقاه شیخ صفی الدین‎) is the tomb of Sheikh Safi-ad-din Ardabili located in Ardabil, Iran.[1] In 2010, it was registered on the UNESCO World Heritage List.[2] This monument is situated in the Ali-Ghapu area.[citation needed]

Sheikh Safi al-din Khānegāh and Shrine Ensemble in Ardabil
UNESCO World Heritage Site
6مقبره شیخ صفی الدین اردبیلی.jpg
LocationArdabil, Ardabil Province, Iran
CriteriaCultural: (i), (ii), (iv)
Inscription2010 (34th Session)
Area2.1353 ha (5.276 acres)
Buffer zone13.0616 ha (32.276 acres)
Coordinates38°14′55″N 48°17′29″E / 38.24861°N 48.29139°E / 38.24861; 48.29139Coordinates: 38°14′55″N 48°17′29″E / 38.24861°N 48.29139°E / 38.24861; 48.29139
Sheikh Safi al-Din Khānegāh and Shrine Ensemble is located in Iran
Sheikh Safi al-Din Khānegāh and Shrine Ensemble
Location of Sheikh Safi al-Din Khānegāh and Shrine Ensemble in Iran


Sheikh Safi, an eminent leader of an Islamic Sufi order established by the Safavids, was born in Ardabil where this complex is located. The Safavids valued the tomb-mosque form, and the tomb with its mausoleum and prayer hall is located at a right angle to the mosque. The buildings in the complex surround a small inner courtyard (31 by 16 meters). The complex is entered through a long garden.[3]

Plan of complex

The Mausoleum of Sheikh Safi, in Ardabil, was first built by his son Sheikh Sadr al-Dīn Mūsā, after Sheikh Safi’s death in 1334.[4] It was constructed between the beginning of the 16th century and the end of the 18th century. The mausoleum, a tall, domed circular tower decorated with blue tile and about 17 meters in height; beside it is the 17th-century Porcelain House preserving the sanctuary's ceremonial wares.[3] Also part of the complex are many sections that have served a variety of functions over the past centuries, including a library, a mosque, a school, mausolea, a cistern, a hospital, kitchens, a bakery, and some offices. It incorporates a route to reach the shrine of the sheikh divided into seven segments, which mirror the seven stages of Sufi mysticism. Various parts of the mausoleum are separated by eight gates, which represent the eight attitudes of Sufism.[5][6]

Several parts were gradually added to the main structure during the Safavid dynasty. A number of Safavid sheikhs and harems and victims of the Safavids’ battles, including the Battle of Chaldiran, have been buried at the site.

Architectural featuresEdit

The present complex, called the tomb of Sheikh Safi al-Din Ardabili, includes the outside of the tomb (Ali-Ghapu area), the portal, the great courtyard, the portico, the grave of Sheikh Safi al-Din itself, the Women-only space (Andaruni, a term used in Iranian architecture), the grave of King Ismail I, Chini-house which has beautiful Stuccos and several precious wooden and silver doors, The Janatsara Mosque, Khanqah, cheraqkhaneh (house of lights), Chellehkhaneh (a praying room), the burial ground of the martyrs and other belongings.

The building of the main entrance and the enclosure of 3 Domes which are decorated with mosaic tiles and epigraphs in Reqa and Kufic calligraphic form, covers this place with glory and grandeur.

The tomb of Sheikh Safi al-Din Ardabili is a cylindrical tower topped off with a short dome. Beneath the dome, there is a vault that is one of the valuable works of the tomb, and around the edge of it, there is an inscription carved in the Reqa style calligraphy. One of the unique features of the tomb of Sheikh Safi al-Din Ardabili is that it contains several valuable works of art on different themes of art, including the perfect type of mosaic tiles, vaulted tiling with painting, Stuccos, beautiful precious inscriptions, and the wonderful calligraphy of the greatest calligraphers of Safavid era (Mir Emad Hassani, Mir Qavamoddin, Mohammad Ismail, etc), precious wood-carvings, silversmithing, illuminated manuscripts and goldsmithing, paintings, using a different style of stonework, etc.[7]



  1. ^ "Sheikh Safi al-din Khānegāh and Shrine Ensemble in Ardabil - UNESCO World Heritage Centre". 2010-07-29. Retrieved 2010-08-02.
  2. ^ Source: Unescopress. "World Heritage Committee inscribes seven cultural sites on World Heritage List | United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization". Retrieved 2010-08-02.
  3. ^ a b Ching, D.K. (2007). A Global History of Architecture. Hoboken, New Jersey: John Wiley & Sons, Inc. pp. 479. ISBN 978-0-471-26892-5.
  4. ^ Square Kufic
  5. ^ Sheikh Safi al-din Khānegāh and Shrine Ensemble in Ardabil - UNESCO World Heritage Centre
  6. ^ tehran times : Two more Iranian sites added to UNESCO World Heritage List
  7. ^ "Sheikh Safi al-Din Ardabili's Shrine - in 2 iran UNESCO World Heritage List". 21 May 2019.

Further readingEdit

  • Melville, Charles (2020). "Shah ʿAbbas's Patronage of the Dynastic Shrine at Ardabil". Muqarnas Online. 37 (1): 111–138. doi:10.1163/22118993-00371P05.

External linksEdit