The city of Ardebil is the center of Ardebil Province. The name of the city comes from two Old Persian words meaning the Holy City. It is a mountainous region with high summits like Sabalan and Bozqush. People in this area speak Azerbaijani Turkish, and follow Shiite sect of Islam. The city is known for the mausoleum of Sheikh Safi Al Din Ardebili, a famous mystic that is considered as the Safavid rulers’ ancestor. The presence of Sheikh and his followers made the city even more popular; although, the passage of Silk Road was influential as well.
The city has always been an important strategical location. It is such an important place that its name in mentioned in the mythological texts of the country. In Shahnameh, the epic masterpiece of Ferdowsi, we hear that when Bahram of Sassanid Dynasty was to attack Hiataleh, he passes Ardebil. Based on this text, Ardebil was already a flourishing city in the Sassanid time. It is even mentioned that the Book of Yasna, was inspired to Zoroaster over the Mountain Sabalan. The archeological excavation, however, proves that the history of living in Ardebil dates back to the 6th millennium B.C.
Ardebil became the center of oppositions in Abbasid time, led by the brave Babak Khoramdin. The city experienced its zenith in the Safavid time, but following the Nader Shah of Afsharid tribe, and the Qajar’s battle in the area, especially after Russian Army’s entrance to country, it lost its place.
Different type of Kilims, Woven Handicrafts, Leather, Wooden works, and Stone Carving makes the main handicrafts of the city. The most famous product of the city, however, is its honey made in the Sabalan foothill.