Ardabil, is an ancient city in Iranian Azerbaijan and is the center of Ardabil Province. This city has a history dating back more than 1,500 years.
This province is believed to be as old as the Achaemenid era (ca. 550–330 BCE). It is mentioned in the Avesta, where Prophet Zoroaster was born by the Aras river and wrote his book in the Sabalan Mountains. During the Parthian era, the city had a special importance among the cities of Azerbaijan.
Most of the Ardabil province is mountainous with an average altitude of 3,000 m. above sea level. The province enjoys geographical and environmental diversity. As a result, the climate is very cold in winter and mild in summers. Indeed, the city of Ardabil is usually recorded as one of the coldest cities of the country in winters.
Currently, the majority of the residents speak in Azeri, but the Persian language is also common among them. Ardabil is well known for its silk and carpet trade tradition and the ancient Ardabil Carpets are considered some of the best of the classical Persian carpet creations. Ardabil is also known for its’ honey, sweets, roasted sunflower seeds, woodworks and earthenware. Its traditional food is the tasty ‘Aash-e Doogh‘ — a sour yoghurt soup with chickpeas and vegetables.
The province is still strategically important with respect to tourism and trade. The city of Ardabil now is one of the most important cities of the province and Iran for its many historical monuments, specially the Safavid family’s mausoleums and tombs, its location near many thermal springs with therapeutic virtues, and location on the main access road to the Republic of Azerbaijan have turned the city to a tourism center, which is visited by thousands of tourists every year. Some of the landscapes that are well known are the Sheikh Safi Al-Din Khanegah, Sheikh Safi Shrine, Ethnographic Museum, hot water springs in Sare-Ain, Imamzadeh Salih Mausoleum, Saint Mary church, and The Old Bazaar Complex.
The recent development of trade relations and communication between Iran and the Republic of Azerbaijan have been significant for the development of tourism and economy of the province of Ardabil, and more development is expected in the future.