0755 GMT September 26, 2022
Sheikh Safieddin Ardebili was born in Kalkhoran village, in the northwestern province of Ardebil, in 1252 CE.
Although he had learned the sciences of his time and gained a lot of wealth through agriculture, he turned to mysticism.
He first went to Sabalan Mountain for worship and seclusion. He then travelled to Shiraz to visit Sa’di, the famous poet of his time. Sa’di gave him a copy of his divan as a gift, but their friendship did not last long.
Sheikh Safi lived in Shiraz for a few years and then he heard of the fame of Sheikh Zahed Gilani, one of the great Sufis of Iran. At the age of 25, he left the city for his khaneqah located in Gilan Province. He remained there until the age of 50 and the death of Sheikh Zahed. He returned to Ardebil afterwards and founded a khaneqah there; consequently, thousands of people joined him in a short time.
He died several years later and, based on his will, he was buried in the khaneqah where a tomb tower was built over his grave.
Nasrin Mirhamidzadeh, a cultural heritage expert working as a guide in Sheikh Safieddin Khaneqah said, “After the death of Sheikh Safi, his descendants became the masters of the khaneqah, one after the other. About 200 years later, his sixth descendant, Esmaeil, used the spiritual influence of his great ancestor among the people and was crowned in Tabriz as the first king of the Safavid Dynasty.
Shah Esmaeil, who died at the age of 38, was buried next to Sheikh Safi where a dome was built over his grave. Subsequently, the mausoleum turned into a royal tomb.
The kings of the Safavid Dynasty, each in turn, expanded the mausoleum and added several buildings to the complex. All edifices were constructed based on the magnificent architectural style of the Safavid Era and at the end of the era its area reached two square kilometers. The complex, which was attacked several times, gradually became smaller, consequently, only the main part of it remains.
Two nested rooms are located next to Shah Esmaeil’s grave, which are known as the oldest part of the complex. In the second room, there are 10 graves, including those belonging to Sheikh Safi’s wife and some of his descendants.
The two magnificent halls of the complex, named Qandil Khaneh and Chini Khaneh, are among the places that dazzle the eyes of every viewer.
Qandil Khaneh, which was built about 500 years ago upon the order of Shah Tahmasb I, the son of Shah Esmaeil, was the gathering place of Safavid mystics. The hall, built in two floors, was used as a place for reading the Holy Qur’an as well as holding religious sermons.
The verandas of the second floor, which were the seating for the ladies, have eye-catching decorations including stucco moldings and arabesque patterns coated with gold powder and stunning vegetable and mineral colors.
Chini Khaneh was used as a hall for keeping the royal chinaware gifted by Chinese emperors to the Safavid court during the rule of Shah Abbas I. It is an amazing museum dating back 420 years.
Unfortunately, a large number of its artifacts were looted during the war that occurred between Iran and Russia (1826-28) and taken to the Hermitage Museum.
The second floor of the hall is also decorated with stucco moldings and arabesque patterns colored with shining gold powder.