Zahir ol-Eslam Bathhouse is one of the historical bathhouses of Ardabil and goes back to Ilkhanate dynasty. Its building was purchased and restored in Qajar era by a person named Motamen ol-Ro’aya. During the restoration, new rooms were added to the building.
Like other Iranian bathhouses, Zahir ol-Eslam Bathhouse, also known as Aqanqoli Ardabil Bathhouse begins with Kafshkan, that is a space where the shoes are taken off, and Rakhtkan or locker room. The Sarbineh of Zahir ol-Eslam Bathhouse, which is the name of the entrance of a bathhouse, has a dome. Cold and warm water bathing pools, or Khazineh, are some other parts of this bathhouse.
Just like other old bathhouses, the plumbing system was made of clay pipes. The water of the bathing pools was supplied by a river in Ardabil. The water was guided into the bathhouse by clay pipes and left the building in the same way. All the parts and technologies of the bathhouse are today available in the Ardabil Ethnology Museum and can be visited.
Even though the bathhouse had kept on working until Pahlavi era, it was eventually purchased and restored by the Cultural Heritage, Handicrafts and Tourism Organization of Iran in 1999 and from then on continued its existence as a museum.
Ardabil Ethnology Museum has thirty-three wax sculptures. They have been arranged to show rituals, traditions, clothing and lifestyle of Ardabil people. There are also some manuscripts, documents and artifacts that showcase the historic and cultural identity of this region, so that not only the visitors will see the structure of an Iranian bathhouse but also, they will get to know the culture of Ardabil people.
Ardabil Ethnology Museum is located in Sa’di Blvd., close to Darwazeh or Ali Qapu district, in front of Sheikh Safi al-Din Shrine. It is a museum that displays both the culture of Ardabil people and the structure of an old bathhouse. One can plan the visit so that after touring Sheikh Safi al-Din Shrine, he or she goes to the souvenir shops and delicacies of Ardabil and then enters the bathhouse and museum.