Ardabil Province


Ardabil Province


Ardabil Province is the twenty-fifth inscribed province of the country, located in the northernmost point of Iran. It covers an area of over 18,011 square kilometers, bordered by the Republic of Azerbaijan to the north, Gilan Province to the east, Zanjan Province to the south, and East Azerbaijan Province to the west. Geographically, it lies between 37 degrees 45 minutes and 39 degrees 42 minutes north latitude and between 48 degrees 55 minutes and 47 degrees 3 minutes west longitude. The average annual rainfall in the province ranges from 250 to 600 millimeters. According to the latest national divisions, Ardabil Province includes the counties of Ardabil, Bileh Savar, Parsabad, Khalkhal, Meshkinshahr, Moghan, Namin, Nir, and Kowsar (Kiwi).



According to historians, the name Ardabil is derived from "Ard" and "Vil." "Ard" refers to the 25th day of each month and is also the name of one of the angels in Zoroastrianism, meaning "lawful" and "sacred." "Vil" is an ancient Aryan word meaning "city." Thus, Ardabil means "holy city."

Throughout history, this city has been important due to its unique natural conditions and strategic location. Various ancient sites from pre-Islamic times have been discovered in this province, and numerous monuments from different governments of the Islamic periods have been preserved. The ancient site of Yeri, nicknamed the city of Yeri, near Meshginshahr, indicates the millennia-long history of human settlement in this province.

The peak of Ardabil's glory can be attributed to the Safavid period when the Sheikh Safi al-Din Ardabili dynasty ruled.



Ardabil Province, surrounded by the Sabalan, Talesh, and Bozgush mountains, is bordered by Zanjan Province to the south, East Azerbaijan Province to the west, and Gilan Province to the east. Part of Iran's common border with the Republic of Azerbaijan is also located in the north of this province. Ardabil is famous for its abundant hot springs.



Being surrounded by high mountains and snow-capped peaks makes this province one of the cold provinces of Iran. Therefore, the best time to travel to this place is spring and summer when the weather is milder. However, for snow and cold lovers, Ardabil is an ideal destination in winter.




The city of Ardabil is one of the coldest cities in Iran. Its name is recorded on Sumerian tablets and has a history dating back five thousand years. Most of the people make a living through agriculture, and Ardabil is rapidly industrializing.

The mausoleum and shrine of Sheikh Safi al-Din are the most important tourist attractions in this city, which is also included in the UNESCO World Heritage List. In addition to the tomb of Sheikh Safi al-Din Ardabili, the mausoleum contains several other tombs of great figures, including Shah Ismail I (the first king of the Safavid dynasty) and his wife. The mausoleum of Sheikh Amin al-Din Jabraeil is another important historical shrine in Ardabil.

Ardabil is home to Lake Shorabil, one of the largest natural lakes within a city in Iran. Recreational facilities such as boating, cycling, and a walking path around the lake are provided.

The Jameh Mosque of Ardabil, or Friday Mosque, is a relic from the Seljuk period, and the historic bazaar of Ardabil is another historical attraction in the city. Among the historical houses of Ardabil are the Sadeghi House, Ershadi House, and Seyyed Hashem Ebrahimi House.

There are several historical bridges in Ardabil County, including the Ibrahimabad, Haft Cheshme, Naderi, Seyyedabad, and Yaghoobiyeh or Panj Cheshme bridges. Some of these bridges date back to the Safavid period.

Neor Lake is a natural tourist attraction in Ardabil County, located about fifty kilometers from the city. There are beautiful hiking and walking trails around this lake leading towards the border of Ardabil and Gilan provinces.


Meshgin Shahr

Meshgin Shahr is located at the foot of Mount Sabalan and next to the Meshginchay and Khiau rivers. It was formerly known as Khiau.

The historical site of Yeri is one of the most important tourist attractions in Meshgin Shahr. Carved stones of the city of Yeri are of the most attractive parts of this ancient area, with images of people without mouths carved into them.

The Meshgin Shahr Suspension Bridge is a modern structure that is 365 meters long, making it the longest suspension bridge in the Middle East. Crossing this bridge offers a beautiful view of the Meshgin Shahr Forest Park.

There are several historical castles in Meshgin Shahr County, including Kohneh Castle, Qahqaheh Castle, and Div Castle.

Included in the list of Iran National Natural Monuments, Sabalan highlands are posits close to Meshgin Shahr. Besides mountain climbing to the peak, its heights and hillsides have also provided picturesque landscapes for nature trekking. 



Namin is located in the border area between Iran and the Republic of Azerbaijan. The moderate climate of this city is influenced by the humidity and fog coming from the Caspian Sea. Some evidence suggests that the choice of the name Namin, meaning "moist," emphasizes this fact.

Ten kilometers away from Namin, you can visit the Fandoghlu Forest, a lush area covered with chamomile flowers from late April to late June. During this time of year, wild chamomile flowers cover an area of several hundred hectares.

Soha Lake is another natural tourist attraction in Namin County, located near a village of the same name. Soha Lake is about forty kilometers away from Ardabil.

Heyran Strait on the road from Astara to Ardabil is also one of the most exciting roads in Iran.



Known as Horaabad until 1358 SH, Khalkhal is located in the southern part of the province. Some archaeological findings date the history of this city back to the second half of the first millennium BC. 

The Asalem-Khalkhal Road is one of the most spectacular roads in Iran; An 80-kilometer forest road bridging between the city of Asalem in Gilan Province to the city of Khalkhal in Ardabil Province. A winding road passing through forests and mountains.



The city of Sarein is famous for its abundant hot springs, which attract many travelers to this city. There are many spa complexes and hot springs in operation in Sarein. The ancient hill of Anahita and the Alvares Ski Resort are other tourist attractions in the city of Sarein.



You won't find luxury hotels in Ardabil, instead, there are several mid-range hotels in the city. Sabalan Hotel is one of them. Mahdi Hotel, Darya Hotel, Shoorabil Hotel, and Negin Hotel are other options.

In Sarein, however, there are many hotels, including the Laleh Hotel, Royal Park Hotel, and Ershad Hotel, which are good hotels in the city.

There are also several eco-lodges in Ardabil province, including Shouon Eco-lodge, Bajilar Sardabeh Eco-lodge, Kazaj, and Eco-camp Maleksooyi.



Haj Malek Kababi in Ardabil is famous for its fresh kebabs. Sadeghi Historical House’s Restaurant is also one of the lively restaurants in Ardabil, located inside a historical building. Shah Abbas Restaurant is also placed in the historical Ibrahimabad Bathhouse. Moein Darbar and Gol-e Sorkh Restaurants are among the other elegant eating place in Ardabil city.

Pizza Pizza Restaurant, Pedare Khoob chain restaurant (Ardabil branch), and Pizza Sara are also among the eateries where you can find Western and fast-food dishes. 



Varni is one of the handicrafts of Ardabil province; It is woven using wool or silk threads, or a combination of both, and is sometimes used as a rug. The Ilsovan tribes in Dasht-e Moghan are one of the major producers of Varni.

Other handicrafts of Ardabil province include Kilim, Jajim, wood carving, traditional socks, and felt. Mafrash and Ojaq Qaraqi are other handicrafts with which the tribes of Ardabil province are occupied.


Local Foods

Ash-e Miveh is one of the unique traditional foods of Ardabil province, which is made from dried fruits. Ash-e Doogh is another cuisine made from chickpeas, rice, local yogurt, vegetables, and more.

Pichagh Gheymeh is a delicious food combined of almonds, meat, onions, eggs, and mulberry leaves. Saj Kebab or Saj Ghoorma should also not be forgotten. This dish is prepared with meat, onions, animal fat, dried lavash bread, yogurt, garlic, salt, and pepper.

Khashil is a popular Ardabil food in cold seasons, which is made with date syrup (honey), cracked wheat, flour, butter, cinnamon, and sugar.



Honey, Sarshir, and local butter are special souvenirs of Ardabil province.

Halva-e Siyah is one of the old and famous snacks of the region. Baghlava and Fatir bread are tasty sweets and breads in Ardabil province.


Customs and Traditions

Among the various customs in the cities of this province, the ritual of "Parche Kasdi" can be mentioned, which is now only practiced in some areas of the province. Parche Kasdi was a female ceremony held before the wedding day, where family members sewed clothes for the bride.

The customs of Nowruz and mourning during the month of Muharram are other traditions that are held with the same traditional atmosphere in the cities of the province.

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