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About Iran

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Yazd “the city of honey & culture”

With its winding lanes, forest of badgirs, mud-brick old town and charismatic accommodation, Yazd is one of the highlights of any trip to Iran. Wedged between the northern Dasht-e Kavir and southern Dasht-e Lut, it doesn’t have the big-ticket sights of…
cities

Tehran “the city of paradoxes”

Tehran is a city of contrasts that play out on geographic lines. It is modern and traditional, secular and religious, rich and poor – north and south. Most of the spark comes from the affluent north, but wander through southern Tehran and you’ll see a…
Iran

The Culture

THE NATIONAL PSYCHEIranians are the most surprising people. Where you might expect them to be austere, they are charming; rather than dour, they are warm; and instead of being hostile to foreigners, they are welcoming and endlessly curious.Iranians take their…
Iran

Cinema

Irans love affair with cinema started at the dawn of the last century. Mirza Ebrahim Khan Akkas-Bashi recorded a royal visit to Belgium in 1900, and in the same year the countrys first public cinema opened in Tabriz. By 1904 a cinema had opened in Tehran, and…

Ardabil “the city of MT Sabalan”


Ardabil is a logical stopping point between Tabriz and the upper Caspian coast. Ardabil’s magnificent Sheikh Safi-od-Din Mausoleum is by far its greatest attraction. When the chilly smog clears, Mt Sabalan’s snow topped peak is dramatically visible from Ardabil’s Shurabil Lake. Driving to Alvares ski-slope from the nearby hot-springs resort of Sara’eyn gets you well up Sabalan’s slopes for some lovely summer trekking. Ardabil sits on a high plateau. The weather is pleasantly cool in summer, but terrifies brass monkeys in winter. Snow is probable   from November.



History


A military outpost for millennia, Ardabil was declared a city around AD 470. It was capital of the Sajid dynasty Azarbayjan from AD 871 to 929, and saw independence as a khanate from 1747 to 1808. However, Ardabil is best remembered for spawning two great leaders: the Safavid patriarch and great dervish-Sufi mystic Sheikh Safi-od-Din (1253–1354), plus his later descendant Ismail Safavi. The latter expanded the clan domains so successfully that by 1502 Ismail had become Shah of all Persia. His glorious Safavid dynasty was to rule Iran for over two centuries.