75 DAYS ROAD TRIP Enchanting Ardabil: A Journey Through Silk Roads, Mysticism, and Natural Wonders

Enchanting Ardabil: A Journey Through Silk Roads, Mysticism, and Natural Wonders


I arrived in the historical and magnificent city of Ardabil with a gentle soul from the rain and fog and eyes full of nature. A city located on the magical route of the Silk Road, through which silk entered Europe.

The city that Zoroastrians believe was the birthplace of Zoroastrian by the Aras River and where he wrote his book in Sablan Mountains.

The city from which the Safavid system arose and established the foundation of the Safavid dynasty and reopened its way to history.

Sheikh Safi Al-Din Ardabili's Shrine

There are countless magnificent architectural wonders in Ardabil, the most prominent of which is the shrine of Sheikh Safiuddin Ardabili. This masterpiece of Iranian art and architecture is a testimony to the greatness and glory witnessed by mystics, Sufis and great rulers of the Safavid era. Stepping into it is like entering the age of mysticism.

This structure is a treasure of arts such as tiling, plastering, carving, silverwork, gilding and painting. Its carpet is world famous and is exhibited in the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, and manuscripts can be found in the Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg.

Sheikh Safei

The Chinese hall captivated my senses. It is a combination of Iranian and Chinese architecture and art. Both are intricately intertwined at the height of elegance and have stood side by side for centuries. Porcelain dishes, which were embraced by narrow niches, were made as gifts for Safavid kings and nobles.

Ardabil Bazaar

We can describe the old market of Ardabil in a short sentence, a pleasant, colorful and patterned market. In the carpet market, I could watch the weavers for hours, but I spent most of my time eating the delicious food. A wide range of flavors come together to satisfy your palate, from the most sour to the sweetest.


Sablan mountains are also a masterpiece of natural architecture in the heart of Ardabil. I wanted to wake up under the starry sky and above Sablan mountains. We moved from Ardabil to Meshkin Shahr. Our destination was Dorna camp at the foot of Sablan mountains.

Total darkness, winding and foggy roads made the journey challenging. However, upon arrival, the scene changed. What a night, what an atmosphere of a birthday party under the stars with dance, music and singing.

Durna Camp

The accompaniment of Iranian instruments along with singing in melodious Turkish dialect mesmerized me. The rhythmic, charming and playful Turkish dance captivated me and I wished from the bottom of my heart that this night would never end.

The stone castle in Dorna was lost in the dark of night and in a thick fog, adding to its mysterious aura. Everything was like a dream, a sweet dream in a deep sleep.


I passed out due to exhaustion and woke up in the morning with the first rays of light. I went to the door to see if I had dreamed that stone castle or if it was real. I opened the door, it was absolute whiteness and brightness. We were right in the middle of the clouds.

It was the first time I hosted the clouds. In the distance of drinking a cup of tea, the wind carried the clouds. The clear and intense light of the sun shone, I heard the loud singing of birds and butterflies dancing over the flowers and fields. I saw myself in the middle of heaven. A dream experience in reality…

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Ardabil, located in northwestern Iran, serves as the capital of Ardabil Province. The predominant population in the city consists of ethnic Iranian Azerbaijanis, with Azerbaijani being the primary language spoken. According to the 2022 census, the population of Ardabil was recorded at 588,000.

Parastoo Souezi
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