Sheikh Safī al-Dīn

The sanctuary and tomb of Sheikh Safī al-Dīn is an architectural complex located in Ardabil, Iran, which houses the burial of Sheikh Safī al-Dīn, eponymous of the Safavid dynasty. In 2010, UNESCO classified it as a world heritage of humanity. Sheikh Safi, the eminent leader of a Sufi Islamic order founded by the Safavids, was born in Ardabil where this complex is located. The Safavids chose the tomb-mosque form and the tomb with its mausoleum and the prayer hall is at a right angle to the mosque. The buildings of the complex surround a small inner courtyard (31 by 16 meters). The complex is preceded by a long garden.

The mausoleum of Sheikh Safi, in Ardabil, was built by his son Sheikh Sadr al-Din Mūsā, after the death of Sheikh Safi in 1334. It was built between the beginning of the sixteenth century and the end of the eighteenth century. The mausoleum, a circular tower with a dome, decorated with blue tiles, is about 17 meters high; next to it is the 17th century Porcelain House which preserves the ceremonial objects of the sanctuary. Part of the complex are also many sections that have served a variety of functions over the past few centuries, including a library, a mosque, a school, mausoleums, a cistern, a hospital, kitchens, a bakery, and some offices. It incorporates a path to reach the Sheikh sanctuary divided into seven segments, which reflect the seven stages of Sufi mysticism. Various parts of the mausoleum are separated by eight doors, representing the eight attitudes of Sufism.
Several parts were gradually added to the main structure during the Safavid dynasty. A number of Safavid sheikhs and harem and the victims of the Safavid battles, including the Battle of Cialdiran, were buried on the site.

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