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Latest Archaeological and Cultural News of Iran and the Iranian World


Two More Iranian Historical Sites Added to UNESCO World Heritage List


04 August 2010



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Sheikh Safi Mausoleum (Click to enlarge)


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  Bazaar of Tabriz (Click to enlarge)

LONDON, (CAIS) -- Winning the majority of votes after the delivery of ICOMUS expert's, the mausoleum of Sheikh Safi ad-Din Aradbili and the Tabriz ancient bazaar in Iran are now registered on the UNESCO World Heritage List.

The decision to inscribe the sites on the list was made during the 34th session of the UNESCO World Heritage Committee in Brasilia on Saturday, July 31st.

Sites in Saudi Arabia, Australia, India, the Marshall Islands, and South Korea were also added to the list at the session.

Mausoleum of Sheikh Safi ad-Din Aradbili
The mausoleum of Sheikh Safi ad-Din Aradbili, founder of a Sufi order in Aradbil, is located in the city of Aradbil (pre-Islamic Artavilla) in northwest Iran. It is comprised of structures built between 1335 and 1629 CE.


The main part of the mausoleum, the Allah-Allah Tomb, was built by Sadr ad-Din Mousa, son of Sheikh Safi ad-Din Aradbili, whose claimed to be the descendant Ismail I, founded the Safavid dynasty 1501-1736 CE.

A wooden box bearing inlays and intarsia, which is believed have been presented by Timurid king Homayun, has been placed on Sheikh Safi’s grave.

The mausoleum consists of various sections that have served a variety of functions over the past centuries, including a library, a mosque, a school, an icehouse, a hospital, kitchens, a bakery, and some offices.

It incorporates a route to reach the shrine of the sheikh divided into seven segments, which mirror the seven stages of Sufi mysticism. Various parts of the mausoleum are also separated by eight gates, which represent the eight attitudes in Sufism.

The site presents characteristics of medieval Iranian architecture. A collection of fascinating artifacts is also kept at the mausoleum.

Another dome was constructed beside the main dome of the mausoleum after Shah Ismail was buried beside the grave of Sheikh Safi.

Several parts were gradually added to the main structure during the Safavid dynasty. A number of Safavid sufis and families and fallen Iranian soldiers of the Battle of Chaldoran (also known as Chaldiran) with Ottoman Turks, have been buried at the site.

Sheikh Safi ad-Din Aradbili (1252–1334) was descendant of of Firuz Shah Zarin Kolah a Persian dignitary with Kurdish lineage from Sanandaj. 


In 1301, Safi al-Din assumed the leadership of the Zahediyeh, a significant Sufi order in Gilan, from his morshed (Grand Master) Sheikh Zahed Gilani who was also his father-in-law. The order was later known as the Safaviyeh (the Safavid order) and soon gained great influence in the city of Ardabil.


Sheikh Safis' extant religious poetry, written in Tati ( a now extinct Northwestern Iranian language), accompanied by a paraphrase in Persian which helps their understanding, has survived to this day and has linguistic importance.


Tabriz Historic Bazaar Complex
The Bazaar of Tabriz and its complex is considered to be one of the main trade centers on the Silk Road and a place of cultural exchange since antiquity. The bazaar of Tabriz is located in the city of Tabriz in East Azarbaijan Province, northwest Iran.


The Bazaar is one of the oldest surviving Bazaars in the Middle-East and is the largest covered bazaar in the world.


Tabriz Historic Bazaar Complex consists of a series of interconnected, covered, brick structures, buildings, and enclosed spaces for different functions. Tabriz and its Bazaar were already prosperous and famous in the 13th century, when the city became the capital city of the Safavid Empire. The city lost its status as capital in the 16th century, but remained important as a commercial hub until the end of the 18th century, with the expansion of Ottoman power.


It is one of the most complete examples of the traditional commercial and cultural system of Iran, constructed in Iranian architectural tradition. 

The bazaar comprises 23 caravanserais, 22 corridors, 20 malls, 28 mosques, 8 religious-schools, 5 bathhouses, 2 icehouses, and a Zurkhaneh (house of strength), a gymnasium for the traditional Iranian martial art.

Iranian sites on the World Heritage List

1. Chogha Zanbil, Elamite Period (1250 BCE), Khuzestan Province, 1979

2. Persepolis, Achaemenid Dynasty, Fars Province, 1979

3. Naqsh-e Jahan Square, Safavid Dynasty, Isfahan Province, 1979

4. Takht-e Soleiman, Sasanian Dynasty, West Azarbaijan Province, 2003

5. Pasargadae, Achaemenid Dynasty, Fars Province, 2004

6. The city of Bam and its Cultural Landscape, Parthian Dynasty, Kerman Province, 2004

7. Soltanieh Dome, Ilkhanid Period, Zanjan Province, 2005

8. Bistun Complex, Achaemenid and Sasanian Dynasty, Kermanshah Province, 2006

9. Historical churches of St. Thaddeus and St. Stephanus, West Azarbaijan Province, and Dzordzor (Zorzor), East Azarbaijan Province, 2008

10. Shushtar’s ancient water system, Sasanian Dynasty, Khuzestan Province, 2009

11. Mausoleum of Sheikh Safi ad-Din Aradbili, Ilkhanid and Safavid Dynasty, Aradbil Province, 2010

12. Tabriz Bazaar, Ilkhanid and Safavid Dynasty, East Azarbaijan Province, 2010







Original news bulletin published by Mehr News rectified and edited by CAIS [*]




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