The history of ARDABIL has close connections to that of Azarbaijan.
Ardabil always was one of the most important cities in Azarbaijan.
The natural features of the province of Ardabil are mentioned in the
Avesta, according to which Zoroaster was born by the river Aras and
wrote his book in the Sabalan Mountains. During the Islamic conquest of
Iran, Ardabil was the largest city in Azarbaijan, and remained so until
the Mongol invasion period.
Shah Ismail I started his campaign to nationalize Iran's government
and land from here, but consequently announced Tabriz as his capital in
1500CE. Yet Ardabil remained an important city both politically and
economically until modern times.
The province is believed to be as old as the Achaemenid (ca. 550–330
BC). It is mentioned in the Avesta, where Prophet Zoroaster was born by
the river Aras and wrote his book in the Sabalan Mountains. During
Parthian era the city had a special importance among the cities of
Azarbaijan. Some Muslim historians attribute foundation of Ardabil to
king Peroz I of Sassanid Empire. The Persian poet Ferdowsi also credits
the foundation of the city to Peroz I. Ardabil suffered some damages
caused by occasional raids of Huns between 4th to 6th century AD. Peroz
repaired those damages and fortified the city. Peroz made Ardabil the
residential of provincial governor (Marzban) of Azarbaijan.
During the Islamic conquest of Iran, Ardabil was the largest city in
North Western Iran, and remained so until the Mongol invasion period.
Ardabilis fought the Mongols three times; however the city fell after
the third attempt by Mongols. They massacred not only the Ardabilis but
inhabitants of neighboring villages and killing everyone they could
find. Incursions of Mongols and Georgians left the city in ruins for
nearly three centuries til the advent of Safavids.
Safavid Shah Ismail I started his campaign to nationalize Iran's
government and land from here, but consequently announced Tabriz as his
capital in AD 1500. Yet Ardabil remained an important city both
politically and economically until modern times. She was sacked by
Ottomans 14 times between 1514-1722 and in 1915 and by Russians in 1813,
1828 and in 1916.
On 28 February 1997, a destructive earthquake hit the Ardabil area.
Over 1000 people were killed, over 3000 injured, over 40,000 homeless,
over 13,000 houses damaged or destroyed and over 180,000 livestock were
killed. Severe damage was observed to roads, electrical power lines,
communications and water distribution systems around Ardabil.
In many villages of Ardabil, relics of ancient monuments, including tombs have been found.
Being a city of great antiquity, the origins of Ardabil go back 4000
to 6000 years (according to historical research in this city). This
city was the capital of Azerbaijan province in different times, but its
golden age was in the Safavid period.