Ardebil is a province in north-western Iran, 639 km from Tehran. Ardebil has a long history of carpet weaving. The reign of the Safavid Dynasty in the 16th and 17th centuries represented the peak of carpet weaving in the region. The name Ardebil comes from the Avesta (The sacred book of Zoroastrians) with the word Artavil literally meaning a tall holy place. One of the most famous carpets in existence today is the Ardebil Carpet, measuring 34′ x 17′, in the Victoria and Albert Museum in London.
Ardebil is an important area for the production of tribal and village rugs. There is a production of Ardebil rugs that tend to look like Persian copies of Caucasian designs. The reason for this is that when the Russians expanded into the Caucasus in the day of the Christian Czars many Shia Moslems moved out of the newly Russian areas and into present day Iran. The major north/south road from the Caucasus bisects Ardebil so many of the refugees settled in Ardebil. However, usually the colours are lighter. The patterns are predominantly geometric and the most common layouts on Ardebil rugs are medallions, multiple connected diamond-shaped medallions, and all-over octagonal shapes. The most recognized design found on Ardebil rugs is the famous Mahi (Herati) design – a diamond medallion and small fish throughout.
The warp on Ardebil rugs is mostly cotton, while the weft is either cotton or wool, although silk is also used as weft on finer pieces and sometimes incorporated into the pile in order to accentuate some highlights in the pattern.