An official from Ardebil Province’s Cultural Heritage, Tourism and Handicrafts Organization, Malakeh Golmaghanizadeh said that museums are like permanent exhibitions, and anthropology museums are considered the third category in museum classification. Objects and items representing the indigenous and nomadic lifestyles of local people from the past 150 years have been collected in the Ardebil Anthropology Museum.
According to the official the museum has received an impressive total of 6,500 visitors from March 21-Aug. 21, 2023.
She added that the museum exhibits the general culture, tribal clothing, handicrafts, daily life, and consumption items of the local people in the past.
“And when it comes to collecting and displaying them, there hasn’t been any bias towards a specific location in the province. Instead, a holistic and inclusive approach has been taken, considering all areas within the province,” she stressed.
Golmaghanizadeh observed that schools and university students are regular visitors to this valuable collection, indicating the excellent collaboration among Ardebil Province’s Department of Education, universities, and the Cultural Heritage Organization.
She noted that the Ardebil anthropology Museum finds its home in the magnificent and historic building of Zahir-ol-Eslam Bathhouse. It beams with pride as it showcases a priceless collection of artifacts from the Zand, Safavid, Qajar, and Pahlavi periods, illuminating the vibrant cultural heritage of the region.
The official continued that this bathhouse was built before the Safavid era (1501- 1736 CE) and was later expanded and finished during that period. Currently, there are continuous efforts dedicated to preserving and maintaining this building, as ongoing attention to historical structures is crucial for their protection and safeguarding.
In a section of this museum, you will find statues depicting rural women and men in various activities such as conversing, baking bread, weaving carpets and rugs, and energetically shaking the yoghurt churn to make butter.
In sarbineh of the bathhouse, multiple locations have been set up to meet the requirements of individuals who are waiting or seeking a place to rest. These specially designed spaces prioritize offering privacy after bathing, providing a dedicated area for prayer and reciting the Holy شenabling the enjoyment of tea, and accommodating individuals who wish to smoke the hookah.
The main corridor of the bathhouse, known as hashti, is a winding path that connects the sarbineh to the garmkhaneh, the main washing area which consisted of multiple sitting areas, as well as hot and cold bathing pools.
The hashti is designed to prevent heat loss, block a direct view to the garmkhaneh, and regulate the body temperature of individuals. The corridor is constructed in the form of a narrow maze with a low ceiling, either octagonal or square, with a simple dome-shaped roof.
The garmkhaneh’s illumination was provided by ceiling skylights with lens-shaped glass, which also served as a barrier to block the view of the bathroom from the outside.
Zahir-ol-Eslam Bathhouse was registered on Iran’s National Heritage List in 1997. After the necessary renovations, it was opened as the Ardebil Anthropology Museum on February 11, 2000.
Given that Ardebil has been designated as the Tourism Capital of ECO (Economic Cooperation Organization) in 2023, several programs have been implemented, or are in progress, to enhance the tourism potential of this province. Consequently, there has been a rise in the number of foreign tourists, particularly Chinese nationals, visiting Ardebil. This upward trend is expected to amplify museum visits and stimulate the tourism industry in the province.