As Iranian and foreign archeologists have divergent ideas on when the mausoleum of Shah Ismail, founder of the Safavid dynasty (1500-1722), was exactly constructed, a recent archeological survey shows it dates back to the 15th century, while its dome was built during the reign of Shah Abbas (1587-1629).
Shah Ismail's sepulcher is one of the oldest architectural elements of the Sheik Safi'uldin Shrine, spiritual muse of the empire, located east to it. "In spite of being a masterpiece in terms of internal decoration, the mausoleum is the least spacious and lowest building in the shrine," said Hassan Yusefi, Iranian researcher and archeologist.
He noted most experts who believe the mausoleum was built during Shah Ismail's rule (1501-1524) fail to consider its undersized architectural plan. Instead Yusefi contends the tomb was constructed in latter stages of the dynasty.
The Safavids, who came to power in 1501, were leaders of a militant Sufi order. They traced their ancestry to Sheik Safi'uldin (died circa 1334), the founder of their order, who claimed descent from Shiite Islam's Seventh Imam, Musa al Kazim. In 1501, under their leader Ismail, the Safavids seized power in Tabriz, which became their capital. Ismail was proclaimed shah of Iran. The rise of the Safavids marks the reemergence in Iran of a powerful central authority within geographical boundaries attained by former Iranian empires.
The Safavid state reached its apogee during the reign of Shah Abbas (1587-1629). In addition to his political reorganization and his support of religious institutions, Shah Abbas also promoted commerce and the arts.
... Payvand News - 7/16/04 ... --