Ardabil has been at the center of many movements of people, civilizations and styles throughout the centuries. Located in Azerbaijan, almost on the border between Europe and Asia and just above the legendary Silk Road, its rug-making heritage is second to none.
Ardabil has given its name to two of the largest and most famous rugs in the world. One is housed in the Victoria & Albert Museum in London, while the other was recently restored at Hampton Court Palace for the city of Los Angeles. It is hotly debated whether this noble pair were actually woven in Kashan or in Tabriz, but it is unlikely that they were made in Ardabil.
Of all the external rug related influences on this city, that of Turkey seems to have been strongest with many Turkish patterns and techniques contributing to what is today known as an Ardabil rug.
The term Ardabil can also be used to describe a design with a central medallion and 16 pendants on a field of swirling tracery.
Bright colors with large panels of modest silk are typical of Ardabil rugs, whereas patterns like Herati were passed on to the others who took greater advantage of their incredible strength and beauty.