Alamut Castle | once impenetrable fortress in the heart of mountains
In the northwest of Qazvin and in the village of Gazarkhan, one could find the remains of Alamut’s historic fortress. Although many parts of Alamut Castle have been ruined over time, it is still one of the spectacular architectural and historical attractions of Iran.
Alamut Castle is also called the Castle of Hassan Sabbah by the local people of the area. Hassan Sabah was the founder of Ismaili sect.
The reason of the naming
This Castle was founded by a Deylami Persian king. It is said that when he was on a hunting expedition, an enormous adult eagle landed on top of a hard-to-reach rock. It was taken as a propitious omen by the king; therefor he decided to build a castle in this tactical and strategic place.
On this account the Castle was called Alamut, which means ‘‘eagle’s nest’’ or “eagle’s teaching”
The history of Alamut and Hassan Sabbah
In the 5th century AH, Hassan Sabbah was the leader of a sect in Islam which was named Ismaili. He converted the local population of Alamut and founded Assassins group. Hassan Sabbah was looking for a place to make it the center of his military activities to propagate and promote Ismaili beliefs. His takeover of the castle was without much noticeable bloodshed. Sabbah and his followers built a series of amazing castles in Alamut and successfully resisted many outsiders’ attacks.
This castle was captured and burned by the Mongol ruler Holagu Khan during Mongols’ attack, so today not many parts of the castle have been remained. Unfortunately all of the rare books in the great library of Alamut were burned due to this attack. The library was a rich source of books about literature, astronomy, math, philosophy and even alchemy.
The architecture of Alamut Castle
Alamut Fortress was built over a cliff at an altitude of 2100 meters above the sea level. Its length is about 120 meters and its width varies from 10 to 35 meters. The walls of the castle were built according to the form of the rocks which explains why it’s not rectangular and even in its width, which is a unique style in Iranian architecture. Alamut Castle has 2 western and eastern parts, in which the western part is higher and is divided into 2 sections of “the upper castle” and “the great castle”. Not many parts of this historic structure have been remained due to the Mongol’s attack and the passage of time.
There are precipices around the castle on its 4 sides and the fortress had only one entrance at its end of northeast side, making the castle impenetrable and difficult to conquer.
Although there are only a few remains from Hassan Sabbah’s Castle, but its beautiful scenery and great history, still attracts many visitors.
* Written by Arefeh Firouzan.
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|Wikipedia: Click here||Name(s) in Persian: قلعه الموت|
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|Province: Qazvin|| Accommodation availability: N/A|
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