If you’re a history buff or if you simply want to explore priceless architectural remains of the past, Iran is just the place for you. Anyone can visit the Versailles Palace in Paris or the Colosseum in Rome, but who of your friends has pictures of the amazing Falak-ol-Aflak Castle in Iran? If you’re planning your trip to Iran make sure to include visiting Iran wonderful castles and fortress in your schedule.
Top Iran Castles and Fortress
Also known as Ghale Dokhtar or Dokhtar Castle, Qa’leh Doktar is situated on a mountain slope in the Fars Province, in southern Iran. The castle was built during the time of Ardashir I in the year 209 BC. The castle was dedicated to Anahita, goddess of fertility and healing, hence its name of the Maiden Castle. Lovers of architecture will recognize elements of Sasanian palace architecture, such as long halls, recessed windows, domes and arches.
The castle was built of stone and mortar coated in plaster for a smooth appearance. It is also richly decorated with typical Iranian ornaments and paintings. You can rent a car or take a domestic flight to reach to this castle.
Location: Qaleh Dokhtar
Also known as Shapur Khast, Falak-ol-Aflak is a magnificent example of Sassanid architecture. The castle, situated in the city of Khorramabad, in the Lorestan province, is truly gigantic. It’s building took almost four centuries and the grandiose structure is often referred to as the Castle of Castles.
The height of the edifice, including the hill it was built upon, reaches 40 meters and it will grant you a splendid view of the city and the surrounding area. Construction was finished in 651, but the castle remains in perfect condition even today, although most of the structure is made of bricks, stone and wood.
Location: Falak ol Aflak Castle
Qaleh Babak, or Papak Fort, is one of the most interesting tourist attractions in Iran. The large citadel is situated on top of a mountain, not far from Kalibar City in northwestern Iran. It was built by the Khurramites in the Azerbaijani part of Iran, as a defense against the forces of the Islamic caliphate of Abbasids.
Unfortunately for them, the fort was conquered in the year 837. It’s also a pity for modern day tourists as the castle was badly damaged during the fight.
Location: Babak Fort
If you find yourself in the South Caspian province of Qazvin, take a day trip to the ‘eagle’s nest’, aka the Alamut fortress. The castle dates more than 1,000 years back and was the scene of fierce fighting until it was conquered by Mongols in the 13th century. If you go there, you can see what remains of the castle’s famous library, as Alamut was not just a military stronghold, but also a place of culture.
n the 11th century Hasan Sabbah (~1050-1124), a leader of the Ismaili branch of Islam, converted the local population and founded the feared Hashshashin (or Assassins) group. With his group he built a series of amazing castles in the Alamut valley.
Location: Alamut Castle
This incredible place in the Khuzestan Province was built by a French architect in the 19th century in the ruins of the ancient city of Susa. It resembles medieval castles in France, while also including local elements. The palace used to vaunt a rare cuneiform tablet inscribed with the Code of Hammurabi, but unfortunately at present, this precious relic is at the Louvre Museum in Paris.
Exotigo provides a three-day Khuzestan tour, which visiting the Shush castle is included in the itinerary.
Location: Shush Castle
Rudkhan Castle, situated not far from Fuman in the Gilan province, is a spectacular place. It was built during the Sassanid era as a fortress and it straddles two tips of a mountain. The castle has two sides that sprawl over 2.6 hectares, and is an amazing mix of fortifications, domes and octagonal rooms, all watched over by 40 towers.
Location: Rudkhan Castle