Fragments of Kufic inscriptions discovered at Alamut Castle

October 3, 2006 - 0:0
TEHRAN -- Fragments of Kufic inscriptions have been discovered during the latest phase of excavations at the Seljuk era castle Alamut, the Persian service of CHN reported on Monday.

The castle located near Qazvin was used by Hassan Sabbah, the founder of the order known as the Assassins, as a headquarters to command a chain of strongholds all over Iran and Iraq, a network of propagandists, a corps of devoted terrorists, and an unknown number of agents in enemy camps and cities, after he and his allies captured it in 1090.

The fragments are from the castle’s façade, which was discovered during last year’s excavations.

“The façade dates back to the Seljuk era and the period Hassan Sabbah controlled the castle. The façade had brickworks similar to the Seljuk era Kharaqan Twin Towers near Qazvin,” the director of the archaeological team working on Alamut, Hamideh Chubak, said on Monday.

The inscriptions are shattered into many pieces, making them unreadable, but the fragments show that the inscriptions had been created with great skill and art.

“The team has approached the castle’s main court, which covers an area of 100 square meters and is surrounded by four halls,” Chubak said.

Archaeologists are seeking to determine which dynasties controlled the castle over time through studies on the strata at the monument.

The castle is most famous for being the headquarters of Hassan Sabbah, the leader of the notorious Islamic sect, the Nizari Ismaeilites.

He led an ascetic existence and imposed a puritanical regime at Alamut -- when one of his sons was accused of murder and the other of drunkenness, he had them both executed. He wrote a number of cogent theological treatises, stressing in particular the need to accept absolute authority in matters of religious faith.