Zahhak castle more reachable as stone walkway completed

November 27, 2020 - 22:10

TEHRAN – Zahhak castle has now become more reachable to modern visitors as a stone pedestrian walkway has been finalized to the once unconquerable monument.

Built around 2000 BC, Zahhak castle is one of the lesser-known tourism attractions of the East Azarbaijan province. It was used as a government building and later as a fire temple in the times of the Parthians (247 BC – 224 CE).

Construction of a stone pedestrian walkway has been finalized as part of a restoration and landscaping project on the ancient Zahhak castle and its surrounding that commenced last year, provincial tourism chief Ahmad Hamzehzadeh announced on Wednesday.  

Perched on top of a hill near Hashtroud, northwest Iran, the castle contains depictions of animals and symbols that show what life was like for the royalty in ancient Iran. It includes a square-shaped hall made of bricks built during the Parthia period. During this time, Zoroastrianism was the religion of the ruling kings, who likely used part of the castle for a fire temple.

The castle is named after a Persian legend, Zahhak is the name of an Arab king who conquered and ruled over ancient Iran. The story is recounted in the Shahnameh, or Book of Kings, written by Ferdowsi. Kawa is the hero in this particular story, who rescues his Kurdish people in Iran from Zahhak's control.

 Zahhak castle also served as a military defense during the Parthian era given its position close to the Iranian border with other nations in the northwest, including Turkey and Armenia.