The Baz Fort or Jomhour Castle also known as the Babak Castle is one of the main destinations of mountaineers as well as tourists interested in nature and ancient sites in East Azerbaijan Province.
Archeologists believe the historical monument dates back to the Sassanid era. The impregnable fortress lies around 2700 meters above sea level and is surrounded by valleys as deep as 400-600 meters.
Babak Khorramdin and his companions known as “The Red-Clad” or “The Khorramdins” lived and fought in this castle for more than 20 years.
Although it requires visitors to climb the mountain to reach the fortress and, hence, it may seem difficult to get there, the historical aspect of the castle and its breathtaking view to the surrounding mountains and areas make the journey worth it.
The Babak Castle was registered on Iran’s List of National Heritage Sites back in 1966 and its restoration work kicked off in 1997.
The Appeal of Mountain Climbing to Reach the Babak Castle
After a tough journey up the mountain, you will finally reach the summit and the Babak Castle whose splendid scenery will fill you with awe. Undoubtedly, watching such a view of nature from the summit of a mountain coupled with taking selfies and recording the moments will be an appealing and unforgettable experience for you.
The Arasbaran region is blanketed with thick fog, especially in spring and fall, and you are likely to come across foggy weather while climbing the mountain to reach the Babak castle, which will redouble your joy.
Moreover, if you choose to visit the fortress in summer, you will get a chance to visit the black tents of the Shahsavan nomadic tribe who live in the mountains of this region. You may drink local doogh (a traditional Persian drink made with yoghurt and water) and see and buy the handicrafts of Shahsavan nomads.
The Best Season to Visit the Babak Castle
The period of time from mid-April to late May, and from September to October is the best time to set off on a journey to the fortress. The Arasbaran region witnesses beautiful springs. You may also visit the fort in summer, but it is a little hot then.
In fall, the region witnesses double as much beauty, but the path is slippery. Travelling to the area is not recommended in winter due to the bitter cold.
The Hiking Path to Reach the Baz Fort
There are three routes to get to the Babak Castle, each of which is regarded as part of the attractions of the trip. These paths meet at the beginning of the staircase passage leading to the fortress. This passageway is the only way to enter the castle.
The first pathway: If you choose to climb to the castle from the direction of the Babak Hotel, you have go up around 1000 stone steps, which is roughly a three-hour walk.
The second pathway: The Daresi Castle Tourism Camp located three kilometers from the Babak Castle can be another option. You can drive to the camp with your personal car before continuing your journey to the fortress on foot. It takes almost three hours to walk up the path with a rather slight slope.
The third path: It is a path which runs all the way from Kaliber to the hotel and the nomads’ campsite and should be traversed with a powerful vehicle; then you should be ready for an hour’s walk to get to the passageway of the castle.
The Story of Babak Khorramdin from Azerbaijan to India and Rome
The strategic position of the castle and the hardly negotiable pathway to the summit had enabled a 20-strong group of soldiers to overcome a 100,000-strong army as the far distance did not allow the bows and arrows as well as other weapons of the time to harm the guards and soldiers at the castle.
There are many stories and legends about the life and death of Babak Khorramdin. Despite the numerous surveys conducted, there is little information about his birthplace. He seems to have been born more than 1200 years ago.
Babak was finally defeated in a battle with Afshin in the year 817 and apprehended.
Despite being Iranian, Afshin served Al-Mu’tasim, the eighth Abbasid caliph, to gain control over Khorassan province and took Babak captive by deceiving him. In the same year, Babak’s limbs were amputated and he was finally executed on the caliph’s orders.
Stories of Babak and his companions’ valor and courage were not limited to Azerbaijan only, and the saga of the Khoramdins’ uprising spread all the way from India to Rome to other areas as an interesting legend.
Ceremonies at the Babak Castle
Babak fans and enthusiasts converge on the castle on July 06 every year to hold a ceremony commemorating him. The gathering marks the anniversary of the birthday of this Iranian commander, which has been honored by people from all walks of life since 2000.
The Castle’s Building
The only entrance to the fortress is through the main gate. After you enter the gate and walk past the battlements, you have to walk through a narrow passageway, which is a 100-meter slope toward the summit. Then you will get to the interior entrance of the castle.
The building of the castle is located after the entrance and used to have two or three stories. Seven rooms surround the main hall all of which are connected to the central hall.
The Babak Castle was used in the 6th and 7th centuries, too. This can be proved by the objects discovered at the site such as coated and painted pottery. There are no documents and evidence about the era after that date. It seems like the castle was abandoned from then on.
More Images of Conquering the Babak Castle
The following photos of tourists climbing the mountain to reach the historical Babak Castle have been published by the Mizan News Agency.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Where is the Babak Castle located?
It is located near the town of Kaliber in East Azerbaijan Province.
2. When was the Babak Castle built?
Based on archeological findings, the castle dates back to the Parthian and Sassanid eras.
3. What is the castle famous for?
The castle has a reputation for being home to an Iranian commander named Babak Khorramdin, who fought Abbasid caliphs at mountainous areas of Arasbaran for more than two decades.
4. Which is the best season to visit the Babak Castle?
You had better travel to this region and visit the castle during the period of time from mid-April to late May, and from September to October.
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