Shir Qaleh, also known as the Castle of Sheikh Cheshmeh-Sar, is situated near a namesake valley in Shahmirzad, a tourist resort 20 km north of Semnan.
One needs to climb a mountain to reach the castle, which has an irregular design because of the steep slopes that lead to the valley.
The rocks of the mountain and a nearby river have been used in the construction of Shir Qaleh, originally built in the pre-Islamic era along with the Sarou Castles in Semnan. According to archaeological studies, its infrastructure dates back to the Parthian and Sassanid periods.
The castle has been reconstructed during the Nizari Ismaili period, and turned into an important refuge in Qumis province. It was put in use again by the Bavand dynasty rulers, most probably Shah Ghazi Rustam, the Bavandid king of Tabarestan.
The main walls of the castle have remained in the western and northern parts, while the eastern and southern parts are half-destroyed. The castle’s inner land is totally buried under the ground.
Shir Qaleh has been registered in the list of Iran’s National Heritage sites in 2001.
What follows are IRNA’s photos of the Castle of Lions: