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Third Exploration Season Underway in the Alamut Fort


News Category:

Islamic Period

 07 September 2003




The Hassan Sabah fort is considered the largest citadel of the Ismailite sect in Iran which has so far been explored in two archaeological seasons. The Assassins (or Hashisham ) were a Persian Ismai'ili sect created by Hassan Sabbah in 1090. Like many Order and Secret Societies throughout the ages, the actual history and practices have been blended or bastardized by folk-lore and myth.

Now a third season of exploration is underway in the historical monument, near Qazvin in west central Iran, aimed at securing and protecting the fort as well as identifying its biological, structural and architectural periods.

Once the stronghold of Hassan Sabah, the leader of the sect, the fort is divided into two upper and lower parts. The upper part was used as the residential section while the lower part served as its outlet to the outside world and housed industrial activities.

Head of the exploration team Dr. Hamid Chubak noted in this season, efforts were made to find the main entrance to the fort, draw its plan, identify its structural periods and supporting the walls in order to secure the monument.

He said identification of four structural periods, discovery of architectural relics, kilns, industrial ovens, metal works, bakery, etc. were among the major finds of the two previous seasons.

The Hassan Sabah fort sits atop a hill some 160 meters above the adjacent ground. It is thought to have been a major Iranian historical and cultural hub since the 10th century until the end of the Safavid period.

Its unique advantages, including its invincibility, command over its environing land and enough water and food stocks, encouraged Hassan Sabah to take shelter in the fort for some 35 years in the 11th century until his death.



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