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Iranian Pilgrims Celebrated Babak’s Birthday


12 July 2004




Over one thousand Iranian pilgrims celebrated the birth of Persian warrior Babak Khorramdin, who fought Arab invaders in 8th century. They gathered to celebrate his life and hereon death in his awesome fort in Kelidar area, near Tabriz, on Friday to mark his symbolic birthday.

His staunch followers, all Iranian nationalists, had camped in the mountainous castle since last Thursday, reading poetry including Shahnameh (Iran’s most famous epic poetry book) and playing traditional music. They also lit up bonfires to follow traditional rituals of ancient Persia.

His historical fort, known as the Immortal Castle, is located 16 km southwest of Kelidar in East Azerbaijan Province and is 2,300 to 2,600 meters above the sea level.


The fort, surrounded by gorges as deep as 400 to 600 meters, is believed to belong to the Parthian/Sasanid eras. To reach the castle, one has to trek a tortuous and narrow passageway and then cross a corridor-shaped temple, 200 meters in lengths.

Khorramdin originally was known as Abdullah Babak. He and his followers promoted a purely Persian religion as an alternative to Islam. During a 20-year rebellion (816-837 AD) they killed many of the invading Arabs.


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