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.
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.