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World Biggest Earthen Fortress to be Saved



11 October 2005


Iraj Fortress, located in Varamin, 40 Kms southeast of Tehran, is one of the biggest defensive earthen fortresses of the world, belonging to the Sassanid era. After many years of being neglected, it is now going to become a key cultural entertainment center of the country.

The historical fortress dates back to more than 2500 years ago, and its name has been mentioned in Vandidad, one of the chapters of Zoroastrianism book, Avesta, providing a proof to this claim.

The Fortress is built in an area of 1440x1280 square meters and the walls are 8 to 12 meters wide. The size of the adobes which have been used in the construction of the walls, are 12x46x46 cms. The Fort which is considered as the biggest defensive earthen fortress of the world is situated north of Varamin to Pishva road. On each side of the fortress, there is a gate. Today, from these four gates, just the northeastern one is left intact.

Despite the importance of this historical fortress, it has been ignored and no research has been carried out on it so far, keeping the mysteries behind the fort which is surrounded by agricultural plains unsolved.

Until 6 months ago when the fortress was introduced as one of the 10 big projects of Tehran province to the preservation and restoration office of the Cultural Heritage and Tourism Organization of Iran; it was then agreed that after doing studies on the fortress, it be appointed as one of the main national projects of Iran.

The reformation and restoration of this military fortress is under consideration now, and according to Alireza Anisi, deputy of the preservation office of the Cultural Heritage and Tourism Organization of Iran, the restoration project of Iraj Fortress will begin very soon by allocation of the necessary budget, turning it to one of the biggest tourism centers of Iran.

Iraj Fortress, as the historical shelter of Fereydoon killer of Zahak in Ferdowsi’s Shahnameh (Letter of Kings), is a unique fortress, which was used as a defensive location. .

Due to its vast area and the existence of an airport, which is being used for crop-dusting, the special situation of the historical fortress for attracting tourists can not be denied.

“Iraj Fortress is one of the most important historical sites of Iran, which underwent serious damages within the last few years. But with reformation and restoration activities, this historical site will be saved, will regain its dignity and will become a tourist attraction,” says Mohammad Ebrahim Tarighat, head of Cultural Heritage and Tourism Organization of Tehran.

The thick walls of the fortress where chariots passed along are damaged due to lack of necessary preservations and a lot of cracks have appeared on them.

Tarighat knows these walls as a symbol of Iran’s historical identity and believes that they should be reformed and restored to indicate Iranian identity.

This fortress enjoys some valuable characteristics, such as its brick aqueduct. “This military fortress enjoys an aqueduct with 200 to 300 meters of brick pipes, which provided the fortress inhabitants with sufficient supply of water during war time and when they were under siege by the enemies,” says Ali Akbar Soltanian, head of the Cultural Heritage and Tourism Organization of Varamin.


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