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Post-Sasanian Structure Unearthed at Babak Castle


22 January 2006



LONDON, (CAIS) -- A staircase and a double-floor building were discovered during archeological excavations in Babak fortress near Tabriz city.

Babak fortress also called Dež-ī Jāwēd (the Eternal Fortress) is one of the most important historical sites of Iran, located in a mountainous region in Eest Azarbaijan province. 


The fortress was built during the Sasanid dynastic era; however it is famous for the 23 years residence ( 816 to 837 CE) against the Arab invaders by Persian hero Babak-e Khoramdin and his warriors. Eventually Babak, his wife, and his warriors were forced to leave their command post at the castle under very difficult circumstances. He was betrayed and was handed over to the Arab invaders.  


During Babak’s execution, the Muslim invaders first cut off his legs and hands in order to convey the most devastating message to Iranian residences. Legend has it that Babak bravely rinsed his face with the blood pouring out of his wounds, thus depriving the caliph and the rest of the invading army the opportunity to see that his face had turned pale due to heavy bleeding.

Following the recent excavations in Babak fortress and removing of the debris, some important parts of this fortress, which had previously been unknown, were unearthed. “Archeological excavations in Babak Fortress have started since 2002, and some parts of this fortress have been unearthed so far. The most important discovery has recently been made in this historical site which was finding of a staircase with a double-floor building dating back to the beginning of Islamic period,” said Mohammad Pashayi, head of excavation team in Babak Fortress.

According to Pashayi, the main activities of the excavation team was excavating and restoring the western part of the main staircase of the fortress which dates back to the Islamic period. Due to the large number of visitors, this part of the staircase was not in a good condition and if nothing had been done to preserve it, it would have suffered a real harm in for sure.

“A 4.5x 5.5 meter room with two windows, which must have been a guard room, was discovered during the latest excavations in this historical site. There is a 35-meter corridor beside the room. This corridor leads to two towers which have already been unearthed. The discovered staircase and the two-floor building at the back of the corridor and towers all belong to the beginning of the Islam era,” added Pashayi.

Since removing the debris has not been finished in the two-floor building, the usage of this discovered staircase may not be determined yet. Considering that the staircase leads to the two-floor building with a steep slope, experts believe that this building might have been a reservoir or food storage.

“Stonework with mortar was used in the construction of this double-floor building, a feature not found in the construction of the staircase. Using stones and mortars in the construction of buildings was an architectural style common during the Sasanid dynastic era; therefore, we can not say for sure that the staircase and the building were constructed during the same historical period,” explained Pashayi.

The discovered staircase is walled from both sides but experts believe that it should not have been covered from the beginning.

Every year in July 9th, tens of thousands of Iranian pilgrims gather at Babak Fortress to commemorate and celebrate their national heroes' lives and their hereon death.





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News Source: CHN & MNA




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