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Commemoration of Babak, the Persian Hero

Banned by Revolutionary Guards


10 July 2006




Babk Castle


Artist impression of Babak Khorramdin,

based on historical records


Edited by Shapour Suren-Pahlav


LONDON, (CAIS) -- Every July 9th, Iranian pilgrims attend Babak Castle to commemorate their national hero and his fellow warriors in their awesome fort of Babak.


The Revolutionary Guards and Basij, the militia vigilantes this year have began performing a military exercise in the vicinity and in the surrounding area of the ancient fort. The Revolutionary Guards' spokesman, announced due to a military exercise, they had to prohibit pilgrims to visit the castle, due to the safety measures. 


Babak historical fort, known as the Immortal Castle, is located 16 km southwest of Kelidar in the 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 Partho-Sasanian dynastic 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.



The Persian Hero

Babak was the leader of the Khorram-dinân, a nationalist-religious group that rose against the invasion of Iran by Arabs, following the execution of Abu Muslim, who had rebelled against the Arab rules. Denying that Abu Muslim was dead, the sect predicted that he would return to spread Iranian justice throughout the world. Babak led a new revolt against the Arabs that was sacrificed his life for the liberation of his country from tyrant invaders in 837.


Babak was born into a Persian family (originally from Ctesiphon) in the Balalabad, Siyahkuh (modern Qaradagh) region of Atropatekan (today Azarbaijan) province near the city of Artavilla (Ardabil). After the death of his father, though in his early teens, but he was given responsibility for his two brothers and mother during a traditional Zoroastrian ceremony at a fire temple. By the age of 18 Babak had established himself in the city of Târûæi (today Tabriz).


Later on, this engagement gave him the opportunity to travel to the northern Iranian provinces in Caucasus and other part of the Greater Iran, Middle-East and  Eastern Europe. During this time, Atropatekan province was constantly invaded by the Arab forces of Abbasid caliphs.


The constant pressure on the Iranian people motivated Babak to join the Khorram-dinan movement at Babak Castle in the mountains of Qaradagh.


One of the most dramatic periods of Iranian history occurred under Babak’s leadership from 816 to 837 CE. Eventually Babak, his wife, and his warriors were forced to leave their command post at the castle under very difficult circumstances after 23 years of struggle. He was betrayed and was handed over to the enemy.


During Babak’s martyrdom, the caliph's henchmen first cut off his legs and hands in order to convey the most devastating message to Iranians. 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 Arab invaders the opportunity to see that his face had turned pale due to heavy bleeding.


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