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