Iran City Guides - Alamut
- fortress city of the Assassins
- situated in the peaks of the Alborz mountains
- 30km from Qazvin
- fortresses date from the 11th Century
Located near Qazvin in the Alborz mountains, the fortress of Alamut is famous for being the one time stronghold of the mysterious Ismaili sect, also known in the West as the Assassins. Legend has it that the strategic location of the castle was revealed to a Daylami king by an eagle hence the name Alamut which means either "Eagles Nest" or "Revealed by an Eagle".
14th century painting of an assassination
Whatever the truth, Alamut was built in 860 and infiltrated by Hassan Sabbah of the Ismailis in 1090. A bloodless coup established Alamut as the focus of Ismaili opposition to the ruling Seljuk dynasty. Hulagu Khan succeeded in taking the stronghold in 1256 and destroyed many buildings including the famous library. Alamut was restored under the Safavids who used it as a prison until the 18th century after which it was abandoned to looters and the elements.
Little remains of the once formidable structure except the crumbling ruins of two courtyards, living spaces, food storerooms, meeting halls and a mosque. Visitors can however appreciate the dramatic mountain location and the traditional village life of nearby Gazorkhan. Accommodation is either camping by nearby Lake Evan or shared rooms in a guest house. Access is by 4-wheel drive vehicle and then light trekking. An experienced guide is recommended.
The capture of Alamut by the Mongols in 1256
Access - Getting To Alamut
Will Yong and Kazem Vafadari