Izad-Khast Castle

The Izad Khast Castle is located in Izadkhast in the Fars Province, central Iran. The castle was built during the Sassanid Empire (224 to 651 AD)[3] and functioned as fortified walled city on the ancient Silk Road that ran through central Iran. Izadkhast was the first castle in the world made from adobe.[2] And it is the second largest adobe building in the world after Arg-e Bam.[2]

Izad-Khast Castle
Izadkhast Castle photo
Izadkhast Castle as seen in August 2018.
Izadkhast is located in Iran
Izadkhast
Izadkhast
Shown within Iran
Alternative nameIzadkhast, Yazdkhast, Yazd khast
LocationIzadkhvast, Abadeh County, Iran
RegionFars Province
Coordinates31°30′58″N 52°07′26″E / 31.51611°N 52.12389°E / 31.51611; 52.12389Coordinates: 31°30′58″N 52°07′26″E / 31.51611°N 52.12389°E / 31.51611; 52.12389
TypeCastle
Part ofThe Complex of Izadkhast
Height6-15 metres (20-50 feet)[1]
History
MaterialAdobe (World's first adobe castle)[2]
FoundedSasanid (224-651 AD)[2]
Site notes
ConditionRuined
Public accessYes
Architecture
Architectural stylesSassanid, Qajar dynasty
Designationon UNESCO World Heritage Tentative List since 2007.

The castle is built on a high bedrock overlooking the Izadkhast valley. Inside the castle walls are many narrow alleyways and passages criss-crossing through centuries old tiny houses and buildings.[2]

The castle and surrounding Izadkhast complex has been nominated to the UNESCO World Heritage Tentative List on August 9, 2007 in the Cultural category.[4]

LocationEdit

 
1920s artwork of Izadkhvast Castle

The Izad-khast castle is located on the ancient Silk Road between Shiraz and Isfahan. The site is in the middle of nowhere and surrounded by a desert land. But a high singular bedrock overlooking a valley was an ideal location for the development of a fortified desert city in the middle of nowhere.[2]

The Izadkhvast castle is built on this singular bedrock that juts out to the Izadkhast valley. The valley around it functions as a natural deep trench. Castle fortification walls have been built around the bedrock, tall and almost perpendicular, ranging from 6 to 15 meters on three sides. On the fourth and shorter side of the bedrock, a 30 meter (100 feet) long trench had been dug. The trench is 4 meters across and 4 meters deep. Access to the castle was over the trench, through a small bridge and a gate.[1]

 
Entrance of the big castle over the trench.

The site's natural topography and added fortifications made the castle one of the most unattainable buildings of the ancient times for robbers and enemies.[2]

On the valley below the castle bedrock are rocky fields, with a barren plateau behind. The Izadkhast caravanserai roadside inn stands alone in this valley, in the middle of a rocky field.[5]

HistoryEdit

The history of the castle complex dates back to the pre-Islamic era of Iran. Izad-Khast is a Sassanid castle, built during the Sassanid Empire (224 to 651 AD) which ruled Persia (Iran) and many parts of the surrounding countries.[2] It was then used, added and improved on until Qajars era (1794 to 1925). This has left works inside the castle belonging to different periods from Sassanids to Qajars with different architectural styles.[1]

The fire temple of Izad Khast Castle from the Sassanid era was turned into a mosque after the advent of Islam to Iran.[2]

The castle and complex is now completely abandon. However until the turn of the millennium there were still people living in the old quarters of Izadkhast. Floods in recent years destroyed many homes and forced people to move from this isolated, ancient desert citadel.[1]

ArchitectureEdit

 
View of Izadkhast Caravanserai from castle.

In location and form of construction the castle display unique characteristics. However the material wise its comparable to the Citadel of Bam, Rayen and other sites nearby in Yazd and Kerman provinces. The architecture of Izadkhast castle is very similar to the more feted Citadel of Bam. The Izad-Khast castle like the Citadel of Bam is a sand construction, made of adobe.[2]

The castle is a Sassanid (224 to 651 AD) structure,[1] but the interior has seen modifications and new structures added later on. Structures like a mosque and a bathroom are later additions.[2]

Most of the homes in the castle interior are built from wood and mud. Size limitations of the bedrock led to an agglomeration of smaller rooms and increase of floors. Some of the buildings inside the castle rose as high as five storeys. It is impressive in itself but becomes a remarkable architectural achievement considering the circumstances of its time.[1]

The Izadkhast Caravanserai was built during the Safavid Dynasty era (1502 - 1736).[1]

ThreatsEdit

 
Crumbling ruins of the old castle town

Many parts of the Izadkhast castle are crumbling due to erosion and flooding. Many homes even beside the castle front gate have been completely destroyed.[1]

The castle is also in danger from treasure hunters and vandalism. Inside the walled city, there are signs of damage from treasure hunters and graffiti on the walls.[1]

GalleryEdit

 
Izadkhvast Castle

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i "Izadkhast Fortress". historicaliran.blogspot.com. Retrieved 23 September 2018.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k "Izad Khast Castle – Abadeh". travital.com. Retrieved 23 September 2018.
  3. ^ "Izadkhast Fortress". HISTORICAL IRANIAN SITES AND PEOPLE. Retrieved 23 September 2018.
  4. ^ The Complex of Izadkhast - UNESCO World Heritage Centre Accessed 2018-09-23
  5. ^ "Caravanserai as cultural crossroads along the Silk Roads: Iran's Izadkhast". chasingtheunexpected.com. Retrieved 24 September 2018.