Alamut ( Eagle’s Nest ) (Assassin castle)

Alamut ( Eagle’s Nest ) (Assassin castle)

The Castles of the Assassins in the Alamut Valley

Alamut Castle is situated on the northeastern side of Gazor Khan Village in the environs of Alamut, Qazvin province. While approaching the village, visitors should pass for nearly half along a narrow road surrounded by cherry and pomegranate orchards, until a mass of gray-brown rock looms from distance with fortifications perched atop a summit.

The access path to the fortress starts about 700m beyond the village square and requires a steep 25-minute climb via a stairway.

The history of the fortress of Alamut is inseparable from the figure of Hassan Sabbâh (1050/70 – 1124) ; he is, in fact, the instigator of a project whose main goal was to fight against this Turkish Seljuk power. Around 1090, Hassan Sabbâh decided to invest a fortress reputed to be impregnable, Alamut, which from then on constituted the center of his authority. He thus gradually became the leader of a politico-religious group, and established a military and ideological strategy.

Meaning “eagle’s nest”, Alamut is a geographic region in the western edge of the Alborz Mountain range, between the dry and barren plain of Qazvin in the south and the densely forested slopes of the Mazandaran province in the north.

Sabbah’s rule over Alamut is shrouded in mystery and enigma; partly because most Ismaili records of the era were destroyed by the Mongols while the writings of their detractors survived.

In the early 1930s, British-Italian explorer and travel writer Freya Stark described her exploration of the place in her book “The Valleys of the Assassins”. In her celebrated 1934 travelogue, she recounts her hike up to Nevisar with mules that “seemed to be standing on their hind legs.”

These days Alamut is something of a great day out. Visitors can leave Tehran first thing in the morning for Qazvin, weave across the Alamut’s first ramparts a few hours later, and, heading up-valley, reach Gazorkhan in time for a late lunch.


The Best Season for a Hiking Adventure in Alamut Valley

Spring covers the valley with wild flowers and cherry blossoms! Fall covers it with a range of colors! And summer blesses you with a pleasant weather! So, it’s your call! Yet, you should know that spring is one of the wettest seasons and the temperature might drop significantly in fall. In winter, the valley is very cold and most hiking routes are closed with snow. On the other hand, the cold doesn’t make the snow-covered valley less of a spectacle.


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