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Alamut Castle of Assassins

Every word has a story behind it and it is quite interesting to know that the origins of the English word assassin have been traced back to ancient Iran. The story behind this word revolves around one the most amazing characters in Persian history called Hassan-i Sabbah and also a legendary castle in the beautiful Alamut region called The Castle of Assassins. Hassan was born in 1050s in the city of Qom and by the age of 17 he had mastered languages, philosophy, astronomy and mathematics. His strong belief in Ismailism made him choose a missionary life and travel to many regions as far as Egypt. Later on he was charged with instigating unrest in Egypt and was imprisoned. His imprisonment coincided with the collapse of the jail’s tower and this was taken as an omen of Hassan’s presence in Egypt, so he was released and deported back to Iran.

Castle of Assassins

Castel of Assassins; The Stronghold

In 1080s, and when the Sunni Seljuq rulers were in power in Iran, there was increasing dissatisfaction among the Shia people who lived mostly scattered in Northern and Eastern parts of Iran. The main reason behind the Shia’s dissatisfaction was the very heavy taxes that were levied upon them by the ruling Seljuqs. It was in this situation that Hassan-i Sabbah who himself was an Ismaili Shia, got the idea to unify his coreligionists and start a resistance movement and the first thing he needed for this plan was an unconquerable fortified stronghold; The Castle of Assassins.

Castle of Assassins

Castle of Assassins

The Capture of Castle of Assassins

In 1088, and while Hassan was wanted and sought by the Turkish Seljuqs, he found the stronghold he was looking for in Alamut at the heart of Alborz Mountain Range. Being just a ruin now, Alamut Castle of Assassins stood guard over a valley that was 50 km long and 5 km wide at that time. It was built in 865 AD and was so fortified that it could not be breached unless there was a complicated long-term plan involving the gradual unification of people in neighboring villages, and converting the people who were close to the commander of the castle. In 1090, the castle was taken over by Hassan and the lord of the castle was taken aback to see the long-wanted dissident in his fort taking the seat without any significant bloodshed. Later on, to secure their position in Alamut, Hassan and his successors trained mysterious professional killers known as Hashshashins to murder the key figures in the ruling power. Historians were amazed to record that over the course of 300 years, these Hashshashins (assassins) murdered 2 caliphs, many viziers, sultans and Crusaders leaders. It has been suggested that the word Hashshashin was started to be used by Hassan’s enemies to imply that Hassan’s agents were mad hashish takers who followed his orders mindlessly.

Castle of Assassins

Book an Off Road Tour to Castel of Assassins 

Castle of Assassins

11/30/2017 10:13:18 AM

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Anna on 11/3/2017
Hi, I would be interested in a tour to alamut castle.i should be in Qazvin around 11 or 12.11. As I'm travelling on a budget i should probably join a group. Would you have a tour planned on theses dates ? I'm looking forward hearing from you. Best regards, Anna -- Gesendet über myMail für Android

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