Alamut is the name of a huge valley located on the western edge of the Alborz mountain range, northeast of Qazvin province, Iran. It lies beneath the southern side of the Alborz mountains, between the dry plains of Qazvin province in the south and the densely forested slopes of Mazandaran province, south of the Caspian Sea.
The Alamut mountain region was potentially perfect for castle construction due to its height and inaccessibility providing a natural built in defense structure against invaders.The Ismailis built two citadels in the Alamut Valley famous for their enormous size. Ismailis are a branch of Shia Muslims who believe in seven Shia Imams (e.g. seven heavens, seven continents, seven orifices in the skull, seven days in a week, etc.)
Hassan-e Sabbah built the castles of Alamut and Lambsar in Alamut Valley. As he lived in the Alamut Castle for many years, it is also known as Hassan Sabbah’s Castle. He was an Ismaili messenger who founded a community in the Alborz Mountains in the late 11th century. He used the Alamut Castle as the main command centre for a decentralized Persian uprising against the Seljuk Turks. He founded a group of fadayeen (hermits) whose members are known in western literature as the Hashshashin or “Assassins”.
Alamut Castle is located in the Moalem Kalayeh district of Qazvin province. It is situated close to a village called Gazor Khan on its northeastern side. The castle’s height is 2,163 m., built on a 220m cliff. The castle dates back to the 11th century. The cultural landscape of Alamut has been added to the tentative list of UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites. Since 2007 it is still waiting for its inscription.
Freya Stark was a British traveler who explored the Valley of Alamut. She visited the area during one of her Persian tours in the 1930s. She wrote a book called “The Valleys of the Assassins” about her adventurous travel. Alamut Long Trek is one of Adventure Iran’s trips covering some part of her travel to Alamut Valley.