There is a large number of rather forgotten historical heritages like a castle dating back a thousand years before the start of the Persian Empire in Iran.
Zahhak Castle (Citadel), this ancient ruin which was built around 2000 BC in Azerbaijan province , no one’s sure what exactly was the output of the castle, but it is guessed that maybe it was a Zoroastrian temple, or a temple for Anahita.
It is believed that Anahita lived in the last floor of heaven to be secured from enemies and evil, and the fact that this castle was built on a height have formed the idea.
The castle is named after Zahhak, the evil of persian mythology, because it is believed that he lived here. It is also believe he offered 100 horses, 1000 bulls and 10000 sheeps to Anahita to kill every human on earth but she didn’t accept.
The castle was first discovered by a British army officer in 1830. He noticed that the ruins were quite ancient, dating back at least two thousand years. In recent years, Zahhak Castle has been unearthed slowly by archaeologists who have discovered that different parts of the castle were built in later periods.
The building is 9.1 meters from north to south and 9 meters from east to west. The inside halls are 5.8 x 5.9 m in size. The whole building is made of baked bricks which have been fastened to each other with mortar.
The castle includes a square shaped hall made of bricks and plaster, embellished with colors such as ocher, blue, green and yellow. The castle is overlooking to the cliff with three arches returning to the Parthian period.
Zahhak castle also served as a military defense during the Parthian era given its position close to the Iranian border with other nations in the northwest, including Turkey and Armenia.
British colonel Monteith was the first explorer who spoke about the remains of the ancient fort in 1830. After him Rawlinson, the well known Orientalist, who had deciphered the Bisetoon inscription, visited Zahhak Castle and declared that this was a Sassanid monument.
This mountain has housed different civilizations from the second millennium BC up to several centuries CE. If you walk towards the northern mound from the middle cavity you will see a layer of stone walls without mortar. These walls in fact used to serve as the prehistoric battlements of Zahhak Fort and date back to the second millennium BC.
Beside the northern pavilion the remnants of many chambers have survived. The immense size of the building shows that it was perhaps a palace. Meanwhile a piece of wall built of broken stone and plaster of lime has been discovered in the nearby plain which might be an extension of this Sassanian or Parthian building.
At the cavity of the northwestern rock a spring used to exit which nowadays is dry in summer. When spring arrives many visitors flock to the caste to inspect the castle and the beautiful landscape around or to reap the pharmaceutical herbs. At times groups of travelers pitch their tents in the vast and green vested plains in the area to benefit from the pure air and inspect the monument.