Alexander Prison in Yazd

Unveiling the Secrets of Alexander's Prison in Yazd

Yazd, a globally renowned city, boasts a wealth of historical attractions that require days, if not weeks, to explore fully. These structures not only reflect the rich culture and civilization of the city but also showcase the creativity of Iranian art.

With Yazd gaining international recognition, more and more foreign tourists are eager to visit this ancient city. Among its ancient treasures, the Historical Prison of Alexander, also known as Ziyaiyeh School, is highly recommended for a visit during your trip to Yazd. Join SURFIRAN as we delve deeper into its history.

The Construction of Alexander’s Prison in Yazd

Alexander's Prison
Alexander Prison, Yazd, Iran

The construction of Alexander’s Prison in Yazd began in the 7th century by a man named Zia al-Din Hosseini, taking approximately 74 years to complete. Situated in one of Yazd’s oldest neighborhoods, Fahadan, in Imam Square, this historic building stands adjacent to the Twelve Imams Shrine, making it convenient for tourists to explore two of Yazd’s historical marvels in one visit.

According to historical accounts, after Alexander’s invasion of Iran, he built a prison on the route that is now known as Yazd. Initially, this prison was named “Kisheh,” and it is believed that Alexander used it to detain his opponents. However, the change of name from Kisheh to Alexander’s Prison might have been due to the fear and apprehension that the people of that era had towards Alexander. This prison is considered the first building constructed by Alexander’s command in Yazd.

During the reign of the Al-Muzaffar dynasty, Yazd gained prominence in terms of education and culture, earning the title of “Dar al-‘Ulum” (House of Knowledge). Ziyaiyeh School, located in the same era, played a significant role in this regard.

Architecture of Alexander’s Prison in Yazd

Alexander's Prison
Architecture of Alexander’s Prison in Yazd, Iran

Alexander’s Prison, also known as Ziyaiyeh School, exhibits a simple yet beautiful architectural style. The construction of this building solely utilized raw bricks, with minimal decorative tilework. Despite undergoing restoration and maintenance over time, the enduring quality of the raw brickwork has contributed to its longevity.

The courtyard of Ziyaiyeh School features a well, surrounded by various speculations regarding its purpose. While some believe it served as a notorious dungeon during Alexander’s time, the existence of this well is mainly attributed to subsidence in the middle of the courtyard, sparking various theories among the public. Another noteworthy aspect of this grand historic structure is its ongoing repairs and restoration efforts.

Inside Ziyaiyeh School

Alexander's Prison
Inside Ziyaiyeh School (Alexander Prison) in Yazd (photo by IranRoute)

Numerous speculations and theories surround Ziyaiyeh School, with one of the most compelling being its connection to a house belonging to the Hosseini family. After suffering damage following the Islamic Revolution, the building underwent extensive repairs using raw bricks to preserve its original form. It has been designated as National Heritage Site #770 by the Cultural Heritage Organization of Iran.

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In summary, the Historical Prison of Alexander, also known as Ziyaiyeh School, stands as a testament to Yazd’s rich history and cultural heritage. Its simple yet enduring architecture and historical significance make it a must-visit attraction for anyone exploring this ancient city.

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SURFIRAN Editorial Team

SURFIRAN is an Iranian tour operator and travel agency offering tour packages to those interested in Iran. It provides the tourists with services needed to travel to Iran, offers tours across the country, and assists the tourists in obtaining Iranian visas.

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