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Arg-e Rayen: The second largest adobe castle in the world

Rayen Castle is one of the greatest examples of historical adobe buildings in the world. It is located in central Iran and its wonderful architecture still amazes any visitor.

Iran’s history is full of ups and downs and has witnessed many invasions and wars throughout history. Such historical conditions justify the need for strong forts and castles in this country. That’s why there are many monuments of this kind in almost any strategic city in Iran.

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One of the best examples that have never been defeated by enemies is Rayen castle. Originally built in the Kerman province during the Sassanid era, this amazing structure still stands tall in the skirts of Hezar Mountain and leaves any visitor with a sense of awe and admiration.


Arg-e Rayen is among the most astonishing monuments in Iran which has often been overlooked, although it is the second largest adobe castle in the world after Arg-e Bam. It strongly conveys the spirit of its past and all the events and generations which has witnessed throughout history. Walking in the alleys of this huge citadel would be such an enriching experience. So you better not miss it while visiting the central parts of Iran.


Rayen castle is 100 kilometers southeast far from Kerman city and although it is situated in the desert, it enjoys a great climate as it is located at an altitude about 2200 meters. The castle was first mentioned in historical books of the first AH century, but the excavations suggest that the castle dates back to the Sassanid era. Because of its unique natural and political position, Arg-e Rayen has always been among the most strategic historical bases in Iran.


As the castle has been located on the main trade route between east and west , it was a popular spot among the merchants and caravans in the past. It was especially an important center for trading valuable textiles that were sent to countries like Egypt. Besides, the castle was inhabited by about 5000 people until 150 years ago, but it was gradually abandoned since then.


The word Rayen literally means aqueduct, but it is also the name of one of the most recognized commanders of the Sassanid dynasty during the reign of Ardeshir II.  Studies show that the current structure is built over the ruins of an older castle and has gone through many renovations and reconstructions.


Rayen castle is also famous for hosting many metal production workshops. The people here were producing all kinds of swords, guns, locks, scissors and many other metal products. You can still see some workshops at the entrance of the castle which are producing the famous knife of Rayen using the goat’s horn.


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This castle is divided into 3 main parts for different classes of the society. The majority of the houses were 2- or 3- story buildings and the upper parts of the workshops were normally used as residential buildings. Besides, the section for people from the upper class of the society was separated from other parts of this small city by some towers and walls .


Arg is, in fact, a small castle within a larger castle and is dedicated to administrative affairs. It is also the place where kings and rulers were living along with their families. In Arg-e Rayen, the best architectures and locations are dedicated to this part. After entering the castle and crossing its narrow alleys, you will see 4 beautiful buildings which are located at the end of these routes. These buildings were dedicated to richer people of this society and were protected with fences and walls. Because of their architectural style, it is believed that they date back to the Qajar era.


Watchtowers are another interesting part of this castle. They are constructed all over the Arg-e Rayen and have a great view for monitoring all surrounding areas. The unique architecture of this castle consists of schools, barracks, quarantine building, and a mosque. There used to be a fire temple in this castle as well which was changed to a Zurkhaneh to respect the Muslim people living here. The fire temple was used during special ceremonies and the fire was carried by a pipe upwards to shine and illuminate the castle.


The astonishing architecture of this castle as well as its unique location will surely amaze you, so try not to miss visiting it during your trip to Iran.

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Parisa Bakhtiari

I am passionate about reading, writing, traveling and discovering new worlds. That's how I learn about life!

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