DestinationsIran TourismZanjan

Behestan Castle in Zanjan

Let This Castle's Ancient Walls Whisper Stories of the Past

Behestan Castle, standing majestically in the ancient city of Mahneshan in Zanjan province, represents a pinnacle of architectural innovation and historical significance in Iran. Believed to have roots in the Median or Achaemenian era, the castle we see today harks back to the Middle Ages of the Islamic era in Iran, around the 11th century AD. Registered as a National Heritage Site, Behestan Castle invites visitors to explore its ancient corridors, chambers, and staircases, each telling a story of defense, survival, and architectural mastery.

A Glimpse into History and Architecture

The Castle’s Strategic Use

Behestan Castle, Zanjan, Iran
Behestan Castle, Zanjan, Iran

Originally serving as a stronghold for governors to defend their realm and vassals, Behestan Castle was ingeniously designed for both defensive purposes and sustenance. The upper sections of the castle were fortified for defense, while the lower sections stored food to support its inhabitants during sieges.

Structural Composition

Behestan Castle, Zanjan Province
Behestan Castle, Zanjan Province

The castle’s architecture comprises three main parts: chambers, corridors, and staircases, offering a glimpse into the medieval Islamic architectural style. Despite the ravages of time, the northwestern staircase, leading to a room adorned with Islamic decorations typical to Mihrabs, remains one of the castle’s best-preserved features.

Exploring Behestan Castle

The Sarooj Stone Pool

At the upper level of the castle lies a stone pool constructed with Sarooj mortar, a testament to the ingenuity of ancient construction techniques that utilized a mix of lime and clay for durability and strength.

Exploring Behestan Castle
Exploring Behestan Castle

Chambers and Niches

The castle’s chambers, varying in size based on their function, feature small triangular niches once used for tallow burners to illuminate the interiors. These nuances in design reflect the thoughtfulness and adaptability of the architects in catering to the castle’s various needs.

The Castle’s Natural Setting

A Scenic Location

Location of Behestan Castle
Location of Behestan Castle

Situated beside the Qezelozan River, Behestan Castle’s strategic location not only provided a defensive advantage but also added to its majestic appearance. Although abandoned about 200 years ago, the castle’s ruins, set against the backdrop of the river, continue to enchant visitors with its historical grandeur and natural beauty.

Visiting Behestan Castle


Best Iran Tours

A Journey Through Time

A Closer Look at Behestan Castle in Zanjan
A Closer Look at Behestan Castle in Zanjan

Visiting Behestan Castle is akin to stepping back in time, offering a unique opportunity to immerse oneself in Iran’s rich historical and architectural heritage. As a National Heritage Site, it beckons history enthusiasts, architects, and travelers to explore its ancient stones and uncover the stories etched into its walls.

How to Get There

Accessible from Zanjan, the journey to Behestan Castle is a voyage of discovery, revealing not only the architectural marvels of ancient Iran but also the scenic landscapes of the Zanjan province. The castle’s proximity to other historical sites in Mahneshan makes it a must-visit for anyone exploring the region.


Behestan Castle is more than just an ancient ruin; it is a symbol of Iran’s enduring architectural brilliance and historical depth. This unique castle offers a rare insight into the defensive strategies, living conditions, and artistic sensibilities of the Middle Ages in Iran. As visitors wander through its corridors and chambers, they are invited to ponder the lives of those who once inhabited this majestic stronghold, making Behestan Castle an unforgettable experience for all who tread its ancient pathways.

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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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