Rey, Ancestor City of Persia
When Cyrus, the Achaemenid king, came to power, he took over the territory of the Medes at Astyage and then entrusted the government of a part of his territories including Rey to one of his children.
The story is not a succession of sentences compiled in a bookish collection. His home is not in the quiet of the libraries. History, it is foreign to silence ...
The tumultuous history of Iran is no exception. Large dynasties established themselves there and came to power, each choosing a part of this land, Persia, as capital and main residence. To immortalize the splendor of their kingdom, they built palaces, fortresses, citadels and huge walls and ditches. The Achaemenids at Pasargades near Shiraz, the Arsacids at Damghan, the Safavids at Isfahan, the Zands at Shiraz and the Qadjars at Teheran; all left unforgettable monuments. But who still speaks today of Rey, this city dating back nearly eight thousand years? Rey was the spectator of many periods in the history of Persia and contributed to the emergence of a culture of its own. It is as old as cities such as Nineveh and Babylon, and its magnitude is comparable to that of Hegmataneh (before Islam) as well as Baghdad and Neyshabour (after Islam). Some historians attribute the foundation of this city to the mythical king Houshang Pishdadi the son of Kiomars, while others attribute it to one of Noah's sons. His name is mentioned several times in ancient sources including the Old Testament and the Gospel. The Avesta speaks of it under the name of Ragheh, since it was the religious center and the great meeting place for the Magi and Zoroastrians. "Rhagoe" in Hellenic, "Rhageia" in Syriac, "Rai" in Armenian and "Rak" in Pehlevi are among the various names attributed to this radiant city of ancient Persia. The Seleucids held her in esteem as "Europos". The Arsacids named it "Arsakia" and the Sassanids "Rey". Rey was on the way to the Silk Road, which helped to ensure its development and ensure its safety. It was therefore the center of important commercial transactions between East and West.
When Cyrus, the Achaemenid king, came to power, he took over the territory of the Medes at Astyage and then entrusted the government of a part of his territories including Rey to one of his children. Following his conquests, Alexander the Macedonian rested there for a few days. During the reign of his successor Seleucos, this city suffered a violent earthquake and was completely devastated. So he helped to restore it and, in memory of his own homeland, named it "Ourpes". At the time of the Arsacids, the kings chose Rey as the spring capital while Babylon served them as winter capital. As for the Sassanids, they officially embraced the Zoroastrian religion and their followers developed an important religious activity in Rey. After the war of Nahavande, in the year 642, Rey was conquered by Muslims and gradually, a large number of Zoroastrians converted to Islam. This is how the Muslim population of this city grew rapidly. From then on, many Muslim dynasties reigned, including the Umayyads, Abbasids, Tahirides, Ghaznevides and Seldjoukids. As for the founder of the Seljuk dynasty, Toghrol-Beg, he made Rey his capital. But like other Persian cities, Rey was not immune to the incursion of the Mongols, who killed a large part of the people of Rey, while destroying in their wake many monuments and buildings. From that time, Rey never found peace and was the regular target of assaults perpetrated by the various dynasties that followed. What remains of the historic structure of this city comprises three parts: the citadel or the royal city of Rey, the main wall or the wall of Rey and the cemeteries of the city. Today, Rey is respected and esteemed as a historical and religious city, home to the shrine of Shah Abdol-'Azim and unique monuments such as the Rey Wall, Cheshmeh Ali and the Rashkan Fortress.
The wall of Rey
The history of this wall dates back to 6000 years ago, during the Arsacid period. It measured from 1800 to 2500 meters and was surrounded by a large ditch filled with water to ward off any attack. Today, there are about 453 meters of this wall that is almost eight meters high. The rest of this great wall, or castle, was destroyed following the Arab invasion. Now, constantly exposed to wind and rain, it is deteriorating day by day. A restoration project has nevertheless been launched.
Cheshmeh Ali Hill is one of the oldest places in the city of Rey. According to the excavations made by Dr. Erich Schmitt in 1935, this hill dates from nearly 4000 BC. The pottery found there is on display in several Iranian and foreign museums. There is also a water source on top of which are engraved inscriptions and silhouettes of Fath Ali Shah as well as personalities of the Qadjar court. Beside these frozen figures that were engraved in 1911 is also the name of each. Indeed, this hill and its surroundings were the resting place of King Fath Ali Shah. In Sassanid times, the source was called "Surena" attributed to Surene, one of the seven famous Sassanid dynasties. After the Safavids, this source was called Cheshmeh Ali.
The Rashkan Fortress
Located at the top of a mountain, the Rashkan fortress is the last fortress Arsacide of Persia. It was one of four protective fortresses surrounding the city of Rey. Its original name was "ARashkan" but since at the time of Arsacid, the omission of letter "a" was very fashionable, "ARashkan" gradually became "Rashkan". Following archaeological excavations, precious examples of ancient plaster decorations were discovered. According to archaeologists and historians, it also contained sumptuous palaces, arsenals and chambers that were unfortunately almost completely destroyed over the centuries. The west walls also had narrow loopholes. Under the reign of Fakhroddoleh Deilami, the "Rashkan Fortress" became "Fakhrabad". In addition, the latter undertook to restore the ruins of Rashkan after the Arab conquest. In Qadjar, some of the main parts were still intact, but today the majority of the building is destroyed. Although many historians know the existence of this fortress, it still suffers from a lack of attention and its surroundings are increasingly disfigured by garbage. But she never seems to have lost her grandeur, waiting for her rehabilitation and although her face is now flattened like a hill.