The Roost of Alamout
Located at over 2,000 meters above sea level, on the western fringes of the Alborz massif, the small village of Qazor Khan at the foot of which is the citadel, overlooks the vast arid plain whose main city is Qazvin.
High place of Ismaili thought, the fortress of Alamut has shaken more than one political leader between the eleventh and fourteenth centuries. The legend of Alamut begins exactly in 1090 when the citadel was captured by the great leader of the Ismaili Ishmaelite, Hassan Ibn Sabah. Indeed, the "Old Sage of the Mountain", as the crusaders had nicknamed it, made it a true entrenched camp where discipline of the body and rigor of spirit were highlighted. Serving as a base for the holy war that the master was waging against the Sunni Turkish power, this citadel was home to fedayeen whose rigorism was unequaled anywhere else. It is this fervor that made this place a legend.
From this nest of eagles perched in the heart of the highlands of northern Iran, there are only remains today. But, far from arousing the interest of rare researchers, these ruins still contain a part of mystery for any curious traveler who would venture on these ways of round. At dusk, the mystical craze that once animated these 2000 fedayins remains perceptible. Today still all the symbolic load of this place remains.
Located at over 2,000 meters above sea level, on the western fringes of the Alborz massif, the small village of Qazor Khan at the foot of which is the citadel, overlooks the vast arid plain whose main city is Qazvin. Qazvin, at the crossroads of the very romantic Silk Roads but also the Caspian roads (which is the Latin transcription of Qazvin), the cities of Tabriz and Hamedan, was therefore the obligatory passage for any trade coming from the north. West and Azerbaijan. This city experienced an economic boom unquestionable at the time of the Seljuks (1051-1220) and this, while a few meters away, the great Hassan Ibn Sabah led, during these same years, the Holy war against the Turks.
Today, the road that leads from Tehran to Qazvin is lined with cement plants, concrete silos, and factories of all kinds. The industrial suburbs of Tehran are tirelessly expanding in this direction. So when you ask for a "savari" for Qazor Khan and start fleeing the swirling city of Qazvin, the change of scenery is total. More and more winding, the road rises through a lunar landscape. The vegetation is scarce and some hamlets nest here and there. The clay is red, heavy and sticky and the mountains are fairy with the eternal snow at their summit. It is here, in the middle of nowhere, on these windswept cliffs at the top of an impregnable rock, that the fortress was erected. Alamut is in osmosis with this landscape, they merge into one another, the fortress hardly guessing in the folds of the mountain.
Thus located, the small village of Alamut is in the section of two worlds, geographical but also spiritual. Indeed, if Alamut is close to an economic crossroads, between plains and mountains, this small village was also a little piece of heaven on earth, between Heaven and Earth. Hassan Ibn Sabah had built a garden of which he was the only one to hold the keys. This garden, in addition to its luxuriance and abundance of fruits and flowers, had the unique feature of sheltering the most beautiful seraglios of all the Middle East. Now, the Old Man of the Mountain reserved his access to his most valiant warriors. Their primary mission was to check the progress of the Seljuk Turks who threatened to impose on the Muslims of the country the doctrine professed by the caliphs of Baghdad. In less than a year, Hassan Ibn Sabah shattered this empire. Inaccessible, Alamut thus became the stronghold of the Ismailis.
Hassan Sabah died in 1124, but the current he initiated did not cease to exist. His successor at the head of the political protest movement, abolished August 8, 1164, in the stronghold of Alamut, the reign of the law and established a united community by the sole imperative to contemplate in the perfect man the visible face of divinity: to live here below a divine life. Christian Jambet, a French philosopher specializing in Shi'ism issues, believes that Alamut's Messianism and celebration of the Ishmaelites have jointly engendered a new ethic, a new form of freedom in the community of believers. Cradle of terrorism or word of tolerance, fedayins of Alamut remain controversial.
Finally, the fortress was reduced to ashes in 1256 by the grandson of Genghis Khan, Hulagu. If there are only vestiges as witnesses to this past greatness, the spirit of the sect, for its part, persists in the foothills of the castle. The mountaineers of Alamut have not forgotten the lessons of their ancestors the haschischins. Thus you can, by penetrating the universe caulked homes of Alamut, perceive the legacy of the old Hassan Ibn Sabah. You will appreciate all the more these invitations as hotels are rare in the region. Indeed, during the evening, are told the most unusual legends about these heroes of ancient times. For travelers enjoying the solitude, Lake Ouan offers spaces that can fill them. Planting your tent on the banks of this lake, at the foot of majestic desert mountains, encourages meditation and return on oneself. To crown this moment, launch yourself through the pages of Vladimir Bartol's novel. The Slovenian writer of the early nineteenth century mixes poetry in the story of adventure, philosophical reflections on the political order to small amusing anecdotes.