Spectacular medieval castle at Rudkhan, Iran built by esoteric sect

Oct 2016
692
On a magic carpet
Rudkhan Castle is a medieval castle in Iran with an unusual history.

Located 25 km southwest of Foman city north of Iran in Gilan province, it was built during the Seljuq era (12th century) by followers of the Ismā'īlī sect on the site of an earlier Sassanid fortress. The Rudkhan Castle River originates in the surrounding heights and flows from south to north. After crossing a mountainous winding route with dense forests, Rudkhan Castle sits at the two peaks of a mountain at elevations of 715 and 670 metres and contains strong fortifications and battlements at a length of 1,550 metres. The castle's 42 towers still stand intact.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rudkhan_Castle

One of the most interesting things about its history is that it was built by the Ismaeli sect of Shia Islam. The Ismaelis are a mystical, intellectual group, with an explicit concentration on the deeper, esoteric meaning (batin) of the Islamic religion. Shia Islam developed into two separate directions: the metaphorical Ismaili group focusing on the mystical path and nature of God, with the "Imām of the Time" representing the manifestation of esoteric truth and intelligible reality, with the more literalistic Twelver group focusing on divine law and the deeds and sayings of Muhammad and the Twelve Imams who were guides and a light to God. Ismaili thought is the more mystical and spiritual of the two and is heavily influenced by Neoplatonism, which has its roots in ancient Greece. Has anyone here visited the castle?

 
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Kirialax

Ad Honorem
Dec 2009
4,964
Blachernai
What does it mean that the Ismaili sect rebuilt the castle? Did it belong to a particular arm of a religious movement, or was it the castle of an elite member of society who was Ismaili?
 
Oct 2016
692
On a magic carpet
The castle was rehabilitated under the Seljuk rule and was a base for Ismaeli warriors. It is said to date back to the Sassanid period and after destruction, it was rebuilt under the Seljuk rule. It was used by local rulers of Gilan province up to the Zand dynasty. Thereafter, it was abandoned. The exact date of its construction, however, is still a mystery.

Perhaps the most famous offshoot of the Ismaelis was the legendary Hashashin group of Assassins in the Alborz mountains at Alamut, to the east. The Assassins were a splinter-group of Nizari Ismaelis led by The Old Man of The Mountains, Hassan i Sabbah and his later successor Sinan; their primary motivation was protecting their interests against more powerful Sunni powers, including Sultan Saladin. They couldn't hope to field an army to defend against much larger neighbouring empires, so they cleverly used assassins to ensure that threats were neutralised with the minimum of casualties.

 
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