Hashtrood Zahak Castle
Zahak Castle, which was registered in the list of national monuments of Iran under No. 429 in 1966, is one of the vast castles of ancient times. Zahak Castle is located 16 km southeast of Hashtrood city and East Azarbaijan province on top of the Sermeh mountain range.
From the east, north and south sides of the river, Qaranqo and Shurchai surround the castle as an island and the only land access to the castle is the southwestern part of the castle. Zahak Castle has an area of about 10 km in length and 1 to 2 km in width. Zahak castle was discovered by British Monteth for the first time in 1833. He described the site and introduced it as an ancient fire temple. In 1841, Rawlinson believed it has been a Sasanid castle contrary to the theory of Mounteth. In general, most scholars, according to the evidence in Zahak Castle, attribute its works to the Parthian and Sassanid eras. It should be noted that the castle was also used in Islamic times. Zahak Castle has been mentioned in historical sources with various names such as, Ezhdeha fortress (Dragon Fortress), Qiz Qalaesi, Dash Qalausi. In addition, words such as Baroas, Ruidaj, and Qale Goyi refer to this castle. Apart from the evidence that indicates the military use of the fort, it seems Zahak castle is an Anahita temple and is associated with Mehr worshiping.
Features of Hashtroud Zahak Castle
Zahak Castle was a military-residential castle and nown is one of the most important tourist attractions of East Azerbaijan, which can also be called the city castle. The castle has several sections. The famous building with a pavilion or quadrangle is the only building in the castle that has remained largely intact. The pavilion had a roof with a multiplicative cover. According to some archaeologists, these four arches, unlike other arches, were not used to light fires, but as a watchtower. Because the building was completely overlooking the surrounding valleys and plains. Brick hall, cross-shaped buildings, watchtower are among the other buildings discovered in the castle. During the excavations of this fort, buildings made of clay and buildings made of stone were found, each of which had a different use. Horizontal and vertical methods are used in bedding bricklaying of the buildings. In addition to strengthening the building, this method is also important in terms of aesthetics. Among the decorations used in the castle buildings, we can mention the plastering and murals, which, in addition to their remains on the walls, were obtained during the excavations of the area along with the rubble. The motifs used include geometric, human, animal and plant motifs. The basis of some of these decorations are religious and others are governmental. The most important image in the building is a crow that has its paws on the back of a cow and many consider it to be similar to Mitra in Mehr worshiping.