Babak Fort is one of the most prestigious Forts in Iran. Like all grandeur Forts, it is hard to reach, but it shows us a unique view of Azerbaijan, Iran. However, the glory of Babak Fort reflects the story of its builder: Babak Khorramdin.
Babak Khorramdin led the Sorkh Jamegan (those who wore red) or the Khurramites movement, which originated from various intellectual and ideological inclinations. This uprising was the first complete uprising against the tyranny of the Abbasid Caliphate, which took place in “Azerbaijan” and damaged the Caliphate court for 23 years. This uprising happened in 201 to 212 AH. With the Babak Fort, it had a chance to thrive.
In the year 212 AH. Babak had gained so much influence and authority in Iran that according to Nizam al-Mulk, people from Isfahan, Tirmidhi, Kabul, Karaj, and a group of “Batinians” joined him and went to Azerbaijan to fight alongside Babak against the Caliphate troops.
Many of Babak’s followers were peasants and shepherds who opposed the private property of the caliphs in favor of the peasant property. It is certain that in these areas, other than the orders from Baghdad, Feudalism was common.
Those who built the Babak Fort believed in social equality and promoted the slogan of ‘Collective Ownership,’ that is, the surrender of all arable land to rural communities, and sought to save the peasants from Feudalism under the caliphate and government tribute and to establish equality.
That was the slogan of Mazdak during the Sassanid period and launched a Proletariat uprising against the Sassanid government, and in the end, he was defeated and killed. No need to say, Marx, Engels, and finally, the Russian October Revolution bore similarities with Mazdak and Babak Khorramdin.
Old documents describe the stages of Babak’s long wars with the Abbasid Caliphate around the Babak Fort. They show that Babak had great skill in managing the affairs of the long guerrilla war against the army of the Caliphs. They say that Babak Khorramdin may be the first founder and mastermind of guerrilla warfare. As a result of accurate information about the ups and downs of Azerbaijan and the passages and the climatic coordinates, by using the method of sudden and harsh ambush, Babak annoyed the enemy troops.
When he could not find the situation conducive to war, he would wait either in the Babak Fort or in cover for a long time, using his network of spies in the enemy camp to choose the best opportunity to strike. There was no escape for him.
It was reasonable that before his death (218 AH), Al-Ma’mun gave direct orders to his successor Al-Mu’tasim to advance in the fight against Babak Khorramdin. Though Al-Mu’tasim himself was a well-trained warrior, he considered Babak’s militarism unparalleled. Because of the narrow edges, rocky paths, and inaccessible Babak Fort, the Abbasid troops couldn’t suppress the Khurramites’ uprising. Therefore, they went behind him.
The Abbasids achieved their victory over Babak Khorramdin by deception and politics. Babak fled after the final defeat in the forests of “Aran” and tried to go to the Byzantine king and incite him to fight against the caliphate.
Afshin, who was assigned to finish Babak, conspired with one of the emirs of those areas named who had known Babak for a long time and tricked him into taking Babak out of his cover and handing him over to Afshin. He did so, and Babak was arrested and sent to Al-Ma’mun, and he ordered the executioner to cut off Babak’s arms and legs.
According to other sources, when they cut Babak’s hand, he rubbed his blood on his face. Al-Ma’mun asked for an explanation; Babak Khorramdin said with epic bravery: the blood leaving my body makes my skin pail, I won’t have you thinking that this paleness is out of fear of death.
A true hero is immortal, and his spirit lives around Babak Fort.
Babak Fort in Kaleybar is an ideal place for history and Clash of Clans fans. This fort stands in the beautiful region of Arasbaran. Through this ancient fortress, Babak Khorramdin and his companions wandered the Arab armies in the mountains for twenty years, ambush them and cause them so much fear.
Although the access road to the fort requires mountaineering and may seem troublesome, the historical aspect of the Babak Fort and its stunning view of the mountains and surrounding areas are worth it.
The route from Kaleybar to the fort is about three kilometers, but it has a difficult path and requires crossing dangerous tracks and passages. To enter this strong building, you walk on natural stones, and only one or two people could pass at a time. This track is about 200 meters away from the fortress. There is where the glory of the castle and its extraordinary location will amaze any visitor.
There are three access routes to Babak Fort, which are part of the attraction of this trip. These routes meet at the stepped passage of the fort, which is the only entrance to it.
On the four sides of the castle and the natural supports of the mountain walls, there are four semi-cylindrical watchtowers where the commander stationed the soldiers to watch for miles away. Entering the main fort requires passing through another entrance with strange stairs, which on either side are two columns.
The castle building is located after the entrance and has two or three floors. Seven rooms surround the main hall, which leads to the central hall. In the eastern part of the castle, there are facilities like rooms and water reservoirs. Interestingly, they made the roof of the water reservoir out of gabled arches and cradles and their inner area with impermeable mortar so that snow and rain in winter could fill them in winter. In the northwest of the castle, they re-built the stars to make a way and access the higher parts of the fort.
The location of this structure enabled 20 guerrillas to overcome an aggressive attack of 100,000. Its distance and position prevented the arrows, bows, spears, and weapons of that time from harming any guard and soldiers of the fort. That shows the military genius and the constructive awareness and tact of Babak Khorramdin. This strategic site of the fort and its rocky and mostly snowy route for the enemy forces were among the factors that helped Babak Khorramdin to organize the battles and fortifications against the unjust Caliphs. Babak Fort gives the same feeling to Iranians that Winterfell gave the Starks.
Every year, Babak enthusiasts and history lovers gather at Babak Fort on July 6 and hold a ceremony for Babak Khorramdin. They gather to honor this great Iranian general on the day he was born. Some 1,200 years later, parts of the castle still stand.