TEHRAN – High in the mountains at an altitude of 2,300 meters lies the relatively well-preserved Babak fortress, a tourist destination near Kaleybar in West Azarbaijan Province, northwest Iran.
Locally known as Qaleh Babak, it consists of several stone towers and lodging areas stretched in an area of nearly ten thousand square meters, attributed to the Sassanid-era (224–651).
The fort is named after Babak Khorramdin, an Iranian warlord who managed to resist Arab invaders until his death in 838 CE.
Access is challenging and involves an arduous uphill walk that takes one to two hours. There are several paths to the castle, though the normal route soars stairs behind the seasonal Babak Hotel. The hike is not recommended for the infirm, elderly or those afraid of heights.
Once at the top, onlookers are highly rewarded with some matchless vistas of the encircling Arasbaran oak forests, jagged cliffs and some steep gorges.
Here is a select of comments that visitors to the historical fortress have posted to TripAdvisor, one of the most popular travel websites in the world:
“Beautiful way up and amazing castle”
We booked a taxi ride to this place at our guesthouse in Tabriz. It took us around two hours and a half to get there by taxi; once we got to the base of the hill, we started the walk up and it took us one hour and a half to get to the castle.
It’s a rough climb, but totally worth it, as the views of the castle and from the castle are really beautiful. At the base, where there is a parking lot, you will find a shop selling water and some other drinks, but no food. There is also a public toilet near the parking lot. (FerTarran form Apucarana, PR; visited May 2017)
“Stunning scenery and amazing people”
One of my best experiences in Iran (even though I had many).
As a 28-year old in fairly average/good shape, I found it to be a difficult trip. The weather was very hot since it was in the middle of July and there’s not really anything to buy once you get there. Luckily we had brought soooo much water and we had just enough.
I also recommend wearing hiking boots or really solid shoes. I wore sandals and it was not a good idea. I fell once and was close numerous times. It was amazing though – once we actually reached the top there were locals yelling out / singing poetry and some were playing instruments while walking down. The atmosphere was unbelievable. (CarinaCPH from Denmark; visited July 2016)
“Very steep hike to reach the castle”
Please be prepared to a very long and quite arduous hike to Babak Fort (Castle). Taxi driver will leave you at the start of a long flight of stairs and after you’ll need to climb through rocks and little paths.
There is basically no sign to the Castle and got almost lost in the climbing. There is a pathway on the right hand side once you’re on top of the stairs, take it, it is a bit longer but less strenuous. At the end of the path, you’ll finally see the black board for the Fort and lot of stairs again.
Once on top, you’ll have to go down again a lot of stairs to get to the other side of the mountain before you reach the castle. Wear good hiking shoes and expect the hike to take 1,5-2 hours to go up and about 1h to go down. There is a little house with a man to buy drinks and hot tea, I would say 3/4 from the base. It is very cold at the top (2500m) wear accordingly. (Magman from Switzerland; visited April 2016)
Babak fortress is embraced with Arasbaran Protected Area, which is a candidate for inclusion in the UNESCO World Heritage list for 2018.
PHOTO: A view of Babak fortress, a tourist destination in West Azarbaijan Province, northwest Iran
date: 7 August 2017 id: 6166 source: