Alamoot Castle (The Alamoot Valley)

Alamoot Castle (The Alamoot Valley)

Page Type: Mountain/Rock
Lat/Lon: 36.00000°N / 50.58330°E
Elevation: 7096 ft / 2163 m



The Alamoot castle or Hassan Sabah castle has been built on top of a big cliff with 200m height on a conglomerate hill near Gazor Khan village. At most places the cliff seems to be completely vertical, hard or unreachable to be climbed, anyway it seems that  no rock climbing is being done on the cliff.  The cliff is not famous for it's potential for technical rock climbing, but it's famous for the historical story behind the castle located on the top.

This cliff is based on a scary deep and rough branch of Alamoot valley.

Alamoot valley is located at west Alborz, the average height of the valley's chains is approximately 3600m and it is surrounded by Shah Alborz(Taleghan mountains) sub-range (4125m) from south, The Siyalan(4178m) and the main west Alborz ridgeline from north, Takht-e-Soleiman sub-range (4850m) from east and Qazvin planes and villages from west.

Top of the cliff can be easily reached in about 20 minutes by walking on a chain of steps with pipe guards installed at steeper parts, at the top you will have a great view of  Shah Alborz(4125m) north face, Khoshk-e-chal and the Alamoot valley and the spiral road you have droved to the place.

The top of the cliff was a strategic place for building a hard reachable military tower, the beaten castle is more than 1000years old, the castle used to be kill devil hill.

The erosion is about 1cm~2cm per year so you can guess how the castle should look, the walls, towers and rooms have been recovered and mended so you can have a hazy idea about the castle.

There is guide named Mr. Kazemi, he would help you about the place and the historical matters. At the parking before starting to climb  you can buy a well prepared leaflet with great pictures and information in English published by Presentation and Education of Vice Directorate Iranian Cultural Heritage Organization.

Taking photos from the castle was forbidden I don't know why! anyway no one was there to force you not to take photos, I'll  add some more details about the castle which is been written in the leaflet later.

Getting There

  1. Drive Tehran to Karaj (by the 26Km freeway)
  2. Drive 99Km on Karaj-Ghazvin freeway (until the freeway branches this happens few miles before Ghazvin city)
    Go into the north branch and follow the signs toward Moalem-kelaye and Alamoot
  3. The road first ascend then drops into the vast Alamoot valley. After a long driving (85Km) on the narrow spiral main road you will reach Moalem-kelaye center of the valley (I have to mention that this road is not an alpine road it just turns around the many low height hills of the valley you may feel this turnings are making the distance hundred times more far)
  4. Drive 30Km to Gazor khan village, follow the road to the big cliff until you reach a small parking, park your car and start the climb.

The route to the summit

Red Tape and Regional Hints

The whole Alborz mountains area and it's wild nature is a protected place, hunting, fishing and abusing the nature is prohibited
No fees of permission is required for climbing or camping
No problem  for camping but avalanche danger and rockfalls !

Speed limit is 120Km/h for highways in Iran so reduce it to120 when you see the police ;)

When To Climb

Best Early spring and autumn
Photography Spring
Summer Generally straight sunlight fries your skin and brains out, sun beams are straight I would suggest a cloudy day
Winter Heavy snow makes it hard to reach, frozen slippery route and unstable weather.

Alamoot Valley

Alamout, Alamoot, Alamut
or whatever you see written, read it Alam-ooo-T. Alborz, Elborz, Alburz Elburz or what ever you see, read it Al-Bo-rZ.

Alamoot vast valley is located in Ghazvin province with 94 villages, and Moalem-Kolayeh as the centre of it, it takes about 5 hours fast driving to reach Moalem-Kolayeh from Tehran.

People usually come to this place to visit the ancient castles, mostly the one mentioned in this page.
valley it's a starting climbing point for the south faces of west Alborz peaks like Siyalan, Khoshchal and Samamus, also to trek to the other side Dohezar and Sehezar valleys which have a completely different nature in the lush of north Iran made by steams of the Caspian sea. Trekking to west faces of the Takht-e-Soleiman mountains located in the middle Alborz. And a starting point to climb the Shah Alborz/Taleghan mountains.

Other than the 4000m peaks I mentioned, there are lots of named and unnamed 3000m easy and technical peaks around the valley that can be camped and climbed.

The valley of snakes ! by mountainfire
In my opinion this valley could be called the valley of snakes! Beside its beauty, this place is also famous for its 2 venomous, 2 partly venomous and 16 non- venomous snakes !

Two of the most venomous snakes collected here are called Vipera Albicronuta ( Afii Zanjani ), which you find it only in Iran, and Vipera Lebetina Obtusa ( Afii – Gorze Mar ).

This is the source of the above information:
The book name: Snakes of Iran. By : Dr. M Latifi – Department of the Environment, Iran ( 1992 )

The Historical Matter

You must read the book "The Lord of Alamoot". I think what I write will not give much sense.

The castle was built by Hassan Sabah and his followers they entered at 1090AD and stayed there for 35 years (how he collected his followers and they trusted him is a story you should read in the book).

Anyway he was a genius, he must have knew politics, strategy and chemicals, he was an assassin factory ! "The Old Man of the Mountain", was the charismatic leader of the Hashshashin, his sting was: fooling people with religions like all the other snakes who still do it...

The ideology was to use drugs to convince them that they were assured a place in paradise if they were successful in murder with their golden daggers. He would dope someone who had lived in a poor arid place, then showing him a green garden full of fruits and a ceremony served by sexy virgins and so on, then he would tell him that this was the paradise and the only way to get back is to die in the way he shows. Assassinating those he wanted in this order, they used hashish so the where hashshashins or assassins

Seljuq king, Malekshah empired Iran, and the Arab khalifa's systems where mostly his points.

Finally the castle was surrendered to Hulaku khan the Mongol king, the castle stood firm but the weak men convictions surrendered to invaders. His carcass was never found, some say he must have molten himself in acid, so no1 knew what acid is and even the way of his death made him becoming a greater hero for the cults.

Likns and Books

Links Separating the killers from the heroes [GO]
  Biography's [GO]
  The castle of assassin [GO]
  Pirates [GO]
  The Legendary Fortress of Hassan Sabah [GO]
Books Hassan-i-Sabah Assassins Sabbah Called Iran Mystery Death..[SEE]