(Persia Digest) - The great Rayen Castle is located 136 kilometers from the city of Bam in southeast Iran and is known as the second great monument built from clay and mud and includes hundreds of houses, government headquarters, mosque, public bath, main square, and one of the largest and most beautiful halls of Iran’s ancient civilization.
This historical monument has an area of 22 thousand square meters and is considered the second largest adobe monument in the world after the city of Bam’s citadel which suffered serious damage in the earthquake of 2003.
The city of Rayen with an ancient history and civilization was suitably located during the reign of the Sassanid dynasty (rule 224-651 AD) in the Persian Empire on the road from the west to the east and the road from the city of Kerman to the city of Jiroft in southern Kerman Province, and Bandar Abbas on the Persian Gulf This was a center of trade and also the weaving of valuable fabrics which were exported to distant locations as far as Egypt.
After the damage suffered by the great Bam citadel, the Rayen castle became an attraction for foreign and domestic tourists. The plan of this beautiful mud brick monument is almost quadrangular and several towers have been built in its periphery. The wall built around it has a height of more than 10 meters and its only entrance is on its east side that opens into the interior of the castle with a large portal.
Inside the Rayen castle, there are also places for the bazaar (major market place), winter and summer quarters for stables, a zurkhaneh gymnasium, lordly manorial houses and houses for common people. This castle was still habitable as recently as 150 years ago; its restoration began in 1995, and the bazaar, the ruler’s quarters, the four storage houses, fire temple, gymnasium, and the lordly house of the chamberlain have been restored.
In the past, this picturesque castle was a place of commerce for trade caravans which traveled in this path from the south to the north of the province and to other locations as well. In the past, this castle had forts located nearby that have been destroyed with the passage of time. The labyrinthine narrow streets and the castle’s bazaar are among its attractive sites for tourists and lead to rooms and chambers where the passage of time has left a relatively palpable impact on. The faded motifs written on a number of walls are among the effects of these impacts.
Every year thousands of tourists visit this monument, yet, despite its historical precedent and importance, no registry has been initiated for its global registration.
Photographer: Ehsan Kamali/Tasnim