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Saturday, 11 January 2014 09:26

Rayen Citadel

Rayen Citadel is an adobe castle situated in Kerman province southwest of the city of Rayen. It is considered the biggest earthen structure of Kerman province after Bam Citadel.

According to Iran Daily quoting HistoricalIran, Rayen displays all the architectural elements of a citadel that was inhabited until 150 years ago. Although believed to be between 500 and 1,000 years old, its features belong to the pre-Islamic Sassanid era.
It appears extremely well preserved, considering the numerous natural disasters that have been destroying similar structures nearby.
Rayen Citadel is spread over 20,000 square meters, remaining a symbol of the residential fortresses during ancient times. It covers an almost perfect square area and consists of a number of towers on its perimeter. It is surrounded by a 10-meter wall and on its southern side an artificial moat had been dug to add to the citadel’s security.
The citadel has its main entrance located on its eastern side. After passing through this articulately designed entrance and after passing by a number of side alleys, there are four structures that in all likelihood were reserved for the wealthier inhabitants.
Similar to other fortresses, it consists of the public and aristocratic quarters. Sections such as Zoorkhaneh (traditional gymnasium), mosque and stable can be seen in the Citadel.
According to historical records, during the reign of Yazdgerd III, while Arab attacks resulted in the loss of many parts of Kerman and its vicinity, Rayen Citadel remained impenetrable.
During the Zandiyeh era, in particular Nader Shah’s reign, Rayen Citadel served as a strategically important base in addition to the living quarters of local rulers, namely Mirza Hossein Khan and his son Mohammad Ali Khan.
Following the ascending of Agha Mohammad Khan, Rayen Citadel continued housing Mirza Hossein Khan’s bloodline, many of whom still live in Kerman, if not Rayen itself.
Mirza Hossein Khan’s popularity among the locals has prompted many to refer to the structure as Khan’s citadel.
Two ancient industries practiced in Rayen city, namely weaponry and knife-making, are due to be revived there by establishing workshops in Rayen Citadel.
The medieval mud-brick city is similar to Bam Citadel, which was destroyed in an earthquake in December 2003.
Following the Bam earthquake and in 2004, Iran’s Cultural Heritage, Handicrafts and Tourism Organization announced the introduction of the citadel as part of its main programs. Since then, the citadel is gradually changing into a tourism destination.



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