Saturday, December 19, 2009

Kangaloo Castle


The Kangaloo Castle is located 20 kilometers southeast of Doab, and is situated on a rocky elevation. Due to the passage of time, a major part of this structure is in a state of ruin. The facade and ramparts are of stone, with watch towers at distances. The structure is circular internally and has two stories. Materials used in the construction are slabs of stone and a mixture of gypsum and stone. The Kangaloo Castle is unique in respect to its architecture and is a relic from the early Safavid or Sassanid period. From a distance the Castle resembles two open arms welcoming its visitors inside. The Kangaloo gets its name from the two words “kang” and “loo”, respectively meaning fortress and near in Mazandarani local dialect.
The Kangaloo Castle covers an area of 3,000 sq. kilometers. It sits upon an elevated hill which on its northern side has an elevation of 100 meters and slope of 40 degrees while on its southern side it looks straight down over a valley 350 meters deep. Due to the strategic positioning of the southern side, it operated perfectly as a lookout post. Furthermore the surrounding cliffs, valleys and mountains plus the rough and rocky access route to the Castle gives it a crucial strategic position.


The material used in the Kangaloo Castle’s construction is a mix of stone and wood. The high presence of Iron oxide in the stones gives the castle an overall reddish appearance. There is little left of the north-south wall. The Castle’s towers measure 6 meters tall while their diameter is 5 meters on the bottom and 4 meters on the top. The towers are surrounded by a wall running 19 meters. On the southern side, looking over the steep drop facing a valley, no wall was required. Recent tests on the construction material suggests that the Castle was made water proof.


There are a few rooms still intact inside the Castle. The Castle has two entrances, both with curved ceilings of the Sassanid architecture style. Inside the Castle are a number of windows. A short distance from one of these windows is rectangular opening on the wall. While the exact function of this opening has not been determined, it is suspected that it was used for either an air duct or to transfer water. Not much of the ceiling is left from any part of the Castle, however, the huge rocks scattered across the floor hints at the Castle having a dome.


Much has been found in the Castle as far as water jugs, figurines and other decorative items. On some of them there are signs of Kufic writing. It is believed that the Castle was used as a house of worship. The presence of signs of Mithra on various uncovered items strengthens this belief. In addition to an ancient scripture inscribed on a ring in the Sassanid Pahlavi language (reading either farahi or farrokhi), the goat figurine symbolizes nature’s fertility or the sun.


In early 2009 a performance, paying homage to traditional Iranian musical instruments and nature, took place adjacent to the Castle.

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