Wednesday, January 3, 2024

Shalamzar Castle

Shalamzar Castle (قلعه شلمزار) or Samsam al-Saltaneh Castle (قلعه صمصام السلطنه) is located in Chaharmahal and Bakhtiari province, north-west of Shalamzar and 45 kilometers from Shahrekord. It was constructed in 1307 under Haj Najaf Gholi Khan Bakhtiari, known as Samsam al-Saltaneh, Iran’s Chancellor during the Persian Constitutional Revolution (1905-1911) and was utilized as his residence. For a period of a few hours during the Persian Constitutional Revolution, Shalamzar Castle was assigned as the country’s capital. Castles in the area, particularly during the Qajar era, were constructed not only for the security of the tribal chiefs but also to show off their grandeur.

Measuring about 2,000 square meters in area, the monument was built on two floors, of which the second floor was destroyed completely about 40 years ago. The first floor has 10 rooms (in two rows) with three attached storage areas, chambers and ceilings made of sun-dried bricks, with a view to a nearby mountain. 

Opposite the main entrance was a split stone stairway leading to the upper floor. 

The second floor had a floor plan similar to the first prior to its destruction. The stairs were supported by shorter columns at the beginning and columns similar in height to that of the portico further up. On two sides of the base of the longer columns is a carving of a dragon devouring a sheep. The shorter column bases display a man holding a gun with a flower in the gun barrel. In front of these rooms stony porticos with beautiful decorations have been constructed.

The structure was built in the east-west direction and has a rectangular shape. The entire portico faces south and is supported by 18 carved stone columns (mainly with a base of floral designs) and spans 35 meters long and 3.5 meters wide. Originally the castle had wooden doors although very few of them have survived.

The historical monument was inscribed on the National Heritage list in 1977. In 2020 A new round of restoration work was to commence on the historical Shalamzar Castle. The project aimed at preserving, protecting, strengthening, and reviving the historical monument and included landscaping, flooring, installation of plumbs and wooden doors and windows, and restoration of brick façade.

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