A different place where great heroism is experienced: babak castle
- Rasul Dagsar
Babak Castle is an ancient monument with a different story, just below the Caucasian region between the Caspian Sea and the Black Sea. When giving the location of the Castle, if you have noticed, I have used the most familiar geographic elements
(Caspian, Black Sea and Caucasian mountains) close to it instead of the political unit (Iran / Azerbaijan). Because, although the Castle is a human product like a political unit, it has characteristics that belong to history and do not overlap with the components of today's political unit.
The Babak Castle is the heroism monument of the indigenous people who fought this place and fought the Arab tyranny around someone named Babak.
As we know today, 1400 years before Muslim Arabs attacked here, the indigenous people here depended on a mix of shamanism and Zoroastrian beliefs. Christians lived at the west of the region, shamans lived at north, and the belief of a Zoroastrianism dominated by the shamanism in the south and east. In addition, the Jewishs lived in the south depths close to the Persian Gulf.
However, as it is known, these places also fell into the hands of the muslim Arabs, and shaman khazars who lived betwin Russians at north and Arabs at south, choosed jewish religion to survive their state by increaseing and strengthening their resistance dynamics.
On the other hand, Azerbaijanis knew that they now faced a large and motivated empire, and that was why they asked for help from the Khazars and the east roman Empire. When there was no effective support from these two states, they decided to honored themselves in history, and their resistance against the arab empire continued for decades. Babak was the last leader of this movement, and he managed to resist the Arab armies for 23 years in these mountains and the fort with the people of karadagh.
The great Azerbaijani national hero was born in late 8th century AC in Balal Abad (Qaradag) region of south Azerbaijan close to the city of Tabriz. After his father’s death in his early teen, he was given the responsibility of his 2 brothers and mother during a traditional Zartosht ceremony in holy Odlaq (Fire-temple), which used to involve a glass of Azeri wine and wearing a purple ribbon around body.
By the age of 18 Babak had established himself in the city of Tabriz and was engaged in the arms trade and industry. Later on, this engagement gave him the opportunity of travelling to different regions like Caucasia, Middle East and Eastern Europe and familiarised him with history, geography and language of countries and nations in these regions. During all these time, Azerbaijan (the only non-Muslim country in the region) was constantly invaded by the despotic Bani Abbas Arab dynasty (Khalifa) and defended itself by the leadership of Javanshir, who was Azerbaijan’s ruler since late 8th century till 815 AC. His skills in the latest battle tactics accompanied by the knowledge of history and geography strengthened his position as Javanshir’s first advisor and commander during the early wars against Arabs.
After successive victories against the Arab invasion, Javanshir was severely injured and consequently passed away. Babak took over the power by the support and encouragement of Javanshir’s wife (later on married Babak), who introduced the spiritual Babak to the nation of Azerbaijan as the new leader.
Throughout the history, the role of Babak’s wife on Khorramdin movement’s success and consequently on Azerbaijan’s triumph over the Arab and Islam invasion has set an example of woman’s influence in every aspect of Azerbaijan’s society.
Now Azerbaijan had a new leader, someone who was elected by the people of Azerbaijan despite the chaos injected by the Bani Abbas dynasty in Azerbaijan.
Babak was a highly spiritual and educated person who respected the Zartosht identity of his nation. He made every possible effort to establish reasonable political and cultural relationships with the neighbouring countries; Persia and Tabarestan and also their leaders, Afshin and Maziyar respectively to construct an allied force against the Arab Khalife.
One of the most epic periods of Azerbaijan’s history was set under the Babak’s leadership between 815-837 AC.
During these most crucial years, Azerbaijan fought against the invasion of Islam and Arab culture whilst having the constant threats of Khazar nation from north of it’s territories and without any aid from neighbouring countries such as Persia, who were already colonised by the Arab Khalife more than a century ago. In fact the constant betrayal of Persian nation under the leadership of Afshin during several most important battles altered the destiny of Azerbaijan and our region drastically and as a result the negative influences of this violation still remains unhealed. Azerbaijan’s greatest movement to preserve it’s cultural identity under Babak’s leadership had caused devastating results for the Arab nation and their allies, which statistically is reckoned by the historians to be over several million casualties. Eventually Babak, his wife and his warriors were forced to leave their command degree (Baz Qalasi) under very difficult situation after 23 years of sensational campaign. He was betrayed by the leader of Armenian nation and was handed over to the Bani Abbas Khalifa, whilst he had sought refugee in Qarabag mountains.
During Babak’s inspiring execution, first khalifa ordered to cut his leg’s and hand’s in order to see his paled and defeated face, but Babak rinsed his face by the drained blood pouring out of his cuts to show Azerbaijani nations triumph even under such circumstances.
The babak fortress is located in the northwest of Iran, north of eastern Azerbaijan state, in the middle of the forested mountains of Karadagh and can be reached by bus or taxi from Tabriz for 2-2.5 hours.
The road between Tabriz and Babak Castle passes through places full of magnificent views, and the mountains where the castle is located are considered as one of the richest regions in the world in terms of vegetation.
from where you get out of the car, you can be reached the castle by 45 minutes / 1 hour pedestrian journey.