Babak Kaleybar Fort is located in the heart of the beautiful and miraculous forests of Arasbaran and on top of a high mountain and is usually covered in fog and cloud thus creating an imaginative imagery. Babak Fort gets its name from the Iranian warlord and warrior who resisted for 22 years against the invasion of Arabs during the Sasanian dynasty, Babak Khorramdin. Irantrawell through its trip to Tabriz has also been to the Arasbaran forsts and Babak Fort so to introduce you to these attractions.
After Arabs invaded Iran and after all the acts of cruelty, barbarism and suppression that they inflicted upon the cultured people of Iran during the seventh and eighth centuries (Anno Domini), Iran was filled with rebellions and oppositions arisen from the nationalist and sometimes religious reasons, the rising of Aboo Moslem and Babak Khorramdin are exmaples of these uprisings. The ingenious and untapped areas of the northern Iran which were hard to access was the cradle of all these uprisings. Sorkh Jamegan movement led by Babak Khorramdin was one of the most important of these uprisings and in the books of the Arab historians it has been mentioned that the number of Babak Khorramdin’s army to be more than 100 thousand. Babak Khorramdin himself had given the title The Immortals (or the Immortal Guard) to his army which was the name of the special army of the Achaemenid empire. All in all it can be said that those who followed Khorramdin were the representatives of the national sentiment of Iran who eagerly awaited the return of monarchy to Iran against the globalization tendencies (Global homeland) of the Manichaeism. The reputation of the bravery and resistance of Babak Khorramdin and his followers went more than the Azerbaijan region and like legends went to the subcontinent of India and Europe and Byzantine empire. This very sense of nationalism and confidence which were present in the stories of Babak led to the formation of the first independent Iranian governments in the region of Azerbaijan.
To find out more about this read the History of Tabriz article and find out about the first nationalist governments after the invasion of Arabs.
Babak Kaleybar Fort
Babak Fort has been built at the height of 2300 to 2600 meters above sea level and today it is known as one of the historical and hiking attractions of Azerbaijan.
This structure probably used to be a defensive fort which was built during the Ashkanian dynasty or even more probably during the Sasanian dynasty and it is very much like the architecture of Soleiman complex which is from the Sasanian era. Telling from the architectural works and some of the husked stones and bolts and latches of the stones and cement material and the overlay of the walls which is a kind of chalk and dirt it can be said that this castle and fort was definitely built during the Ashkanian and especially Sasanian era.
During the second and third centuries (Solar) and until some centuries after that this fort has undergone some repairs and some changes have been made in it and some parts have been added to it. Therefore Babak after settling in this fort has repaired its main and vital parts and has added some parts to it. Now that more than 1200 years have passed from those times still some parts of that fort remain.
Babak Kaleybar Fort has been registered in the national, historical and cultural heritage list in the year 1345 (Solar), and since 1376 under the supervision of the Tabriz’s cultural heritage handicrafts and tourism organization is undergoing repairs.
One of the most unique areas in Iran are the Arasbaran forests. A region in the north of eastern Azerbaijan with an area of 12 thousand square kilometers. These forests are the remaining of the million-year old Hirkani forests which remain from the third geological eras. The variety of wildlife in this region is so high that they call it the wildlife museum of Iran. UNESCO has introduced this place as the eco reservoir of Iran and its Hirkani forests are still awaiting to be registered internationally by UNESCO.
One of the surprises you will encounter in your trip to Babak fort, Arasbaran forests and Kaleybar village in the summer, is watching the black tents of Shahsavan tribe in the mountains of this region which have filled the meadow and has given this place such liveliness. If you would like to find out more about the variety of life of Iran’s people in this region you can, by permission, enter the tenting area of these people and find out more about their lifestyle. Also, it they were willing to sell, you can purchase local yogurt, dough, butter, rug, and patent leather from them.
Irantrawell’s Tip for the Trip to Arasbaran and Babak Kaleybar Fort
In your trip to Tabriz be sure to put aside an entire day to visit this region in the north east of Tabriz, this will surely be one of the most amazing memories of your trip to Eastern Azerbaijan. By traveling to this part of Iran, you will encounter three historical, cultural, and natural wonders of Iran and you will get to know the local, indigenous and tribal people of Shahsavan, and one of the thickest and oldest forests of Iran and one of the environmental supplies of the world as well as a legendary and historical fort which is the symbol of resistance and valor of one of Iran’s most interesting national characters.
How to Access
To go to the Kaleybar region and Arasbaran forests and visiting the Babak fort we strongly recommend that you choose a proper season to do so first, from Ordibehesht till Mehr is a considered to be a good season to travel to this part of Iran. It’s about 3 hours from Tabriz to Kaleybar, and it is better for you to go there with your own car because there are tourists attraction in every step of the way and the way itself is interesting and pleasant. To go to the Babak fort you can choose from the three routes that have been designated.
Route 1: The tourist camp of the Si valley is the starting point of the first route toward Babak fort. This camp is located three kilometers from Kaleybar and the road to it is paved.
Route 2: Babak hotel is the starting point of the second route toward Babak fort. If you choose this route to get to the fort you should know that to climb up to the fort there about 1000 stone steps on your way to the top.
Route 3: The starting point of the third route toward the Babak fort is the place of residence of the tribal people in the adjacent mountains of Babak fort. To get to this point you should head out from Kaleybar and get past Babak hotel and drive for 6 more kilometers.