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Dokhtar Castle or Qal’e-ye Dokhtar in Firuzabad

Dokhtar castle is the first Persian domed building with specific technical and architectural principles from Sassanid era.
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Introduction to Dokhtar Castle (Qal’e-ye Dokhtar)

Qal’e-ye Dokhtar (Dokhtar Castle) is located on the route from Firuzabad to Shiraz at the foot of a mountain overlooking the road. The castle is the first Persian domed building with specific technical and architectural principles, and the materials used in it are similar to Sassanid Ardashir Palace.

History of Qal’e-ye Dokhtar

Ardashir-e Babakan, who spent a lot of time rebelling against the fifth Ardavan (the last Parthian king), ordered the construction of a palace in the heights of Firuzabad, now called Qal’e-ye Dokhtar, to protect the Sassanid capital. The castle was a solid fortress to guard until the Parthian rule. Although it is badly damaged, its high walls still show the establishment of the government.

There are many stories about Dokhtar Castle

Some believed that the place belonged to Anahita (the ancient Persian goddess of fertility, water, health, healing, and wisdom), while others considered the fortress to be inaccessible due to its difficult road, and the impassibility of the castle is a reason to name it Qal’eh Dokhtar (The Maiden Castle).

Architecture of Qal’e-ye Dokhtar

The facade stones of the castle have been carved, but the stones used inside the building are composed of large river stones. Although the high walls of the castle have fallen, they still have a dazzling splendor. The location of Qal’e-ye Dokhtar on a mountain, and its surroundings by three rocks, which were built on top of each a watchtower for added security, placed the palace in the strategic position.

The castle was formed on three floors, in a stepped manner, and a large dome was built on a square room, which was located in the highest part of the castle and was considered as the ceremonial part of the palace. Because of the pressure exerted by the arches on the walls that are beneath them, most of the corridors on the second floor and the small rooms around the building have been damaged severely.

The middle part of Qal’e-ye Dokhtar consists of a central courtyard, surrounded by halls with multiplicative arches, and has a salon for cooking. The section is also related to the lower floor. The lowest level of Qal’eh Dokhtar was its entrance, which has a hall for people who wanted to enter the castle. In the corridor, some platforms were located in niches, and there was a high bench with five beautifully decorated chairs at the end of it. On the right side of the hall was a door that led to the middle part of the palace, with circular stairs.

Internal Architecture of Dokhtar Castle

In the castle was a stone reservoir that had been created in the heart of the mountain to meet the need for water. Also, a large opening, like a cave, is in the palace, which some believed was a secret escape route to the castle. When the enemy attacked, the people who stayed in the fortress and could not get out, had the possibility to communicate with the city through the cave and bring food and manpower into the palace.

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