Saryazd Fortress

Around Yazd

This wonderful old castle was once used as a giant safety deposit box for the protection of grains, jewellery and other valuables. The fortifications are elaborate with two main concentric walls, high towers and a moat (now empty). If an assault penetrated the outer defences, the inner walls could be shored up making the structure all but impregnable.

Dating back thousands of years to the Sassanid Dynasty (AD 3–7), the castle's labyrinthine corridors reveal small, windowless storage units and honeycombed walls of broken plaster behind which valuables would have been bricked up to avoid detection. There are 480 rooms in all, in varying states of crumbled ruin.

At sunset the view from the roof (accessible by trial and error, using the flagpole as a landmark) is worth the admission price in its own right as the sun catches the curdled muddle of mud-brick domes and arches within the castle walls, and the desert stretches into the hazy distance beyond.