Alamut was a mountain fortress in the central Alborz Mountains south of the Caspian Sea, about 100 km from presentday Tehran in Iran. Only ruins remain of this fortress today.
Since it lies on a mountain, it was named Alamut, which means “Eagle’s Nest”.
The fortress was first built in 840at an elevation of 2,100 meters. It was built with only one passable entrance that wound its way around the cliff face (the one natural approach, a steep gravel slope, was too dangerous to use). This made conquering the fortress extremely difficult.
The mountain’s peak was extremely narrow and long--perhaps 400 meters long and no more than 30 meters wide at any place. In 1090, the fortress was attacked and occupied by the powerful Hashshashins, a faction of Nizari Ismailis. It was destroyed on December 15, 1256, by Hulaku Khan as part of the Mongol offensive on Southwest Asia. The fortress was impregnable, but Ruknuddin Khurshah surrendered it without a real fight, in the vain hope that Hulaku would be merciful.
In 2004, an earthquake further damaged the already crumbling walls of the fort. Alamut was fabled for its gardens and libraries. The ruins of 23 other fortresses remain in the vicinity.
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