Article Name: A turtledove perched upon a battlement
Reza Ghorbani

Reza Ghorbani was born in Borujerd in 1979 . Now he study Philosophy (MD) IN Azad University in Tehran

A turtledove perched upon a battlement (An article about Malayer and its ancient castles)

Malayer is the biggest town in Hamedan province. Its vastness is 3210 square kilometers which comprises Malayer City and the counties of Samen, Azandarian, and joker. This town has 15 villages and 221 residential villages.

Malayer Town is situated in 48’ 49’’ longitude and 34’17’’ latitude and it is confined to Hamedan in north, Arak in east, Boroojerd in south, Tooyserkan and Nahavand in West. This town altitude from the sea level is 1780 meters and it is respectively86 and 390 kilometers away from Hamedan and Tehran.

Alvand mountain ranges extend over the north and the north eastern side of this town and links Arak Sarband mountains. The highest mountain in this town is the Lashkardar summit. The famous Yazdgerd Mountain with the ruins of Yazdgerd Sassani and its remnants is situated in the south of this town. Some of the momentous summits of this town are Garme and Sarde mountains which are respectively 2206 and 2277 meters.

The most significant river in Malayer is KhorramAbad River which has monsoon water supplies. Malayer vegetation is of mountain slope steppe. Malayer climate is something between moderate mountain weather and semi-desert climate. It has the specifications of both of the aforementioned climates. The average rainfall in Malayer is 242.2 millimeters. The language of this town’s people is a combination of Lori, Kurdish and the Persian language with Lori and Lak Accents. According to the census of the solar year 1375 Malayer population is 297062 and most of them live in villages and are engaged in agriculture.

The economic situation

The economy of this town is based on the agriculture and the mainstream agricultural products of this town are grapes, oats, wheat, cereals and fodder. Most of the residents of Samen are patch holders and they make high quality gherkins. Commercial situation in Malayer is relatively pleasant. Some of the significant souvenirs and export products of Malayer comprise rugs, marquetry, dried fruits, Baslogh, honey, almond, nuts, especially raisins which is so abundant there, hence, some factories are engaged in the activity of manufacturing and packing them. They export it to the European countries and the countries situated in the Persian Gulf.

Malayer - Seyfieh Garden

Malayer portmanteau

Historians have mentioned disparate accounts about Malayer portmanteau, for instance, when Arabs attacked Iran and inculcated their religion into our minds, as they were looking for water in this area, they said in Arabic Malayara which means there is no water here. The above phrase was repeatedly used to talk about that region and was gradually changed into the word Malayer.

Another tale mentioned by historians denote that Maad dynasty used to set up fire on hills and mountains to convey news to other parts. (This tradition is still alive and youngsters on the summits of Garme and sarde mountains make fire on the eve of the Iranian New Year, hence, this area is called Malagar which means the fire hill.

Professor Gearshman the famous archeologist accentuates the second record in his book entitled “Iran’s history from the beginning up to Islam”. The names of Malayer villages for instance Manizan, Kamazan, Goorab and Shooshab evinces the paleontological nature of this zone.

Nonetheless the extant buildings of this town are associated with FathAliShah Ghajar government in 1188 Shamsi which was cultivated by his grandson Hadj Seyfoddoleh (the governor of Malayer and Tooyserkan at that time). The establishment of some palaces, gardens, mosques and hammams, can be cited here. That is why that government was called the cultivator up to the extinction of Ghajar Dynasty.

Now we get down to the nitty-gritty and we introduce some of the ancient fortresses and castles of Malayer Town. Nooshijan and Goorab castles are more momentous.

Nooshijan Temple or Castle

Nooshijan historical monument almost 20 kilometers away from the north western part of Malayer and 60 kilometers away from the southern section of Hamedan on a natural hill which is approximately 37 meters high. The aforementioned monument was at first an ancient knoll has been archeologically studied since the solar year 1346 and 3 historical eras were recognized there due to the excavations. The aforesaid signs pertain Part or Ashkani Epoch. The middle layers evince the establishment of Hakhamaneshi or Parsi Epoch and the underneath layers which has been established upon the natural structure of the knolls, has remained from Mad Epoch (the beginning of the 8th era before the birth of Jesus Christ.

The brief structures of two Parti and Hakhamaneshi (Ashkani and Parsi) eras in this ancient knoll were taken away after sufficient studies by the famous English archeologist and the well-known Iranologist, David Sternach. The main signs comprise the column-bearing castles and fortresses which remain from the beginning of Maad Dynasty era. The elements of this collection are the primary Iranian architecture blueprints, in the Iranian plateau which are the unique and valuable signs.

Malayer - Nooshijan Castle - Photographer : Reza Ghorbani

Nooshijan fortress or the ancient temple comprises the following components:

1. The ancient western section monument (the first sanctuary

2. Apadana column-bearing hall

3. The central temple (the 2nd place of worship)

4. Rooms and depositories

5. Tunnel

6. Fences and fortresses

This monument has been registered on 3/11/1384 in the list of the Iranian nation monuments.

The following story is what indigenous people of Nooshijan Temple and fortress recount about its portmanteau. They say there used to be a golden cup concealed inside knoll. When people drank the water inside, it would say: Nooshijan! Which is the Persian word meaning: enjoy your drink! Patriarchs say this cup accompanied a golden wing-bearing horse which was conveyed abroad by the Englishmen as some excavations were carried out.

This fortress-temple is situated in a plain by the name of ShooshAb or vernacularly called Shishoo. There is a village in the vicinity of the aforementioned fortress by the same name. When rainfalls occur in the spring s shallow attractive lake covers the surface of the knolls.

Malayer - Goorab Fortress - 1386 - Photographer : Reza Ghorbani

Goorab Fortress

Goorab Fortress pertains the 4th millennium prior to the birth of Jesus Christ which is located 5 kilometers away on the east of Malayer-Arak Road on a village by the same name. Nowadays some walls are the only remnants of the aforementioned fortress. Some excavations are still made there so that more information will be obtained from other zones. It goes without saying that Goorab Fortress have been used for military and residential purposes.

The events which instigated people to come to this fortress originates from the beginning of Pahlavi monarchy namely the time when RezaShah came to power.

Here goes the story: one of the farmers of Goorab village comes across a big red sapphire while plowing the ground and conceals it. Nonetheless the villagers become aware that a treasure has been found. People rush ahead to that man’s farm and Goorab Fortress to find the treasure. This fact causes the local governor to check this matter. The governor functionaries find the sapphire after some searching. The local governor sends it for the central government. The sapphire was so amazingly attractive that RezaShah orders Teymoortash (the court minister) to pursue this matter.

He sends him to Malayer. Teymoortash obeys Shah’s orders. He precludes the villagers from making any further searches because he does not find any other things and he announces the termination of this file.

The above matter fell in abeyance until the 40th solar decade. Dr. Nersi Jafari the archeologist and the sociologist who was one of the indigenous people grows an interest in this matter and opens up new investigations in this case and makes serious endeavors to find the identity of the aforementioned sapphire. He has cited this story in his book entitled panther. The concise account of his material is as follows:

Dr. Jafari et al made incessant endeavors to investigate this matter. They sent the sapphire to the United States of America be decoded. Then they come to the conclusion that the sapphire belonged to BahramGoor Sassani and it was the sapphire that he used to dangle on his horse’s neck. His paleontological geologist come to the conclusion that the aforementioned area was a march covered with thickets where it was a habitat for wild animals such as zebra and boar and this wilderness attraction may have drawn BahramGoor to this zone.

According to historians BahramGoor had banished in a thicket while seeking to hunt a zebra nonetheless historians have not quoted the precise location where he had disappeared. This fact gives credence to what Dr. Jafari and his colleagues say, hence, the sapphire belonged to BahramGoor Sassani and Goorab village had been Bahram’s hunting ground. Goorab village is most likely the place where BahramGoor Sassani looked for the game and never came back.

In addition to BahramGoor adventure, there is another document which doubles the significance of Goorab fortress. Fakhroddin Assaad Gorgani the 5th century poet was contemporary with Toghrol Beyk Saljooghi and the well-known poet of Visoramin has mentioned the Goorab fortress in his literature. This matter has caused some people to call him Fakhroddin Assad Karkani. Karkan is the name of a village 10 kilometers away from Goorab. Some believe that since Karkan was a small unknown village Fakhroddin Assad has been mistakenly called Gorgani instead of being named Karkani.

It has been recounted in a specific section of this versified story that Ramin is tired of Vis Love (Vis rhymes with Gis). He comes to Goorab castle. He marries a woman by the name of Gol. Vis is apprised and sends his wet nurse to Ramin.

When Goorab crossed the border, the unfaithful king came to him in the desert

Ramin treats the wet nurse so cruelly and make her return. Viss calls one of his companions by the name of Meshkin and says:

Take your pen Meshkin,

And write a letter to Goorab for me

You know how to mingle words; you know how to write an optimum letter

If you manage to make him talk, I will be your nurse as long as I am alive

Ramin receives Vis’s letter. Ramin lives with Gol for some time but he falls in love with Viss again. He separates from Gol and leaves Goorab and heads towards Khorassan and Viss.

Viss and Ramin Story concerns the pre-Islam Era and Ashkani epoch. This story is originally in Pahlavi language. Fakhroddin Assad versified it into Farsi Dari. Dr. Zabihollah Safa writes the following in a book entitled the treasure:

The topic of this versified story is an ancient Iranian tale which concerns the feudal epoch of Ashkanian. The king of kings to whom all the kings were obedient. He concluded a contract with Shahroo the beautiful queen of MahAbad that if she gives birth to a daughter, she will be his fiancée. Shahroo gave birth to Viss and her mother broke the promise and gave her to her brother Viroo. The king of kings waged war against Viroo. Since he could not implement his will by force, he used some subterfuge to take Viss out of the fortress and took her to Khorassan. Ramin the younger brother of the king of kings fell in love with Viss. Viss became fond of Ramin after a while and both of them fled from the king of kings. A succession of events transpired between Ramin, the king of kings and Viss, eventually the king of kings passed away and Ramin acceded to the throne. He dwelled with Viss for long periods. When Viss died, Ramin made his son the king and stayed in the fire temple.

Since the versified story of Viss and Ramin is the remnant of an Iranian ancient tale which has been versified in an excellent manner and has been written so beautifully and fluently, it has become so popular.

As Oofi has said it was a prevalent story until the 7th century and it was the blueprint of poets who composed amorous stories especially Nezami has paid attention to the plenty of cases mentioned in this book when he was composing Khosro and Shirin.

Private incestuous love has been mentioned in a lot of cases in Viss and Ramin which was quite current before Islam (Ofcourse in Kings class) but was forbidden after Islam, hence, the above versified works are not very popular among people.

Malayer - Baba Hossein Tomb

Other fortresses:

Anooj castle located in Anooj village is among other fortresses and castles which belongs to the 6th millennium before the birth of the Jesus Christ. BabaHossein tomb is a tower which is situated 55 kilometers away on the west of Malayer and 12 kilometers on the east of SefidKooh village amidst of the gardens of SiyahKamar village where the tomb of Joshua one of the prophets of Israelites lies there. The residential Jewish people heeded it in the past. The extant building of this work of art belongs to Ilkhani Era. BabaHossein Tomb has been registered on 22/3/79 with No 2711 in the list of the nation monuments of Iran.

The ancient underground residential structure in Samen County

This residential complex is placed beneath the main passageways and the residential homes in the center of Samen County 20 kilometers away from Malayer. This ancient monument has been excavated totally inside granites and it has some passages and connecting tunnels which lead to numerous rooms. One can see oodles of human skeletons and porcelain dishes. There are some integrated platforms made of dressed stones beside the walls of these rooms where corpses and living facilities were placed.

This complex is comparable with the tomb of Ashkani catacombs. But their precise age can not be specified until archeologists make some investigations. (Because these dwellings were discovered in the solar year 1375), nonetheless we know that they have been utilized until the midst of the Islamic (Ilkhani) Era. The vastness of this building includes all the central section of Samen County while it has been reported that they have some external branches.

Darno Cavern an unknown secret:

Darno cavern in Manizan village 15 kilometers away from the north eastern section of Malayer bears subterranean water but the following cases cause it to be wonderful:

1. Only women are allowed to enter this cavern. They must go naked once a year during particular ceremony and rituals for instance taking candles into the cavern. The autochthonous people believe that Elias’s daughters used to dwell in this cavern. That is why men are not allowed to enter it.

2. An ancient mystique script has been carved on the cavern portal. Autochthonous people believe they are the hatred talisman of genies incurred upon the men who enter the cavern and they are extremely loyal to this tradition.

But according to Dr. Jafari et al investigations from Chicago upon this petrograph, they have discovered that this script is Mogharmat handwriting. Some researchers believe that HosseinEbneMansoorHallaj the famous Gnostic created this type of writing system character to express the divine realities. When he was killed and his followers scattered, the secrets of this handwriting fell in abeyance. Khayyam the great Iranian poet and philosopher mentions this theme in a quatrain as follows:

Neither you nor I know the secrets of the primeval times

We can not decipher this Mogharmat handwriting

We are conversing clandestinely behind a curtain

Neither of us will remain when the curtain falls down

Since writers after Khhayyam did not know the meaning of Mogharmat handwriting, they have deleted the Mogharmat handwriting and they have inserted the phrase “riddle-bearing discourse”. So they say this riddle-bearing discourse can’t be comprehended by you or me. (You can refer to the book entitled “panther” written by Professor Nersi Jafari.

Mogharmat is an Arabic word which originates from Ghermateh which has a lexicographical and idiomatic meaning. Lexicographically speaking, Ghermateh means a type of tiny handwriting whose words and lines are so close together. The idiomatic meaning denotes the followers of Ghermate who are the 7-Imam-bearing Shiites or Esmailians. This group of Shiites have had a long history full of adventures. Moslem rulers and other Islamic sects attacked them because they did various nasty activities for instance rough-shoding over Islamic and scientific hypotheses, assassinating the dissidents, forming politico-religious organs, using weapons to fight with governments, conducting military attacks to Mecca, setting aside most of the religious obligations.

Damoon Castle

There is another fortress known as Damoon castle in the south of Malayer which was one of the momentous military bases of Bahram Choobin the notorious commander and the well-known insurrection leader against Khosro Parviz Sassani. Bahram Choobin was Iran’s Shah for a specific period but he lost the throne in a tough war against Khosro Parviz who had made a conspiration with the Roman Caesar.

According to a narrative, Bahram Choobin was from this zone and started his career as a soldier and attained the position of a commander. The family name of most people from Malayer is Choobin and they consider themselves as descendents of Bahram Choobin.

Some amorous epic matters have been intermingled with the soul and psyche of people in Malayer like other parts of Iran. Wait a minute, do you hear the sound of their bugles and horns?

* * * * * *


1. Treasure and valuables / Dr. Zabihollah Safa

2. Panther / Dr. Nersi Jafari

3. Khayyam quatrains / Hakim Omar Khayyam

4. Iran’s history from the beginning until Islam / Roman Grishman

5. The Summary of Vis and Ramin Story / Fakhroddin Assad Gorgani, / with endeavors of Dr. Esmaeel Hakemi,

The tile of this article originates from the following quatrain by Khayyam:

That was the great palace which witnessed the enthroning of so many kings,

We saw a turtledove upon its battlements

It perched down and said: cuckoo, cuckoo


* * * * * *


* * * * * *

Article Name: Gito Plain (Part 2)
Vali Ollah Shamshirbandi

Article Name:
Iranian horse
Dr. Ali Hosseini