Ghoortan citadel

Ghoortan (Also: ghurtan, Qortan, Ghortaan)Castle is located near Varzaneh, 110 km east of Isfahan, 45 km away from Gavkhooni wetland and it is located in Isfahan-Varzaneh Road. Zayandehrud River passes through the direction of the Gavkhoni wetland to the west and southwest of the village. This village from the north is connected to the deserts of the villages of Bagher Abad and Sharif Abad And From the east to the village of Oskhranhan. Ghoortan and its adjacent villages are in danger of earthquake and they are in earthquake zoning.

Ghortan word combined of two words: Ghor =grave and Tan = house or place which shows a capacity or a place. Ghotran means a place where the grave is abundant. The castle’s position indicates that the word is similar to the Turkish word Ghor = weapon or Ghorchy = head of the arsenal. Ghorkhane = The gun factory and the Ghoriltai is derived from the Mongolian language, meaning the Military Council, and in the language of the people of Khwarizm, Ghorlitan means the council and consultative council, and it is concluded that the castle is a military defense castle. Most likely, it was the ammunition warehouse or the military council site of a group of warriors for Dilami and Seljuk dynasties. In fact, there was a connection between the city of Isfahan and this castle and there were the possibility of connecting and signaling on the mountains and hills and minarets from Isfahan to this castle. The village of Gourtan is located on the north side of the river. And from the very beginning, the greatness of its walls is impressive. Also from the writings of Ibn al-Hawqul Baghdadi (The first foreign traveler who wrote his book in Isfahan), it can be concluded that the castle is Dating back to 1061 AD. Zayandeh Rood water finally goes to Barzand and it is special among Zoroastrian and they go out on this nature. The castle fortress building was probably built in the 4th century (366-323 AH). Due to its excellent geographical location which is Alongside Zayandeh Rood, the castle has been a place for living from the past up to now. The castle is located on the slope of the shore of the river and it is still upright and well-kept. Only on the south side of the castle, there is a collapse which is undoubtedly because of a raging whirlwind power of zayandeh rood. This castle has a coniferous fence made of admirable clay and it is very solid, and has extraordinary grandeur.


The Ghoortan citadel complex with an approximate area of 43,000 square meters is located in the south of Ghoortan village and on the margin of the Zayandehrood River. At present, the castle is enclosed with an adobe fence and 13 observation towers (there were 15 towers that two of the towers were destroyed in the northeast).

The building has two inputs in the center of the north and south sides (Zayandehrood margin) symmetrically. The accesses in this complex are controlled by a basic route which begins like an organic form from the beginning of the input and passed through buildings in the center of texture and it encircled like a belt. From this path, most of sub-accesses are deadlocked and are branched and they made Relations between buildings. Most of the buildings of castle have a simple plan, which they all are formed on a floor and covered with Barrel vault. Only a small percentage of the castle’s buildings are built in two floors. Access to the second class is usually possible by external steps.

The type of architecture, accesses and form of buildings in this collection represents the warm and dry architecture. The interior of most of the buildings of this castle have their own simplicity and only a few of these buildings are decorated. The complex has a number of service and sanitary and religious areas such as the mill, the bathroom, the mosque, the Hussainiya and the market. All of which are formed on the margin or along the main path of the castle. In addition, residential houses with a beautiful architecture of the complex reveal the type of architecture and culture of this historic village.

Most of the towers of this castle are built in two floors and the second floor is the resting place of the guard of the tower. Out of the available towers, there are two towers in the middle of the northern and southern sides which they are larger and more beautiful, in which there are entrances to the castle. Those two towers with an octagonal interior are built in two floors. According to older people living in the castle, these two towers had large wooden doors thirty years ago, and no trace has been left to notice.

When we enter the castle, we see that the alleys were designed in such a way that a   newcomer cannot find the way out easily. and he should search for hours. The height of the walls also makes it impossible to look around the castle and to recognize the direction. As if they deliberately twisted the alleys to protect them from enemies when attacked and the enemy cannot easily find the way. Inside the castle, in the midst of insecurity, 50 households lived well. After the implementation of the land reform laws, people have preferred to live outside of the castle. Today, inside the castle, there are no more than a few households and the castle has been abandoned. In the past, the castle had a mill that was supplied from Zayandeh Rood. The castle has three mosques, one of which is called strange home and they were made for strange people who could live in it.  Another mosque, which is very old, is known as the Shabestan, which has a special spiritual atmosphere. The castle fortress has a military- defense aspect. It has an internal hierarchy. And also there is a communication (one-way) between this system and the outside environment, based on the defensive needs and the link from outside to inside have been controlled in several ways.

There are also vital facilities like well water, Stocked food store, Hidden path from outside to the inside. And by considering the awareness of the existence of cultural elements within the castle we find out that the castle had a self-contained system and could have survived in a material and cultural dimension at least for some time independently from the outside world. It seems that Ghortan is considered to be an important place in the region in the course or periods of a particular date. The castle is still located and although many of the buildings inside it are destroyed but can be restored.

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