Rudkhan Castle was a military medieval fortress built during the Sasanian Empire (224 – 651 AD) to defend the northern part of the country from southern Arab invaders. This large castle has been renovated and strengthened several times throughout the centuries. One of the most extensive restorations was completed during the Seljuk Era (1037 – 1194) where the castle was used as one of the many fortifications of the Ismaili State (or Alamut State).
For most of the duration of its life, the castle has been mostly used for uprisings and riots against the central power in the country, and even though it has gone through a huge amount of violence and brutality, it still stands strong, hidden in the middle of Northern Gilan’s jungles. In fact, Rudkhan Castle is one of the best well preserved remains of fortifications in ancient Iran.
Rudkhan Castle is built mostly by brick and stone and stands on top of a strategic mountain at the elevation of 715m. It is 30km away from the city of Fuman and just nearby its hiking starting point, lies the village of Rudkhan. To reach the castle, there are hundreds of stairs to climb and that is one of the reasons this castle is also known as “The Thousand Step Castle”.
To reach the castle, you need to hike in the jungle. Depending on how prepared you are, this hike can take from 1 to 2 hours. The path towards the castle is clearly marked and there are numerous small vendors on your path. The steep path to Rudkhan Castle makes it seem unreachable for some travelers, but all who have reached the castle would agree that the beauty of the jungle and the path itself are what make this hike worthwhile.
The castle consists of several parts, most notable of which are the water reservoir, twelve gates, the prison, 42 watchtowers, housings, and the king’s quarters. The king’s quarters are located on the highest point of the castle and feature breathtaking views of the surrounding area.
If you are visiting Gilan province, don’t miss the chance to see Rudkhan’s outstanding castle. It is highly recommended to start your hike early in the morning (especially in summer, when it can get very hot and humid during the day), so you can enjoy your visit in a less crowded environment.