Savadkuh County


Savadkuh County

Savadkuh County (also Savadkooh) (Persian: شهرستان سوادکوه) is a county in Mazandaran Province in Iran. Covering an area of 2441 square kilometers, Savâdkuh is located at the center of Mazandaran province. It is limited northward by Qaemŝahr, westward by Babol, eastward by Sari, southward by the Alborz mountain range and Tehran, and southeast by Semnan province. The main part of this city is located in a valley, in the central Alborz region, where Tâlâr river passes.

The tallest summit of Savâdkuh, is Arfa- Kuh, with a height of 3500 meters. The most important rivers flowing in this city are Tâlâr and Babol-rud, which originate from the Alborz mountain range standing southeast and southwest of Savâdkuh. These rivers irrigate the farmlands in Babol, Babolsar and Qaemŝahr.Including two areas of mountain in the north and futhill in the south, the mountainous area has a temperate and humid climate, and the weather in the south is dry and cold.

avâdkuh consists of four cities

Savâdkuh consists of four cities, PolSefid, Zirab, Shirgah and Alasht; two districts Central and Ŝirgâh; and 6 hamlets, Ŝarq o Qarbe Ŝirgâh, Lafur, Sorx-kolâ, Valupei, Rastopei and Kassiliyân. Having 250 seasonal and permanent villages, the language spoken in Savâdkuh is Mazandarani. Its native inhabitants are Shiite Muslims.

The farmlands in Savâdkuh are limited because of its large forests and mountainous areas. So the farmers use their crops themselves, including rice, wheat, barley and sugar cane. According to geographical features, the economy of this city is based on apiculture and animal husbandry, more than agriculture.

Historical background

Darius I, the great Achaemenian monarch in his famous inscription in Behistun, mentions Pâtišvâreš as one of the territories under his rule. This Old Persian form subsequently became Middle Persian Pateŝxârgar and, following the Arab conquest, Perso-Arabic Faršavâdjar. The Greek historiographer Strabo records this name as Prâxovâtrâs.

In his inscription at Ka'ba-ye Zartosht, the second Sassanid monarch Shapur I, refers to the region as Pâdešxâr. In the "Book of Deeds of Ardashir, Son of Babag", it is Patešxâr again. Ebne Esfandiar and Mir Zahirod-Dine Mara‘shi – the old geographers of Mazandaran – give its name as Patešxârgar as a large area in present-day Mazandaran, including Azerbaijan, Gilan, Tabaristan, Kumesh and Damghan.

Mohammad Hassan Khan (Etemad Saltaneh's "Tadvin Fi Ahval Jebal Ŝervin", "History of Savâdkuh") mentions it as the old name of the ancient area of Savâdkuh. They believe that the word "Savad" was distorted and changed to Faršavât. Savâdkuh enjoyed great importance in the history of Tabaristan and even in Iran.

Its tall mountains were the feudal seats of the Bavand dynasty, with which the Karan-Vands were allied. They defended the area against the invasions of the Amawid and Abbasids and tried to preserve their Zoroastrian religion and culture. The existence of numerous fortresses and military fortifications that date to the 8th-10th centuries vindicate this claim. In addition, Lajim tower with its 10th century brick-face inscription in Pahlavi script demonstrates the attention of the Savâdkuhs to the script, language and customs of their ancestors. The population of this region composed many poems, describing the heroic efforts and bravery of their notables.

Espâbod Xorŝid Cave

This cave is located at the beginning of Xatirkuh road, 2km away from Ravat-sar village. Measuring 80x100 meters, its arched entrance is the largest natural one in the world. On the left side of the cave, a four-story-high castle was built. Made of stones and mortar, it is the masterpiece of architecture of its time. On the right side of the cave, numerous trenches and defensive buildings were built, all of which remained firm and intact after centuries.

These two parts were connected through a road made of stones and mortar. 2 meters wide, this road was built 50 meters above earth level. Today only traces of it remain. The existence of some foundations, confirm that this cave was surrounded by a raw wall. The remains of a cistern, several silos and numerous defensive monuments are located outside the cave.

Dating back to the end of the Sassanid period, it was regarded as a fortified garrison and a fortress of Tabarestan in the early Islamic centuries. According to chronicles, this cave was used as a shelter by Xorŝid, the last ruler of Tabarestan. But other evidences indicate that it was used until 3rd-4th centuries AH.

Ravat-sar Castle

Located on a mountain, at the junction of Xatirkuh road (the Semnan-Tabarestan road) and Firuzkuh road (the historic road from Rey to Tabarestan), overlooking Ravat-sar village, this castle has an irregular base and covers approximately 500 square meters. Made of stones and mortar, it was built according to the shape of the mountain. Its walls measure 34, 15, 36 and 13 meters. Today only 4.5 meters of its walls remain.Its L-shaped entrance is connected to a quadrilateral chamber through a corridor. 5 watchtowers stud inside the castle. It was used as a landmark for caravans, from the end of the Sassanid period to the 6-7th centuries AH.

Kangelu Castle

Located on an isolated mountain, in Rassto-pei hamlet, and made of stones and mortar, the castle is surrounded by tall walls. On the northern and southern sides of the wall, two solid towers were symmetrically built. Facing to the north and south, the walls are 18.80 meters long and the towers are 7 meters high. Housing several rums, the central tower features two arches, which show that it was a two-story-high building. The inner and exterior walls are covered by mortar. According to features of the architecture and the potteries found in it, the castle dates back to the end of the Sassanid period and the early Islamic period.

Hassan Bur (Kassiliyan) Castle

With an altitude of 850 meters above free sea level, it is located in Hassan Bur forest, on a conical wuded mountain. The name of this castle appears in Ebne Esfandiyar’s Tarikhe Tabarestan and Seyyed Zahirod-Din Mar‘ashi’s Tarikhe Tabarestan, Royan Va Mazandaran. Having a hexagonal plan, it was built according to the shape of the mountain. The length of its sides ranges from 15 to 23.5 meters.

Covering an area of 1000 square meters, the castle features 7 towers. 5 of them are circular constructions and the 2 others have rectangular plans located on both sides of the main entrance. Its 8 meter-thick wall consists of two parts, 6 meters of it, was made of cut stone and mortar, and the other part was made of fired bricks measuring 37x37x8 cm. Access to the building is gained from the south. The entrance houses two square vestibules, connected through a corridor. Housing a cistern, the monument was used from the end of the Sassanid period to the 5-6th century AH.

Mâziyâr Castle, Lafur

Located on a wooded mountain, near Lafurak village and covering an area of 1000 square meters, it is some 200 meters long and 50 meters wide. The plan of the castle follows the shape of the mountain. Its 4 meter-thick walls are made of stone, fired bricks and mortar. With a width of 3 meters, the entrance is located on the southern edge of the building. The castle features a small pool decorated with turquoise tile-work; and numerous barrel-drains allowed water of a spring to enter it and exit through a sewage. The castle was habitable from early 6th to 7th century AH.

Chehel-Dar Castle

Overluking Veresk bridge, near the village by the same name, atop a mountain leading to the precipices from three sides and having a rectangular plan, it is 450 meters long and 110 meters wide. The construction is made of stone and mortar. Several fired bricks were found inside the castle, indicating that it had many brick buildings in the past. Covering an area of 100 square meters, its entrance is located on the southern edge of the monument. The remains of the planks resting on the walls, indicate that the castle had several stories. Facing southward, there are numerous windows, used for shooting. Several stone cylindrical towers stud in the building, strengthening its structure. This castle and many others in Savâdkuh, belonged to the Bavand family. According to the found pieces of pottery, it was in use from the end of the Sassanid period to 6-7th centuries AH.

Watchtower of Professor Ŝervin Bavand

Located on the Firuzkuh road, at the beginning of Vassi-sar village road, near a stream, atop a rock, having an octagonal plan, each of its sides is 1.50 meters long. Access to the tower is gained from the north and several windows are located on its eastern, southern and northern sides. Housing numerous battlements, it was made of stone, mortar and cement. Dating back to the end of the Sassanid period, the monument was restored several times in the Islamic period, especially during the reign of the Bavand dynasty. This watchtower was destroyed by an earthquake in 1957 AD and was later restored by professor Ŝervin Bavand, after whom it was named.

Lajim Tower

Located in Lajim village, in Savâdkuh, it is called Emâmzâde Abdollah by the native inhabitants. Dating back to 413 AH, it is the burial place of Abol-Favaress Ŝahryâr Ebne ‘Abbas. It is a cylindrical brick construction crowned by a twin-shelled octagonal conical dome. Access to this tomb tower is gained from the east. The exterior facade is decorated with simple moqarnas (stalactites), which was unique in its time.Two bands of brick inscriptions in Kufic and Pahlavi-Sassanid scripts adorn the tomb tower.For more information see :

Tomb Tower of Pir Ŝahryâr, Lamzâr Village

According to chronicles, this monument features a carved wooden door and a funerary case. The inscription of the case bears the poems of two poets from the Alborz mountain range, by the names of Sheikh Soltan Balu Kia Soltan – one of the dervishes of Tabarestan – and Darviŝ Mohammad Ŝahryâr, the devoted dervish. They lived in an interval of 170 to 200 years. In addition it gives the date of construction (Moharram, 880 AH, when Darviŝ Mohammad Ŝahryâr ruled in this area). He was one of the grandsons of the Bavand dynasty in Ŝahryâr-Kuh. Built on a rock, this tomb tower is a cylindrical construction with a twin-shelled dome. Dating back to the 9th century AH, its inner walls are adorned with stucco carvings. The tower is 3.20 meters thick and 2.20 meters high. The grave of this monument was carved in a rock. The remains of some tiles indicate that the dome was probably decorated with tile-work.

Tomb Tower of Aqa Ŝâhbalu Zahed

Located in an old graveyard near Dehmiyân village, overlooking a branch of Talar river, it is called Ŝâhbalu, “Xeneh-vâ” or “Xâneqâ”. It is an octagonal construction crowned by an octagonal conical and twin-shelled dome inspired from the architecture of the 9th century AH. According to written sources and its inscription, it is the burial place of Sheikh-ol-Jalil Motabe‘-ol-Khalil Qotb-ol Maleh Vaddin-ol Hassan Ebne Mohammad, famous as Baluyeh. Its gravestone and case was rebuilt upon the order of ‘Emad-ol-Moluk Sohrab Mazandarani and Rostam Ebne Shahr Velaŝ in 633 AH. A mosque exists near the tomb tower which was built at a later date. Housing two panels, its inscription bears the date of construction (907 AH) and gives the name of the commissioner (Ŝojä‘-oddin Aqa Sohrab Ebne Aqa Rostam Ruz-Afruz) and carpenter (Mohammad Ebne Ostad Hossein Najjar Sareni).

SHirgah Bridge

Located on the Ŝâh ‘Abbasi historic road, which connected Aŝraf (Behŝahr) to Esfahan, and dating back to the Safavid period, this bridge spans Kassiliyân river. With a height of 57 meters and a width of 6 meters, it is a two-spanned bridge made of fired brick, mortar and plaster. It features a big arch on the northern side and a herring-bone-shaped one on the southern side.

Ŝâpur Bridge

Erected on the Ŝirgâh-Qâemŝahr road, it features two herring-bone-shaped arches of different sizes and numerous triangular wave-breakers, strengthening its structure. The bridge was made of stone and mortar. Dating back to the Safavid period, it is 29.70 meters long and 7 meters wide.

Javarem Bridge

Located along the Ŝirgâh-Zirâb road, near the forest, it spans a branch of Talar river. With a height of 14 meters, this bridge features a herring-bone-shaped arch. It is made of stone and mortar. The exterior facade is decorated with quadrangular cut stones. There are 6 bridges across the Shah ‘Abbasi road, between two villages of Veresk and Beŝel, all of which date back to the Safavid period.

hah ‘Abbasi Bridge, Veresk Village

Erected approximately under the Veresk railway bridge, in the village by the same name, it consists of two parts connected completely. Made of stone and mortar, the earlier one dates back to the Safavid period. Lying north and south, this bridge was widened in the Pahlavi I period. Facing eastward, the Safavid bridge features two water breakers. It was 6.20 meters wide and now, it is 10.20 meters wide including the new one. The bridge is 10.20 meters long and 7.70 meters high. Both of two bridges house a herring-bone-shaped arch and bear features of Pahlavi and Safavid architecture.

Historic Road of Sar-Tangeh

Located along the Xatirkuh-Ŝâhmirzâd road, near Talar river, it was carved in a mountain and was made of stone and mortar. This road is 1.80 meters wide and 4 meters high. Dating back to the Islamic period, it was built on the remains of an older road. Today, approximately 50 meters of this road has remained intact.

Okhovvat Graveyard

Located along the Firuzkuh road, between Do-âb and Pol Sefid, the northern railway was built from 1927 to 1940. Following the construction of tunnel No. 6, located in Do-Ab, some of the workers died and were buried in this place. A commemorative stone tower was built by Mr. Loncher, the German engineer. Its inscription bears this text: “To the workers of railway, Iran, Do-âb…… as a souvenir, by Loncher.”

Veresk Bridge

Spanning the Veresk valley, it is located in the ‘Abbasabad district, in the Savâdkuh area. With a height of 110 meters, the bridge features a 66-meter long arch. Having a length of 73.20 meters, it is one of the most important technical engineering constructions in the northern Iranian railway.

Urim Railway Bridge

Located near Urim village, it is one of the most important railway bridges after Veresk bridge. It features 11 spans with a length of 5 meters and a 60- meter long arch.

Vand chal

Located in Sorkhabad Area and has nice wethear in summer.Mehdi Rajabi is from there and now is studing Molecular Medicine in Milann State University.

Balu Bridge

Located along the Ŝirgâh-Zirab road, near Talar river, it was made of fired bricks and mortar. The main part of this bridge was destroyed because of breaking, and now two herring-bone-shaped arches remained intact. One of them is 3 meters wide and 4.75 meters high and another is 4.5 meters wide and 5.50 meters high. According to its architectural features, it probably dates back to before the Safavid period.

Urim Rudbâr Church

This monument was built, following the erection of the northern Iranian railway. It was used for religious ceremonies by foreign personnel. The church consists of a chamber, measuring 4.20x5.20 meters. With a height of 4 meters, it houses a prayer niche and four cement candlesticks. The construction was made of stone and cement.

Language

The languages spoken in Savâdkuh are Mazandarani and Persian, for the major part; and Mazandarani and Persian for the inhabitants of the villages.

Natural attractions

The most important natural attractions of Savâdkuh are: Ŝur Mâst lake, near a village by the same name, Gâzu waterfall in Lafur hamlet, waterfalls of Ŝirgâ and Gaduk, the mountains of Arfa Kuh, Sangâr and Qadamgâ, in Rassto Pei hamlet and Shervin mountain in Valu Pei hamlet; and Alaŝt city.


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