Rayen Castle (Arg-e Rayen) | Kerman, Iran | Rayen Citadel

The most Impenetrable Citadel in Iran
Rayen castle header feature image - Rayen Castle (Arg-e Rayen) | Kerman, Iran | Rayen Citadel
8 Dec

Rayen Castle (Arg-e Rayen) | Kerman, Iran | Rayen Citadel

Iran’s history is full of many changes and it has rarely an era without invasion. Living in such conditions justifies the need for having strong fortresses. One of the best examples of a fortress that has never been defeated by its enemies is Rayen Castle (also known as Arg-e Rayen or Rayen Citadel). This citadel that dates back to about 1500 years ago, one of the largest adobe building in the world. Rayen Castle (106 to Kerman) hosts thousands of domestic and foreign tourists every year. If you are curious about this impenetrable citadel, follow me to find out about the different parts of this citadel, its history, use and secrets.

Arg e Rayen 1 3 - Rayen Castle (Arg-e Rayen) | Kerman, Iran | Rayen Citadel

Arg-e Rayen – Rayen Citadel

Why Visit Rayen Castle?

  • Rayen Castle is one of the largest adobe buildings in the world after the world-registered Arg-e Bam.
  • Rayen citadel was the residence of people until 150 years ago.
  • You will encounter a building with a history that dates back to Sassanid era (224-651 AD).
  • By visiting Rayen Castle, you can walk through the alleys of a fortress that no ruler in history has been able to conquer.
Arg e Rayen 2 - Rayen Castle (Arg-e Rayen) | Kerman, Iran | Rayen Citadel

The Facade of Arg-e Rayen – Rayen Castle

Story of Rayen Citadel – Rayen Castle

In the past, there were castles that were within large citadels. The ancient rulers built these citadels for doing city administration. Next to those citadels, there were government castles where people sought refuge during the war to escape the invaders.  One of these castles, Rayen Castle, is still standing in the southeast of Kerman province. Its special natural and political position has made it one of the most strategic historical bases in Iran.

The location of this citadel on the trade route that connected the west to the east made it a gathering center of commercial caravans. This made the citadel one of the centers for trading goods and textiles. From there, high fabric textiles were sent to far lands such as Egypt.

Although the citadel is on the edge of the desert, due to its construction on the slopes of Hazar Mountain, it has a pleasant climate. The architecture of Arg-e Rayen is similar to Arg-e Bam. In terms of its glory and beauty, it is called the brother of Arg-e Bam. But in terms of size and materials, it has a smaller scale. I suggest that you plan to visit this impenetrable citadel during your trip to Kerman and do not doubt that this trip will be unforgettable.

Arg e Rayen 3 - Rayen Castle (Arg-e Rayen) | Kerman, Iran | Rayen Citadel

Corridors in Rayen Castle – Rayen Citadel

How Rayen Castle Looks

There are different parts in this large citadel and each of them has a special usage. To find the entrance to the citadel, you have to go to its eastern part, where a large and majestic stone door will welcome you to the courtyard. When you enter the citadel, places such as bazaar, zurkhaneh (a place for doing a kind of ancient Persian sport), winter stables and summer stables will attract your attention. Near the entrance, you can see the guard and surveillance section. After passing the guard section you can see the bazaar. In this part, narrow and roofed corridors have been designed to protect people from the heat. After passing through the bazaar, you go to a square called the Lecture Square. This square was for announcing important news from the ruling castle to the public.

To reach the central towers and castles, you have to cross narrow roofed alleys. The existence of 2 or 3-floor houses at that time is another wonder of this citadel. Crossing the adobe alleys that were built by people’s efforts in thousands of years ago, is a great pleasure for tourists. Along the way, be sure to visit the barracks of the citadel and the house of the ruler’s representative.

Rayen Castle also had two temporary and permanent fire temples. The temporary fire temple was used only during ceremonies, feasts and celebrations. They transmitted the fire of the temporary fire temple upwards by means of pipes. The fire was seen as a light goblet. With the advent of Islam and the abolishment of many fire temples in Iran, the permanent fire temple of Arg-e Rayen was extinguished.

Arg e Rayen 4 - Rayen Castle (Arg-e Rayen) | Kerman, Iran | Rayen Citadel

Rayen Castle

Security Secrets of an Impenetrable Citadel – Rayen Citadel

It is interesting to know that Rayen Castle was never captured by its enemies. The citadel is designed to make it almost impossible for enemies to enter the citadel. Rayen Citadel is almost in the shape of a square and several towers surround it. The tall and concave fences of the citadel and its beautiful watchtowers take the breath of every visitor away. Another wonderful point is that the architecture of Rayen Castle is like a maze with 10-meter walls. It was actually a technique to slow down the process of attacking the citadel.

You can see four watchtowers around the citadel that three of them are near the entrance. Over these watchtowers, in the past, guards used to watch the stronghold for hours. There is a square hole at the top of these towers.  In the past, the guards controlled the people who entered and exited the citadel through these holes. During wars, they poured boiling water or hot oil on the enemy from this part.

There are also twelve towers inside the citadel, bringing the total number of guard towers to sixteen. The watchtowers around the castle communicated in such a way that the 15 side towers sent information to the main tower (mother tower), which was in the government castle. Another thing for increasing the security of the citadel was to dig an artificial ditch in its southern part to prevent the invasion of the enemies during attacks. So, the location of this citadel on a hill, the presence of ditches, as well as the existence of thick and impenetrable walls, made it a secure and safe place.

Arg e Rayen 5 - Rayen Castle (Arg-e Rayen) | Kerman, Iran | Rayen Citadel

The Watch Tower in Arg-e Rayen – Rayen Castle

Hierarchy in Rayen Castle

In different and separate parts of Rayen Castle, different social classes lived with different occupations and differences in financial status. In this way, the citadel had three general sections: khan, aristocratic and common residential. The aristocratic buildings were the living places for the priests and the elders.

Take a Look at Khan’s residence – Rayen Castle

Khan’s residence (a Khan was the ruler of a region) is the most important and magnificent part of the castle. One of the features of this house is that there are some stairs from the ruler’s house to the roof and from there to the exit. A long corridor connects the gate of the residential part to the two courtyards. One of these courtyards was the residence of Khan and the other was the place where Khan or government officials managed the affairs of the castle. The house architecture is exactly like a palace inside the citadel. The palace was separated from the public and aristocratic neighborhoods by a tower and fortifications.

Arg e Rayen 6 - Rayen Castle (Arg-e Rayen) | Kerman, Iran | Rayen Citadel

The houses in Rayen Castle Joao Leitao

Making Weapons of War

At the entrance of the citadel, there is a place where blacksmiths and people who made knives and metal tools used to work. The profession of blacksmithing and metalworking in Rayen Castle has a long history. This citadel was famous for making knives. So, when the rulers of Kerman needed weapons of war, they ordered the craftsmen of Rayen to make swords.

Special Buildings in Rayen Castle

Another interesting point in this castle is the existence of a school and a quarantine building in the public section. The quarantine section was for the time when certain diseases were spreading in the castle and people with the disease were kept away from healthy people. Also, those who wanted to enter the citadel were first quarantined and were then allowed to enter if they were not ill.

More about Rayen Castle

Visiting hours

‌9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Visiting days

Every day except some public holidays

Everything you need to know before traveling to Rayen Citadel

  • It takes two to three hours to visit the castle. It has a pleasant and cool climate and the best time to visit the citadel is spring, autumn, and September.
  • If you wish, it is possible to bring a variety of snacks. But if you are worried about water and food in the citadel, you should know that there are buffets and cafes outside the citadel that are ready to receive visitors.

Rayen Castle Nearby Attractions

You can visit magnificent attractions near Rayen Castle. Here are some of them: Rayen Waterfall is an amazing waterfall that rises from the heights of Hazar Mountain. Another famous attraction is Hazar Mountain itself: the highest mountain in the south of the country and Kerman province. Abundant gardens with fruits, green and pink marble mines, mineral water springs, and beautiful volcanic craters are among the other attractions of Rayen City that you can visit during a trip to that area. Also, Shazdeh Garden (UNESCO), an extraordinary and pleasant garden in the heart of the desert, is only 70 kilometers from the castle. Mahan’s Shah Nematollah Vali Shrine is also near this Persian Garden.

Where to Eat Near Rayen Castle

Aalijenab Restaurant

Paytakht Restaurant

Shamdooni Restaurant

Like to visit Rayen Castle?

Then don’t miss our Kerman Excursion Tours, our Kerman Desert Tours, or our 13-day Main Magnets Plus the Charisma of Desert Civilizations tour.

Rayen Castle Tours

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Rayen Citadel on Map

Zahra Soltani
Content Manager, International Relations Manager

To Zahra, introducing the beauties of Iran is a delight and an inherent mission! Beyond that, arts, culture, literature, mythology, and all the astonishing secrets of our marvelous universe set her soul on fire! This is what makes Zahra a filmophile, an insatiable reader, and a passionate writer.

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