Uncovering the Islamic Governmental Citadel of Shahdezh in Isfahan, Iran


  • Hassan Karimian University of Tehran
  • Abbasali Ahmadi Shahrekord University




Soffeh Mountain, Shahdezh, Saljuq Castles, Isfahan


The magnificent architectural complex known as Shahdezh Citadel is a defensive compound with an area of over 15 ha, sitting atop Soffeh Mountain, close to the city of Isfahan, Iran. It is a unique historical complex due to its majesty, impregnability, and strategic significance, however, studies on the Citadel are limited to a few historical documents and reports on its visible relics. It is for this reason that the present authors began archaeological investigations at this site in the summer of 2004. The main aim of the research was to determine the distribution and function of the architectural remains, as well as the construction and usage periods of the huge complex. To this end, topographic maps were prepared, followed by systematic surface survey and excavation of parts of the castle that were deemed most important. The findings of this research strongly suggest that the Shahdezh Castle was originally constructed in the Sassanid era (224–651 AD) and was later restored and reused by Saljuq rulers (1037–1194 AD) in the Islamic period. Its existence as a governmental citadel located near the Saljuq capital of Isfahan strengthens the authors’ proposition that Saljuq kings settled the royal family at the Shahdezh Citadel and ruled over the country from there.


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How to Cite

Karimian, H. ., & Ahmadi, A. . (2021). Uncovering the Islamic Governmental Citadel of Shahdezh in Isfahan, Iran. Journal of Islamic Archaeology, 8(1), 111–124. https://doi.org/10.1558/jia.21166