September 28, 2023

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Ancient educational complex, fortress and church under urgent restoration

TEHRAN—Urgent restoration works have commenced on a number of ancient properties, including an educational complex, fortress and a church located in northwest Iran.

Urgent restoration projects have commenced on the 5th-century Saint Hovhannes Church, the ancient Babak fortress and Rab’-e Rashidi, which is an educational complex dating back to the 14th century, and several other properties in East Azarbaijan province, a local official said on Tuesday.

Located in Maragheh, the Saint Hovhannes Church was highly popular during the Ilkhanid era (1256–1353), when Maragheh was one of the Iranian prosperous cities. The Armenian Catholic church was named after one of the apostles called Johannes or John, also known as Hovhannes in the Armenian language.

Rab’-e Rashidi includes several archaeological layers that date from Ilkhanid, Safavid, and Qajar eras. experts believe that students from Iran, China, Egypt, and Syria studied there under the supervision of physicians, intellectuals, scientists, and Islamic scholars. The educational complex was established during the reign of Ghazan, a ruler of the Ilkhanid dynasty. It embraces a paper factory, a library, a hospital (Dar-al-Shafa), a Quranic center (Dar-al-Quran), residential facilities for teachers, students’ quarters, and a caravanserai amongst other facilities.

Babak Fortress, also known as the Immortal Castle or Republic Castle, is a large citadel on the top of a mountain in the Arasbaran forests, which is located 16 km southwest of Kalibar City in northwestern Iran. The fortress was built during the Sasanid dynastic era; however, it is famous for the 23 years’ residence (816 to 837 CE) against the Arab invaders by Persian hero Babak -e- Khoramdin and his warriors.


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