The "castle" of Izadkhvast (also called Yazd-i Khvast), actually a fortified settlement or citadel, is situated atop a rocky formation running along the western bank of a river valley. The site is strategic because it commands views over the plateau to the west and is difficult to reach from the east, thanks to the sharp escarpment that rises on the eastern side of the river valley, preventing easy access from that direction. These natural fortifications are the reason for the site's having been used as a dwelling place and stronghold for many centuries, beginning in the Sasanian or early Islamic periods and continuing through the Qajar period. Today the historic fortified citadel is no longer inhabited, replaced by a modern town located to the west.
The fortified settlement occupies the northern end of the rock formation, which projects like a finger from the plateau into the river valley and comes to a point. The west, north, and east sides of the formation all fall away sharply, while a trench created by deepening a natural ravine separates it from the adjoining plateau on the south side. A wooden bridge that could be taken up led across this trench to the citadel's gate. The walls have been repaired as recently as the ninteenth century, but may be much older. The fortified settlement enclosed dwellings that lined a central street from which dead-end side streets branched. The settlement had a congregational mosque, whose plan (a domed square with a narrow porch), suggested to scholars that it may have originated as a Zoroastrian fire temple of the four-arched (chahar-taq) form, which would be an argument for the settlement predating the Islamic period to Sasanian times.1
Below the citadel to the southwest, dwellings of more humble proportions sprung up along the side of the rock formation that falls into the river valley. The fertile banks of the river below were farmed until recent times. A caravanserai
situated on the east bank of the river below the escarpment and an arched bridge providing access to that bank from the citadel side date to the Safavid period.
1. Smith, "Three Monuments at Yazd-i Khwast."
Kleiss, Wolfram. "Frühmittelalterliche befestigte Siedlungen in Zentral-Iran." Mitteilungen der Anthropologischen Gesellschaft in Wien 123/124 (1993-1994): 407-419.
Smith, M. B. "Three Monuments at Yazd-i Khwast." Ars Islamica 7 (1940): 104-6.
Registration number in Fihrist-i Asar-i Milli-i Iran: 9800. Registered 11/06/1382 (Solar Hijri)
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