Fortress with Square Tower
Mardakyan, Azerbaijan
The Mardakyan Fortress is the larger of two fortresses located in the small town of Mardakyan, to the northeast of Apsheron Peninsula. It is part of a series of fortresses and castles along the peninsula coast that created a unified defensive system against assaults from the Caspian Sea.

It is widely accepted that this fortress was constructed in the fourteenth century, although some claim that it was commissioned by the son of Shirvan Shah Akhsitan I (1160-1204) in 1187 and designed by Abdulmajid Ibn Masud.

The fortress courtyard measures twenty-eight meters by twenty-five meters and is centered on a rectangular tower rising to a height of twenty-two meters. It is fortified by rampants that are six meters high. Both the tower and its rampants are buttressed with round bastions at the corners. Battlements protect walkways enveloping the rim of both structures. A single gate, with an arched doorway flanked by two semi-circular bastions, gives access to the fortress courtyard. The ground level entrance to the tower is not aligned to the rampants' gate.

Inside, the central rectangular void of the tower is divided into five floors with vaults. Oculi located at the center of each floor plate bring light down to the lower floors. Narrow slits cut into the tower's walls provide additional light and air for the interior. The taller ground floor is linked to the first floor by a ladder and a spiraling staircase climbs up from the first floor to the roof. Excavations at the fortress unearthed over thirty cylindrical water reservoirs and several wells in the courtyard.

Both Mardakyan fortresses are completely restored and preserved.


Fatullayev, S.S. and R.S. Babasov. 2005. "Memarliq". Maison d'Azerbaidjan Website.;section=4;section2=4. [Accessed November 2, 2005]

Gink, Karoly and Ilona Turanszky. 1979. Azerbaijan: Mosques, Turrets, Palaces. Budapest: Corvina Kiado, 38-40.

Mamedov, Farid and Jaffar Giyasi. 1994. Azerbaijan: Fortresses, Space, Castles. Baku: Iterturan, 195-201.

Aslanapa, Oktay. 1979. Kirim ve Kuzey Azerbaycan'da Türk Eserleri. Istanbul: Baha Matbaasi, 57.

"Castles and Towers of Absheron". Bakupages Website. [Accessed January 09, 2005]

"Mardakan". Website of the Mardakan Municipality. [Accessed November 3, 2005]

"Towers of Apsheron". Window to Baku Website. [Accessed January 04, 2005]
Mardakyan, Azerbaijan
Images & Videos
14th c.
Style Periods
Variant Names
Mardakyan Fortress
Mardakan Fortress
Building Usages