Home Travel Guides The Mysterious Fortress Amidst Fog and Rocks: A Journey to the Land of Bakhtiari and Mohammad Ali Khan Fortress

The Mysterious Fortress Amidst Fog and Rocks: A Journey to the Land of Bakhtiari and Mohammad Ali Khan Fortress

Mohammad Ali Khan Fortress

by Parastoo Sahebi
11 minutes read
Mohammad Ali Khan Fortress

The city of Dezful in Khuzestan has a history dating back thousands of years, making it one of the oldest cities in Iran. It boasts numerous historical and natural attractions, both within the city and its surroundings, that you may not find elsewhere in the world. Among the most remarkable sights in Dezful is the beautiful and natural fortress of Mohammad Ali Khan and the peculiar green road that leads to it. This fortress, also known as Ali Mardan Khan Fortress, is one of the oldest and most magnificent landmarks in Dezful.

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Ali Mardan Khan Fortress and a Short Excursion

Address: Dezful County, Khuzestan Province, 25 kilometers north of the beautiful city of Sardasht and 65 kilometers north of Dezful.

Ali Mardan Khan Fortress is a completely natural fortress with its walls formed by the natural mountain walls. Their estimated height is 1,550 meters. This fortress is situated shoulder to shoulder with the Haft Tanan Mountains in the Khuzestan region and allows you to wander inside it through a single entrance and exit path. You might imagine that this region has a warm climate and not so much greenery. However, we will guide you through lush roads, rivers, and roaring waterfalls, ultimately leading to the heart of Mohammad Ali Khan Fortress, where you can explore, relax, and enjoy your time.


A Glimpse into the History of Ali Mohammad Khan Fortress

Sardasht Fortress, also known as Mohammad Ali Khan Fortress or Ali Mardan Khan Fortress, was originally established in 1232 as a place for individual resistance by “Mohammad Ali Khan I” and “Mahmoud Saleh Chahar Lang Bakhtiari.” These two individuals rebelled against the personal injustices of “Khanlar Mirza Ehtesham ol-Dowleh,” the ruler of Lorestan and Khuzestan at the time, and his son “Ibrahim Mirza,” both of whom were associated with the Qajar dynasty. Historians believe that the fortress was named after Mohammad Ali Khan for this reason. Additionally, historical books have referred to this fortress by names such as Dez, Dez Estvar, Mandezoon, or Mohammad Ali Khan Fortress. According to historical accounts, Ali Mardan Khan, the brother of Mohammad Ali Khan and the owner of this fortress, formed a social assembly called “Bakhtiari” in 1928. After various Bakhtiari tribes joined this assembly, they all revolted against Reza Shah. To suppress this group, Reza Shah sent his forces to the region. Ali Mardan Khan and his companions engaged in a year-long guerrilla war with Reza Shah’s forces until they surrendered with the mediation of some khans, and Ali Mardan Khan went to Tehran.Mohammad Ali Khan Fortress

After a while, he was arrested in Tehran and transferred to the prison of Qasr. Later, on one of the days in the month of Esfand in 1935, he was executed. According to the local people and guides in this region, the fortress walls are very high, all of which are part of the mountain walls, making it extremely difficult to access the summit. This has led to the creation of a natural fortress in this area, which was used as a refuge or military structure in the past. Some also claim that there was once a castle-like structure precisely above this fortress.


Mohammad Ali Khan Fortress in terms of geographical location

Dezful is located in southwestern Iran and is part of the cities that precisely form the northern part of Khuzestan. This city has numerous attractions and natural wonders, and Mohammad Ali Khan Fortress is one of those attractions. Dezful is 721 kilometers away from Tehran and 155 kilometers from Ahvaz. Moreover, Dezful is only 300 kilometers away from the sea, allowing you to easily reach the Persian Gulf from this city.

Ali Mardan Khan Fortress is located in Sardasht, Khuzestan, and is only 25 kilometers away from the north of Sardasht city. It is situated parallel to the Haft Tanan mountains in the Zagros mountain range and is 65 kilometers northeast of Dezful. You can travel from “Dezful” to “Saland,” which is the center of the Sardasht district, with a distance of 45 kilometers. From there, a 25-kilometer mountainous route lies ahead of you, leading you to the natural fortress of Mohammad Ali Khan. You may find it hard to believe, but from the very beginning of this mountainous route, extraordinary landscapes appear before you, all belonging to the Haft Tanan mountains, creating breathtaking views.


An enchanting stay near Mohammad Ali Khan Fortress

If you plan to travel to Dezful and visit Ali Mardan Khan Fortress or Mohammad Ali Khan Fortress, it’s good to know that there is a twin waterfall in the vicinity of the fortress. The waterfall on the right side has less water flow and is partially hidden behind a tree. However, the waterfall on the left side is completely visible and clear. The color of this fortress is earthy, with dark and black shades in some areas, giving it a special charm in the eyes of the beholder. The vegetation surrounding the fortress, due to the presence of water and the waterfall, has created a natural and beautiful scenery in the area.

The camp located right in front of these twin waterfalls is considered one of the ideal options for accommodation. If you are interested in nature, we recommend staying there. In this area, several small stone-covered rooms have been built for tribes to use as resting places. These rooms are suitable in favorable weather conditions, and with proper safety precautions, you can also use them as shelters. However, it’s important to note that you cannot spend the night in these rooms because their ceilings cannot fully prevent water droplets or rain from entering.

Mohammad Ali Khan Fortress

The best time to travel to Ali Mardan Khan Fortress

If you plan to visit Mohammad Ali Khan Fortress, we recommend choosing the period from Azar (November-December) to early Ordibehesht (April-May). The plains of this region are filled with yellow flowers called Khakeshir, which is one of the unique and visually pleasing attractions of this area during the spring season. We highly recommend not to miss the opportunity to see them. Visiting this fortress in gloomy weather can be a terrifying and unique experience that will not be possible on sunny days. However, please note that if you intend to climb to the fortress under foggy conditions, there are undoubtedly risks along the way.

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Best Route to Ali Mardan Khan Fortress

To reach the Ali Mardan Khan Fortress, you need to take the Sardasht Road after passing through the villages of “Gurevi” or “Tut Oliya.” Then, turn left onto a secondary road called “Ahmad Fadolah.” After that, on this secondary road, you will first reach the village of “Lab Sefid.” Following that, the road will gradually ascend, and you will start seeing the Zagros oak trees welcoming you with open arms. The next village on your way is called “Abolhasan,” which you should also pass through, driving approximately 6 kilometers.

After completing this route, you will arrive at a magnificent fortress situated on the left side, which will undoubtedly mesmerize you at first sight. Interestingly, the elevation of this road near the Ali Mardan Khan Fortress is estimated to be 850 meters above sea level. Exactly in front of this fortress, there is a valley beneath your feet, and you can easily take the downward path of the valley through a narrow road.

This route is short and filled with almond and oak trees, taking only 15 minutes to traverse. Continuing, from the end of the path to the foot of the mountain, there is a well-defined road that you can follow to reach the mountain. At the beginning of your journey towards the fortress, there are other fascinating and breathtaking areas. The astonishing “Gavmir” region is a vast area that showcases a dreamy and European-like landscape from the heights of the road. After that, you will enter winding and lush green roads, where you can easily observe the wide and expansive road leading to the Ali Mohammad Khan Fortress from behind the mountains. This fortress is entirely natural and originally one of the majestic mountains of the past.

Mohammad Ali Khan Fortress

Tips and Recommendations for Visiting Ali Mardan Khan Fortress

Below are some points that you should consider when visiting this fortress and during your time in the area:

  • If you plan to capture a complete view of the fortress in your photographs, you should start taking pictures from a distance. Since the dimensions of the fortress are vast, the closer you get, the less your camera can capture its entirety.
  • If you’re looking for a suitable starting point for hiking, make sure to seek assistance from local guides. Additionally, you can use maps for navigation.
  • Another point is that you can reach the fortress from both sides of the Twin Waterfall and enjoy different and beautiful views of the area from the top. The length of this route is approximately 20 to 30 minutes, and it doesn’t matter whether you move towards the right waterfall or reach the fortress from the left side of the waterfall.
  • If you intend to go hiking, you can cover a longer distance and reach the fortress from different points. The route that leads you to the fortress is easy and relatively smooth. Therefore, hikers and nature enthusiasts easily traverse this route. However, the only thing that may make your journey to the fortress slightly difficult is rain or strong winds.
  • Before anything else, make sure to check the weather conditions. If you intend to reach the summit, we recommend seeking assistance from local guides. Reaching the summit can be somewhat challenging due to the rocky path.
  • On the mountainous route, there are no shops or cafes. Therefore, we recommend carrying all personal belongings and necessary equipment with you. Make sure to pack sunscreen, sunglasses, necessary medications, snacks, water, and a hat in your backpack. Additionally, during rainy weather, be sure to use a raincoat.
  • To access the fortress, you need to travel to this area either by private car or through organized tours. It’s important to note that there are no taxis or buses available to take you on this route.
  • Ali Mardan Khan Fortress is approximately one hour away from the main road between Dezful and Saland. Along the route, there is a narrow and mountainous asphalt road in front of you.

If you visit this area during the rainy and cold seasons, you can easily observe small and large water streams cascading beautifully from the main mountain and surrounding mountains, flowing downwards, enhancing the extraordinary and unbelievable beauty of this fortress.


Final words

Mohammad Ali Khan Fortress is a testament to the lush nature of Iran, alongside other unique historical and natural attractions in the provinces of Khuzestan and Dezful. We highly recommend visiting this historical and natural fortress when traveling to Khuzestan and the city of Dezful.

Mohammad Ali Khan Fortress


1- Where is the Mohammad Ali Khan Fortress located?

Mohammad Ali Khan Fortress is located in the province of Khuzestan, Iran, near the city of Dezful.


2- What is the historical significance of the Mohammad Ali Khan Fortress?

Mohammad Ali Khan Fortress holds historical significance as it represents the architectural and cultural heritage of the region. It is believed to have been constructed during the Qajar era and served as a defensive stronghold.


3- How can I reach Mohammad Ali Khan Fortress?

To reach Mohammad Ali Khan Fortress, you can travel by private car or join organized tours that include visits to the fortress. It is approximately one hour away from the main road between Dezful and Saland.

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