© Abdossamad Talebpour, Wikimedia Commons
High in the mountains lies Babak Castle, one of the last regional strongholds to fall to Arab invaders.
The well-preserved Babak Castle (Qaleh Babak) lies at an altitude of 2,300m, some 3km from the Kaleybar. This Sasanid castle, named after Babak the warlord, managed to resist the Arab armies until 839CE. In the ruins of the rooms and corridors, pottery and coins dating from the 13th century have been found by Iranian archaeologists and restoration teams, working here since 1998. Access is difficult, but the scenery is stunning, involving an arduous uphill walk from the base of what used to be Babak Hotel (may reopen in the future), taking over an hour each way.