Babak Castle, Kaleybar, Iran
The small town of Kaleybar in far northwestern Iran is home to Babak Castle. Babak was a resistance leader in Azerbaijan province in the 9th Century and fought against the Arab leadership of the time. Today he has gone down in Persian and particularly Turkish (Azeri) Persian folklore as a cultural icon.
The castle is perched about 300 metres above Kaleybar, and to say that the climb to the top is strenuous is the understatement of the century. There are literally steps all the way from the bottom to the top – the climb is straight up.
I had come down with a cold the night before and only made it half way, but it was still enough to admire the breathtaking views of the castle and (possibly) over the border into Armenia and Azerbaijan. Later that day I had a delicious lunch in a village hotel where the chef allowed me to sit in the kitchen as they cooked for a local grandmothers’ birthday.