The damage to the nearby Bam Citadel has caused a rebirth of travellers to Rayen. Especially this current Spring 2016 with tourist numbers surging from as far away as China to the United States. But don't be disappointed, because Arg-e Rayen is considered to be the world's second largest urban adobe structure after Bam Citadel.
Rayen boasts many sites for a relatively unknown township, plus the word "Rayen" sound like pure power doesn't it! Whether those powers are the majestic Arg-e Rayen (defence citadel), a 8400 year old cyprus tree, volcanic craters, mineral springs, waterfalls, or important Shi'ite tombs - then look no further than Rayen in the Kerman province.
The historical township of Rayen is located 100 km south of Kerman on the slope to Mount Hezar. This is the highest mountain in the south centre of Iran at 4,501 m altitude. The elevation of Rayen is only 2001 m, so it's a nice respite during the summer months, however is also pleasant the rest of the year.
The township of Rayen is based on an old civilisation from the Sassanid-era (some 300 AD), it flourished based on it's location between Kerman and Jiroft/ Bandar Abbas.
It's been most famous through history for it's central market of traded goods, including valuable fabric weaving and it's defence industry (guns and swords). It has been described as a spacious orchard with novel lawns and water as pure as Salsabil. Some of this history has long been forgotten, however you can still find a swordsman in Rayen to this day.
On a hill overlooking the town is Arg-e Rayen, the ancient abode citadel (fortress) of Arg-e Rayen rests. Rayen Citadel is more than 22,000 m2 in area, surrounded by a 10 m high and 3 m thick Perimeter Wall, which supports most of the 15 towers.
It's well over 1000 years old, however the exact age is unknown due to the layers of architectural styles. Evidence suggests it has been build before Islam during the Sassanid-era. It has been abandoned since around 1865, however restoration works has since restarted from 1996.
The only castle entrance is from the eastern side with a powerful and grand façade. Inside the citadel is a market, mosque, sports club, and public housing. The entrance leads to a Bazaar, and from the ramparts you can climb higher for spectacular views. The Governers Complex is the best highlight located off the square, including four separate houses which have been restored to reflect the luxurious conditions of the governors family. Pay attention to the different shades of rendering used reflecting the different earth used for each Khaneh (house). Wander the Kuches (lanes) and climb to the roof for nice views. Also look for the small Zurkhaneh (sports club).
Arial image of the Arg looking over modern Rayen township
The first holy shrines at Rayen include: Imam Zadeh Shir-e Khoda, Soltan Imam Zadeh Sayyed Ali, and Imam Zadeh Zied. Specifically Shir-e Khoda related to the 9th Imam Sadegh generation, while Imam Zadeh Sayyed Ali related to the 10th Imam Hassan Mojtaba, and Imam Zadeh Zied related to the 7th Imam Moosa Kazem generation. These are located at Imam Khomeini Street and Taleghani Street respectively.
There are 1,000 year old trees located beside Masjed-e Jameh (Friday Mosque), and it's beleived an 8,400 year old Cyprus Tree exists in front of Imam Zadeh's Tomb around Shariati Street.
One of the many old trees of Rayen
The most important handicrafts from Rayen include metalworking, knife making, and carpet weaving. Rayen was most famous for it's early defence industry. Hamid Reza is the caretaker of the Arg and has a simple Sword Making shop just inside the main gate.
Other natural attractions around Rayen include the Volcanic Crater of Qaleh Hassanali Village (30 km south Rayen), along with 14 smaller craters and several Mineral Springs. The spring waters are compounds of chloride and heavy calcium bicarbonate, which is suggested to be a great rheumatism treatment. The Marble Stone found in the Rayan region has also famously been used in Imam Ali Tomb in Iraq and the Taj Mahal in India, which bears testament to it's high quality.
Volcanic crater near Rayen at the town of Qaleh Hassan Ali.
Mount Hezar has 4501 m altitude which is the higher point in the south-centre of Iran. There is a beautiful Waterfall located in the heart of the mountain, popular for nature lovers during spring and summer months. Hezar is the origin of the Halil, Haft Koosk, Chari, and Tahrood Rivers. The highest residential areas are also Babzangi and Ardikhan villages around 3,300 m alititude But Dodaran-Zeyaratgah and Gishigan also have a pleasant climate. The waterfall is located near the Ardikan Valley, which is approximately 14 km distance from the city of Rayen.
Rayen waterfall at Mt Hezar. What better way to chill out in nature!
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