Neile Terwilliger

Written by Neile Terwilliger

Modified & Updated: 29 May 2024

Jessica Corbett

Reviewed by Jessica Corbett


Shahr-e Zohak, also known as The Red City, is an ancient landmark that holds a myriad of astonishing facts waiting to be discovered. Situated amidst the rugged mountains of Iran, this enigmatic site has captured the attention of archeologists, historians, and adventure enthusiasts alike. Its crimson-hued mud bricks and labyrinthine passages have stood the test of time, offering a glimpse into a forgotten civilization.

In this article, we will delve into the depths of Shahr-e Zohak, unearthing thirteen mind-blowing facts that make this UNESCO World Heritage Site a true marvel. From its mysterious origins to its unique architectural features, we will explore the secrets hidden within its walls and learn why it continues to captivate visitors from around the globe. So, fasten your seatbelts and prepare for a journey through time as we uncover the astonishing facts about Shahr-e Zohak.

Key Takeaways:

  • Shahr-e Zohak, also known as the Red Fortress, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Iran, showcasing stunning rock reliefs and Sassanian architecture, making it a must-visit for history enthusiasts.
  • With its legendary tales, strategic location, and captivating views, Shahr-e Zohak stands as a symbol of Persian history and cultural resilience, attracting tourists from around the world.
Table of Contents

Shahr-e Zohak – A Fabled Red Fortress

One of the most remarkable landmarks in Iran is Shahr-e Zohak, also known as the Red Fortress. This ancient fortress stands as a testament to the rich history and architectural brilliance of the region.

Legendary Tales Surround Shahr-e Zohak

According to legends, Shahr-e Zohak was once the dwelling place of a malevolent figure named Zahhak, who had snakes growing from his shoulders. The fortress served as his lair, instilling fear in the hearts of the locals.

A Magnificent UNESCO World Heritage Site

In recognition of its historical significance, Shahr-e Zohak was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This recognition highlights the importance of preserving this cultural gem for future generations to explore and appreciate.

A Marvelous Example of Sassanian Architecture

The construction of Shahr-e Zohak dates back to the Sassanian era, showcasing the architectural prowess of the time. The intricate designs, intricate carvings, and strategic positioning of the fortress are a testament to the skills of the artisans.

Captivating Rock Reliefs at Shahr-e Zohak

One of the standout features of Shahr-e Zohak is the rock reliefs adorning the walls. These intricate carvings depict scenes from ancient Persian mythology and provide a glimpse into the rich cultural heritage of the region.

A Treasured Historical Site for Archaeologists

Archaeologists have been fascinated by Shahr-e Zohak for years. The site offers a wealth of knowledge about the Sassanian era, providing invaluable insights into the lives and customs of the people who once inhabited this majestic fortress.

Shahr-e Zohak’s Strategic Location

Situated on a rocky cliff overlooking the fertile plains, Shahr-e Zohak provided a strategic advantage to its inhabitants. Its elevated position allowed for enhanced surveillance and defense against potential threats.

Shahr-e Zohak’s Mysterious Underground Tunnels

Beneath the surface of Shahr-e Zohak, a series of underground tunnels are believed to exist. These tunnels, shrouded in mystery, add to the intrigue and fascination surrounding the fortress.

A Captivating View from Shahr-e Zohak

From the vantage point of Shahr-e Zohak, visitors can enjoy breathtaking panoramic views of the surrounding landscape. The combination of the ancient fortress and the natural beauty of the region creates a truly awe-inspiring sight.

Shahr-e Zohak’s Role in Persian History

Shahr-e Zohak played a significant role in Persian history, serving as a symbol of power and resilience. Its presence continues to evoke a sense of pride and admiration among Iranians who value their rich cultural heritage.

Shahr-e Zohak as a Tourist Attraction

Today, Shahr-e Zohak attracts tourists from around the globe who are drawn to its historical significance and architectural splendor. Exploring the ancient ruins and admiring the magnificent views is an unforgettable experience.

Shahr-e Zohak’s Cultural Significance

Shahr-e Zohak serves as a cultural symbol, representing the enduring spirit of the Persian people. It stands as a reminder of their rich heritage and the ability to preserve and cherish their past.

Preservation Efforts for Shahr-e Zohak

Recognizing its significance, there have been concerted efforts to preserve and protect Shahr-e Zohak. Initiatives aimed at conservation ensure that future generations can continue to appreciate its historical and cultural value.


Shahr-e Zohak is truly a remarkable landmark with a history that dates back thousands of years. From its unique rock formations and breathtaking views to its ancient legends and myths, this site offers an unforgettable experience for visitors.

Its location in the heart of Iran’s Central Desert adds to its allure, making it a must-see destination for adventure seekers and history enthusiasts alike. Whether you’re captivated by the fascinating story of Zohak and the snakes or simply intrigued by the majestic beauty of the red sandstone cliffs, Shahr-e Zohak will leave you in awe.

Plan your visit to Shahr-e Zohak and uncover the secrets of this extraordinary landmark. Explore its caves, marvel at its ancient rock carvings, and immerse yourself in the rich history and culture that surrounds this magnificent site.


1. What is Shahr-e Zohak?

Shahr-e Zohak, also known as the Red City, is an ancient archaeological site located in Iran’s Central Desert. It is famous for its red sandstone cliffs and rock formations.

2. How old is Shahr-e Zohak?

The history of Shahr-e Zohak dates back thousands of years to the pre-Islamic era. Its origins can be traced to ancient Persia, making it a significant historical landmark.

3. What is the legend of Zohak and the snakes?

According to local folklore, Shahr-e Zohak is associated with the legend of Zohak, a tyrant king who had snakes growing out of his shoulders. It is believed that the tunnels and caves in the area were once his lair.

4. Can visitors explore the caves at Shahr-e Zohak?

Yes, visitors have the opportunity to explore some of the caves at Shahr-e Zohak. These caves provide a glimpse into the ancient history and artistry of the region.

5. Is Shahr-e Zohak easily accessible?

Shahr-e Zohak is located in the Central Desert of Iran, which may require some travel arrangements. However, with proper planning and guidance, reaching this landmark is definitely worth the effort.

6. Are there any guided tours available?

Yes, there are guided tours available for visitors who wish to have a more in-depth understanding of the history and significance of Shahr-e Zohak. These tours offer expert guides and ensure a memorable experience.

7. Is there an entrance fee?

As of now, there is an entrance fee to access Shahr-e Zohak. However, it is advisable to check with local authorities or tour operators for the most up-to-date information regarding fees and regulations.

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