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Seb Persian Castle
Historical Sistan & Baluchistan Province of Iran


Seb Persian Castle in Historical Sistan & Baluchistan Province of Iran
A Qajar and Safavid Fortress
Dr. Kaveh Farrokh
October 26, 2018

Seb Castle in Sistan and Baluchistan Province at the Southeastern Iran

Seb Persian Castle at a starry night

The province of Sistan and Baluchistan (Sistan is the northern part with Baluchistan the southern portion) is one of Iran’s driest regions.  The province’s coastal areas are distinctly humid with some increase in rainfall coming in from the east towards the west. This region is an ancient crossroads that has linked the civilizations the Indus Valley with those of West Asia.

Sistan and Baluchistan Province of Iran Map

Sistan and Baluchistan Province Closeup Iran Map

Seb Castle stands at a height of 23 meters, and is a key tourist attraction in Iran’s Sistan and Baluchistan province

Seb Castle (situated in a village also named “Seb“) was a key military stronghold during the Qajar dynasty (1789-1925), vital for observation of Iran’s southeast borderlands. The origins of the castle however may date back to the Safavid dynasty (1501-1736), or possibly earlier.

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Seb is believed to have been renovated (a minimum of) three times over time, alongside other intermittent additions to the structure

Built of clay and mortar Seb castle is noticeably robust. It’s builders also used a local plant seed with adhesive qualities to further enhance its architectural resilience. In a sense, the builders had studied local foliage to see which of these would make the best (and long-lasting) cement.

Seb Bedrock
Seb’s primary structure stands on the top of a short rocky cliff. This freed the architects from having to construct a base-foundation for the castle.

Seb Persian Castle Main Hall
The second floor of the Seb Castle has six rooms with built in the wall shelves and safes. The primary room is basically a large main hall located on the west side of the castle which was used for formal meetings. There is a short stairway on the outside of its southeastern wall leading to a narrow opening in the wall at a height of couple of meters. The purpose of this area was so one could spy and eavesdrop on any ongoing important meetings and to avoid any plot against the commander of the castle or the Shah.

Seb Persian Castle Secret Tunnel
The second of the six rooms is located on the northeastern side and next to it is another smaller room which holds a secret tunnel leading to the second floor. The secret tunnel was an essential part of the castle for hiding, escape routes and secretly travelling throughout the castle. It was both a security and a strategical feature.

Another unique architectural innovation used by the builders of the Seb castle was the use of palm trees. Specifically, slabs of wood were cut according to architectural specifications to further strengthen the castle’s structure. The palm tree wood helps absorb the local ground’s low-level seismic vibration activity. This has done much to prevent the structure from gradually deteriorating over time, and collapsing.

Seb Persian Castle Kitchen Area
A View of the interior of Seb castle. Seb Castle’s rectangular base measures at 36 x 25 meters. The long kitchen was on the northern side. There is a hallway on the kitchen’s right side which leads to the ladies’ bathroom and gentlemen’s bathroom on its opposite side. There is an oven area and a storage room on the left side of the long kitchen.

Seb Persian Castle Arial View

Despite its relatively small size (compare to other Persian castles), Seb Castle by the Qajar era had become a strategic location and was used as a base to help govern towns such as Paskooh, Gasht, Zaboli and Soran. The castle for example, had been used as a base for Qajar armies in 1878 to maintain the central government’s authority in the region.

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