Alamut was once a mountain fortress located in the central Alborz Mountains south of the Caspian Sea close to Gazor Khan near Qazvin Province, about 100 km from present-day Tehran in Iran. Only ruins remain of this fortress today.
Alamut lies on the peak known as Alah Amut. Among suggested etymologies are "Eagle's Nest" (according to Sar Guzasht-i Sayyidna) and "Eagle's Teaching" (according to "Kamil fit-Tarikh" of Ibn Athir).
According to Hamdollah Mostowfi, the first fortress was built in 840 at an elevation of 2100m. It was built in a way that had only one passable artificial entrance that wound its way around the cliff face ; thus making conquering the fortress extremely difficult. The fort had an unusual system of water supply. The top was extremely narrow and long perhaps 400 meters long, and no more than 30 meters wide in any place and usually less.
In 1090 the fortress was infiltrated and occupied by the powerful Hashshashins, a faction of Nizari Ismaili Shia Islam known to the West as "the Assassins", and was then fabled for its gardens and libraries. The ruins of 23 other fortresses remain in the vicinity.
Commanders of Alamut (1090-1256)
Hasan-i Sabbah (10901124)
Muhammad I of Alamut (11381162)
Hassan II of Alamut (11621166)
Muhammad II of Alamut (11661210)
Hassan III of Alamut (12101221)
Mohammed III (12211255)
Ruknud-Din Khurshah (12551256)
The fortress was destroyed on December 15, 1256 by Hulagu Khan as part of the Mongol offensive on Islamic southwest Asia. The fortress itself was impregnable, but Ruknud-Din Khurshah surrendered it without a real fight, in the vain hope that Hulagu would be merciful.
In 2004, an earthquake further damaged the already crumbling walls of the fort.
Popular culture references
Slovenian novelist Vladimir Bartol's novel Alamut stands as a canonical work of Slovene literature, and has been translated into most major literary languages.
Judith Tarr wrote a series of novels centered on Alamut.
In White Wolf Game Studio's original World of Darkness storyline, Alamut is the primary base of operations for the Assamite vampire clan. In a carefully hidden underground city, the clan's elders direct the global movements of these vampiric assassins. The mountain fortress also serves as a training grounds for neonate vampires.
In his story "The Walking Drum", Louis L'Amour uses Alamut as the setting for the rescue of Kerbouchard's father.
Alamut is listed as one of the 6 Templar meeting places in Umberto Eco's novel, ''Foucault's Pendulum.
List of Iranian national heroes
Alamut'', 1938 novel by Vladimir Bartol