Nadir Shah

from Sykes (1915)


This is a good few hours drive from Mashhad. But the drive is nice, through the mountains and clouds. The only monument worth seeing is Nadir Shah's treasury. He deposited the loot he had captured from India at this location.  The treasure house is built of Maragha marble. The treasury is interesting, but there is no museum or other sight other than the building itself.

The Treasury

The Encyclopedia of Islam, describes this as, 'the most famous fort of Central Asia'. Qilat e Naderi is a high valley, which is a natural fortress with unscalable rock on the north and south. In 1381 Timur launched unsuccessful attacks on Qilat e Naderi.

Nadir Shah

Nader Shah, is an enigmatic figure in Iranian history. Although he restored national independence and effectively protected Iran's territorial integrity at a dark moment of the country's history, his obsessive suspicions and jealousies plunged Iran into political turmoil, and after his assassination in 1747 the Afshar dynasty he established proved short-lived. A Sunni by upbringing, he was nevertheless a great benefactor of the Shrine of the Imam Reza (a.s.) in Mashhad, which he made his capital. link

Nadir Shah was an officer in the service of the Safavids. After replacing the decaying Safavid dynasty, he invaded India and plundered and sacked Delhi, the seat of the Mongol rulers of India. He brought back the Indian royal treasures (some taken from the Safavids in earlier raids) that form the bulk of the crown jewels of Iran, which are still on display in a museum in Tehran. His rise to power was linked to the weakness of the central government, a situation that happened repeatedly in Iran. Nadir emerged as the only strongman capable of protecting the king and guaranteeing national security. In the end he overthrew the king and took over.

Ref: Price, Massoume (2005). Iran's Diverse Peoples: A Reference Sourcebook. [online]. Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO.

An early 20th century account of a visit to Qilat-i-Naderi

The Mukbarra (Treasury) is an octagonal building with rooms built round a lofty central chamber which rises high above the rest, is surrounded by sandstone columns-not fluted, as some accounts state and was evidently at one time roofed in with a dome. The dome has long since fallen in and the central chamber is open to the sky. The occasional thud of falling masonry detached by the heavy rain that fell during our stay intimated that the process of decay continues rapidly, and made our quartersf eel none too safe. Some of the stone panels of the lower part of the building are decorated with patterns in relief of trees and flowers similar to those seen on the Mogul buildings of Delhi and Agra, but of very inferior workmanship. Below ground-level are the vaults which formerly contained the treasures amassed by Nadir Shah; the entrance, on the east side, was choked with masses of rubble. 

 J. K. Tod (1923),  


The Geographical Journal, Vol. 62, No. 5, pp. 366-370 

All information provided in good faith, please check as appropriate before you travel (c) 2009