Alexander Prison: From Dungeon Myths to National Heritage

ToIranTour - Alexander Prison

Alexander’s Prison in Yazd

ToIranTour - Alexander's Prison in Yazd
Photo by R.shahi24 on Wikimedia

In the heart of Yazd’s old Fahadan Neighborhood, Alexander’s Prison stands, its clay dome painted in golden and blue shades, shrouded in mystery. Despite its name, this building isn’t a prison at all but a mix of a school and a mosque.

However, some tales suggest a connection to Alexander the Great, spurred by a mention in Hafiz’s poem. Some believe that a hidden room underground or the well connected to the qanat might have once been a dungeon. But beyond these legends, the real charm lies in the stunning architecture and the views it offers of the ancient city. Known as Ziaeie School, it’s not just a curiosity but a recognized National Heritage Site, preserving its slice of history in the bustling present.

Alexander Prison History

ToIranTour - Alexander Prison History
Photo by s1ingshot on Wikimedia

Yazd holds secrets within its ancient walls, including the legend of Alexander Prison. Local stories speak of Alexander the Great’s conquests, the flood of exiles to Yazd, and the fear that gripped the people. This fear gave rise to the name “Alexander’s Prison” for a certain building in the city. In later centuries, scholars like Jafari and Kateb linked the construction of Katheh, believed to be Yazd’s oldest building, to Alexander. Verses in Hafez’s writings added to the belief in a frightening prison. But as time passed, what seemed like dungeons turned out to be remnants of an underground water system—a sign of ancient Iranian wisdom in dry lands.

Today, experts doubt the existence of Alexander’s Prison. They argue that the pits found during restoration were not cells but part of a smart water system. They suggest that if a prison ever existed, it was separate from the Ziaiye school. As Yazd’s history unfolds, the mystery of Alexander’s Prison blurs the line between truth and tale.

Alexander Prison Architecture

ToIranTour - Alexander Prison Architecture
Photo by s1ingshot on Wikimedia

When exploring the architecture of Alexander Prison, one cannot help but be fascinated by the simple yet captivating charm of its raw brick construction. Instead of fancy tilework, the architects chose to use basic bricks, which have proven to be enduring and resilient over time. This decision has contributed to the prison’s longevity and added to its overall appeal.

Although the prison has undergone restoration and maintenance throughout the years, the raw brickwork has remained largely unchanged. This enduring quality is a testament to the durability of the materials used. The weathered appearance of the bricks tells a story of time and history, giving the prison a sense of strength and character that sets it apart from other similar buildings.

Two Stages of Construction

The story of Alexander Prison Yazd unfolds in two parts, each showing big changes in how it was used and built.

First, when the Mongols attacked, they built the prison’s big dome, but there was no school. It was a time of chaos, and education wasn’t a priority.

Later, about 200 years passed, and things changed. The person who built the dome’s grandson decided to add a school next to it. They even made a door to connect the school to the dome. This made the prison not just a place to keep people, but also a place of learning. It shows how over time, the prison went from just holding people to being a place where knowledge could grow.

Alexander Prison Mysteries

The story of Alexander’s Prison in Yazd is like a captivating puzzle, with each piece offering a glimpse into its past. While some old records, like the Yadgarhe Yazd book, call it a school, mosque, and tomb, others, like historian Moinuddin Natanzi, connect it to the ancient Zahhak prison. Yazd itself was once a buzzing center of learning, earning the nickname “Dar ol-Elm,” or the learning place.

Ziaiye School, possibly built in 1233 by Ziauddin Hussain Razi, was a cornerstone of this intellectual hub, hosting lively discussions among scholars and elders over 700 years ago. The Razi family’s touch extended beyond academics, adorning the school with grand homes, tall windcatchers, and a lush garden, painting a picture of prosperity and culture.

How to Get to Alexander Prison

By Car

To reach Alexander’s Prison by car, start by finding Seyed Gol-e Sorkh Street, which runs parallel to Dolat Abad Boulevard. Navigate through the narrow alleys until you arrive at the prison’s entrance. The journey offers a glimpse into the city’s rich history, with every turn revealing stories of the past.

On Foot

If you prefer to explore on foot, begin by locating Seyed Gol-e Sorkh Street. From there, stroll through the alleys, soaking in the sights and sounds of the ancient city. Follow the path of history until you reach Alexander’s Prison, an imposing reminder of bygone days.

For the optimal experience at Alexander Prison Yazd, choose your timing wisely. Similar to Yazd, Iran, it’s recommended to visit during the spring or autumn months. These seasons offer pleasant weather conditions, making your exploration both comfortable and enjoyable.

Spring, from March to April, showcases nature at its peak, while colder months like March, April, May, September, October, and November provide a serene atmosphere without extreme temperatures.

Working Hours of Alexander Prison

From 8:00 to 20:00, Alexander Prison welcomes visitors. So manage your calendar accordingly and enjoy your time!

Where to Eat Near Alexander Prison

When hunger strikes near Alexander Prison, you have many options among Yazd restaurants.

Abul Maali Traditional Restaurant offers rich Persian flavors that take you on a journey through time with every bite.

Yazd Art House Café blends culture and cuisine for a unique dining experience, while Karizma Cafe’ & Restaurant serves up casual bites and refreshing beverages in a relaxed atmosphere.

Whether you’re craving traditional dishes or a cozy café ambiance, these eateries near Alexander Prison have something to satisfy every appetite.

Where to Stay Near Alexander Prison

Looking for the best hotels in Yazd near Alexander’s Prison? Check out Fahadan Museum Hotel for a taste of tradition. With its classic charm and rich history, it’s a cozy spot to explore Yazd’s culture.

Looking for more options? Try the Traditional Kohan Hotel. It’s a 3-star haven blending old-world charm with contemporary amenities, offering a cozy retreat in the heart of the city.

Other Attractions Near Alexander Prison

Dowlat Abad Garden

Take a short walk and find yourself in Dowlat Abad Garden, a calm retreat from the city rush. With lots of greenery and colorful flowers as a Persian garden, it’s like stepping into a peaceful paradise. Feel the stress melt away as you wander through this serene haven.

Amir Chakhmaq Complex

As you meander through the garden, you’ll come across the impressive Amir Chakhmaq Complex, showcasing Yazd’s unique architecture. As the sun sets, the city’s beauty truly shines, captivating all who visit.

Markar Clock Tower

In the heart of Yazd and among the highlights of the city of Yazd, you’ll discover the grand Markar Clock Tower, a symbol of the city’s past. Its fancy design tells stories of old times and invites folks to explore Yazd’s history.

FAQs about Alexander Prison

Q1: What is Alexander’s Prison in Yazd?

A1: Alexander’s Prison, located in Yazd’s old Fahadan Neighborhood, is an old building with a colorful dome. Even though it’s called a prison, it was actually a school and mosque.

Q2: Is there a connection between Alexander the Great and Alexander’s Prison?

A2: Some stories say Alexander the Great had something to do with it, but experts don’t think so. They believe it was probably part of an old water system, not a prison.

Q3: What is the style of Alexander’s Prison?

A3: Alexander’s Prison has a special style called Moghol. It’s mostly made of sun-dried bricks. Later, someone named Ostad Akhoond Khorrami used stronger bricks for the dome.

Q4: How can someone visit Alexander’s Prison?

A4: You can drive or walk there. If you’re driving, find Seyed Gol-e Sorkh Street. If you’re walking, just go through the old streets until you find it.

Q5: When is the best time to visit Alexander’s Prison?

A5: Spring or autumn is best. It’s not too hot or too cold. The prison is open from 8:00 to 20:00.

Last Words: Discover Historical Alexander Prison with a Customized Tour

In Yazd’s old Fahadan Neighborhood, there’s a place called Alexander’s Prison. It’s not actually a prison but more like a school and mosque combined. Some stories link it to Alexander the Great because of a poem by Hafiz. People think there might be a secret room underground. But besides these stories, it’s known for its beautiful architecture and views of the old city. It’s called Ziaeie School and is recognized as an important historical site.

When you’re planning a trip to Iran to see the fascinating Alexander Prison as one of the best things to do in Yazd, it’s smart to go with a customized tour. That’s where To Iran Tour comes in. We specialize in creating personalized travel experiences tailored to your preferences. Our team takes care of all the details, from arranging knowledgeable guides to finding the best places to stay. We’re here to make sure your journey through Iran is unforgettable.

So, if you’re ready to uncover the mysteries of Alexander Prison and explore Iran like never before, let us plan your adventure. Trust To Iran Tour to make your travel dreams a reality.

Explore the Rich History and Culture of Yazd

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