The Nizari Ismailis of the Alamut period were highly skilled water engineers.
Researched by Nimira Dewji
According to modern scholarship, Ismaili castle design in the Alamut period (1090-1256) included water engineering of the highest order. Compared to the designs of the Crusaders, the Ismaili approach to castle architecture was more elaborate: for example, water was stored for the garrison and the local population (who took refuge inside the fortress walls). Wherever the slope of a fortified hill was large enough, a well-constructed water catchment area was installed. At Saru, not far from Damghan (both in Iran), in addition to the water catchment area inside the main castle, water had also been channelled from a smaller castle a mile away. Another hallmark of the Ismaili castles was that they built at the tops of great mountains, dividing the fortifications into self-contained sections, culminating in the great citadel. The Nizari state survived until 1256 when the last Persian fortress was surrendered to the Mongols. The Syrian fortresses surrendered in 1273.
Read about the castles of the Alamut period in Eagle’s Nest: Ismaili Castles of Iran and Syria
Farhad Daftary, A Short History of the Ismailis, Edinburg University Press, 1998