Damavand: History, Mythology, and Literature
Damavand is a mountain in Iran. In fact, it is the highest mountain of Iran and the highest volcanic mountain of Middle East. Now, If I want to compare Damavand with any mountain in the world, or perhaps choose a twin sister or maybe twin brother for it, that would be Mountain Fuji. Mainly, because just like Mont Fuji, Damavand has a far greater role in the culture and nature of Iranian than being a mere geographical phenomenon.
As it was mentioned, Damvanand is culturally significant. There is this famous poem in Iran that calls Damavand, the “white enchained demon”, and goes on to praise its beauty and how it stands as symbol of resistance and tolerance. Actually, The poem is part of the high school literature course and we all have read and memorized it. What’s more, many believe Damavand is the high mountain named in Shahname, the epic master piece of Iranian that equals Iliad and Odyssey. In Shahname, Damavand is the place where the defeated white demon is imprisoned for eternity.
As you can see, the connection of the mountain to demons goes far back. Damavand is once again mentioned in Shahname when Arash, the brave general, stands over it and defines the borders of Iran with the arrow he shoots. He dies after the shoot, but his name remains for eternity. These are just some of the stories and myths that accompany the mountain, perhaps we can later go through them in more details, but for now, let’s get to know Damavand as a mountain better.
Damavand: Location, Routes, and Ascend
Besides the cultural value, the geographical aspect of mountain is important as well. This mountain is part of Alborz mountain range, which is in turn part of the northern mountain range of Iran. Alborz covers the south of Caspian Sea like a protective wall and stops the humidity from reaching the southern parts. Damavand is in Mazandaran province and the closest path from Tehran would be through Polour and Rineh. The mountain is a popular destination of mountaineering both among Iranian and foreigners. The south route is pretty simple to ascend in summers, and with a relatively simple trek you can experience the height of more than 5500m.
Damavand has an altitude of 5610 m., and as it was mentioned, is the highest mountain of Iran and west Asia. There are around 16 routes to the summit, each having a different difficulty level and suitable for a different season. However, among all the routes four are more common. The south route, the north route, the northeast route and the west route. The easiest route for a summer ascend is the south route, the most difficult one is the northeast, and the most dangerous one is the west route.
Damavand: Lodges, Shelters and Camps
There are many mountain lodge, cabin, local house, shelter and refuge that you can choose based on the route you take. For example, in the south route, there are the IFMSC lodge, Bargah Sevom shelter and Atour camp. The IFMSC is a facility with bath, wc, rest area with bunk beds, dining area, shop and warm food. Bargah Sevom shelter is a smaller version of the lodge, it has the same facilities except the bath, and the shop has limited items. While you can order food in lodge, here you have only one or two choice.
The Atour camp is the same as shelter, with the benefit of having private tent, no need to share. What’s more, it has dining area and all meals and beverages are free of charge, payed in the reservation fee.