Alexander’s Prison in Yazd, a Myth with More Than Meets the Eye

Alexander’s Prison in Yazd, a Myth with More Than Meets the Eye

Used a religious school facility in modern day Yazd, Iran, the structure of Alexander’s Prison’s origin and use is debated by many people as to what it was actually intended for!

For many centuries onwards after its construction, this building has been used a school for Islamic studies. It shares some features with mosques such a mihrab and shabestan. What makes this relatively plain school building interesting, however, is its legend.

Also referred to as Zendan-e Eskandar, this religious school nowhere to be found in history books to be prison, there is a mention about it in one of Hafez’s poems. Being the literary and spiritual master that he was, it isn’t too big of a surprise that people take his word over history books in many occasions.

Come along with goingIRAN to see and learn more about this historical site in Iran!

Alexander’s Prison (Zendan-e Eskandar)
Alexander’s Prison (Zendan-e Eskandar)

Mythical History of Alexander’s Prison

Despite its warm and inviting 15th century architecture, Alexander’s Prison is believed by some to have been more than just a school. According a poem written by the Persian master, Hafez, this very building was where Alexander the Great kept his Persian prisoners captive.

Aside from Hafez’s poem, however, there really isn’t any other historical literature to back this claim up. Yet, being a legend that’s been passed down for generations, you can’t blame some for keeping the tale alive.

Alexander’s Prison (Zendan-e Eskandar)
Alexander’s Prison

Dungeon or School? You be the Judge

The architectural design of Alexander’s Prison takes very much after the Mongolian style. Unlike many of Iran’s historical buildings, this centuries old religious school is completely free of any tilework! The dome is made of raw clay and the rest of the structure consists only of brick and plaster.

Not all is what meets the eye at Alexander’s Prison. Despite many people refuting the possibility of it actually having been a prison, there is one peculiarity in this structure that gives a bit of weight to its prison theory.

In the center of the building, there is a deep pit with a diameter of 10 meters, lined with bricks from top to bottom.

Some say it very much resembles an ancient dungeon where prisoners were lowered to the bottom of the pit where it was impossible for them to climb up and escape, without being easily spotted. Others, call it a ‘well’, however with the existence of another water-well in the courtyard, it leaves visitors to wonder about the true function of the dark deep pit!

All in all, Alexander’s Prison in Yazd, Iran, can be considered to have much higher historical significance, rather than an aesthetic one. It also a very worthy mention that at this location, tourists and travelers will be able find a plethora of souvenir shops, selling many traditional Persian items.

Some shops even have local tour guides showing off their skills in pottery and tile making, right in front of the visitors!


How to get Alexander’s Prison

The historical school/dungeon is located very close to Zaiee Square in the city of Yazd. It’s also just steps away from the magnificent Khaneh Lari.

It can be visited seven days a week form 8:00am – 7:00pm and the entrance fee is 150,000 IRR. Enjoy!


City: Yazd
Street Address: Alexander Prison, Zaiee Sq., Seyed Golsorkh St.
Operating Days: 8:00am to 7:00pm
Typical Prices: 150.000 Rls.
Neighborhood: The Tomb of Twelve Imams – Laari Home – Nakhl-e-Mehr Home – Yazd Traditional Textile Home – Alexander’s Jail

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