By Dr Shahid Qureshi -:
Zir Kale is situated at 750 m altitude from sea level and 300 m from river Cat River in RIZE area of Turkey. It is one of the castles on the silk road. Ii was built in 5th Century and used by Byzantine and Ottoman. There is no reported romance story linked with the castle as it seems to be a military post at strategic location in the mountains.
A four storey round stone tower can be reached through 10 stairs and another 5 stairs from the courtyard proceeding straight ahead of the tower. One can also reach the living space situated in the southern side of the castle.
The base of the tower measure 8 x 13 meter. The ground floor contains a second room measuring 4.57 x 2.30 meter, and a low door separates the room from the main section. The room is believed to have been used by the Commander of the castle, the floor inside the tower were made of wood. There are wooden stairs made to connect the floors. It is believed that upper floor has only one room. There are four loopholes on the eastern side of the tower. Wooden roof was destroyed with the time due to lack of maintenance. Wooden stairs constructed externally on the southern wall of the tower, provided and access to the loopholes. The overall external height of the tower is 22 meters.
Some arms and ammunition were found in the castle which were used for the protection and defence of the castle. They two small fire balls, swords, Rifles and other military equipment like saw, ax, jugs, earth ware jars variety of plates which were used on daily basis. Ware Jars, Jugs and other potteries were made of earth while plates and other kitchen wares were made of copper.
We saw a separate women and men section which suggests that some soldiers might be living with their wives in military castle.
(Special Thanks to Hasan Yauvz for arranging the trip and Ms Sevim area expert for providing useful information about the area)
(Dr Shahid Qureshi is senior analyst with BBC and chief editor of The London Post. He writes on security, terrorism and foreign policy. He also appears as analyst on Al-Jazeera, Press TV, MBC, Kazak TV (Kazakhstan), LBC Radio London. He was also international election observer for Kazakhstan 2015 and 2016 and Pakistan 2002. He has written a famous book “War on Terror and Siege of Pakistan” published in 2009. He wrote his MA thesis on ‘Political Thought of Imam Khomeini’ and visited Tehran University. He is PhD in ‘Political Psychology’ also studied Law at a British University. He also speaks at Cambridge University)