Qal’eh-e Doktar (also spelled Ghal’eh Dokhtar) is situated on top of a hill near the Shiraz - Firuz Abad road, about 6 km before Firuz Abad. Qal’eh-e Doktar means Maiden’s Palace and the castle was probably dedicated to the Goddess Anahita. It was built by the Sassanian king Ardeshir I in AD 209.
From the main road there are steps and a path leading up to the palace. Once there was a chairlift as some rusty remains can be seen. When I visited in July it was very hot and absolutely essential to drink a lot of water to climb up. But it worth the effort, to see the palace and the view from the top.
Arriving to the palace you enter through a tall gateway in a rectangular tower, and from there a staircase leads up to a hall above. The palace was built in three storeys. Now it looks like what remains can fall down any minute. There was scaffoldings at some places but no work seemed to go on at the moment (maybe just because the season was too hot).
When we walked down the stairs in one of the towers my guide pointed to the roof and there it was full of sleeping bats. Not a place where I would like to be when they are awake.
From Shiraz I took a tour to Qal’eh-e Doktar (Maiden’s Palace) and Ardeshir’s Palace near Firuz Abad. I know I could have arranged it from Anvari Hotel but went to Pars Tourist Agency to book a bus ticket for Yazd. At the same time I asked for the tour and it sounded to be good. It was IR 320 000 (35 dollars) and that included both a driver and a guide. The guide spoke good English and that was good as there was not much information about the sites in the guidebook.
Before leaving Shiraz we first went to a shoemaker who could repair my shoe. Then we went to Qaleh-e Doktar first and after to Ardeshir’s Palace. On the way back we stopped to see a Sassanian bas-relief and by it there was the remains of an old bridge. In other seasons they also visit the nomads.
We left Shiraz in the morning and I was back some time in the afternoon.