Allahverdi Khan (1560-1613) was originally a Christian born Georgian, from the Undiladze family. Like many other Georgians, he was captured as a prisoner of war during one of the Caucasian campaigns of Shah Tahmasp I. Then, he converted to Islam and served as a soldier in the “Gholam” (servant) army, a special military force created by Shah Abbas I out of Christian captives. The purpose of this military unit was to curb the unlimited power of Qizilbash, the core of the Safavid military aristocracy.
However, this not much important servant gradually climbed to the top of ladder. First, he played an important role in the conspiracy against the powerful minister and king-maker Morshed Gholi Khan Ostajlou, whom Shah Abbas had condemned to death in secret. As a reward, he was appointed as the governor of Jorpadangan, a city near Isfahan, the capital of the Safavids. Soon after, he was chosen as the commander-in-chief of Gholam military, thus becoming one of the five principal officers in the Safavid administration by 1595/6. In the same year, he was designated as the governor of Fars, an act that made him the first gholam to attain equal status with the Qizilbash amirs.
During his life, Allah Verdi Khan commanded the Safavid army in many important battles. For example, the Battle of Sufiyan, where the Safavids devastated the army of Ottoman invaders.
Allah Verdi Khan had gained so much respect from Shah Abbas that when he died, the king personally accompanied his bier to the place where the corpse was ritually washed and prepared for burial. He was buried in a magnificent in Mashhad, the holiest city of Iran, beside the tomb of Imam Reza.
In his lifetime, Allah Verdi Khan patronized the construction a number of monuments and charitable foundations. Apart from Si-o-Se Pol, his legacy includes a large double dam near Sarab; a fortification around a village in Fars; the qeysarie bazaar, or royal market, of Lar; a magnificent mansion near Nahavand for Abbas I; and the theological school of Khan in Shiraz.
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