Among all the exciting tourist destinations in Iran, there are some spots like its authentic, ancient villages which stand out from the other attractions. The unique architecture, the local people and their indigenous culture and most importantly, the beautiful location of these villages make them a great destination for any type of visitors. Some of them have preserved their traditional styles, yet others have changed during the years and become more touristic. But still, they all are great choices for those who seek a new, authentic experience in Iran. In this article, we are going to explore some of the most fascinating villages of the country.
Abyaneh (Also known as the Red Village) is a village with red houses, located about 4 kilometers northwest of Natanz in Isfahan province. It is situated on the slopes of Mount Karkas and is considered to be one of the highest residential areas in Iran. According to archaeological excavations, the village was built around 1500 years ago and the ancient buildings in the village were designed and built during the reigns of the Seljuks, Qajar, Sassanids, and Safavids eras. In 1975, Abyaneh village was registered as one of the national heritages of Iran.
In this historic village, the houses are made of brick and clay and are designed with beautiful wooden windows and porches. Locals decorate the façade of the houses using a special red clay extracted from a mine located nearby. During the last few years, the number of permanent residents of Abyaneh has decreased to a few hundred. People who live there, however, have preserved their traditional lifestyle. Women in Abyaneh are still wearing long white floral scarves that specifically belong to this region.
Kandovan is one of the villages of East Azarbaijan province in Osku city with more than 7000 years of historical background. In 1997, it was registered as one of Iran's national heritages. The village of Kandovan is famous because of the conical shape of the houses that are made of rocks and located in a rocky mountain. No materials such as gypsum, lime or clay, have been used in the unique architecture of these houses and all of them are carved into the volcanic rocks of Sahand Mountain. The rocks are the result of thousands of years of eruption.
What distinguishes Kandovan from similar spots is that the ordinary life still goes on between these volcanic cliffs. Tourists will have the chance to buy the locals’ handicrafts, herbs, and spices while visiting the homes of its today’s residents. They can have a memorable experience staying either at a local hotel or a local house. It is interesting to know that these rocky houses have different sections such as living room or kitchen. Some even have water and electricity, just like an ordinary home.
Maymand village is another rocky village located in the Babak city in Kerman province. In Maymand, people live in houses carved in the heart of the mountain. The origin of the village and the real motivation behind the construction of such houses are still unknown to us. It is said that in the past 3000 years ago, people have been living here. But the stone carvings found around the village date back to 10,000 years. The “Cultural Landscape of Maymand” has been registered as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2015.
Semi-nomadic villagers migrate with their animals when the seasons change. The culture and customs of the local people of this region show their strong connection to nature. The 3000-year-old village of Maymand is the only historic village in the world where the traditional interaction between human and nature in the second millennium can still be observed. Maymand village is undoubtedly one of the most attractive human residences in Iran.
Filband village in Mazandaran province is one of the most beautiful countrysides of Iran, resembling a legendary tale. The village lies above the clouds and you’ll enjoy watching the clouds moving playfully below the village. When the weather is clear and sunny, the village offers a great view of the surrounding lands, as it is located at the highest point of the region.
Watching sunrise and sunset here would be an amazing experience, especially when the sun goes down in the clouds and colors them with its wonderful light. The tranquility of the village and the slow rhythm of life turns it to one of the best places for escaping from the fast-paced life of the city. Because of the altitude of the region, the best time to visit Filband starts from late May and ends in October.
Masouleh historical and tourist village is one of the most amazing villages of northern Iran with pleasant, foggy weather, cool summers and snowy winters. This stair-stepped village has been around for at least 1000 years and offers stunning landscapes to tourists. its unique architecture would be a great subject for those who are interested in photography.
The houses are located close together and the roof of each house is the yard of the lower one. Roofs and yards are also used as sidewalks and no cars or motorcycles are allowed to enter the village, so it has a very intimate atmosphere. An interesting feature of Masouleh is the existing height difference between the lowest and the highest points of the village as it reaches to 120 meters. In addition to its fascinating architecture, Masouleh is surrounded by lush forests and mountains which have created spectacular sceneries.
The stair-stepped village of Palangan lies on the slopes of Mount Shahu at the Uraman-Takht region in Kurdistan province. The architecture of the village resembles Masouleh, yet the Kurdish culture makes this location very unique. The houses lie on the eastern and western slopes of the valley where a beautiful river flows.
The history of Palangan dates back to the Samanid era and the ruins of a castle from the Seljuk period still exist on top of the village. Palangan means a place with leopards because the mountains of this region were once the habitat of many leopards which no longer exist.