Abyaneh village, open-air museum of living traditions

May 11, 2017

TEHRAN – Dominated with reddish hues and lost in labyrinth of heights, Abyaneh village is one of the oldest in Iran. It is an example of human adaptation to nature, wherein one can redraw the boundaries of time and feel a flavor of ancient Iranian culture and civilization.

Nested at the foot of mount Karkas, Abyaneh is at a distance of about 80km to Kashan and 40km to Natanz in Isfahan Province. It draws thousands of domestic and foreign tourists year-round, mainly when it hosts special feasts and ceremonies.

It is an open-air anthropology museum that showcases architecture and traditions from Sassanid era (224–651) onwards, for instance an ancient temple, the ruins of a fortress, a mosque with a unique altar from Seljuk period (ca. 1040–1196) to name a few.

A woman clan in traditional attire carries loaves of flatbread in Abyaneh.

Its distinctive architectural facet, variety of deeply-rooted-in-time rituals, apparel of inhabitants and rows of earthen houses dotted on the slope contribute to its charm. Here, the roofs of some houses serve as the courtyard for others higher up on the hill.

The residents are deeply committed to honoring their traditions. Females wear traditional clothing, consisting of a scarf with floral motifs and pleated pants.

Even today their costume, way of life and their ancient dialect are still practically unchanged, so that there lies ample reasons for travelers even though the anthropologists to hear for the village.

An interior door bearing elaborate wood-carving designs opens to an ancient prayer hall in Abyaneh village.

Under tourists’ eyes

Here is a select of comments that visitors to the ancient village have posted to TripAdvisor, which is one of the most popular travel websites in the world:

Picturesque setting and worth the side trip

We organized a private car for $50 from Kashan to Esfahan and stopped here for about 90 minutes. Very interesting and photogenic but got the feeling no one lives there anymore, just the odd villager selling trinkets and souvenirs? (Nilintentum from Melbourne; visited April 2017)

Impressive ancient village

This millennium old village Abyaneh is probably the least rewarding among three famous ancient villages in Iran (Kandovan, Masuleh, and Abyaneh) given it now has few residents living in the village.

Most people there are old people who will dress their traditional clothes and wait for tourists to come and try to sell dried fruit, scarf, or nuts. However it is still worth a visit to have a glimpse of aging old life living in this mud and brick houses. It is the best place to take portrait picture of these old senior locals in their traditional clothes. (Suwatss from Bangkok; visited April 2017)

Small red town

Small red town with some old residents. They have different hijab which are flowery. A small village that could spend up one or two hours. Besides this, the entrance is by person which cost around 50,000 rial per person in a car. You can take aerial view photo by going another side of the hill.

You can visit this small village by hiring a taxi from Kashan or Isfahan around $40. It’s 80km from Kashan. If you wanna take bus it would be slightly difficult because you need to take a public bus and taxi. (Ignatius1 from Kuala Lumpur; visited March 2017)

Never seen anything like it!

Abyaneh is a beautiful and unique little historic village on the mountains dating from 1500 years ago. The lovely red mud houses, the narrow roads and the traditional old women wearing colorful dresses and selling dry apples make the place a very special one! A must see on an Iran trip! (Vilalva from Santiago, Chile; visited October 2016)

Must-see village up in the mountains

A picturesque mountain village about 1 hour driving time from Kashan. Altitude is about 2200m and climate is much more pleasant than in Kashan. A few small shops at the main square, else lots of Iranian tourists, occasionally some foreigners.

Take a stroll through the one-and-only main alley and enjoy the scenic views. After max 2 hours you will have seen all there is, excluding the numerous stops to make friends with Iranian tourist families. You can easily collect a dozen or so invitations to families and cities all over the country. (Markus U. from Modling, Austria; visited September 2016)

AFM/MG

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