Masouleh one step closer to being World Heritage

August 24, 2022 - 20:0

TEHRAN –Iran is completing an all-inclusive dossier for the northern Iranian village of Masouleh in Gilan province, to have it registered on the UNESCO World Heritage list, the provincial tourism chief has said.

A number of measures have been taken in this to avoid obstacles to the world registration of Masouleh and to provide the necessary grounds, Vali Jahani explained on Wednesday.

A team of UNESCO assessors is scheduled to visit Iran in autumn and evaluate Masouleh for possible inscription on the UNESCO World Heritage list, the official added.

The scenic village is famed for its Lego-shaped earthen houses built on another’s rooftop. Home to some of the most stunning landscapes in the country, Masouleh is one of the many stepped villages that are quite common to find around the country, especially in Kordestan and around Mashhad. They have been built on a hill so steep that the roof of one house is the pathway for the next.

Whereas practically, all stepped villages in Iran have been able to keep their rural and traditional essence, for some reason, Masouleh has evolved into a popular touristic destination that especially attracts domestic vacationers.

Thanks to pretty developed tourist infrastructure, Masouleh is receiving the attention of all the guidebooks, portraying it as a dreamy mountain village so, slowly, it is becoming the prime destination for those travelers who have a little more than two weeks in Iran.

The village is pretty, composed of some yellowish houses which disappear behind the mist during the early morning hours. Being the most visited stepped village in Iran, Masouleh has all types of opinions. 

On the one hand, the well-traveled backpackers will tell you that Masouleh is not worth the journey unless you don’t mind eating in overpriced restaurants or trying to bargain ridiculous fares with taxi drivers. On the other hand, less demanding travelers will tell you that Masouleh is such a lovely village that you can’t miss.

Surrounded by green valleys, misty forests, and 3,000m peaks, Masouleh is the ultimate trekking destination in Iran, offering several trails that include both day treks and multi-day treks.

Iran, home to several stepped villages

Iran is home to several magnificent stepped villages, of which the most popular ones are Masouleh, Kang, and UNESCO-tagged Uramanat.

Kang in the northeastern province of Khorasan Razavi, which has been recently inscribed on the national heritage list, with an antiquity of more than 3,000 years, is situated at a distance of some 30 km from Mashhad, the provincial capital.

The village, located on the highlands of Mount Binalud, is also adjacent to Neishabur, known for its turquoise handicrafts and mines.

Uramanat in the west of the country is also another stepped village, which is considered a cradle of Kurdish art and culture from the days of yore.

Stretched on a steep slope in Uraman Takht rural district of Sarvabad County, the village is home to dense and step-like rows of houses in a way that the roof of each house forms the yard of the upper one, a feature that adds to its charm and attractiveness.

UNESCO added Uramanat cultural landscape to its list of world heritage sites in 2021.


Leave a Comment