With its archeological landscapes, lavish Persian palaces and exquisite mosques, Iran is a must – see destination for travelers who are interested in exploring countries with magnificent historical background. But Iran’s attractions are not limited to these places. There are many villages in this country that have unique natural, geographical, architectural and cultural characteristics. Meymand is one of the ancient villages of Iran that must not be missed during your trip to Iran. Designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Meymand has gained much popularity among travelers. Read on to see what makes it a unique tourist attraction.
Historical Background of Meymand
Interestingly, two stories have been suggested about the origin of Meymand as an ancient village. Some scholars believe that according to evidences, it was originally built by a group of people who belonged to the Aryan Tribe in a period of time between 800 to 700 B.C. while other scientists believe this village to be dating back to the second or third century A.D when several tribes from southern Kerman started migrating to different areas of the country and one tribe chose Meymand. It’s notable that more than 150 bone receptacles from the Sassanian era have been found near the village in a place which is known as Fortress of Meymand.
What Makes Meymand a Unique Village?
Located near to Kerman province in southeastern Iran, this village is one of the best destinations for tourists who are interested in learning about cultural attractions
Meymand is not an ordinary village. It features chambers carved in mountains that are still home to local people and have a great historical value due to the 1000 years of history that lays behind their walls.
This village is predominantly characterized by being home to semi-nomadic agro-pastoralists who live in temporary residences. They live in the cave-dwellings of Meymand located in lower parts of the village throughout cold months of winter and move to the higher parts of the village during the summer. Caves of Meymand are carved out of soft rocks and some of them are believed to have been home to people of Meymand for more than 3000 years.
What was Meymand Village Originally Built for?
Some archeologists believe that the structures built on the cliff of Meymand village were originally built for religious reasons. But the proved fact about the caves of Meymand is that they have been inhabited continuously for 2000 years which makes it a valuable historical and cultural landscape. Moreover, some scholars claim the village to have been home to people for 12000 years. This means that Meymand has been a living village since the Middle Stone Ages. Therefore, it can be regarded as a Mesolithic village.
The 10,000 year old stone engravings and 60,000 year old pottery found in this area are evidence to Meymand’s remarkable historical value.
What you will see in Meymand Village
Visiting Meymand is a journey to a place where you can see a system of living that was widely common in the old times. As a self-contained valley in an arid area, Meymand is a cultural landscape that demonstrates a lifestyle which is very different from what we are used to see in modern times. People of Meymand practice a three phase regional transhumance lifestyle which is very interesting to see. They move with their animals to different settlements during the year and the caves are their dwellings for the cold months of winter. Each of the dwellings have a specific name due to their structure and function.
Winter troglodytic houses of Meymand are built in layers of up to five houses in height. They have created an eye-catching sight which demonstrates the architectural characteristics of the area.
People of Meymand made their houses by excavating and carving without using any constructional materials. This is a remarkable architectural characteristic. Their simple houses have whatever they need for their lifestyle. You’ll get astonished by the niches that they’ve made for different purposes such as sleeping or placing their kitchenware.
It’s noteworthy to indicate that nearly 400 houses have been found in Meymand with 123 units being perfectly intact. The largest house of Meymand Village is 90 square meters and the village features a public bathhouse, a school, a mosque and a Hosseinieh which is a hall for religious ceremonies of Shia Muslims.
What is a Sar-e-Aghol?
As you enter the spectacular village of Meymand, you’ll see settlements built on the southern fields which are occupied during the end of winter to late spring. These settlements are called Sar-e-Aghol and come in two different types. One of them are circular and built in a semi-underground shape featuring low dry stone walls roofed by wood and wild thistles. These types of cave dwellings are known as Markhaaneh. The other types of houses in Meymand village which are regarded as Sar-e-Aghol are called “Mashkdaan”. They are built above ground with dry stone walls and conical roofs made from branches.
After learning about the Sar-e-Aghol houses of Meymand, you will see other cave settlements called “Sar-e-Bagh”. Inhabited during summer and early autumn, Sar-e-Bagh houses are located near seasonal rivers that provide pleasant weather in warmer days of the year. Interestingly, these warm season residences are built from lighter structures such as a roof of timbers that are covered by grass thatch.
Cave houses of Meymand feature one to seven rooms which are mostly used for living and storage.
Some of the very traditional utensils of rural households are still in use in these cave houses. For instance, you can see pits that are used for boiling and straining grape juice beside containers called “Kel-e-Dushab” which are used for storing syrup of grapes.
Interested to Visit the Lovely Village of Meymand?
Learning about the cave dwellings alongside the simplicity and authenticity of life among locals of Meymand is a precious experience for any traveler. But knowing about the cultural and social practices of this community is another interesting aspect of your trip to Meymand. It’s an opportunity to explore another kind of life that you may have never known about. It’s a journey to the antiquity of ancient Iranian system of life. Moreover, visiting the locals who are happily and proudly practicing their unspoiled traditional lifestyle will be a highlight of your trip to Iran for sure.
Iran has many other villages that are picturesque, untouched and vibrant as they’re home to locals with beautiful traditions to learn about. If you are interested to visit Meymand or any other villages of Iran, don’t hesitate to contact us at Land of Turquoise Domes. We do our best to make your visit to Iran an unforgettable memory.
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