The name of Iran may remind many people of ancient monuments and historical sites like Persepolis. But the truth is that this vast land has many hidden gems that are less known to tourists and visitors. Among such tourist attractions are the old, authentic villages. Most of them are located in pretty remote locations, far from the hustle and bustle of touristic cities. Iran is home to many of these unique spots, and I assure you, there are lots of them that are worth visiting!
One of the most beautiful and authentic villages of Iran is Abyaneh. Not only the history and antiquity of this village but also the unique architecture and color of Abyaneh turns it to an attractive place. It is an attraction where you as an adventurous tourist will definitely enjoy exploring. Join me in this article to know more about this unique village and its history.
Abyaneh, which is also known as “Red Village” is located in Barzrud Rural District, in the Central District of Natanz County, Isfahan Province. The village is laid at the foot of Karkas Mountain, 70 kilometers southeast of Kashan city. So, you can include visiting this village on your way from Kashan to Isfahan, as well. If you don´t reserve a tour for Abyaneh, it will be a little bit complicated reaching this village. As I mentioned before, most of these villages are located in remote districts (and that´s what makes them unique!) and so, there is no easy access to them. But you can take a bus to Natanz from Tehran and take off on the Abyaneh road. You should take a taxi from there to reach the village.
Once you get there, what you will see at first glance, is a stepped village with red houses and wooden doors and windows. But, as you start exploring Abyaneh, you´ll discover more and more interesting facts about this 1500-year-old village!
Although some believe that the history of Abyaneh dates back to at least 2500 years ago, there are shreds of evidence that estimate the antiquity of this village to about 1500 years. Also, the oldest existing building in Abyaneh, which is a Zoroastrian temple of fire, was constructed between 500 to 330 B.C. This temple belongs to the Sassanid dynasty. There is also a beautiful mosque in this red village which dates back to the Safavid era. The wooden capital pillars and the interior part of this mosque are precious. I guess for a history lover, Abyaneh has a lot to offer.
The name of the village has also an interesting story. Some say that it has been derived from the word “Viona” meaning a willow grove. Whether it is true or not, the name of Abyaneh is as beautiful as the village itself.
In 1975, the village was registered as one of Iran´s national heritage sites. The cultural heritage enthusiasts and residents of Abyaneh hope that it soon joins the list of UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites, as it has many characteristics that make it suitable for being registered on this list.
There is a castle located at the hilltop which also dates back to the Sassanid era. This is where you can have a mesmerizing view of the village and the amazing nature surrounding it. From here, you can see red clay houses located one on top of another, similar to Masouleh village in northern Iran. Both share similar characteristics and amazing surroundings, although they seem so different and distinct.
Abyaneh is a living museum. Once you start discovering its old allies and narrow passageways, you will immediately catch its inexplicable magical sense. Houses with old wooden doors, adorned with two types of door knockers (one for men and the other for women) and locals dressed in their traditional costumes are only a part of this amazing village. Women usually wear white long scarfs with patterns of large red flowers. The scarf covers their shoulders and gives them a special appearance.
It is interesting to know that local people of Abyaneh have their unique dialect. This version of the Persian language still preserves some characteristics of the language of the Sassanian Persia called middle Persian.
While walking in the village, you will discover that it is a perfect place for photography and capturing unique sceneries. As the younger generation mostly has left the village in the hope of finding life in bigger cities, you will see many elderly people in this village. They are dressed in their special costumes, walking or selling their local products like dried herbs in front of their houses. The contrast of white clothes with red houses in the village just makes everything more beautiful. Add to this the olden wooden windows and doors, old trees and the view of the mountain! It is just an excellent combination of authenticity, antiquity and nature!
There are a few options if you are considering spending the night in this magical village. Viuna and Abyaneh are two hotels located in this village. Also, there is an Eco-lodge called Harpaak which would be a cheaper option in comparison to the hotels of Abyaneh. There is also a restaurant in the village where you can try some traditional delicious meals.