Tourists usually choose destinations that have been specified in advance for sightseeing in Iran. Cities such as Tehran, Shiraz, Isfahan, Tabriz, and Yazd.
Sometimes, amid all these travels from a city to another, villages or small towns get ignored. These small towns or villages are often as attractive and beautiful as the big cities. Either they are an interesting phenomenon in terms of architecture in the heart of nature or they have special natural features that tempt you to visit them. After all, you have come this far so you might see Abyaneh as well.
Abyaneh is a village, approximately in the central parts of Isfahan province. The village is located in the foothills of the Karkas Mountains at an altitude of 2222 meters above sea level. Naturally, Abyaneh has pleasant weather.
They say that the locals call this village Viuna meaning a girl who has just turned into a bride. With the red view of Abyaneh, a bride defiantly does not come to mind, but as the beauty starts to grow upon you, you realize why.
The combination of desert and mountains in Abyaneh has created a pristine and stunning landscape that makes this village special in Iran. The architecture style of Abyaneh houses, along with the traditional colorful clothing of the local people, have made tourists want to visit this village which is always that one bride-to-be, every year.
Unless you like to see the view of this gorgeous red village under the heavy snow of winter, you could try it spring for a better temperature. Although, exactly because of this reason, spring would be too crowded.
Perhaps the most interesting feature of Abyaneh is its people. Yes! the architecture is astonishing and breathtaking, especially since it goes way back in history. But people, the locals in this matter, as nature which surrounds the village, are the spirit of the Abyaneh.
Their lifestyle is still the same as in previous decades, and everything from their accents and clothing to their ceremonies and rituals has retained its original form. Kind of like, the time has stopped in Abyaneh.
Therefore, what attracts most tourists is the locals’ traditional vibrant clothing. A fashion style that has remained the same for many years. The women of Abyaneh wear skirts with two layers. The bottom layer is usually black while the upper one is colorful, pretty, and has flower drawings on the texture. A large-flowered garland that covers them down to the waist completes the scenery. Abyaneh men also have their costumes. They wear long blouses with sort of really baggy pants called “debit”.
Rural heritage is one of the most important cultural resources of any country. We must try our best to respect it and not create the slightest anomaly in its texture. There is a wonderful and well-said quote that “the best tour and tourist is the one who does not even leave a foot prince of themselves.”
Abyaneh is a very clean village. The villagers try to keep the environment clean despite a large number of tourists. Though they have been accustomed to having tourists over, some old and very orthodox ones still have problems with the fact that any moment now, a camera would be pointed at them. So, if you want to take pictures of the villagers, you must get their permission beforehand.
One reason for this unique and untouched tradition could be that Abyaneh was built amid high mountains. In the past, access roads to Abyaneh were so limited, hence, the locals became almost self-sufficient to make up for this difficult passage and had the least contact with people in other areas.
Once they were told by the experts that the mountain wall can no longer afford to be curved to another building, no one has built a house in it. With all their limited contact with professional architecture and the academic world, you would think they would have no idea of what they have been told. But no! the families gathered up their supplies and went on to the next safe hill and continued their construction work, there.
Abyaneh has a monolithic architecture. Most of its houses are constructed with the same plan from the outside, and this similarity has created a beautiful order.
With red bricks and soil, houses of Abyaneh are built on top of one another. Each floor is a house and belongs to a family while at the same time, it is another family’s roof and so, it goes up in the mountain. Exactly like a staircase. This type of architecture is specific to the villages located on the mountainside. Similar texture can be found in villages in Kurdistan, Gilan, Kermanshah, and Azerbaijan.
Abyaneh is so beautiful that if you just want to enjoy the beauty of the village, you can entertain yourself all day long. Walking in the back alleys of Abyaneh and watching the people whose lives are going on regardless of the modern and soulless life these days.
Nuts, handicrafts, curd, and “Lavashak” are some of the most common products you will come across while roaming through Abyaneh.
One scenery that you will see are small shops built with the same traditional structure of the whole village, some have only small doors, which are sometimes the size of a window. The simplicity of the equipment in these shops has the power to take you out of the modern world. This is exactly what Abyaneh does to people that visit her.
Around the village and in the narrow alleys of the village with short thatched walls, you can see many trees. These trees bloom in spring and give a spectacular pleasant view to enjoy and relax while when the autumn wind blows, a wave of unimaginable colors pushes the greenery away and takes your breath too.
Handicrafts such as Kilim and Giveh are the most important souvenirs of Abyaneh. Of course, the main occupation of the people is agriculture and animal husbandry, and handicrafts are one of the side activities of the villagers. In addition to handicrafts, nuts and agricultural products are also considered souvenirs of the bride tobe.
Does Abyaneh, this beautiful bride-to-be, has any historical sites?
Indeed! Abyaneh hosts several ancient monuments that can be an interesting subject for those interested in history.
The first famous building in Abyaneh is the fire temple of this village, which was built on the top of the Karkas Mountains. The fire temple is called Harpak and is a relic belonging to the Sassanid dynasty.
There are three spectacular castles around the which were built as forts to protect the village from thieves and robbers. These castles are called Herdeh, Takht-Haman, and Pale.
Abyaneh shrines are also very spectacular. There are two holy places in Abyaneh; Imamzadeh Yahya and Imamzadeh Isa who are the sons of Imam Musa Kazem. Abyaneh has several mosques, the most famous of which is the Grand Mosque. The Grand Mosque has an old inlaid wooden pulpit.
Hinza Shrine is located in a narrow valley southeast of Abyaneh. In the heart of the rocks of this valley, there is a recess in front of which the Imamzadeh building is built, and the recess, like a cave, has become part of the shrine building.
This shrine belongs to Bibi Zubeida Khatun, daughter of Imam Musa Kazem. Locals believe strongly that Bibi Zubeida Khatun was wanted and the people of Abyaneh sheltered her in this room, then took her to Hanjan village to live in secrecy.
A large shrine was built for her in Hanjan. So, the Hinza shrine is not a tomb but people believe that this place brings about miracles and a special ceremony is held there.
The mosque of “Perzaleh” belonging to the Ilkhanate period, has a very rotten and old door, actually the oldest door in of Abyaneh. It is made of walnut wood with inlaid delicate shrubs.