The village of Makhunik is one of the strange and yet spectacular villages in the world. This village was entitled the city of the Lilliputians. Makhunik is half an hour from Afghanistan, and the people are Afghans originally who migrated from Afghanistan a few centuries ago and chose this place in Iran to live.
This village is located 78 km east of Sarbisheh city in South Khorasan province and on the Sarbisheh road to Dorh. Makhunik is a village surrounded by grassless mountains in a remote area where you can live for centuries without being seen and disappear.
The Iranian version of Lilliput gives you the perspective of facing short people and dwarfs. If that doesn’t give you the curiosity you’re after, perhaps their strange culture and beliefs will.
Makhunik is a weird, remote, and hidden village among the mountains and is one of the sights of Birjand, a place that is famous for its culture coming from hardworking and kind people.
Makhunik’s distance from other places, especially main cities, was why these people have been in isolation for so long. They were touched less by the external environment; Travelers and tourists who visited the village in the 19th century were amazed by this fact. Even 40 years ago, Makhunik had limited contact with the outside community. However, this village has gained some amenities in recent decades.
The Makhuniks are Afghans who immigrated to Iran several centuries ago and spoke the Persian language with a local accent. These Sunni people and followers of Abu Hanifa are interested in teaching religious issues. There is an institute of Quranic sciences in this village, and it is taken seriously among the Villages around Makhuniks. The surrounding settlements also prefer to send their children to religious schools instead of public schools.
How do people with this degree of isolation and no trading business make their living? The inhabitants of Makhunik cultivate crops such as garlic, beets, turnips, barley, and alfalfa. They plant them in small miniature fields that are small in size and irrigated with very narrow streams of water. Long ago, the Makhunik people were not aware of how to cultivate wheat. Given the climate condition of this region, the fruits of this village are jujube, apricot, and fig. Some trees are of general interest, and anyone could take their fruit.
The agricultural lands of this village were small and miniature, and they observed justice and partnership very much; In such a way that they divide even one apricot seed into several equal parts. Sometimes a family’s share of a jujube tree is only four jujube seeds a year. Until 80 years ago, they did not know wheat and did not eat wheat bread.
The Makhonic people dress like the Baluchis and wear trousers, shirts, and scarves. Since goats are common livestock in this village, they use goat hair to make their clothes.
The sights of this village include a black stone with lithography, a tower and castle, a fig tower, its architecture context, and their height. A stone tower is on the upper floors of the village so that it surrounds Makhonic. This tower was used as a watchtower to inform all the villagers of a possible enemy attack.
Migration and moving to a city among the Makhuniks is not an option. If they were to abandon their homeland, they wouldn’t go that far, only to the Kalat’s of the Makhunik region. They refused to leave the village despite their poverty and hardships; However, some went elsewhere for temporary and seasonal work, which were very few.
In Makhonic beliefs, looting and plundering the property of others makes no sense, and some peaceful people did not even hunt. Many customs, from judging to farming, from dividing the inheritance to games, all date back to the distant past, and most have remained intact.
It is interesting to know that these people did not do ordinary things until 50 years ago. For example, they did not drink tea, did not eat meat, did not smoke, and considered such acts to be sinful. More interestingly, they did not have a TV and called it the devil, and never allowed their children to watch TV so as not to be bewitched.
They were also familiar with quarantine, and if a person fell ill, they took them to a cave-like hole in the mountain until they got better. With this type of treatment, the people of Makhunik village sought to prevent the disease from spreading to other family members.
Kinship is taken seriously in Makhunik. According to the social laws of the village, each person owns the area in front of their house. No one has the right to build a house in front, except their family and close relatives. That even affected Makhunik’s architectural context.
The houses of the village of Makhunik, like its beliefs, are unique and spectacular. They lived in “Shile” for about 100 years. Shiles were natural and artificial crevices of the mountain, the remains of which remain. The Makhuniks built the side of their houses with side compactly. They constructed tiny Houses that do not have a yard, porch, or even windows, side by side but are clean and cozy. That is a sign of empathy and unity of the people of this village. Of course, the climate has played an undeniable role in the structure of these houses.
Most Makhunik houses have only one room that connects directly to the narrow alleys. These houses are built in such a way that it is one meter below the ground level and they have thick walls and short roofs, and this is due to the cold of the Makhonic region so that it is warm inside the house in winter. They paint the Estaf or the house roof in the shape of a ram’s head or Doromi and then cover it with tree leaves and branches.
The houses do not look alike in dimensions nor size, and the walls are not straight. Some rooms are rectangular and, some are semicircular and triangular, and irregular. The entrance is short and small, and there are one to two steps at the door.
In recent decades, Makhunik has become more and more connected to the outside world. And the people of this village have become acquainted with technology and acquired some facilities, albeit few.