In the last entry we have belittled the northern Iranian tourist attraction, the village of Masouleh in comparison to the Bakhtiari mountain village, and now we would like to somehow make amends for this offense. If for no other reason, then because from Masouleh comes Mr. Mousavi, the manager of the lovely little alley hotel next to the bazaar of Tehran, who has amazingly long arms, and can get everything that officially does not exist in Iran, be it bus ticket to Istanbul, entrance to a classical concert in the Vahdat concert hall, or visa to Turkmenistan. We deliberately do not show the pictures of today’s Masouleh, developed into a veritable tourist paradise, but the forty years older ones by the Iranian Armenian Ahmad Kavousian, from 1975, the Shah’s times (whose portraits are seen on the wall of a house), when this place might have had an atmosphere similar to the villages in the Zagros.
Masouleh is sixty kilometers southwest of the Caspian See in Gilan province, whose mountains always resisted to the conquerors, including the Arabs, and so they proudly claim that their language – because it is more than just a simple dialect – preserved most clearly the ancient Persian heritage. The village is 1050 meters above sea level in the mountain ranges of the Elburz, and its houses, interconnected with each other, climb up on the mountainside with a difference in elevation of 100 meters. The courtyards and roofs both serve as pedestrian streets. The exterior of most buildings are coated with yellow clay, which allows for better visibility in the fog which is always hovering between the houses of Masouleh.
Freidoun Poorreza – Hossein Hamidi: ناز بداشته Naz Bedashteh (Beautiful Bedashteh), folk song of Gilan. From the album می گیلان Mi Gilan (in Gilaki) / Man-e Gilan (in persian) (My Gilan) (2007)
|دشت هايی چه فراخ!|
کوه هايی چه بلند!
در گلستانه چه بوی علفی می آمد
من در اين آبادی پی چيزی ميگشتم
پی خوابی شايد
پی نوری ،ريگی،لبخندی.
|How wide are the valleys!|
The mountains how high!
What a smell the grass has here!
What is it that I seek in this village?
The dreams, perhaps; maybe some
light, some dust, some smile.
Sohrab Sepehri (see also here): آبادی Village (detail)