Iran, Masuleh

Situated in mountainous area covered with lush vegetation and luxuriant forests, Masuleh is a village enjoying splendid natural beauty. Being a village of great antiquity. It is like a living architectural and anthropological. Museum, attracting a great number of tourists each year.
Masuleh is 36 kms south west of Fuman in the province of Iran. It is bonded on the north of the village of Alyan, on the east by Shaft, on the south by Poshtkuh-e khamesh, and on the west by Zanjan province. It is surrounded by the Talesh mountains, some of which, located in the west, are more than 3000 meters high. Although Masuleh in near the Caspian see, it s 1050 meters above sea level. This crates a pleasant clement lining beet win the sea and the high Alborz Mountains, which tarp humidity from the are, it enjoys a pleasant climate which high annual precipitation and lush vegetation. 

The fluctuation of temperature varies from a high of 20 in summer to a low of ?2 in winter. The annual average precipitation is 713 millimeters, which occurs mainly in autumn and winter.The most important mountains, affording spectacular landscapes, are as follows: Kooh-e Rash, Kooh-e makuf, Kooh-e Dasht-e Gileh Sar and Koohe Gur. Many rivers originate in the mountains, the largest of which is the Masuleh Rud. This river, which is formed by the margin of the Zangol and Gilvan rivers, runs as a mountain stream but flows into the plain and then to the swamp of Siyah Kashim. There are some other rivers, like Andareh and Nilikhali, merging into Masuleh Rud.
In this area are found broad-leafed deciduous trees maple, hornbeam, beech, walnut, taxus and fagus. Grass and vetch grow on the highlands.
Masuleh dates back to great antiquity and was on the road connecting Azerbaijan to Gilan. The ancient village of Masuleh was located 4 kms north west of the present one. Masuleh and Khortab Khani are old names of the village. In winter, it is thinly populated, since most people leave the village. The people living in Masuleh are the Talesh ethnic group, speaking the Taleshi language.

Because of the topographical features, agriculture is not an active industry and most people are engaged in animal husbandry and producing handicraft. The articles such as gelims (rugs made of goats? hair), jajims (fine carpets made of wool or cotton), socks, traditional dress, knives, spades, axes, scissors, and scythes are produced in Masuleh. Making a certain type of shoes called chamush is another occupation. The leather used for making chamushes are produced in the tanneries of the village itself. The shops selling traditional goods are scattered throughout Masuleh. Some people earn their livings by selling goods to the shepherds and buying dairy products from them. Apart from natural beauty, the unique architecture of the buildings is of high attraction for tourists. Most houses are two or three story high. Set on the slope of the mountain, the houses are arranged in a stair step, so that the roofs of some houses are the yards of the others. The roofs also from the public passages.
Masuleh consists of four neighborhoods: Khanehbar, Masjedbar, Asad and Kash-e sar-e Olya. It covers an are of 150000 square meters, and the difference between its highest and lowest point is 100 meters. The configuration of the village indicates that in the past the people showed much consideration for security.

Persian Handscraft

The houses and the decoration used in the rooms represent the oriental character of life. The lattice windows and closed with exquisite decoration are exponents of the orginal Iranian craftsmanship. Most houses include a certain hall in which the family lives in winter, a small veranda extending from the front of the house, and a guest room. The houses of the rich include certain small rooms in which precious articles are kept.
The materials used for building the houses are mud-bricks, stones, timbers, clay and wild ferns (which abound there and are used in the roofs). Two kinds of soils, called yellow soil and dark soil, found on the river, are used for covering the outer walls and the roofs respectively.

The configuration of the village?s buildings makes the entering of the automobiles impossible. This has helped the original atmosphere to survive. The oldest building date back to 300 years ago, but their architecture is similar to that of the Sassanian period. There are eighteen mosques and five shrines in Masuleh, the most important of which are Jame? mosque and the mausoleum of Imam Zadeh Own ebn-e Mohammad-e Hanafiyyeh located in the neighborhood of Masjedbar. The door of the mausoleum, on which there are highly impressive carved designs, is made of ebony.
The bazaar, from which a spectacular landscape can be seen, is roofless and multi storied. It is in the bazaar that many of handicrafts are produced and sold.
The library of Masuleh has the greatest respect for their own traditions. A religious ceremony called Touqbandi, being of high importance, is taken place in the seventh night of each lunar Islamic year, in front of Jame? mosque. The wedding ceremonies are also of high importance. In the wedding night, the bridge followed by her relatives and friends who are singing songs praising Ali (peace be upon him), the first Imam of the shi?it branch of Islam, walks to the groom?s home, entering it just at dawn. Splendid natural beauty, a pleasant climate, luxuriant forests, lush vegetation, the unique architecture of the buildings and hospitable people make Masuleh a point of great attraction, regarded and registered as a national asset. 

Iran, Mashuleh

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