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Living in Mountain Holes in the 21st Century


News Category:


 26 April 2004




In the Age of skyscrapers, there are still people living in mountains, in holes dating back to some 3000 years ago.

The ancient village of Maymand, near Kerman, with cold and dry climate, is made of four or five-storey apartments constructed within the mountain rocks, which display the art of its people and mysterious architecture dating back to some 3000 years ago.

The houses are holes carved in the volcanic mountain, each with a hallway and rooms at each side for different purposes, such as the living room with a stove in the middle, stable for keeping sheep and storeroom. None of the rooms have windows or chimneys, and since carving the rocks is a hard task, no variety is seen in the architecture style of the village.

Although one third of the houses of Maymand are left abandoned, more than 142 people still live in the area and continuity of life in the village is what distinguishes it from its similar settlements.

The archaeological studies of the area show that people resided there from some 3000 years ago; however, no exact date is given as to the history of the village, but because of its architectural features, it could not date back to the time before the metal age.

The main occupation of its inhabitants is animal farming and gardening in the nearby meadows during the eight months of the year when the weather is fine. In the cold season they return to their homes and make handicrafts, which today is not that common anymore.

The national restoration project of the bizarre village of Maymand, including research, restoration, introduction, education, maintenance and preservation, has started since last year; and according to head of the project Mahnaz Ashrafi, so far the historical face of the village has been given a lift up, a website is launched (, carpentry and blacksmith workshops, anthropology museum and motels in the ancient abandoned mountain houses are set up.

The team also intends to pinpoint the exact history of the village in cooperation with Italian experts and to prepare the file for the registration of the village on UNESCO’s World Heritage List.



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