(Âlâsh), a small isolated village in Savâd-Kuh
region, north of Iran, with brooks flowing along
side its narrow cobblestone streets, is entitled
“the town of women.”
In this small community men are supposed to greet
women first and say “hello” before them, a
sign of respect in Iranian culture.
Entering the village, first you will face with the
ruins of a helipad, and a deserted and dilapidated
hotel whose broken windows have melancholy in
their impression. But down there laying on the
bottom of a valley, is the small village, Alasht.
Locals call this town Elasht, which means
"eagle's nest". But the experts do not
still approve of this interpretation.
From the top of the mountains surrounding the
village, any traveler may notice a small home-like
building few hundred meters off the village, to
which a narrow winding path is led.
As a matter of fact this building is a shrine
called Dokhtar-e Pak (Immaculate Girl). Locals
believe that this shrine belongs to a grand lady
and according to an old superstition, men should
not approach the shrine or they will be bitten by
its guardian serpent. Every weekend women and
girls pray in the shrine in the hope of meeting
Dr. Parviz Varjavand, an expert of cultural
heritage, believes that this shrine was devoted to
performing Nahid’s (Ânâhitâ)
ritual and added that, “there has been no
research performed about this place so far, and we
can’t approve or refuse the hypothesis of Alasht
being a sacred place for performing Mithraist
rituals or those rituals for worshipping Nahid.”
Alasht is situated on the flank of mountain
stepping down into a valley and the minaret of its
architecturally unique mosque in the upper part of
the village makes an outstanding landscape which
marks the village.
The bitter cold of the winters causes locals
wintering for warmer regions and the town would be
empty of its inhabitants, while there always
remains one woman or a family as the guardian of
Women of Alasht are the core of their family, who
like the mountains of their residence, are proud
facing the difficulties of life.
Walking in the streets of Alasht, men should
remember that facing any woman they must lower
their head and say hello, because Alasht is the