Masuleh Village: A Scenic Village Where Roofs and Yards Become One

Masuleh is a village on the slopes of the Mt. Alborz in Gilan, northern Iran. The village dates back to 1006 AD, and it has a unique settlement structure shaped by the topography. It is unique because the roofs of the houses also serve as a street. Its location also has a strategic benefit for the climatic problems in Iran such as cold because the slope allows a better solar exposure and a higher temperature.

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The history of the village goes back to a site developed around an iron mine and grew into a commercial center. However, according to recorded history, there was a shift from that site (lying six kilometers northwest of the present-day village) to the modern-day Masuleh village due to some disasters including a plague epidemic and a severe earthquake.

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The architects of these houses were the inhabitants themselves, and they used natural materials including wood, adobe, and stone. They also benefited the rock foundation of the mountain as a support for their “koh deevar” (mountain wall) which actually makes the village earthquake resistant. On the other hand, cars or any other large vehicles are prohibited in the village. So, people have to use wheelbarrows to transport goods.

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