Iran might not be the first destination you consider for your next vacation, but the ancestral home of the former Persian empire has a number of breathtaking destinations to consider.
The village of Masouleh finds itself tucked into the Alborz Mountain range in northern Iran. The medieval village is more than just a look back in time. Every step you take is punctuated by the magnificent views of the surrounding peeks.
When the village was first being constructed, residents had the dual problem of needing to protect their livelihoods from the floodplain in the valley below, but found the brusque winds at the top of the mountain were too much to bear. The solution was a village about halfway to the summit, but the steep slopes begat a different architectural challenge.
In order to maximize their use of space, residents built the byways of the town on top of the roofs of their houses. The roofs were constructed out of a combination of clay, stone, and wood.
Each dwelling was uniquely designed to contend with the moist climate of the region, as well as the wear and tear caused by pedestrians and the chores required by daily life. The homes have a large picture window facing out of the mountainside, which allows for ample sunlight to warm and dry each home. During the coldest days of winter, however, many families would huddle in their back rooms that were insulated by a thick layer of clay.
The small village’s main industry these days is tourism, as travelers from all of the world want to come visit the town built on a roof top. Even the markets are built on the roofs of the houses below, and locals can be seen winding their way across the narrow passes, as the ascend and descend the steep, stone staircases.
For tourists coming to visit the area, most of the hotels are located on the lowest levels of the mountain, along with the various rooftop restaurants. If you’re looking for peace and quiet, however, the ascent towards the summit is worth it.