Semnan eyes UNESCO tag for its stepped village

TEHRAN–Semnan province has completed an all-inclusive dossier for one of its stepped village in a bid to nominate it for UNESCO status, the provincial tourism chief has said.

One of Iran’s three nominations for inclusion in the World Heritage list is Qala Bala village, located in Shahrud city, which has a high chance of being selected, Amir Karamzadeh explained on Sunday.

The stepped village of Qala Bala lies in a foothill area. The village has become a tourist destination because of its proximity to the Turan protected area, preservation of the historical houses, and eco-lodge units.

Iran, home to several stepped villages

Iran is home to several magnificent stepped villages, of which the most popular ones are Masouleh, Kang, and UNESCO-tagged Uramanat.

The scenic village of Masouleh is famed for its Lego-shaped earthen houses built on another’s rooftop. Home to some of the most stunning landscapes in the country, Masouleh is one of the many stepped villages that are quite common to find around the country, especially in Kordestan and around Mashhad. They have been built on a hill so steep that the roof of one house is the pathway for the next.

While practically, all stepped villages in Iran have been able to keep their rural and traditional essence, for some reason, Masouleh has evolved into a popular touristic destination that especially attracts domestic vacationers.

Thanks to a pretty developed tourist infrastructure, Masouleh is receiving the attention of all the guidebooks, portraying it as a dreamy mountain village so, slowly, it is becoming the prime destination for those travelers who have a little more than two weeks in Iran.

The village is pretty, composed of some yellowish houses which disappear behind the mist during the early morning hours. Being the most visited stepped village in Iran, Masouleh has all types of opinions.

Kang in the northeastern province of Khorasan Razavi, which has been recently inscribed on the national heritage list, with an antiquity of more than 3,000 years, is situated at a distance of some 30 km from Mashhad, the provincial capital.

The village, located on the highlands of Mount Binalud, is also adjacent to Neishabur, known for its turquoise handicrafts and mines.

Uramanat, in the west of the country, is also another stepped village, which is considered a cradle of Kurdish art and culture from the days of yore.

Stretched on a steep slope in Uraman Takht rural district of Sarvabad County, the village is home to dense and step-like rows of houses in a way that the roof of each house forms the yard of the upper one, a feature that adds to its charm and attractiveness.

UNESCO added Uramanat cultural landscape to its list of world heritage sites in 2021.



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