Meymand Village is a 12,000 year old cave village located in Shahr’e Babak, Kerman, Iran. Meymand is one of the oldest continually inhabited places in Iran and in 2006 census, its population was 673, in 181 families. Some families are continuously living here around 3,000 years ago. The old houses of Meymand Village are carved like caverns inside the mountain. The internal spaces have corridors and pillars showing a rural architecture. The houses are situated in four or five stories, one on top of the other. There is a stove inside each house used for heating and cooking. The inward spaces are black because of smoke and soot. There is also an area of around 400 square meters in the Village containing 15 circular stone rooms. Bones and other belongings were discovered there, giving the impression that it was used to lay the bodies of the deceased.
Photo credit kiaksar2004
The kinds of dwelling-place dug out of the mountains are not of a temporary nature but rather are permanent homes. The discovery of stone engravings, some as old as 10,000 years, around the Village in addition to 6,000 year old pottery reveal the long lived history of the Village. According to the locals, the ancients did not use a hammer and chisel, but rather a type of local, pointed stone which is hard enough to carve images onto the rocks. This method of carving is still practiced in the region today.
The inhabitants are semi-nomadic shepherds, some of whom own Village land that is occupied in winter, whereas in summer the population moves to higher pastures. The local language contains many words from the ancient Sassanid and Pahlavi languages, the language barely changing due to the isolation of the Village. The economy of the villagers is based on agriculture, animal husbandry and carpet weaving; but carpet weaving is more important to the extent that Meymand carpets enjoy international fame. Since carpet weaving is prevalent in the area, other related jobs such as dyeing, felt making, weaving of gilims and crochet working are common too.
There is a large inn inside Meymand Village which is used to host tourists. Meymand Village obtained the ‘Reward of Mercury’ as the seventh cultural, natural and historical scene of the world in September 2005. This reward is given by the Greek government, in collaboration with UNESCO, to the historical monuments that are unique from the viewpoint of culture, nature and history.
The winters in Meymand are cold and harsh. The summers are hot and dry. Photo credit dmehrtash
Photo credit SusanSprach
Photo credit tilo driessen
Photo credit Fardad Gh.