In order to buttress Iranian clay buildings against jolts and quakes, a special plan to renovate and preserve the ancient village of Abyaneh has just started, Iranian Cultural Heritage News Agency reported on Tuesday.
Since the nationwide project started more than one and half years ago, Iranian villagers' willingness to stay in the country and avoid the glitz of urban life has surged. Now experts with the Cultural Heritage and Tourism Organization (CHTO) are working in Abyaneh, one of the oldest mud-brick villages in Iran.
"We have done our research work based on the blueprints, but we need much more time to find answers to all our questions," said Azimeh Riahi, head of research team in Abyaneh. "If the houses could provide us with a viable solution on the best way to consolidate and preserve the village, we perhaps can solve related problems across the country.
She further explained that researchers first set up research bases in the area to study about the history and architecture of Abyaneh, adding "Given the concurrent recent quakes in the area, we have sped up our work and hopefully will soon reach definitive conclusions that then would be generalized for all the clay buildings."
A village of great antiquity, Abyaneh is like a living architectural and anthropological museum. It affords an impressive exponent of the adaptation of man with his environment. It is located on the northwestern slope of Mt Karkas, 2 km away from Natanz (a town in Isfahan Province). It is 2500 meters above sea level. Abyaneh is mainly watered by the river of Barzrud. Set on the slope of the lofty mountain of Karkas, this village has a cold climate and enjoys numerous springs creating a favorite condition for agriculture.
Considering the evidence found in Abyaneh, it dates back to antiquity, but its golden age was during the Safavid period. The word Abyaneh has been derived from the word "viona" meaning Willow Grove. (In the local dialect "vey" means willow.)
The simplicity found in Abyaneh's houses affords a picture of life in rural Iran. Each room is used for various purposes. For example, a single room may be used as a dining-room, a sitting-room, a bed-room and a guest-room. To economize in the use of fuel, the rooms and used in winter are architecturally different from those used in summer. For providing equal light for all parts of the rooms, there are several small openings in the roofs. The size of the rooms, windows and doors all indicate the simplicity of life in this old village.
Abyaneh is called an entrance to the Iranian history. In some of the houses there is earthenware belonging to a few hundred years ago. The local traditional clothes are in style of great antiquity. It is said a woman of Abyaneh has inherited her wedding dress from her grandmother.
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