Prior to going to Tehran, I decided to leave the urban setting for a change and go to a small village more than one hour away from Kashan. This village is called Abyaneh and is considered to be one of the oldest continuously inhabited towns in Iran. It is so old that the natives there speak an ancient variant of Persian which differs from what the rest of the Iranians speak and they wear clothes that don’t look out of place in the year 1200, or even year 1 AD.
the village – it took me a while to find this spot, but it was worth it
There are actually several ways to get to Abyaneh from Kashan. The most convenient way is to rent a car with driver for a daytrip which typically costs $30 to $35 depending on your bargaining skills for a vehicle that seats up to 4. I chose another route which was to go there via motorbike. I got the idea after wandering around the main road in Kashan, which was filled with automotive shops. I asked my hotel to source one for me and voila, it was there the next day! So off we went, relying mostly on the Maps application in my iPhone (an indispensable app by the way!). It was mostly a straight ride of about an hour or more. The roads in Iran are especially good, the only thing one had to worry about are the cars which have no regard for speed so a good way to navigate it on motorbike is to take the side road. Throughout the whole trip, I only had to turn once – in a junction where I passed by the not-so-hush-hush nuclear facility (yet again!). Sweet. Soon enough, I was out of the desert and into the mountainous area. The vegetation changed from barren to seasonal colors of yellow and red which coincided with autumn. It reminded me a lot of New Zealand.
another view of the town
After a few twist and turns, I was finally in Abyaneh, and it was also raining. I felt really numb – the temperature must have been near freezing by that time. Our arrival time was pretty early – there weren’t any tourists yet, both foreign and local. So we just strolled around. The first order of the day was to find that viewpoint from where I saw those really nice pictures of the entire town. I could not find it, but I knew it had to be right across which should be as easy as a,b,c. Or so I thought. It ended up taking more than an hour before we got across, after walking through brick houses, farmlands and hills.
But what’s good about this walk is that we basically ended up doing the village tour at the same time. There are no real attractions or awe-inspiring sights in the village. Most people go there just to soak the atmosphere, to leave the hustle and bustle of the city and go to somewhere quaint, quiet and traditional. And Abyaneh offers precisely that.
it would have looked even better if the weather was good
We got to interact with the villagers as well. Old ladies with missing teeth and men who look like Santa Claus – these were the typical villagers we met in Abyaneh. Very friendly folks, and even though none of them could speak English, I could feel their hospitality was genuine.
the sights of abyaneh – and oh yeah, going by motorbike allows you to explore the nooks and crannies, pretty convenient for a stepped village like abyaneh
Stopped for a quick bite at a local sandwich store — met this amiable couple from Britain who had just arrived in Iran (they were touring the country from North to South, opposite from us) who asked for tips. They could not contain their praises / compliments for the locals – kindness, hospitality and all.
I really envied them — wished I could have stayed longer in Iran than just 9 days.