Abyaneh: The Astonishing Red Village in Iran

A Hidden Treasure of Iran's Rich Heritage

In the heart of Iran’s Isfahan province, nestled amidst the Karkas mountains, lies Abyaneh, an ancient village frozen in time. Its vibrant red architecture earned it the title “Red Village. ” Explore the labyrinthine alleys of Abyaneh, a living museum where tradition reigns supreme.

Abyaneh, the Red Village of Iran

Abyaneh Historic Village, Iran
Abyaneh Historic Village, Iran (photo by Wikipedia)

In the local language, Abyaneh was formerly called “Viuna,” meaning a willow wood, as, in ancient times, the village was encompassed by vast willow tree forests. Eventually, the name transformed from Viuna to Abyaneh.

The indigenous people living here were remotely isolated for centuries, preserving ancestors’ customs, dialects, and traditions. The unmatched architecture and color of structures have brought popularity and reputation to the village.

Where is Abyaneh?

Abyaneh village lies on the slope of the Karkas mountains at an elevation of 2,222 meters above sea level. Abyaneh village is located on the hill of Mount Karkas. It stands 40 kilometers northwest of Nain and 70 kilometers south of Kashan in Isfahan province, glittering like a gemstone. 

Abyaneh’s History  

Visiting Abyaneh Village
Visiting Abyaneh Village (photo by Wikipedia)

The historical countryside cannot be accurately dated. However, Abyaneh is estimated to be 1,500 years old and is one of the most ancient residential areas near Iran’s central desert.

In 1975, the village’s historic structure was nationally listed. In 2013, ceremonies like the Nakhl Gardani and Abyaneh’s dialect were registered on Iran’s Intangible Cultural Heritage list. Abyaneh’s most ancient monument, the Herpak Fire Temple, dates back to the Sassanid and Seljuk epochs.

Interestingly, Safavid monarchs and their relatives who vacationed in Nain for summer preferred residing in Abyaneh.

Architecture of Abyaneh Houses

Architecture Of Abyaneh Village, Iran
Architecture of Abyaneh Village, Iran (photo by Wikipedia)

All village houses constructed on Karkas mountain’s slope have remarkable architecture. Flat roofs of lower houses serve as courtyards for higher homes without separating walls, just like Masuleh. Thus, the village appears to be multi-storied.  

An appealing feature is the red color of the exterior façade, obtained from an adjacent mineral mine to cover the walls.

Abyaneh Attractions

There are many fascinating sights to explore in Abyaneh village, both for its natural scenery and historical significance.

Herpak Fire Temple  

Herpak Fire Temple In Abyaneh Village
Herpak Fire Temple in Abyaneh Village (photo by Wikipedia)

Herpak Fire Temple is located on a passage called “Rashta” and a steep slope. This fire temple is situated inside a vaulted passage. Herpak Fire Temple has three floors and is built in a four-arched shape. Herpak had a unique floor for rituals, and an eternally burning fire always existed in the courtyard of the fire temple. There is a room on the top floor of the fire temple that you can reach by climbing several steps.

Hinza Temple

Hinza Temple In Abyaneh Village
Hinza Temple in Abyaneh Village (photo by Last Second)

This pilgrimage site is located in a narrow valley southeast of Abyaneh village. There is a cavity inside the valley’s rock cliffs, in front of which the shrine is built, and the cavity itself has become part of the pilgrimage site’s structure, much like a cave. This shrine belongs to Lady Zaynab, the daughter of Imam Musa ibn Ja’far. Locals state that Lady Zaynab was being pursued, and the people of Abyaneh gave her refuge in this small room before taking her to Hanjan village. Some have also stated that this shrine dates back to Anahita’s era. According to popular belief, this site has miraculous properties, and special rituals are held there.

Jame Mosque

Jame Mosque Of Abyaneh
Jame Mosque of Abyaneh (photo by Wikimedia Commons)

There are about 11 mosques in Abyaneh, the most famous of which is Jame Mosque. Abyaneh Jame Mosque belongs to the Seljuk era. The carved wooden door with floral patterns and embossed lines can be mentioned as one of the historical beauties of the mosque. 

Once you enter through the door, the columns, wooden ceiling, and a pulpit in an enclosure grab your attention. An old carved wooden pulpit with beautiful floral and plant patterns and carved Surah Yaseen in Kufic calligraphy in the corner of the mosque’s Shabestan catches the eye.

The mosque’s ceiling is beautifully adorned with geometric framing art. Also, visit the old Shabestan of this mosque. The old wooden Mihrab of this Shabestan dates back to 477 AH. 

Perzaleh Mosque

Perzaleh Mosque In Abyaneh Village
Perzaleh Mosque in Abyaneh Village (photo by Last Second)

This is a two-story building located in the Pol neighborhood. The antiquity of this building dates back to the Ilkhanid era. You will see the oldest existing door in Abyaneh here, the eastern entrance dating back to 701 AH. The proof of this claim is the date engraved on this beautiful door. 

Anthropology Museum

Anthropology Museum Of Abyaneh
Anthropology Museum of Abyaneh (photo by Wikimedia Commons)

Abyaneh Anthropology Museum has been built to preserve the indigenous architecture of the village. In this museum, you can see ancient objects in a wooden and glass enclosure. This museum shows various ancient dishes, handicrafts, weapons, agricultural tools, jewelry, manuscripts, antique locks, and traditional clothes. Most of the museum’s items have been donated to this museum by Abyaneh people to preserve the culture and identity of Abyaneh.  

Fortresses of Abyaneh

Fortresses Of Abyaneh
Fortresses of Abyaneh

Abyaneh has three fortresses in its three essential neighborhoods. The three important neighborhoods of Abyaneh, namely Bridge (Up), Yousemoon, and Herdeh (Down) each house a fortress. The villagers used these fortresses to protect their lives and property. 

Mills of Abyaneh

Houses In Abyaneh Village
Houses in Abyaneh Village (photo by Wikipedia)

Abyaneh village of Isfahan has several mills, but unfortunately, only one is active. To see these ancient mills, go to the Daryoon River path. You will see Areh Herdeh, Areh Miyoon, and Areh Daryoon mills in this area.  


In addition to the existing mills in the village, there are also various springs to the west and east of the town. For example, the Reysoon Spring supplies drinking water to the village. Also, Do Aab Spring is the village’s primary water source. If you visit the town in summer, visit these springs and enjoy their coolness.

Best Time to Visit  

Spring and summer provide the optimum climate. The rosewater extraction season in May also draws many tourists.

Culture and Dresses 

People Of Abyaneh Village
People of Abyaneh Village (photo by Steven Su Jsil)

A remarkable quality of the Abyaneh people is preserving unique customs over generations, including dialect, clothing, ceremonies, and traditions. 

Women wear crumpled double-layered skirts with black underwear and colorful overcoats half-concealed by flowered scarves reaching their waists. Men wear loose trousers paired with long shirts.  

Unwind and Explore

Handicrafts In Abyaneh Village
Handicrafts in Abyaneh Village (photo by Reyhaneh Ahmadi)

Strolling narrow alleys to witness architecture and cultural activities is the primary amusement. Spectacular surrounding views await exploring elevated terrains. Ask before photographing locals! Costumes are rented to tourists for memorable snapshots in the village. Tours conducted by inhabitants include sightseeing and hiking during peak seasons. Picnicking and nature walks along the river also offer enjoyment.  

Tips for visiting Abyaneh Village  

Alleys Of Abyaneh Village
Alleys of Abyaneh Village (photo by Wikipedia)
  • Cleanliness is maintained despite high tourist activity, so avoid littering within the residential area.
  • Refrain from photographing locals without consent.  
  • Heritage sites signify cultural wealth and, therefore, should be respected by tourists through environmental awareness. 
  • Support the community by purchasing approved handicrafts and foods like sour plum jam from village women relying on tourism.
  • Wear suitable shoes for comfortably walking along steep cobblestone alleys and paths during your visit.
  • Visit during Muharram to witness native rituals like the Nakhl Gardani.

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Abyaneh: The Astonishing Red Village In Iran

Final Words

By isolating itself from modern influence for ages, Abyaneh village has preserved cultural elements integral to Iranian identity that vanished elsewhere but remain accessible here to demonstrate beautiful diversity across the country.

For the visitor, Abyaneh offers a rare opportunity to step back and temporarily assimilate into the rhythms of Persian village life from eras long gone.

So discover this magnificent time capsule where old Iran lives!

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Sogand Safari

My name is Sogand, an enthusiastic psychology master who loves diving into new topics, expanding my knowledge, and sharing perspectives through writing.

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