The day after visiting the Towers of Silence in Yazd, I jumped on a train and headed back to Kashan. I had visited Kashan previously on my trip, but there were a few places close by that I still wanted to see. And Kashan is on the way back to Tehran anyway. One of these was the village of Abyaneh.
Abyaneh is a village in Barzrud Rural District, in the Central District of Natanz County. It is located about 80km south of Kashan by car. At the 2006 census, its population was 305, in 160 families.
On the way into Abyaneh, we passed an old abandoned castle like structure sitting on the other side of a ravine. I have since worked out that it is called Hanjan Castle. I believe it can be visited as a day trip as well. I am sure you can ask your taxi driver to take you there if you want to take a closer look. It certainly looked cool from a distance.
Abyaneh is characterised by a peculiar reddish hue that comes from the mud bricks quarried from the mountains nearby. Like many of the traditional villages in Iran, these mud bricks are used almost exclusively to build the houses in the town.
Abyaneh is an isolated town, particularly in the winter when snow and ice makes it difficult to reach. Because of this, Abyaneh has developed a unique culture. Many elderly residents speak Middle Persian, an earlier incarnation of Farsi that largely disappeared some centuries ago. The local clothing is also unique. The women’s traditional costume consists of a long scarf with a colourful floral design. This colourful floral pattern contrasts strongly with the typical plain black hijab that older women wear elsewhere in Iran.
On top of the village sits the ruins of Palahamooneh fortress, a Sasanid era fort. It is possible to climb up towards this fort. The fort itself is not so impressive due to its state of disrepair, however the view from the fortress back towards the town makes it worth visiting.
If you look carefully in the photo above you can see a rock formation just above the town on the right hand side of the image. It’s possible to climb these rocks to get a fantastic view out over the town. The photo below of me is taken after I climbed this rock. It’s worth the effort!
Abyaneh is a popular tourist destination in Iran. As such, there are a lot of small shops selling all kinds of locally made knickknacks and clothes. The sellers are not particularly pushy and it doesn’t detract from the experience at all. Having said that, I only visited in early spring. Potentially in the peak tourist season it may get a little hectic. The solution is to get off the main road through town and go exploring the back streets.
The back streets are peaceful and well sheltered from the cold winds of winter and the scorching summer sun.
As you wander the back streets if you keep heading up hill you will come out to an area above the city. From here there are also excellent views out of the town.
All up, I spent about 90 minutes exploring Abyaneh before returning to Kashan. It was organised through my hostel, Sadeghi House. The total cost of the taxi trip out and back was around 30€. This cost is split between each everyone. I visited with three other people so we paid about 7 € each. Given that the entire trip takes around 5 hours, it is quite good value.