The historic and ancient Masuleh village is located on one thousand meters above sea level on the slopes of the Alborz mountain range in Gilan, northern Iran! and previously known as Khortab, or Masalar, and was founded in 1006 AD.
Masuleh looks like “climbing” on the side of the mountain, which gives it the most unusual feature. The roofs of the houses are part of the road to the upper neighborhoods of the village.
The history of the ancient village can be traced to a location located six kilometers northwest of modern Masuleh. The Gian province, to which it belongs, was an important route on the silk road. So the village grew and quickly developed into a thriving hub for trade around the iron industry as it was built around a mine. A huge earthquake and a plague epidemic led the residents to relocate and create Masuleh on the site they are today.
Its location allows for optimal exposure to solar radiation, heat, while stepped construction of houses prevents flooding. The houses are made of a combination of wood, irregular concrete and stone, with the rocks of the mountain forming the one wall.
Unlike trade, which was the main occupation in antiquity, the inhabitants now deal with various types of handicraft and home decoration with complex wooden meshes.
The strangest, however, is the smart use of the public space of the village. All the rooftops are courtyards, gardens and squares for residents living in the tallest homes.
Stairs, narrow alleys and paths connect one veranda to the other and the village rises like a massive, interconnected, multi-level public space shared by the entire community.
Each narrow staircase in the village is equipped with a ramp, but only for the carts used by locals to transport goods. Due to its unique spatial configuration, Masuleh is the only settlement in Iran where cars are banned.
Source – ArchDaily