Iran Day 9: Bandar-e Anzali (9 Mar 11) – The Millennium Village of Masuleh

Masuleh – The Millennium Village

Our plan today is to visit a village that is more than a thousand years old. Masuleh, a village located in the mountains to the southwest of Rasht. The drive to this part of Iran is rather mild (as compared to Alamut and Abyaneh), however, along the way, the farmlands and the effect of the fog made me feel as though I am in Europe. The peacefulness and tranquillity of the farmlands are just fantastic. The road to Masuleh is not long, but today being wet weather (has been drizzling since last night) made the driving a tad challenging (though not as bad as that to Alamut or Abyaneh). We arrived at Masuleh some 2 hours later. As soon as stepped out of the car, I can immediately see the difference between Masuleh and Abyaneh. Before that, I was still asking what is the difference between the 2 villages since they are both situated in the mountainous region.  Unlike Abyaneh, which is situated in a valley between mountains, Masuleh is built directly into the base of the mountains. It is not exactly sitting between 2 mountains. Houses are stacked from the bottom to the top, each using the roof of the house below as the base of their house. Pretty much like building lego houses. Such an architecture makes the roof of the house below the front yard of the house above it. The low clouds and the drizzle makes the village looked more poetic! Another difference I spotted between Abyaneh and Masuleh is that the latter has more youngsters then the former, which is largely inhabited by old folks. The constant water flowing from the nearby mountains adds a certain rhythm to the otherwise tranquil village. We spent about 30 mins admiring the beauty of this millennium-old village before heading to Bandar-e Anzali.

The countryside near Rasht
Peaceful and tranquil countryside
The low cloud gives this area a very comfortable feeling
The peaceful countryside near Rasht
Me in the countryside near Rasht
Panoramic shot of the river that runs through the countryside
Close up shot of the river
Arrival at Masuleh
This town is built from the base of the mountain up
Masuleh is 1000 years old and there is even a mosque in the town
Taking a selfie at Masuleh
Views around Masuleh
This shot is taken on the roof of one of the houses, which serves as the front porch of the house above it
The low cloud gives the impression that the village is high up in the mountains


Another selfie at Masuleh
The housing in Masuleh is very unique
Panoramic shot of Masuleh
The mountains opposite Masuleh
The river that provided water to dwellers of Masuleh
We stopped by a shop for lunch on our way to Bandar-e Anzali
Although it doesn’t look appetising, this is good

Travelling to Bandar-e Anzali – The Town by the Caspian Sea

The drive from Masuleh to Bandar-e Anzali is not too long, however, having to go through Rasht meant we had been delayed by the traffic jams in the city. The drive is rather uneventful and plain. About 4 hours later, we arrived at Bandar-e Anzali. It is very obvious for first-timers to notice that they are actually in Anzali, as the port customs is the first thing one would see if coming from Rasht direction. Our purpose of coming to Anzali is to see the Caspian Sea, the largest lake in the world. As this body of water is freshwater, and not connected to any sea or ocean. However as it is surrounded by a few neighbouring countries, regarding it as a lake gave rise to some sovereignty issues with regards to the usage of the lake, thus this lake is regarded as a sea. As we stopped by a bridge to take some pictures of the nearby port, we saw some men fishing on the bridge. We stopped momentarily to watch and see how their luck goes in fishing. Nothing big was caught, the guy with the net caught more fishes than those with fishing poles.  This town is a lot quieter then Rasht, there isn’t many people or traffic around. We drove to a nearby beach to see Caspian sea. The cold sea breeze propelled the seawater against the beach, the rhythm is just smoothing. Our hotel is just a short drive (like 2 mins?) away from the beach. As we were checking in, we requested a room with a sea view. Of course, that was not difficult to fulfil as the hotel was practically empty. Our guide told us that Anzali is not a tourist town, and the attractions are very limited, hence not many people would venture to this part of the country.  When we entered our room, I was rather thrilled to have a view of the Caspian Sea.

Driving through the countryside towards Anzali
Port of Anzali
Port of Anzali
Port of Anzali
The Caspian Sea technically the world’s largest lake
From this view, it is hard to imagine the Caspian Sea is a lake
View of Caspian Sea from our hotel room

We wanted to head outside the hotel to see if there are any nice restaurants for dinner. However the freezing (laterally cold!) and the rain was preventing us from taking more steps out of the hotel, we decide to settle our dinner in the hotel. Seeing the rain stopped momentarily after our dinner, we went outside the hotel for a walk. However, we were deceived by the cunning rain as it soon started to pour (and we were like 2 mins from the hotel, only managed to visit a couple of shops just outside the hotel). We had no choice but to return to our room. We left the window ajar for the rest of the night to allow the rhythm of Caspian Sea sing us a lullaby as we wondering into our dreamlands.

Persian Kebab for dinner
View of Caspian Sea at night from our room

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