Home Tourism Masouleh, Gilan: The Symbol of Terraced Villages in Iran

Masouleh, Gilan: The Symbol of Terraced Villages in Iran


by Parastoo Sahebi
11 minutes read

One of the notable attractions in Gilan province is the terraced village of Masouleh.  known as a historic village in Gilan, is the most famous terraced village in the country. It is renowned for its unique architectural style of houses built on terraces. In addition to its rich history and distinctive architecture, this village boasts an extraordinary natural beauty that captivates every visitor. Therefore, in this article by Eligasht, we intend to explore the enchanting features of this beautiful village that attracts numerous tourists throughout the year.

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Where is Masouleh in Gilan?

Masouleh is a terraced village that is currently recognized as a small town in Gilan province. This village was officially designated as a historic and living city in 1354 (Solar Hijri calendar) and is registered as a national heritage site. It is now the most famous terraced village in the country and one of the most renowned villages with unique architecture in the world. village is located in the Sardar-e Jangal Forest Park, in the western part of Rasht city, approximately 65 kilometers away. This village, nestled in the forested foothills of the Alborz Mountains, has significant variations in elevation due to its terraced structure, with a difference of about 120 meters from the lowest to the highest point. During your visit to Masoule, besides witnessing the distinctive terraced architecture, you can explore various handicraft shops, pristine nature, lush green forests, captivating waterfalls, and surrounding mountains.


Masouleh Houses

Masoule is internationally renowned for its unique house architecture. The back of the houses in village serves as the courtyard for the neighboring house, which has led to the houses being positioned in a stair-like manner next to each other. The residents, with their artistic taste, have adorned the courtyards and walls of the houses with colorful flower pots. The historical houses of Masouleh are among the other attractions of this region, attracting tourists for visits and photography.


Sights of Masouleh

The historical city of Masouleh in Gilan has a history of approximately 800 to 1,000 years and is recognized as one of the historical villages of the world. Surrounding this village are lush green forests, high mountains, numerous waterfalls, and natural and historical attractions. Some of the notable sights of Masouleh include the  Bazaar,  Ethnographic Museum,  Natural History Museum, Cultural Heritage Museum,  Waterfall, Khoram Boo Waterfall,  Forest Park, Lalandis Highland, Ali Zakhoni Mineral Spring,  Caravanserais, Kushm Waterfall, Trishom Waterfall, Lar Cheshme Waterfall, Shah Moalem Peak, Koorbar Highland , Andre Highland, Aun ibn Ali Shrine and Museum, Hashem Imamzadeh, and the ancient area of Masouleh.

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Unique Architecture

What sets Masouleh apart from other villages in Iran is its unique architectural style. The houses in this village are built in a stepped manner, with the roof of one house forming the courtyard of the house above it. This architectural design is not only aesthetically pleasing but also serves a practical purpose. The stepped layout helps to maximize space in the village, as the mountainous terrain offers limited flat land for construction.

The houses  are made of clay and stone, blending harmoniously with the natural surroundings. The roofs are often covered with wooden beams and thatched with straw or reeds. The narrow winding alleys, known as “sabats,” are paved with cobblestones and meander through the village, creating a maze-like atmosphere that is both enchanting and intriguing.


Natural Beauty

Masouleh is blessed with breath taking natural beauty. Surrounded by lush green forests and majestic mountains, the village offers panoramic views that are truly awe-inspiring. The Alborz Mountains provide a stunning backdrop, and the pristine rivers and waterfalls add to the charm of the landscape.

One of the most famous attractions  is the Masouleh Waterfall, located just outside the village. This cascading waterfall is a sight to behold, especially during the spring when the water flow is at its peak. Visitors can enjoy a leisurely walk along the trails leading to the waterfall, immersing themselves in the tranquility of nature.


Cultural Significance

Masouleh is not only known for its architectural beauty and natural landscapes but also for its rich cultural heritage. The village is home to a vibrant community that has preserved its traditions and customs for generations. The locals take pride in their unique way of life and are known for their warm hospitality.

Visitors to this village can experience the local culture by participating in traditional activities such as carpet weaving, pottery making, and traditional music performances. The village is also famous for its local cuisine, which includes mouthwatering dishes made from fresh ingredients sourced from the surrounding mountains and valleys.


Preservation Efforts and UNESCO Recognition

Recognizing the historical and cultural significance of Masouleh, the village was designated as a national heritage site in 1975. In 2015, it was included in the tentative list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The local community, along with the government, has made concerted efforts to preserve the authenticity and charm of Masouleh, ensuring that future generations can continue to appreciate its beauty.


Best Time to Visit

Masoule attracts many travelers throughout the year who visit this village for its tourist attractions and unique architecture. In the spring, Masouleh experiences rainy weather and often foggy conditions. In the autumn and winter, although the temperature is cold, the beautiful view of colorful autumn leaves and Masouleh covered in snow makes it a suitable time to travel to the serene and beautiful village of Masouleh. Additionally, one of the most popular seasons to visit Masouleh is in the summer when the weather is moderate and pleasant. However, due to the high population density during this time, it can be crowded, so it is advisable to book your hotel or accommodation in advance.

Undoubtedly, the best time to visit Masouleh is during the spring and the month of May when the pink flowers and blossoms are in full bloom, and nature is exceptionally beautiful and eye-catching, with minimal rainfall.


Staying in Masouleh

if you’re planning a visit to Masoule village, you may be wondering about the accommodation options available. While the village is relatively small and remote, there are a few hotels and traditional guesthouses that offer a unique and authentic stay.


Aram Hotel

Aram Hotel is one of the most beautiful three-star hotels in Masouleh, Gilan. It is located next to the paddy fields, at the foot of the mountains, in a serene and green environment. This four-story hotel offers 20 rooms equipped with amenities and parking facilities. Aram Hotel is situated in the Sardar Jungle of Maklavan and on the road from Fuman to Masouleh, approximately 20 kilometers away from Masouleh.


Navid Hotel

Navid Hotel is a three-star hotel with traditional architecture located in the heart of Masouleh city. This hotel is situated at the end of the second floor of Masouleh Bazaar and offers comfortable amenities and balconies with beautiful views of Masouleh’s nature. If you want to stay in the city of Masouleh, Navid Hotel is the best choice.


Mehran Hotel

Mehran Traditional Hotel is one of the oldest hotels in Masouleh. It is located at the foothills of the Alborz Mountains in a pleasant climate zone. The hotel consists of 10 spacious suites with beautiful views of Masouleh. Mehran Hotel is situated near Masouleh Bazaar, providing easy access to attractions such as Zamzam Mineral Spring, Zoodel Sar Highland, the Ethnographic Museum, and the Un ibn Ali Shrine.


Aria Hotel

Another famous hotel near Masouleh is the Aria Hotel. It is a two-star hotel built in a beautiful green forest setting. The hotel has two floors and is located 27 kilometers on the Fuman-Masouleh road, only 3 kilometers away from Masouleh. From Aria Hotel, you can easily access popular attractions in Masouleh such as Ghal’e Roodkhan and Fuman.


What souvenirs should we buy from Masouleh?

As mentioned, in Masouleh, there are various handicraft shops and natural products available for buying souvenirs. You can purchase items such as rugs, traditional wooden crafts, shawls, traditional long and short socks, gloves, felt rugs, straw products, local clothing, small dolls, woolen hats, and many other items of interest. Additionally, you can also try local products and delicacies from Masouleh, such as pomegranate paste, fruit leather, traditional cookies, and golpar (a local spice) as local food options.


Routes to access Masouleh

The village of Masouleh is located 60 kilometers away from Rasht, and one of the best routes to access Masouleh is through the city of Fuman. First, you need to reach the city of Fuman in Gilan province and then take the direct road to Masouleh. It takes less than an hour to drive approximately 34 kilometers from Fuman to Masouleh.

Alternatively, you can travel to Masouleh from the Majulan road in Ardabil province. Majulan, which is the last village in Ardabil, is located on the route from KhalKhal to Masouleh. You can reach this village by taking the KhalKhal-Masouleh road.


Final words

Masoule village in Gilan is known as one of the tourist attractions in this province. It is famous for its pristine nature, tourist facilities, attractions, unique architecture, and ambiance. This village attracts many tourists every year who visit Masouleh to enjoy its extraordinary and picturesque nature. A visit to this enchanting village is like stepping back in time and immersing oneself in a world of beauty and tranquility.



1- How do I get to Masouleh?

Masouleh is located approximately 60 kilometers southwest of Rasht, the capital city of Gilan province in Iran. The nearest airport is Rasht Airport. From Rasht, you can hire a taxi or take a bus to reach Masouleh. The journey takes about an hour and offers scenic views of the surrounding countryside.


2- Can I stay overnight ?

Yes, there are several guesthouses and traditional hotels in Masoule where visitors can stay overnight. These accommodations provide a unique experience, allowing you to immerse yourself in the village’s architecture and culture. It is recommended to book in advance, especially during peak tourist seasons, to secure your preferred accommodation.


3- Are there any hiking trails or outdoor activities ?

Yes, village is surrounded by beautiful mountains and forests, offering ample opportunities for outdoor activities. There are hiking trails that take you through the scenic landscapes, allowing you to enjoy the fresh air and stunning views. Additionally, you can visit the Masouleh Waterfall or explore the nearby villages for a more immersive outdoor experience.


4- What are some local dishes that I should try ?

Masouleh is known for its delicious local cuisine. Some must-try dishes include Mirza Ghassemi (a smoky eggplant and tomato dip), Baghala Ghatogh (a traditional bean and herb stew), and Fesenjan (a rich and flavorful pomegranate and walnut stew). These dishes showcase the unique flavors and culinary traditions of the region.

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