Iran Journey 2015. Photographs: The Village of Masuleh

The historical town of Masuleh in Gilan province of Iran, founded in the 10th century AD, is located about 70 km southwest of Rasht in the mountains of Alborz. The old village of Masuleh (Old Masuleh, or Kohne Masuhel in Persian), which was located about 6 kilometers northwest of the present-day town, was founded around 1006 AD. But an epidemic disease as well as attacks from neighboring villages and towns forced the inhabitants to move to the current location. Nestled on the side of the mountain at an elevation of 1050 meters above sea level, the town itself has an elevation difference of about 100 meters. And what makes Masuleh unique is that the roofs of the houses are actually serving as streets and courtyards. As people say, the yard of the building above is the roof the one below.

Read about our visit to the village of Masuleh || How to get to the village of Masuleh
The historical village of Masuleh, Gilan province, Iran
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Iran Journey 2015. Photographs: Bandar-e Anzali

Tired and exhausted from the previous day’s hitchhiking trip from Tabriz to the city of Rasht, we sleep until noon. And after the late breakfast, as our friend returns home, we leave Rasht to visit Bandar-e Anzali, a harbour town on the shores of the Caspian Sea in the Gilan province of Iran. Translated from Persian, “bandar” means a port. Known as Bandar-e Pahlavi before the Islamic Revolution, the city was founded in the early 19th century. The Anzali lagoon divides the city into two parts. In May 1920, the Russians occupied Bandar-e Aznali and declared a Soviet Republic of Gilan (officially known as the Persian Socialist Soviet Republic), which existed only until September 1921.

The city of Bandar-e Anzali, Gilan province, Iran

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Photographs. Ruins of Horomayr Monastery

November Highlands: Hiking to Horomayr Monastery

The architectural complex of Saint Nshan monastery of Horomayr, first mentioned in the 7th century, consists of two parts – the lower one situated on the cliffs of the Debed canyon, and the upper one on the vast plateu above. The monastery derives its name from the main church of the lower part – the Saint Nshan, built in 1187 by princes Zakare and Ivane. Its bell-tower was built later in 1290. Other structures of the lower part of the complex are the ruins of Saint Arakyal chapel (1216), a small chapel built in 1201, to the north is the square-schemed chapel built in 1301. The cemetery of the monastery with cross-stones and tombs dating back to 13th century is spread around the complex.
The ruins of monastery of Horomayr, Lori province, Armenia

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Photographs. Ruins of Bardzrakash Saint Gregory Monastery: Part Two

Photographs. Ruins of Bardzrakash Saint Gregory Monastery: Part One

Built throughout the 10th-13th centuries, this monastic complex was named after the first patriarch of the Armenian Apostolic Church, Saint Gregory the Illuminator who baptised Armenia in 301 CE. The remains of the monastery include the Church of St. Gregory – a vaulted hall type of church built in the 10th century, the three-nave basilica of Sourb Astvatsatsin (Holy Mother of God) built in 1221 by the son of Prince Sargis Mamikonyan, Marzpan, its narthex with carved reliefs (1247), the Chapel of Sourb Harutyun (Holy Ressurection) built in 1234 by Hovhannes Vardapet (vardaped is a well-educated archimandrite who holds a Doctorate of Theology) and his brother, and the Mamikonians’ (an aristocratic Armenian dynasty) cemetery.
Ruins of Bardzrakash Saint Gregory Monastery, Dsegh village, Lori province, Armenia

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Photographs. Ruins of Bardzrakash Saint Gregory Monastery: Part One

We learn about the Bardzrakash Saint Gregory monastery from our hosts at Patvakan B&B in the village of Dsegh. So, on the second day of our journey we follow the muddy road to the outskirts of the village until we reach a rusty sign indicating the direction to the ruins of the monastery. A narrow path leads us down into the forest. Dry leaves rustle underfoot. Not long after we notice the monastery behind the trees. Built throughout the 10th-13th centuries, this monastic complex was named after the first patriarch of the Armenian Apostolic Church, Saint Gregory the Illuminator who baptised Armenia in 301 CE. The remains of the monastery include the Church of St. Gregory – a vaulted hall type of church built in the 10th century, the three-nave basilica of Sourb Astvatsatsin (Holy Mother of God) built in 1221 by the son of Prince Sargis Mamikonyan, Marzpan, its narthex with carved reliefs (1247), the Chapel of Sourb Harutyun (Holy Resurrection) built in 1234 by Hovhannes Vardapet (vardaped is a well-educated archimandrite who holds a Doctorate of Theology) and his brother, and the Mamikonians’ (an aristocratic Armenian dynasty) cemetery.
Ruins of Bardzrakash Saint Gregory Monastery, Dsegh village, Lori province, Armenia

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