Masuleh

Masuleh is a city in the Sardar-e Jangal District, in Fuman County, Gilan Province, Iran. At the 2006 census, its population was 554 individuals from 180 families.
Historical names for the city include Māsalar and Khortāb. It was founded in the 10th century AD.
Masuleh is approximately 60 km southwest of Rasht and 32 km west of Fuman. The village is 1,050 meters above sea level in the Alborz (or Elburz) mountain range, near the southern coast of the Caspian Sea. The village itself has a difference in elevation of 100 meters.

Masouleh village

Although it has been written that the community was established around 10 AD, the province of Gilan has a long history. The first village of Masuleh was established around 1006 AD, 6 km northwest of the current city, and it is called Old-Masuleh (Kohneh Masuleh in Persian). People moved from Old-Masuleh to the current city because of pestilence and attacks from neighbouring communities.
Masouheh-Rood-Khan is the river passing through the city, with a waterfall located just 200 meters away from the village. It's cut-off by snow during the winter months. Fog is the predominant weather feature of Masuleh.

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Architecture

Masuleh architecture is unique. The buildings have been built into the mountain and are interconnected. Courtyards and roofs both serve as pedestrian areas similar to streets. Masuleh does not allow any motor vehicles to enter, due to its unique layout. It is the only city in Iran with such a prohibition. However, the small streets and many stairs simply wouldn't make it possible for vehicles to enter.
The spectacular architecture of Masuleh is popularly known as "The yard of the building above is the roof of the building below".
Yellow clay coats the exterior of most buildings in Masuleh. This allows for better visibility in the fog.
Buildings are mostly two stories (1st floor and 'ground' floor) made of adobe, rods and bole. A small living room, big guest room, winter room, hall, WC and balcony are usually found in 1st floor. A cold closet, barn and stable are located on the floor below, which are connected to the upper floor by several narrow steps inside the building.

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Girih Tiling in Buildings of Masouleh

MasulehDue to avoiding utilization of human figures and abstaining from idolatry, decorations have specific geometry in Islamic art and architecture. One of the striking characteristics of the knots (girih) that has caused to dynamicity throughout its thousand-year history is its regeneration and diversification of the diverse geometric properties. Girih tiling decoration is part of geometric arts in the traditional buildings of the historic town of Masouleh dates back to eight hundred years. Traditional and local architects of this historical town have adopted special and intellectual plans for creating visual attractions in expression and creation of girih tiling in the walls of the monuments. One of these valuable solutions is diverse geometric decorations patterns .Since the main facades of the houses in this town are directly located in the sunrise direction and it is accepted landscape for the citizens of this historical town, thus the artists have shown their art and style in this part of the monument and built beautiful and harmonic diverse wooden windows and variety of these patterns are seen in all five neighborhoods in this town. Girih tiling consists of straight and broken lines on a regular basis that could be reasonably expanded in the surface. Geometric designs (both normal and abnormal) and purely geometric interlaced patterns involve mental imaginary forms which are essentially superior to the perception- based naturalistic images. The patterns were not aimed to capture the reality perceived through the eyes, but they were supposed to create a glimpse of astonishing beauty in the artist’s creative mind or soul. Due to avoiding utilization of human figures and abstaining from idolatry, decorations have specific geometry in Islamic art and architecture. One of the striking characteristics of the knots (girih) that has caused to dynamicity throughout its thousand-year history is its regeneration and diversification of the diverse geometric properties. Girih tiles are used in Islamic art and architecture. Iranian Chinese Knotting is one of is one of traditional fields and professions that depends on geometrical patterns and on the first encounter, the spectator, is subconsciously affected by its discipline. Geometrical patterns, which are the source for the art Chinese Knotting, usually contain a polygon star in the middle (the Shamseh) and some other geometrical figures so that they can cover the remaining space. Chinese knotting is not specifically a certain decoration or a means of conveying the emotions of the artist, but also the point of making them regarding to two ways: acting on the basis of their own knowledge and guiding others towards this knowledge.

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