Kandelous Village, Pearl of Mazandaran

Kandelous Village, Pearl of MazandaranKandelous Village, Pearl of Mazandaran

The ancient village of Kandelous shines like a pearl among the green and fertile villages in the heart of Alborz Mountain range in the northern province of Mazandaran.

It rests against a gentle slope on the hillside in Kajour district, 75 km southeast of Nowshahr.

The mud wall structures, small porches and simple architecture have all made the village ever more charming, reports IRNA news agency.

People say never have they found a thief there. The front doors of houses empty and unoccupied for nine months are kept unlocked. However, the village remains exceptional for many other reasons.

First, it is famed for its essential oils, hygienics and cosmetics from natural sources, in the Middle East. The climatic conditions and geographical location of the village has made it suitable for producing rare herbs and all kinds of flowers. The village is the habitat of 8500 known species of plants in Iran, and production of medical herbs is one of the most important sources of income for rural people.

Second, Kandelous is exceptional for its long history and possesses several museums.

The existence of such museums is the result of a devoted villager whose love for his  home brought him back to his village to fulfill his dream.

Dr Ali Asghar Jahangiri as a child scrutinized neighborhood villages for their antiquities. He did business with people, exchanging sugar, cigarettes and tea for antiquities villagers didn’t want. He had a craving for collecting past legacies, be it old glasses or historical documents and hid them from his family who opposed his activities.

He was a student in the poor school of Kandelous which was deprived at that time. With a lot of effort he could continue his studies and managed to go to the US where he got his PhD. When he came back to Iran, he placed all he had collected into a museum, which he dedicated to the village. Established in 1981, as an entrepreneurial activity, at a time when facilities like telephones and asphalt roads were still absent in the village, the village was granted an anthropology museum. He was also a great support to the people to foster herbal business and established herbal museum in 1986.

Now visitors need to take cobble-stoned stairs to reach the museums on top of the village. The wooden door is open to people all the year round.

It is said the anthropology museum is the first “village museum” in the world. It encompasses materials from 1800 AD to the later parts of Qajar era. The notion of such a museum is in concord with UNESCO’s concept of preserving antiquities in situ, where they belong, not in far and distant places in big cities.

The museum holds literally anything from the past, from pieces of calligraphy, to the 11th century Indian paintings, alchemy instruments, and ancient coins, all briefly introduced by a recorded voice which is broadcast for visitors.

In 2011, the museums were visited by nearly 60,000 people.