The visitors of the Rural Museum are plunged into a genuine world of customs and traditions and have the opportunity to sightsee and explore rural living environment. The vernacular architecture, the local artistic manifestation such as handicraft and a wide range of traditions are exposed lively, in an authentic surrounding in the Rural Museum.
The GUILAN Rural Heritage Museum as an open air museum which is devoted to the rural and ancestral life, is the first one in Iran and remains so far the unique museum of this type in Iran and beyond in the Middle-East and the Central Asia. This Museum was designed to preserve and revive the material and spiritual heritage of GUILAN, a coastal region of the Caspian Sea in the North-West of Iran.
The idea of establishing the GUILAN Rural Heritage Museum backs to the earthquake of 1990 which accelerate and aggravate the deterioration and even the disappearance of vernacular and centenary architecture of the region of GUIALN.
The creation of this Museum was preceded by large studies which have been conducted, under the supervision of Professor Mahmoud TALEGHANI, during three years. These studies have shown the feature of wood architecture specific to this region which is in fact unique in Iran. Even more worrying for the future, these studies have proven a progressive change in the lifestyle of local population who is more tempted by the siren songs of modernity and considers the heritage of his ancestors as being archaic and unsuited to the modern world.
However, the GUILAN Rural Heritage Museum allows the current and future generations to reappropriate the values of their homeland’s heritage and actively participate in its cultural revitalization.
Anthropological and architectural researches resulted in the identification of 9 cultural-architectural areas in the region of GUILAN. Each cultural-architectural area is represented by a village which has been entirely rebuilt in the place of the Museum. In this regard, rural houses representing the architectural style of the costal, plain and mountain areas of the region of GUILAN, have been identified, thoroughly documented and subject to anthropological studies. Subsequently, the houses have been dismantled and then reconstructed in the place of the Museum.
The GUILAN Rural Heritage Museum consists of 25 collections of rural houses including 80 structures. Apart from dwelling-houses, other buildings reflecting the rural life such as traditional café and restaurant, mosque, school and blacksmith workshop have been also rebuilt in the place of the Museum. 35 buildings of the Museum including 23 rural houses, 3 traditional cafés, 3 rice barn, 1 conference hall, 1 mosque, 1 blacksmith workshop, 1 rustic charcoal making furnace, the entrance building and the house for researchers have been inscribed on the National Heritage List of Iran.
In order to demonstrate lively and genuinely the way of living of rural population, fields of tea and paddy fields have been created in the Museum which are operated in traditional manner. To preserve and promote the spiritual legacy, the Museum attempts to revitalize many local customs and traditions which are often forgotten, marginalized or disappeared. In this vein, summer and winter festivities, folk music played live, traditional wedding ceremony, the New Year ceremony (Nowrouz) and tribute to local personalities are organized in the Museum, throughout the year.
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