The beautiful stepped village is located 26 km south of Fouman at the heart of the Northern Hyrcanian Jungles of Iran, and over the Talesh Mountain. The architecture of the village does not allow car entry. Although the architecture of the village is interesting, it is something seen in different part of the world. The real significance of the village is that it shows human’s attempt to overcome nature and to survive harsh situations. The village is considered to be a stepped village where the roofs of the houses in the lower levels are used as the passage or the yard of the houses above. Since the houses of Masuleh have no yard, the roof will function as the street. Access to the upper level is possible through stone stairs and ramps that are used by both humans and animals.
The village is considered to be a stepped village where the roofs of the houses in the lower levels are used as the passage or the yard of the houses above.
In winters, the weather is so cold that sometimes the whole village could be buried under the snow. The population of the village decreases drastically due to the unbearable cold. About 80 percent of the villagers move out during the colder months of the year. To survive this weather, the villagers built houses to be cold-proof. The most common plan of the houses in this village is a two-storey building with sections such as corridor, dungeon, storage, stairs, water tank, reception area, living room, winter area, porch, stable and Kitchen.
The difference in the structure of these houses compared to the houses of the other parts of Iran is evident, but there’s one rule observed in all of them: the inner and the outer spaces are separated. So the first floor is used for strangers, the second is used for family, friends and guests that visit the house. Naturally, only the most luxurious houses that belonged to the wealthiest families had all these sections and most of the others had the essential sections only.
In a village that is greatly affected by the climate, the storage, as a place of keeping food, is of outmost importance. It is an inseparable part of all houses built in this village. Besides, since most of the families were self-sufficient and had to provide the material needed they all kept livestock even if just a few, so the stable was also an important part of the house. The two mentioned spaces were part of the first floor of the buildings next to the water tank that is called Pashan in the local dialect. The architecture of the house didn’t allow the toilet to be far from the house; so by placing it in the first floor they moved it away from the living spaces but not that far to create difficulty in winter. The guests were received in the reception area; that was a luxury only available in the houses of the rich. The family lived in the living room and the winter room. The living room had a porch with a view of the jungle and the village. One of the most interesting parts of the house that was particular to the wealthy families was the dungeon that unlike what is expected was used as a treasury. Dungeon is a small room with no light that led to an even smaller space that was used to keep valuable goods.
The architectural style of the house, the beautiful nature that surrounds the village, the simplicity of life there, and the feeling of getting in contact with an untouched and preserved ancient culture has turned this village into a popular tourist destination. Although the village is impassable in winters, its moderate weather of summer attracts many to this breathtaking place that welcomes tourists with a mixture of natural and historic beauty.