Monday, February 15, 2016

Kharanaq: Iran’s Ancient, Crumbling, Abandoned and Photogenic Mud Brick Village

Surrounded by scenic mountains and a lush green valley lies a 4,000 year old mud brick village called Kharanaq that is an absolute treat to the eye. In its hey day, Kharanaq used to be a prosperous farming village that formed one of the largest collection of adobe buildings in Iran. And ever since their water resources dried up, this village was abandoned and all that remains is a crumbling mud-brick village that is in ruins.

Admiring the abandoned mud city of Kharanaq in Iran

But, if you are a history lover or a travel photographer, you will absolutely love the maze of streets, the shaking minaret, the many tunnels and passageways, the small mosque, the caravanserai and the overall rustic setting of this village. You could either explore this abandoned mud village as a day trip from Yazd (it is only 70 kms away) or if you like to be more remote, you can actually spend the night in a hotel just outside the village.

Abandoned city of Kharanaq near Yazd, Iran

There is nothing much to do in the town except for getting lost in its many alleys and passageways and admiring the simple, yet gorgeous mud architecture. And just so you know the tones of the mud buildings become better at noon time. So, if you are here to click some good photographs, walk through this abandoned village around mid day.

Kharanaq - a great day trip from Yazd, Iran

The shaking minaret, the mosque, the caravanserai and many tunnels have been renovated by the government, but there are places where the mud walls can cave in under your weight. Hence, do exercise caution while walking on the roofs of this village, which in itself is a must-experience and a top highlight of this village. It is while standing on the roof that you get to admire the entire view of this mud landscape ruins.

Shaking Minaret at Kharanaq, Iran

The Qajar era mosque and the 17th century shaking minaret are must visit places too in this village, but one needs a key to enter this minaret (which is available at the Silk Road Hotel, Kharanaq) and again extreme caution is to be exercised while climbing this minaret.

Tourist in Abaya enjoying the caving in of houses at Kharanaq, Iran

I loved losing myself in the many passages and tunnels of this mud village. Sometimes, one of these tunnels would lead me to a gorgeous roof top view and those amazing views compensated for negotiating these cramped tunnels. If you are staying overnight here, watch out for the star studded desert sky. Overall, this is a great place to visit off the beaten trail in Iran.

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