Friday, April 04, 2008

Rural heritage of Guilan, green smile of Iran!


About 15 Kilometers far away from Rasht (the capital city of Guilan province), there is a green and calm highway, with its two sides surrounded via rush and pine trees.
Stepping or driving a little forward, you'll reach an open and wide area decorated with wooden tableaus and billboards including the text "
Musee patrimoine rural de Guilan" besides of "UNESCO" and "Aix Du Province University" logos.
That French title remembers the glorious opening ceremony of "Guilan museum of rural heritage" in March 2007 where
Prof. Christian Bromberger gave an attractive lecture about the history of Gilak tribe in front of hundreds of attending people those in love of Persian culture.
Guilan museum of rural heritage is a fantastic and unique Ecomuseum that has been constructed in order to show the hidden corners of Guilan people's culture and lifestyle to the tourists from all around the world.
After paying a very skimpy amount of tax to the incumbent of entrance gate, you will take way into a natural corridor with tall maple trees in the two sides and their foliage acting as roofs, preventing the sun and rain from damaging the traditional cobblestone floor of this narrow rural route.


The artificial wooden fence on the two sides of this corridor extends all around the museum that is designed exactly such as a small village and includes all parts of a real hamlet such as teahouse, playground, municipality, stable and lake.
Mainly, this museum is dedicated to anthropology and is taken into account of a good and reliable source for sociological studies especially to researchers who want to gather more valuable information on
Gilak's life.
Gilak people are a large ethnic group whose main homeland is Guilan province. The history of their habitation in northern parts of Iran dates back to about 300 BC and they are also said to be one of the oldest living tribe in Iran.
The Eco-museum shows the cultural and ethnic diversity of 27 Gilak subgroups in 27 cottages, in each of them there are girls wearing traditional customs, some of them cooking cuisines, foods and some others making handicrafts. It is necessary to know that the total surface area of museum is about 260 hectares.
It is a wondering fact that Guilan is one of the smallest provinces in Iran with less than 2.5 million habitants, though it is consisted of about 30 ethnic clans such as Turks, Arabs, Kurds, Gilaks, Persians, Talishyans, Galeshians and Tabarids.
The people of Gilan are very well-known because of their good manner of hospitality and reception as the types of various
foods cooked in Gilan show the serious concerns and efforts of Gilak housewives to provide their guests with the best possible situation of residence and enjoy.


Also the members of Gilak tribes are said to be the happiest communal groups in Iran and their spirited kind of clothing proves it indeed while their friendly and human behavior is another sign of their tranquil and warm social relations.
Their local wearing models are absolutely harmonious with the peaceful and wholesome Islamic rules of clothing, though they strongly show an ideological independence from the common dressing types used in the other parts of Iran.
For example, the women dressing of
Rudsar city in the eastern Guilan have been used in the opening ceremony of Athens 2004 Olympics and you can find the girls and women wearing this colorful outfit in "Guilan museum of rural heritage" as tour-guides.
We traveled to most parts of this
eco-museum in our passage but we have not to remain unaware about the live artistic shows which hold in the playground.
The playground is an almost large and wide area flatted with sand soil, encircled with planted shrubs and rounded by enclosed stockade made of mud and adobe.
Such a playground is a suitable place for local shows, games and live music while the most of Guilan villages hold it.
The most interesting of these shows all is the Gilaki traditional rope-dancing performed daily by the members of a noble and ancient family of
Lahijan (a large city near Rudsar) whose members involve in local sports and games for many years.
First of all, the father of family who is about 80 years old rides a bicycle on a 3 meters thick rope and then accomplishes some fireworks. He chafes a blaming torch on his head, body and hands without being burnt or hurt.


Thereafter, the major son of the family performs some acrobatics in the height of about 5 meters above the floor on the same thick rope. Afterwards the minor son of family gets help from his senior brother to try some swinging and twisting around the rope and their show finishes with some live local music perform.
This local music is basically played with northern
Tymbal, Sorna and Kettledrum but some other instruments have been added during the times.


Anonymous said...

Great job, Kourosh!. I'm just going to introduce this blog to some friends.

Dr. Omid Zargari said...

Great job, Kourosh!
Last week i visited the museum and enjoyed it, too. I'm going to introduce your wonderful blog to my friends who live abroad.