Museum's presentation

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 multidisciplinary studies aimed to assess the social, economic and cultural impacts of the earthquake of 1990 which devastated the region of GUILAN. 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 re-appropriate the values of their homeland's heritage and actively participate in its cultural revitalization.

The GUILAN Rural Heritage Museum has been located in the forest park of SARAVAN given its geographical and topographical features, which covers an area of 253 hectares. About 45 hectares of this forest park have been devoted to the construction of the museum complex.              

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 construction of restaurants ,cafés, mosques, fields and gardens, handicrafts workshops and markets, space for traditional spectacles, research centers, children park, botanic garden, exhibition of the wood architecture for different countries and  two inns is planned.

The first reconstruction of rural house has started in May 2005. Up to now, 9 villages corresponding to the cultural-architectural areas of eastern and western mountains, eastern and western foothills, eastern and western plain, central plain and  eastern and western coasts have been rebuilt.

The GUILAN Rural Heritage Museum consists of 28 collections of rural houses including 85 structures. Apart  from dwelling-houses, other buildings reflecting the rural life such as traditional cafés and restaurants, mosque, school, rustic charcoal-making furnace and blacksmith workshop have been also rebuilt in the place of the Museum. Furthermore, buildings such as house for researchers, entrance complex, conference hall, handicrafts market, museum of local dignitaries and office buildings have been constructed.

 35 buildings of the Museum 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.

By visiting the local handicraft market in the Museum, the visitor will have the opportunity to discover the ways the handicraft products such as pottery, silk and wool hand-made weaves, mat weaving and wrapper weaving are manufactured. The visitor can enjoy the GUILAN gastronomy, served in typical and traditional restaurants of the Museum, in a cozy atmosphere.

Moreover, the GUILAN Rural Heritage Museum encourages and favors research activities and documentary work on rural life and material and spiritual heritage of the region of GUILAN.         



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