Gilan Rural Heritage Museum
If you are going to make familiar with the deep architecture & culture of Guilan province this is the best one. A 45 hectares open-air museum included 9 original traditional Guilan houses that leed you to the 150 years ago. This museum shows you a variety of original traditional houses with different construction material and style which is mostly mud, wood, and rice stem. All the houses are dedicated to the museum and it took almost 5 years to move the basic structure in this place.
The museum is located at Saravan Forest Park, 18km south of Rasht.
Rural heritage museums are tangible images of traditional life that you can closely see architecture, customs, handicrafts, local arts, and experience rural life. Such museums create atmospheres to introduce the traditional life of a special place. It is interesting to note that Gilan Rural Heritage Museum is the only national experience in the field of preservation of rural culture and architecture with the concept of open-air museums in Iran. This museum is unique in its kind in the Middle East and Central Asia, and it is designed by the purpose of protecting and preserving tangible and intangible heritages of Gilan Land. The ideology of setting up such a museum was proposed by Dr. Mahmud Taleghani after the Rudbar earthquake of 1990.
A couple of days after the earthquake, a series of studies entitled"Economic, Social, and Cultural Effects of Earthquake" began and headed by Dr. Taleghani. The results of this collective research show strong changes in people's lives and their break with their near past. In fact, the disappearance of local lives was begun by the 1940s under modernization and development, and natural disasters have only intensified those effects. Among available options, Saravan Forest Park due to its placement in one of the most crowded roads of the north of the country, suitable topography, and accessible infrastructures were considered by designers. In designing this museum, places were considered for restaurants, teahouses, bazaars, traditional mosques, farms and gardens, training workshops and handicraft productions, grounds for traditional games and plays, agriculture and animal husbandry research centers, institute of architecture and anthropology, children park, garden for growing medicinal plants and native trees, national wood architecture, and two sets of hostel inspired by Gilan rural architecture that each of them has 150 units with a capacity of 3 to 5 guests.
Apart from these complexes, building such as mosque, entrance building, researchers' home mall, traditional coffee houses, blacksmith workshops, and a school were built in the museum ground. Numerous festivals, local music, traditional ceremonies and rituals, and local games and plays are held in the museum to preserve and introduce to the next generations. One of the achievements of architectural and anthropological studies is to register and document an important part of Gilan's oral heritage that its results are published in scientific anthropological and architectural books. Students group visit the Gilan Rural Heritage Museum including educational activities that have an important role to introduce Gilan local culture to children, adolescents, and youths. During visiting days, especially during holidays, malls and exhibitions of handicrafts, pictures and paintings, architectural achievements, local clothing, and Gilani Table are established for visitors. Museum guides wear local costumes and give useful information about the museum houses, and the culture of Gilan.
This interaction caused many houses and objects to be introduced and donated to the museum to preserve and renovate. When visitors step into the museum area, they do not face an indoor complex with glass showcases, but they step into Saravan Forest and as you walk through the forest, you will see original Gilani Houses that have different shapes and different materials were used to build them. Houses are built from stone, wood, etc. There are houses with wooden stairs and large verandas; and when you go upstairs and stand on the veranda, you will wonder by the green sky tall trees of Saravan Forest. Breathing in such an atmosphere is a great blessing. These complexes with large houses and other structures remain us of the series Baran (the Rain). It is interesting that museum guides are ladies wearing Gilani local customs that show symbols of Gilani culture to visitors. In addition, another beauty of this museum's houses and structures of mosques, schools, and etc. on large scales and every visitor can enter these houses and structures and closely experience the atmosphere of Gilani lives. Enter rooms, living room, kitchen, veranda, warehouse, etc. and spend some hours thinking that you are originally a Gilaki (a Gilani) and apart from hurly-burly and busy life, live the traditional life of these people.
Inside these houses furniture, handicrafts, and decoration of traditional Gilaki Houses catch your eyes. In fact, this museum evokes, renovate, and displays livelihood, work, housing, handicrafts, and other family atmospheres. About any chosen housing complex, vast anthropological research has been conducted by the Anthropological Research Team of Museum. In this research: lifestyle, customs, and traditions of each cultural area of Gilan, usage of different buildings, furniture, and other requirements of rural life, traditional farming gardening, livestock, etc. methods are carefully and precisely recorded and registered. Many efforts have been done to exhibit such colorful and reach culture in houses atmosphere and gardens. Also, when you are visiting every corner of houses and other complexes, in some houses you will see women baking local bread and cookies and they are wearing Gilani local clothes that somehow promote and display the food culture of Gilan. We always thought of a museum as a modem place with CCTV, thick glass windows, and, etc. But when you enter Gilan Rural Heritage Museum, you face another kind of museum in Iran and at the heart of Gilan Greenland. If you are interested in nature, culture, customs, livelihood, handicrafts, and etc. of Gilani people, this complex has all of them for you. You walk into Saravan Forest with a museum guide and as you are wondered by sky towering green trees, rural houses with gable roof and wooden stairs, large veranda and a big mat spread in the veranda catch your eyes, like that Gilani grandparents were lived there for years and waiting for us to visit them.
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