Gilan Rural Heritage Museum
Gilan Rural Heritage Museum is the only open air museum of Iran and was established with the aim of preserving the traditional architecture and agriculture of Gilan in a 45-thousand-hectare area in Sarvan Forest Park. The initial idea to create a Rural Heritage Museum goes back to 1991 when a 7.4 magnitude earthquake devastated Roudbar city. After years of studies, the project to move nine villages from across the province in their entirety to Sarvan Forest Park and reassembling them there finally kicked off in 2006.
Gilan Rural Heritage Museum now showcases the region’s rural architecture and way of life as well as the traditional culture, tools, food and clothing of the province.
So far seven villages have been moved to the museum and it now consists of 80 reassembled structures that average 150 years in age. About 35 of these structures have been registered as National Heritage Sites.
Each village consists of rice barns, talambar (structures where silkworms are cultivated), animal barns, herb gardens, tea fields, and mulberry and bitter orange groves in addition to residential units. In order for visitors to truly experience rural Gilan life, livestock is also kept at the museum.
The museum has restaurants, traditional teahouses, markets, handicrafts workshops, games ground, an area for performing traditional plays, playground for kids and gardens for cultivating medicinal plants and indigenous trees.
Museum guides are all dressed in traditional Gilan costumes and tell visitors about the traditional Gilan way of life. The museum regularly hosts exhibitions of handicrafts, photos, paintings, traditional costumes, food and architectural achievements and has stalls where visitors can buy souvenirs.
Gilan Rural Heritage Museum holds periodic festivals in order to preserve the traditional rituals, music, games and plays of the region for future generations.
Gilan Rural Heritage also has an anthropology and architecture research center which has published the results of its studies in the form of academic.