In the lap of nature
Javaherdeh village, one of the most beautiful villages in the world in Iran, with breathtaking nature and a cool climate, attracts scores of tourists every year. And you could be lured into taking a trip to what tourists call a 'mysterious village with a very small population' if you read on and bite the bait that's coming up!
Situated around 27km from Ramsar, in Sakht Sar Rural District or Iran's Mazandaran province, Javaherdeh village sits in the lap of the Samasus mountains around 2000m above sea level. There is a beautiful river on the way to this village, called Safarud, which begins its route from the eastern tip of Mt Semamus and passes through the village towards the Caspian Sea.
From afar, the village tucked between the hills appears much like the view from the hills in Muscat, on the way to Qantab or Yiti. The difference is that the hills are covered with greenery and the fairytale dwellings are enveloped by mist and fog amid very cool temperatures in the mornings.
A tourists delight, this village also has a beautiful garden, many facilities for picnics, opportunities for savouring Iranian cuisine, shopping at a local 'supermarket' for popular snacks, as well as a renovated 700 year old mosque - Adina Mosque – which is an additional draw.
If you are an adventure buff who live travelling and discovering remote locations off the beaten track in different coutries, Javaherdeh could be your next haunt. If on a family trip to Iran, you must make it a point to include this visit on your itinerary. And if you are a budding artist or art lover, here comes the real bait – sign up for a residency art camp at this village, as Farideh Zariv, an Australian-Iranian artist in Oman, can facilitate the same.
Farideh, who came to Oman to host her solo exhibition at Bait al Zubair museum in 2016, instantly fell in love with Oman and its people as she found strong cultural and historical links between Oman and Iran. And when her husband (Dr Nasser Palangi) received an invitation to teach fine art at the Scientific College of Design, she jumped at the idea of residing in Oman.
The first international artist's residency in Javaherdeh was created by Amin Art Gallery, in Teheran, and it is now open for artists from around the world to apply for a residency programme every year. Farideh has been the director of this gallery for over 25 years and participants of this residency are duely certified by the gallery at the end of the programme.
“The climate of Javaherdeh village is pleasant and cool in spring and summer, and many people travel to this area for sightseeing. In winter, the snowfall covers the whole village. Most of the people in this village are engaged in gardening, animal husbandry and agriculture,” says Farideh, disclosing that products such as felt, tablecloth, shula, chokha, woolen socks, and tents are made by artists in this village.
“I decided to open a page on Instagram about this interesting opportunity and the changes we will make in our 'Tiny Stone House' in Javaherdeh. And I invite interested people to join us in 'living it big in a tiny house' by adding our own creative life to nature,” Fardeh says, asserting that this village has the best weather in summer time, as well as fresh vegetables bought directly from farmers and the use of fresh dairy products by ranchers, besides other activities like horse riding and other sports.
Contemporary visual artists pursuing innovative practice in a professional capacity are eligible to apply while artists using different media and materials in different style on paper or canvas will also be accommodated. The programme introduces artists in residence to professional Iranian artists, art students, art lovers and art collectors. The residency can be for two or four weeks, as per personal choice.
One of the things that attracts artists to the idea of living in a tiny house is the simplicity of life in this village and the ability to reconnect with nature and truly engage with the natural world, she said pointing out that people often return to nature when they face a difficult time or to escape from a routine life.
“The reality is, the nature that surrounds us is far more meaningful and valuable than money, wealth, and fame. It is something that makes us truly happy. We have to love nature and appreciate it and take care of it to have a more peaceful and beautiful world,” Farideh said, expressing the hope that restrictions around the pandemic are soon lifted so that people from Oman can consider visiting this beautiful village for memories to cherish.
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