Kandovan, the rocky village located in Northwestern Iran, has recently been included in the prestigious Best Tourism Villages Network by the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO).

Iran (IMNA) - The 25th session of the UNWTO General Assembly took place in Samarkand, Uzbekistan from 16th to 20th October 2023.

Out of nearly 260 applications, a total of 54 villages from different regions were carefully chosen. Additionally, 20 more villages have been selected to join the Upgrade Programme, bringing the total number of villages in the UNWTO Best Tourism Villages Network to 74.

This network continues to expand each year and has the ambition of becoming the largest global rural network. With the recent addition of these 74 new members, the network now consists of 190 villages.

In the quest to be recognized as a global village by the World Tourism Organization, eight villages from various Iranian provinces participated in the competition. These eight nominees were shortlisted from a pool of 130 villages by a working group affiliated with the Ministry of Cultural Heritage, Tourism and Handicrafts.

The shortlist included Kandovan in East Azarbaijan province, Meymand in Kerman, Soheili in Hormozgan, Qasemabad in Gilan, Kandelus in Mazandaran, Palangan in Kordestan, Abyaneh in Isfahan, and Bisheh village in Lorestan province.

The Enchanting Charms of Iran's Tourism Villages: A Journey Through Time, Culture, and Natural Beauty

In the vast and diverse landscape of Iran, nestled amidst its breathtaking natural beauty, lie the villages that serve as hidden gems and tourism hubs. These quaint settlements not only offer a glimpse into the rich cultural heritage of the country but also play a vital role in promoting sustainable tourism.

Stepping into an Iranian village is like traveling back in time. The locals' traditional architecture, ancient customs, and warm hospitality create an enchanting atmosphere that captivates visitors from near and far. These villages, scattered across the vast Iranian countryside, serve as gateways to explore the true essence of the nation.

One such village is Abyaneh, located at the foot of the Karkas Mountain. Abyaneh is a living testament to Iran's ancient past, with its mud-brick houses adorned with intricate wooden balconies and vibrant red rooftops. Strolling through its narrow alleys, visitors can immerse themselves in the local traditions and witness the simple way of life that has remained unchanged for centuries.

The village of Masuleh, nestled in the Alborz Mountains, is another captivating destination. Its unique stepped architecture, where the roof of one house serves as the courtyard for the one above, creates a mesmerizing sight. Masuleh offers visitors an opportunity to hike through picturesque landscapes, savor traditional cuisine, and engage with the friendly locals who take pride in sharing their stories and traditions.

These villages are not just relics frozen in time; they have adapted to the modern world by embracing sustainable tourism practices. Local communities have come together to preserve their heritage and protect their natural surroundings. They have established eco-lodges, where visitors can experience the authentic rural lifestyle while minimizing their impact on the environment.

The role of these villages as tourism hubs goes beyond attracting visitors. They serve as catalysts for economic development in rural areas. Tourism has opened up opportunities for the locals to showcase their craftsmanship, sell handmade souvenirs, and offer authentic cultural experiences. This infusion of income has helped improve the quality of life for the villagers and preserve their way of life for future generations.

Moreover, these villages act as bridges between urban and rural communities, fostering a deeper understanding and appreciation of Iran's diverse cultural tapestry. Visitors from cities get a chance to reconnect with their roots, while villagers learn about the outside world, exchange ideas, and embrace new perspectives.

The villages of Iran play a crucial role as tourism hubs, offering visitors a glimpse into the country's rich cultural heritage and providing sustainable economic opportunities for local communities. These hidden gems like Kandovan, serve as living museums, preserving ancient traditions, and captivating the hearts of all who venture into their humble abodes.


In the heart of Iran, residing amidst the rugged mountains of East Azerbaijan lies a wondrous village that seems to have emerged from the very pages of a fairytale. Its name is Kandovan, a place where time stands still and nature's artistry takes on an awe-inspiring form.

Kandovan Village is renowned for its unique and breathtaking architecture, unlike anything you have ever seen The village is comprised of cave-like dwellings that are carved into the ancient volcanic rocks, creating a mesmerizing spectacle that captivates all who visit.

As you wander through the narrow cobblestone streets, you can't help but marvel at the ingenuity and craftsmanship that went into building these magnificent homes. Each dwelling is a testament to the harmonious relationship between man and nature, as they seamlessly blend into the rocky landscape, appearing as if they were born from the very earth itself.

The interiors of these cave houses are equally enchanting. Step inside, and you will be greeted by cozy rooms adorned with vibrant rugs, exquisite pottery, and traditional Persian artwork. The walls, made of the same volcanic rock, offer a sense of tranquility and a refuge from the outside world.

The villagers of Kandovan embrace a simple yet fulfilling way of life. You will be charmed by their warm hospitality and genuine smiles as you meet them. They will invite you into their homes, offering you a taste of their delicious cuisine and sharing stories of their ancestors who have called this village home for centuries.

Beyond the village, the natural beauty of Kandovan unfolds in all its glory. Hiking trails lead you to breathtaking viewpoints, where you can soak in panoramic vistas of the surrounding mountains and valleys. The air is crisp and pure, carrying whispers of legends and tales passed down through generations.

During the winter months, a magical transformation takes place in Kandovan. The snow-capped peaks and the frozen waterfalls create a whimsical wonderland, where the village becomes even more enchanting. It is as if nature herself has sprinkled her ethereal touch upon this already captivating place.

Kandovan Village is a testament to the resilience and ingenuity of its people, who have carved out a life amidst the rocky embrace of the mountains. It is a place where time seems to slow down, allowing you to connect with nature, immerse yourself in history, and find solace in the simplicity of life.

As you bid farewell to Kandovan, you carry with you the memories of a place that will forever hold a special place in your heart. The beauty, the serenity, and the rich cultural heritage of this village will continue to inspire and captivate all those who seek its hidden treasures.

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