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  • 9/19/2012

ASK Village

ask village

The beautiful village of ASK, situated on the Haraaz Highway, northern Iran, in the vicinity of the village of Reeneh in the southern foothills of the Damavand Mountain, from mountaineers usually make their trek to the towering Damavand Peak.

The ASK mountainous village is located 1,800 meters above sea level in the Alborz Mountain Range in the environs of Larijan District, 76 km southwest of the city of Amol. Given the existing evidence, ASK village dates back to nearly seven centuries, and its historical monuments and buildings distinguish it from the nearby villages.

The majority of the residents of ASK village earn living through farming, animal husbandry, and gardening. A group of this village's residents are also active in the service sector, the tourism industry, and production of handicrafts. The main agricultural products of this village include wheat, barley, and alfalfa. Walnuts, apples, apricots, cherries, and sour cherries are this village's orchard products. Traditional breed of sheep and poultry is also commonplace in this village. Women are also engaged in agricultural activities, in addition to production of handicrafts including wrappers for bedclothes, and coarse rugs. The residents of this village speak in the Mazandarani language.

ASK village with a dense residential fiber, is situated on a relatively mild slope. It has rugged roads, traditional houses with mud-made walls and tin roofs. The beautiful landscape of this village can be observed from the Haraaz Highway. The majority of this village's houses are two-story buildings and their architecture is influenced by the type of activity and livelihood of the villagers. The old houses in this village are mainly made of mud, stone, sun-dried bricks, and wood. But cement, blocks, plaster, bricks, and iron bars have been used in the construction of new houses.

The scenic landscape of ASK village and its moderate and mountainous climate attracts numerous tourists to this village in different periods of the year. The Haraaz River and its beautiful surroundings provide an ideal location for the stopover of tourists. Numerous tourists travel to this region in order to make use of this village's mineral and hot water springs. The hot water springs consist of a variety of minerals including sulfur and are beneficial for treatment of a large number of skin diseases and joint pains. The Aab Farangi spring in the upper region of ASK village is famous for treatment of anemia.

The mountainous terrain around ASK village abounds with holes in the form of hovels, which in the ancient times used to serve as shelters for human beings and animals. These stone-made hovels, better known as ASK Caves have been hewn in the mountains in the form of a warren of rooms with dimensions of 2.5-by-2.5-by-2.5 meters. These rooms have vaulted roofs with small stone-made pillars. In the corner overlooking and adjacent to the cliffs, the lookout and observation posts are found. Another cave, 370-meter in length, with numerous sub corridors, and a high-altitude and large opening is located at the heart of the mountain. This cave is an attraction site for eco-tourists. In the surroundings of ASK Village, there is a scenic meadow named ASKEVASH. The meadow abounds with a number of ice storages which are useful for traditional ceremonies. These ceremonies referred to as Barf-Chaal are held every year around mid-spring concurrent with the melting of snow on the foothills of the Alborz Mountain Range. These ceremonies grant special importance and significance to this village and attract a number of tourists in this season of the year for watching this interesting ceremony.

The Barf-Chaal ceremony has been held for six centuries. The goal behind this ceremony in previous centuries was to store water for livestock and people. But, nowadays, this ceremony is held as a mere tradition. It has historical and religious roots and dates back to the rule of the Aal-e Bouyeh or Daylami dynasty that used to rule Iran and Iraq a thousand years ago.

 It is appropriate to allocate this part of today's program to a short description of this ceremony.

To perform the Barf-Chaal ceremony, all male residents of ASK village gather in the centre of the village and move toward the meadow of ASKEVASH. On this day, no man remains in the village, with the exception of the elderly and the sick that are not able to leave home. Men, in groups, go to the surrounding mountains to fill the ice-storages with mountain snow for the summer season. They eat lunch across the plains in groups. In case the Barf-Chaal ceremonies coincide with a particular Eid, they celebrate it in the countryside, and if it's concurrent with a mourning ceremony, they perform the mourning rites there.

On the day of Barf-Chaal, the women symbolically become in charge of administration of the village's affairs. Hence, this day is dubbed as the day of women's rule or "Zan Shahi" in the Persian language. The women of the village, during these special ceremonies, select one of the prudent women as the temporary administrator of the village ruling system. She in turn chooses a number of women as advisers and guards. On this day, women collectively cook food and confectionary and celebrate the occasion.

One of the other ceremonies of this day is referred to as Rasm-e Rahvardaan that is held among the betrothed couple, during which the family of the bride and the groom exchange gifts. The beautiful and interesting ceremony of Barf-Chaal has numerous enthusiasts, such that every year on this day a large number of people go to the foothills of Damavand in the Larijan region of Amol to be the guests of the hospitable residents of ASK village for lunch.

Moreover, in the beautiful village of ASK, which is a summer resort, there is a hotel with facilities such as swimming pool, sauna, beautiful mountainous restaurant, coffee shop, and suites, welcoming tourists.

Source: irib.ir

Other links:

The Province of Mazandaran

History and Culture of Mazandaran

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