Kang Village – 3000-Years of Settlement – Iran

The blacksmith sucks on his water pipe beside the warmth of his fire. His earth-walled workshop reeks of dust, grit, and burnt metal.

But he’s all smiles when he welcomes this stranger.

Women lugs up a huge bag steep, stepped lanes of Kang village Iran
Women lugs up a huge bag within the steep, stepped lanes of Kang village, Iran.

Around us, the ancient village of Kang climbs the mountain in a stack of earth walls, balconies and roofs. In the narrow lanes between, stone stairs duck beneath overhangs while the occasional woman works in an alley.

It feels so isolated here, in winter.

It’s silent.

Only the crackling flame and his good-humored Farsi – but I understand nothing, except his offer to draw on the pipe.

stepped houses of Kang village iran
The stepped village of Kang – seem from a nearby hill.

Getting to Kang village is best done by taxi from Mashhad

While a bus maybe possible, they will definitely be infrequent.

So it’s best to take a taxi to Kang, about 30 km – 1 hour drive – from Mashhad.

blacksmith smoking water pipe kang village iran
There were few people about – this blacksmith invited me into his workplace. This is the serious pose, but he was all smiles.

But rather than make him wait around (costs extra), I visited at my leisure and took the taxi one-way, and walked and then hitched a – *paid; equal to $US 3.5 – ride back to Mashhad.

Actually, he dropped me at an outer metro station (still 30 minutes by train into the center of Mashhad, near the Imam Reza complex).

*NOTE: There was SO LITTLE traffic that a ‘paid ride’ was a blessing. He wouldn’t bargain on his price, yet a similar ride in the taxi had cost 2.5x more (100,000 rials).

landscape around kang village iran
Dry winter landscape around Kang village in Khorasan province in the northeast of Iran.

And on this day, the weather zipped from icy winds and light rain to sunshine every few minutes.

Kang’s origins date back to antiquity

Kang sits at 1000 meters on the slopes of Mount Binalud, and apparently, its origins reach back over 3,000 years!

One story says the village was first settled by bandits as a hide-away.

Ancient lanes of the village. TOP: Slate-paved waterways run along the center of steep, stepped lanes. Few people were around this day. BELOW: Raised walkways above the narrow lanes. Hand of Fatima – door knocker.

The naming of ‘Kang’ village is lost

However, it assumed that the naming of the village goes sometime like this:

Kang means “a strong claw living in the mountains” in the local dialect and could translate as a powerful fortress or the strong claw of a bird.

young girl at door kang village iran
This young girl was crying, upset. Via charades, I soon understood that she could not reach the outside gate lock and the other kids inside the compound were not tall enough to reach either. She was locked out. So, I opened the gate for her and she re-joined her friends / siblings inside.

Kang village is known for blackberries, walnuts, cherries, plums and almonds.

But in winter, I saw nothing.

stepped village of kang in iran
Stacked, stepped housing of Kang, a settlement that stretches back millennia.

For the best views of Kang village amid the surrounding mountains, cross the river in the valley and wander up the opposite hill for 15- 20 minutes.

Travels in Iran – 2013

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