Meymand is a village in Kerman Province close to the city of Shahr-e babak where the founder of the Sassanid dynasty, Ardeshir the Unifier, is said to have been born. Based on archeological finds, experts believe the village is 3,000 to 8,000 years old. The village thrived under the Sassanid’s and even today Middle Persian words are common in the dialect spoken by villagers. Meymand village has been continuously inhabited for 2000 to 3000 years making it one of Iran’s four oldest surviving villages. Meymand resembles Cappadocia in Turkey and Kandovan Village in East Azerbaijan Province in that all three have stone-carved homes. Unlike Cappadocia which was abandoned by its residents, Meymand is still inhabited and while Kandovan was built to protect its population from attacks by the invading Mongol army in the 13th century, there is no evidence that Meymand ever came under attack. The village is a UNESCO world heritage site and was awarded UNESCO’s 2005 Melina Mercury prize.
Meymand is one of the districts of Shahr-e-Babak, and is one of the spectacular villages of Iran. Here there are a mass of crypts, with 15 stony, circular and roof-less chambers. The same covers an area of approximately 400 sq. m. This vicinity seems to be a place of burial, as skeleton bones and other articles have been found there. The ancient houses in this rural settlement resemble minarets constructed in the breast of these hard stone mountains. In this minaret shaped dwellings which are very strong and durable, are chambers, corridors and pillars displaying an intriguing architecture.
Meymand has extremely cold winters and mild summers. Villagers live a semi-nomadic lifestyle moving between four different settlements in the village throughout the year. From the end of winter until late spring, villagers live in Sar-e Aghol houses on the southern fields. There are in two different types Sar-e Aghol homes: Markhaneh and Mashkdan. Markhaneh structures are circular houses built partially underground to shelter inhabitants from the wind. They have low dry stone walls and roof coverings of wood and wild thistles. Temperatures inside these homes seldom vary and are almost always consistent. Mashkdan homes are built above ground and have dry stone walls with conical roofs made of branches. Some of the buildings used to house cattle have barrel vaulted brick or stone roofs.