Abyaneh (pronounced ab-bye-ah-nay) is a teeny tiny town located about an hours drive South of Kashan. This extremely old city is home to just over 300 residents and is well known (at least to Iranians) for the distinct colouring on the many houses located within the town itself.
This distinct colouring is an unusual shade of red! This shade of red is due to all of these houses being made out of mud coming from a particular mountain range – which naturally produces mud that is a lot less brown than one would normally expect.
Abyaneh can be easily visited as a half day trip from Kashan. The cost of the driver for the trip will be around $30 USD – and when split between four people that works out to roughly $7.50 each – not bad for a half day adventure!
Alternatively, if you are travelling between Esfahan and Tehran, you could stop hire a driver for the entire day and make a stop at Kashan en route to your destination city. However, be aware that the cost of hiring a driver for this route could cost as much as $100-$150 USD – so unless you are extremely pressed for time, this is probably not the best option.
I had seen pictures of Abyaneh when researching Iran, and I have gotta be honest, although it was a day well spent, it was probably the most underwhelming place I visited during my entire time in Iran.
I had seen stunning pictures of bright red buildings and heard exciting stories of it being abandoned (like Kharanaq had been) but the reality was somewhat different.
While the red brick houses were beautiful, they also weren’t anywhere near as red as I had expected. In fact, to get my camera to even pick up the redness took quite a bit of handiwork. In reality, the place just looked a little dull.
Also, the place was FAR from being deserted! There was a very visible population of residents, and unfortunately, they all seemed more interested in spruiking cheap goods and wares than anything else, which just kinda cheapened the entire experience for me.
However, just because I didn’t fall head over heels in love with Abyaneh like I did in other Iranian towns. didn’t mean that the day I spent there didn’t have some redeeming moments!
I was determined to try and get away from the spruikers and the annoying tourists who kept insisting that these locals be in their selfies, so I made my way through back alleys and up hills until I came out at the top of the village, and it was so well worth the climb!
The views from this hill were particularly pretty, and the snow-capped mountains made me happy that I had made the trip.
After risking life and limb (I am possibly being a little dramatic) getting back down the slippery and muddy slopes, the crowds had thinned a little and I had a bit more time left before we would need to get on the road back to Kashan, so a little more exploring was in order!
After admiring this incredible entryway (pictured above) it wasn’t long before I did what I always seem to do, and came across a little local critter!
This little kitty was a bit suspect when I first approached her, but it didn’t take too long for her to warm up and start letting me pat her.
In fact, after a while she started climbing all over me and basically demanding pats!
My Iran travel buddy Hayden and I decided that she needed a name, and due to her absolute non-stop and incessant meowing, we named her Meowju.
After a little while it was time to say goodbye to Abyaneh. While I may not have fallen in love with Abyaneh itself, I was still happy that I went, especially because it meant meeting this sweet feline!
Getting to Kashan: Kashan is well connected to Esfahan and Tehran via bus, but is only connected to Yazd via train
Sadeghi House: A cheap hotel with a few mixed dorms, expect to pay around $15/night
Abyaneh: A day trip to the red city is best shared between a group of 4
Camera: Images captured with an Olympus OM-D E-M1 in conjunction with M.Zuiko 12-40mm f2/8 lens
Remember: Kashan is the only place I visited in Iran where I was bothered by mosquitoes – bring insect repellent!