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Abyaneh is a famous historic Iranian village near the city of Natanz in Isfahan Province.
Characterized by a peculiar reddish hue, the village is one of the oldest in Iran, attracting numerous native and foreign tourists year-round, especially during traditional feasts and ceremonies.
An Abyunaki woman typically wears a white long scarf (covering the shoulders and upper trunk) which has a colorful pattern and an under-knee skirt. Abyunaki people have persistently maintained this traditional costume despite pressures from time to time by the government trying to change it.
Abyaneh also resisted conversion to Islam throughout the ages, and stayed Zoroastrian until it was forced to convert to Shi'ite Islam in the time of the Safavid dynasty, as were many other villages and towns that had held onto the Zoroastrian religion until then.
On top of the village sits the ruins of a Sassanid era fort.
Since June 2005, the village has been undergoing archaeological excavations for the first time ever, as a result of an agreement between Abyaneh Research Center and the Archaeology Research Center of the Iranian Cultural Heritage and Tourism Organization (ICHTO).
The Islamic Republic of Iran has been occupied since 4000BCE, making Iran home to the world's oldest continuous civilization.It is located in central Eurasia on two ancient trade routes. One runs North-South and connects the Caspian Sea to the Persian Gulf, the other one goes East-West between China, India, Europe and Africa.There's a city called Isfahan at the intersection of these two routes, which at one time was the wealthiest city in the world. Isfahan was twice the capital of the Persian Empire, during the Median and then Safavid Dynasties.Interesting artifacts from pre-Islamic Persia include the cylinder of Cyrus the Great, which is the world's first written declaration of human rights. The hanging gardens of Babylon (one of the seven wonders of the ancient world) and the Code of Hammurabi (a set of rules which outlast the King) are also on the list.The Persian Empire was so magnificent that returning Crusaders carried tales of its splendor and helped spark the Renaissance in Europe! Influence of the Zoroastrian teachings of equality also inspired Greek philosophers such as Aristotle and Socrates.The Persian Empire was conquered by Muslim Arabs around 650CE during the Sassanid Dynasty. Initially the Zoroastrian, Christian and Jewish faiths were tolerated but by 1000CE most Persians had accepted Islam.In the sixteenth century Shi'a Islam was declared in Isfahan to be the national religion of Persia and the second golden age began. From 1500 to 1720 the Safavid Dynasty built the greatest Iranian empire since before the Islamic conquest of Persia.Because of its strategic location and oil resources, World War I found Persia in the middle of conflicts between the Ottoman Empire, Russia and the British Empire-via-India. Persia became Iran as of 1935 and was ruled by the Shah, a Persian term for "monarch."In the Islamic Revolution of 1979 Iran re-established a theocratic government under the Ayatollah Khomeini.Today the capital of Iran is the city of Tehran, and Iran is known as the world's center of Shi'a Islam.Text by Steve Smith.