Makhunik village – Mysterious village of little people

Makhunik village

Makhunik village is famous for having people with short stature. Due to the architecture of this village, many stories and legends have been formed around it. Here you can get acquainted with the unique culture and lifestyle of the locals.
Throughout history, humans have made stories. That is why some people believed almost anything. This particular village is known as the Lilliput village, but in fact, it is a historical village that is 400 years old in the southern Khorasan province. Many people consider it as one of the seven most amazing villages in the world, and many people come here to see the little ones; but this is not the only reason for its reputation because there are other factors at work, such as the architecture of the houses and culture and customs of these people. We are going to uncover the mysteries and secrets of this particular village and get to know more about it.

Makhunik village is famous for having people with short stature. Due to the architecture of this village, many stories and legends have been formed around it. Here you can get acquainted with the unique culture and lifestyle of the locals.
Throughout history, humans have made stories. That is why some people believed almost anything. This particular village is known as the Lilliput village, but in fact, it is a historical village that is 400 years old in the southern Khorasan province. Many people consider it as one of the seven most amazing villages in the world, and many people come here to see the little ones; but this is not the only reason for its reputation because there are other factors at work, such as the architecture of the houses and culture and customs of these people. We are going to uncover the mysteries and secrets of this particular village and get to know more about it.

The secrets and the stories

The most attractive part of this village is its people, and the tales surrounding them; people who have an Afghan nationality and migrated to the area several hundred years ago. In general, it is evident that the villagers are of short stature and consequently the houses are small and short.
About 400 years ago, an individual named Ahmad Khan, along with his family left Afghanistan and came to Iran. They sought refuge in the Makhunik area in search of a place to live and they settled in this land. Ahmad Khan and his family began using materials in the area to build houses whose architecture later becomes one of the characteristics of the village and remains in its original form for several hundred years.
In the following, we will give a complete overview of the architecture of the houses. The population of the area gradually grows and after a while, it becomes a village.
It is a non-agricultural area with poor vegetation and low ranges. A number of people in the village had livestock at that time, but due to lack of proper food, they lost the animals, which is why people could not use the meat for their daily meals throughout the year. The only people to have access to food were the ones who had jujube trees, turnips, wheat, barley, and mountain pistachio. The food that was cooked with pistachio or a mixture of what they had and they ate the same the food every day. On the other hand, access to the surrounding towns was very difficult, and there was no means for passing through the mountains. That’s why the village remained unknown to the outside world until about a hundred years ago, few would know about it, and people could not easily travel to cities and other villages to buy food. Over the years the locals have been unable to grow as normal people, due to poor nutrition, and that is why they had short stature. They reached half a meter and most people were 130 cm tall.
it is said that the short stature was only related to one of the clans living in the village, the tribe of Ghulam Mohammad Reza, and the rest of the people had a normal height. Over time the height of these people was transformed through nourishment and mixed marriages.
About a hundred years ago people found out about the existence of this village and about 70 years ago the connection was made. Vehicles opened their way to the area, along with food and other amenities.
Ahmed Rahnama, a resident of Makhunik says that when the cars came to the village, people were able to reach nearby cities and eat something more than just Kashk.
The locals worked in the nearby cities and that made them more civilized. At the same time, this interaction changed the way they live, making the people more similar to those of other parts of Iran. These days, foods such as Kashsk, Chorba, Curgi, and Kaymak make up the most popular foods. Among which Karachi is the most important food for the locals. Nowadays most locals have a common height and weight, and their life is easy than before. However, there are a number of things that are in need of development in this particular village.

The short stature of the villagers

In 2005, a 25-cm mummified body was discovered. Experts speculated that the mummy belonged to a child that died about 400 years ago. The mummy showed that the inhabitants of this particular village at that time were shorter than the average human being.

The architecture of the houses

Furthermore, some of the houses in the village have a peculiar design and architecture. When you walk through the alleys of the village, houses with very small doors and walls will surprise you and make you wonder about the conditions back then.
To give you a better picture of the situation, let’s first describe the architecture of these houses.
Nowadays there are about 200 houses in the old texture of the village, of which 70 to 80 percent are surprisingly smaller than usual. The length and width of these houses are between 1.5 to 3 meters to 3 by 5 meters, and the height of the ceilings is at most 1.5 meters. Houses are built on the slopes of hills and are very much compact. The floor of each house lower by a meter from the ground and each house has only one small window. The entrance doors of each of these houses are also very small and many cannot even pass through it. There are two steps at the front door. A very simple house made of stone, wood, and cob. Each house has only one small space for storing barley and wheat – called a “Kendig” – and a small wood burning stove for cooking – called “Korshak” – and a few very small rooms for keeping animals and other appliances. There is also a living room, bedroom, kitchen, knitting workshop, and so on. Back then a family of eight lived in one of these small houses and had no problem with the living conditions.
There were also houses that people used to stay in during spring and summer. The difference between these houses and the winter houses was that the roof was not made of cob and it was covered with leaves of various plants.
The small houses created the illusion that back then Lilliput people lived in this village but the truth is something else.
The first reason is the cold climate. Since firewood was hardly found in the vicinity, people could barely heat their homes. For the same reason, they had to make small houses that could keep them warm with a small amount of firewood. On the other hand, the presence of only one small window made the heat stay in the house and the cold outside of it.
In principle, the windows were used only for knowing whether its night or day. Most doors were also built southward to prevent the entry of northern winds into the house.
In addition to this, the lack of animals such as donkeys, cows, and horses in the area did not allow people to travel far in order to bring stones and materials for building the houses so people used the least material available to build the houses.
Nowadays however the construction of ordinary houses is in development and they no longer live in those small houses.


The story of the village

Some sources say that the village dates back to thousands of years ago and that the village has an ancient history. The rock relief discovered near the Makhunik Qanat and the depiction on it is one of the evidence of such claims. Of course, this rock relief has deteriorated over many years due to various reasons such as human interference, rain, and other natural phenomena and there is not much left to it. Apart from this, there is no other written record on the history of this village. During the Naser al-Din Shah Qajar period, Colonel Charles Edward Debit in the book called “Khorasan and Sistan travelogue” talks about this village.
It seems that long ago, people of this village were farmers and lived a nomadic life, and over time they chose to settle down in a village. Other structures such as the village Tower, Anjir Tower, Sargarduni House, Dead Nader. The village Tower is more famous among the other sights of the countryside and it is located on a higher plane than the others so that it could be used as an observation tower.


Mobile hospital

Three kilometers outside of the village there is a mobile hospital which the locals call “quarantine”. Back then the villagers had no way of communicating with other parts of the country so those infected with smallpox and other diseases were brought to this mobile hospital. The ones who survived smallpox nursed other patients. The smallpox was mostly due to the people going to Afghanistan and then coming back with the disease.
Mobile hospital
Three kilometers outside of the village there is a mobile hospital which the locals call “quarantine”. Back then the villagers had no way of communicating with other parts of the country so those infected with smallpox and other diseases were brought to this mobile hospital. The ones who survived smallpox nursed other patients. The smallpox was mostly due to the people going to Afghanistan and then coming back with the disease.


Culture and people

Like other villages, the people have their own customs and traditions, which we will talk about in this section, but it is better to get some information about the locals before studying the culture.


The locals

The people of Makhunik village is either Muslim or Sunni. According to the latest census taken in the year 2016, there are 787 Sunnis living in this village. As we said earlier, the locals are descended from Afghanistan and have their own particular dialect. The main job of the locals is livestock breeding, along with agriculture. Most agricultural products include wheat, garlic, barley, turnip, beetroot, carrot, tomato, onion and also saffron. Horticulture is not very popular in this area, and only a few jujube trees, berries, figs, pomegranates, apples, grapes, and almonds are planted near the water and canal dens of the village.

READ  Kerman is historical province in southeast Iran

A number of people are also employed in the mines near the village, and others go to work in nearby cities because of the drought and unemployment in the area. The only work for local women is carpet weaving.


Customs and traditions

Different events and ceremonies take place in the village. Ceremonies such as weddings, Ramadan, Eid al-Fitr and Ghorban, and also a prayer for rain ceremonies which, unfortunately, we do not have much information about how they were held in the past but most likely it was practiced just like Sunni tribesmen in Afghanistan.
“Naf-Bori” is the name of a tradition that was prevalent among the locals many years ago. Based on this tradition, every time a girl was born in the village, the residents went to the newborn’s home in order to see the child. At the same time, they chose a boy to marry the girl when they both reached the legal age. The term “Naf-Bori” means that the baby’s umbilical cord is cut off in the name of that boy and that the girl cannot marry anyone else. Of course, this custom is no longer commonplace and it’s been long forgotten.
The interesting thing is that nobody smokes in this village. The locals consider smoking and use of other types of recreational substances as taboo and dangerous for the community.


Rumors about the local people

Some say that the locals did not drink tea until 50 years ago, or they did not eat meat or rice because it was banned. That is simply not true at all.
The locals couldn’t buy tea, meat or rice because of extreme poverty. Meat and rice were considered as medicine and they ate this kind of food only as a cure for severe illnesses. The people could eat meat only twice a year, and also the meat was a donation from the wealthy people in the village. The rich people living in the village also ate meat only twice a year. Today people consume meat on an everyday basis.
Another rumor about the people of this Makhunik village is about watching television. It is said that a few years ago the locals did not allow televisions in the village and considered them as an indication of the devil, so they would not allow children to watch television. Although local inquiries show that this is not true at all.

READ  Travel to Khorshid palace, Home on the mountain

Makhunik village Traditional clothes

Before the roads were opened and the people were capable of buying clothes from nearby cities, the locals would wear and weave handmade costumes. The women say that their mothers taught them to make their own clothes and their own shoes. Back then the clothes were mostly made of thick woolen fabrics. Nowadays, most people go to the city for shopping, and few people still wear traditional clothes.


The best season for traveling

You should note that the nights here are very cold so be sure to bring warm clothes.
Spring: One of the best seasons for traveling to Makhunik village.
Summer: It is quite hot and it’s not a good time to visit the village at all.
Fall: The weather is mild and the cool fresh air makes you ecstatic, so overall it’s an as good as any other season.
Winter: it is quite cold and treacherous so it is better to postpone your trip to another time.


The name of the village

There are three narrations about the name of the village. Some say it’s called “Makhunik” because of the cool weather it has.
On the other hand some people believe the name comes from a gap in the mountain near the village. Others believe that Makhunik is composed of two words namely “Moon” and “Dekhunik” (Pahlavi language) which consequently means the land of the moon.

Author

Write A Comment