Mazichal is a scenic village with pleasant weather and verdant landscape 20 kilometers southeast of Kelardasht in Mazandaran province.
The small village lacks modern facilities such as electricity, tapwater, asphalt roads or telephone, but offers a tranquil experience to visitors seeking an escape from the pollution and hubbub of city life, HistoricalIran reported.
Estimates about the total number of families in Mazichal range from 50 to 120. Families residing in Mazichal, most of them farmers or cattle breeders, live in the village during summer and migrate in winter.
Mazichal gets its name due to the large number of chestnut trees it contains. In local dialect, mazi means chestnut and chal means valley.
Thus, the name Mazichal refers to the nature of the area, a valley peppered with chestnut trees.
Mazichal is situated 2,600 meters above sea-level. Vehicles cannot maneuver easily on its roads, hence most visitors prefer to abandon their cars and walk to the village.
It takes an hour to reach Mazichal from Kelardasht through a beautiful forest, which includes trees such as chestnut and oak.
As tourists approach the end of the forest’s path, the highlands of Mazichal appear. There is a barrier between the forest and Mazichal, possibly to prevent wild animals from entering the village.
In summer, the neighboring Abbasabad Village utilizes Mazichal for feeding its farm animals.
At such times, the sight of herds of sheep traveling the various dirt roads toward Mazichal is not uncommon.
The village attracts many eco-tourists throughout the year.
In the course of a day, the weather can change drastically from sunny to a downpour.
The unique characteristic of this village is that when it rains, Mazichal seems to be floating above the clouds.
The topography of the region and the presence of hills and mountains is such that when it rains, clouds will overtake the sky and ground as well, covering the village and its surrounding area.
While constantly morphing into different shapes, the proximity of the clouds gives one the impression that the village is floating in the sky, which is one of Mazichal’s main claims to fame.
Mazichal is home to many medicinal plants. Flowers cover a vast area of Mazichal’s hills and mountains during summer.
The annual festival in Mazichal attracts visitors flocking to view its landscape of flowers.
One of the most wonderful flowers growing in the northern parts of Iran, Liliaceae, grows in Mazichal and an annual festival hosts visitors flocking to view its flowering.
Liliaceae extends over a vast area and covers Mazichal’s hills and mountains during summer.
The region is also famous for its mineral waters. In addition to its natural beauty, Mazichal enjoys a rich history with cemeteries belonging to pre-Islamic era.
No modern construction is allowed in the village. In 2010, following claims of ownership by Abbasabad’s Town Hall, permits for the construction of over 100 buildings were issued.
Aside from the negative effect such structures would have on the natural setting of Mazichal, as of the end of the year, the legality of such permits are still being debated.
Gilan province, which neighbors Mazandaran, has a humid temperate climate with plenty of annual rainfall. Its central city Rasht is well known as the “City of Silver Rains”.
The Alborz mountain range provides further diversity to the land, in addition to the Caspian coasts.
The amount of humidity is high during the warm seasons of the year, while the coastlines are cooler and pleasant, and thousands of domestic and foreign tourists come to the seashore for swimming and camping.
Despite the humidity, Gilan is known for its moderate, mild and Mediterranean climate.
Large parts of the province are mountainous, green and forested. The coastal plain along the Caspian Sea is similar to that of Mazandaran, which is mainly used for growing rice.
The province hosts an annual average of 2 million tourists, mostly from other Iranian provinces.
Efforts to Boost Health Tourism
A joint committee will be established by Iran’s Cultural Heritage, Handicrafts and Tourism Organization (ICHHTO) and the Health Ministry to introduce the capabilities of Iran in the field of health tourism.
Announcing this, Mohammad Ali Najafi, the head of ICHHTO, said unfortunately the special capabilities of Iran in the field of health tourism have not been used properly.
He hoped that the committee will be established within the next three moths, adding that precise studies should be conducted in this respect.
Najafi also said plans have been drawn up by ICHHTO to boost Iran’s handicraft market, which not only lost the international markets but also has a number of foreign rivals in domestic market.
“Serious measures should be made in this regard,” he said, noting that the capabilities of Iran’s traditional arts and handicrafts can be introduced online.
Najafi stressed that special committees should be established to organize the activities undertaken in the fields of cultural heritage, handicrafts and tourism.
Medical tourism charts the patient’s movement from highly developed nations to other areas of the world for medical care, usually to find treatment at a lower cost.
Medical tourism is different from the traditional model of international medical travel where patients generally journey from less developed nations to major medical centers in highly developed countries for medical treatment that is unavailable in their own communities.
170 Gilan Foods Identified
About 170 local foods have been identified in Gilan province, said the deputy head of the province’s cultural heritage, handicrafts and tourism department for cultural heritage.
Fardin Pourhadi added that the Council for Registration of Local Foods has been set up by the department to preserve and revive local foods prepared by various regions of Gilan province.
The official said the port city of Astara, located on the crossroads of Gilan and Ardebil provinces and Azerbaijan Republic, has special traditions and customs.
He lauded the measures undertaken by restaurants that serve local foods, hoping that this will be emulated by other cities of the province.
Pourhadi said local foods can be used to attract domestic and foreign tourists, adding that a number of food festival and exhibitions have been held in Rasht and other cities of the province.
By Sohrab Sepehri
Past the border of my dream
The shadow of a morning glory
Had darkened all these ruins
What intrepid wind
Transported the morning glory seed to the land of my nod?
Beyond glass gates of dream
In the bottomless marsh of mirrors
Wherever I had taken a piece of myself
A morning glory had sprouted
Forever pouring into the void of my soul
And in the sound of its blossoming
I was forever dying in myself.
The veranda roof caves in
And the morning glory twines about all columns
What intrepid wind
Transports this morning glory seed to the land of my nod?
The morning glory germinates
Its stem rising out of my transparent sleep,
I was in a dream when
Flood of wakefulness overflowed.
To the view of my ruined dream, I opened my eyes:
The morning glory had twined all about my life.
I was flowing in its veins
It rooted in me
It was all of me
What intrepid wind
Transported this morning glory seed to the land of my nod?
Chicken Barley Soup
Pearl barley, 1 1/2 cups (rinsed and soaked in cool water for an hour)
Chicken, 4 pieces (drumsticks or wings)
Carrots, 1 1/2 cups (shredded)
Onion, 1 large (peeled and quartered)
Celery, 2 stalks (cut into chunks)
Garlic, 1-2 cloves
Turmeric, 1/4 teaspoon
Bay, 2 leaves
Lemon juice, 2-3 tablespoons
Parsley, for garnish (chopped)
Salt and pepper to taste
Arrange the quartered onions at the bottom of the stockpot, add the chicken, celery, garlic, bay leaf, turmeric, salt and pepper.
Add enough water to cover all of the ingredients, bring to a boil on medium-high. Reduce the heat, cover and cook on medium-low heat for about 45-50 minutes or until the chicken is fully cooked.
Remove the pot from the heat and let cool. Drain the soup and pour into a bowl for later use. Separate the chicken from the bones and shred into small pieces.
Place the soaked and drained barley in a large pot, add the strained chicken soup and enough water to cover up to 3 inches.
Bring to a boil for a couple of minutes on medium-high heat, reduce the heat, cover leaving the lid a little ajar and cook for 45 minutes.
To the pot add the shredded chicken and the shredded carrots, stir. Add more hot water if needed. Cover and cook for another 40- 45 minutes on medium-low heat.
In the last 15 minutes of cooking, add the lemon juice, taste and adjust the seasoning.
Serve the soup in a bowl, sprinkle chopped parsley on top and serve with bread.
Health Benefits of Chicken
Chicken is rated as a very good source of protein, providing 67.6 percent of the daily value for protein in 110 grams. The structure of humans and animals is built on protein.
We derive our amino acids from animal and plant sources of protein, then rearrange the nitrogen to make the pattern of amino acids we require.
People looking for ways to reduce the amount of fat in their meals should eat more chicken. The leanest part of the chicken is the chicken breast. The fat in chicken is also less saturated than beef fat.
However, eating the chicken with the skin doubles the amount of fat and saturated fat in the food. For this reason, chicken should be skinned before cooking.
More than 13 million visitors, including pilgrims and tourists, entered Mashhad city in Khorasan Razavi province in the past three months.