Masuleh is a village in Gilan Province, Iran, founded in the 10th century AD. Historical names for the city include Masalar and Khortab. It has 554 inhabitants (as of 2006). The native people of Masuleh speak Talysh.
Masuleh is near the southern coast of the Caspian Sea, approximately 60km southwest of Rasht and 32km west of Fuman. It is 1.050m above sea level in the Alborz (or Elburz), surrounded by forest from valley to mount. The village itself has a difference in elevation of 100 meters. Fog is the predominant weather feature.
Masouheh-Rood-Khan is the river passing through the city, with a waterfall located just 200 meters away from the village. Many other springs are found nearby.
The architecture in Masuleh is unique. The buildings have been built into the mountain and are interconnected. Courtyards and roofs both serve as pedestrian areas similar to streets. Masuleh does not allow any motor vehicles to enter, due to its unique layout popularly known as “the yard of the building above is the roof of the building below”.
Yellow clay coats the exterior of most buildings in Masuleh. This allows for better visibility in the fog. Buildings are mostly two stories (1st floor and ‘ground’ floor) made of adobe, rods and bole. A small living room, big guest room, winter room, hall, WC and balcony are usually found in 1st floor. A cold closet, barn and stable are located on the floor below, which are connected to the upper floor by several narrow steps inside the building.
Although it has been written that the community was established around 10 AD, the first village of Masuleh was established around 1006 AD, 6 km northwest of the current city, and it is called Old-Masuleh (Kohneh Masuleh in Persian). People moved from Old-Masuleh to the current city because of pestilence and attacks from neighbouring communities.
There are four main local communities at the city named: “Maza-var” (meaning beside the Mosque) at the south, “Khana-var” (beside homes) at the East, “Kasha-sar” (stretched on top) at the North, and, “Assa-mahala” (Assad community) at the West. Apparently, down town is the Market (Bazaar) area and also the main mosque of the city built in 969 AD.