Visiting Kharanagh made us all like kids again!
A restored wind tower rises up on the square and behind it, down the slope, lays the ancient village Kharanagh, built in mud. It is a ruin almost in defiance, fighting against the forces of nature. Basting alleyways spread out like a spider web inward in the old and almost abandoned village.
While we walk into the historic alleys of Kharanagh I think that this is entirely at my own risk. Everything can fall down anytime and no one can say afterwards that they did not understand that it could be dangerous to walk and climb in these ruins. But what a place! As the well-disciplined group of tourists we are, we all run like wild goats into different alleys and into different small and halfway collapsed houses. After a while we realize that most of us are on our own with our fervent discovery of more or less collapsed house where some walls still show fragments of beautiful old decorations. Out of small, beautiful windows and through collapsed walls we have breathtaking views of the green terrace fields and a new mosque with a bright blue dome on the other side of the valley.
In the valley below some old men are working on the fields. On the other side of the valley, strange rock formations are stretching out toward the horizon and the desert behind. It is a surreal world with blue skies and a landscape in brown and golden hues, just a few green spots light up in the valley. Almost no people live here anymore, the youngsters have left Kharanagh and only some older women endure. The village has decayed since 1940’s and it felt strange to go into a random hole in the ground and find a nearly perfect bath (Haman) with white tiles and bath basins. One of the reasons the city was abandoned was that the supply of water was greatly reduced.
Kharanagh is situated in a valley 80 km northeast of Yazd. The name according to rumors comes from the word Kahr meaning donkey and Negh meaning scream. Thus; screaming donkey! Zoroaster’s first populated the place during the Sassanid period. The minaret from the 17th century and a single Caravanserai / hostel on the outskirts of the village, is restored and you can stay there for a reasonable prize.
Kharanagh is a dream place to go on an adventure and if you ever get to these parts of the world you should travel the one-hour it takes from Yadz and you will experience another time. Our traveling companions, we were 9 friends from Fredrikstad, were like five year-olds again and crawled up and down in ruins with wild excitement.