Maymand is a village of troglodytes – cave dwellers – located in the south-eastern Iranian province of Kerman. Maymand village has been continuously inhabited for 2,000 to 3,000 years making it one of Iran’s four oldest surviving villages. Some claim that Maymand has been inhabited for 12,000 years, that is, since the middle stone ages, making it a Mesolithic village. Reportedly, 10,000-year-old stone engravings and 6,000-year-old pottery have been discovered at the site.
The village is a UNESCO world heritage site and was awarded UNESCO’s 2005 Melina Mercury prize.
The village has a present peak population of between 130 and 150 people many of whom are semi-nomadic shepherds, living in the village caves during the winter when the population is at its highest and migrating to higher pastures in the summer leaving about 60 residents in the village.
The winters in Maymand are cold and harsh. The summers are hot and dry. Rainfall is variable, fluctuating between 300 and 500 mm per annum.
The village is supplied with water by two underground Kariz (qanat) aqueducts that bring water down from the water catchment areas on the upper slopes of the surrounding hills.