The village is a UNESCO world heritage site and was awarded UNESCO’s 2005 Melina Mercouri prize. UNESCO compares Meymand / Maymand with villages of Kandovan, Hille Var, Sour, Ghorveh, Vind, Tamin, Kharg Zoroastrian hypogea, Zoroastrian houses around Tabas, Jahlkhaneh in Bushehr, Kapadocia, Metra, some regions in south of England, Jordan and China.
The cave dwelling units have been made by burrowing into the hillside’s soft sedimentary rock deposited in layers during the Mesozoic age some 100 to 200 million years ago. Sedimentary rock is a rock formed on the earth’s surface. It is formed by a sea or glacier carrying and depositing as sediment eroded rock from elsewhere as a strata. The sediment usually sits on top of harder rock formed within the earth and gradually hardens. The concrete-like consistency of the Meymand’s sedimentary rock is soft enough to be shaped by manual labour while still being hard enough to support the roof of the cave units. The individuals cave dwelling units are about 2 metres high and have an area of around 16-20 square metres. The construction of a cave dwelling called a kicheh starts with the chiselling of 6 to 9 meter horizontal cuts into the cliff-side.
According to local tradition, Maymand was a Zoroastrian settlement before the advent of Islam and that prior to become Zoroastrian, the residents worshipped the sun. (We have not come across reports about the villagers’ present beliefs.)One of the cave units is that is now a museum has a sign post stating that was an Atash-Kadeh, a fire temple, also called Kicheh Dobandi, kicheh means cave-dwelling and dobandi means two bands perhaps signifying two enclosures, and there are claims that the ancient inhabitants also worshipped pre-Zoroastrian Mithraism. The original inhabitants did not bury their dead, but placed them in crypts carved into the mountainside.