Discover Kandovan, the lesser-known fellow of Cappadocia

November 20, 2019

TEHRAN – Iran’s historical village Kandovan, which is situated in Osku county of East Azarbaijan province, pretty much resembles the Turkish fellow Cappadocia. However, Kandovan is lesser-known when it comes to tourism.

To maximize the tourism potential of the village, Osku Governor Babak Razimanesh on Sunday said, “We are laying the grounds for launching cooperation between Kandovan and Cappadocia.”

“Cappadocia, a rocky village in Turkey, has many similarities to the village of Kandovan in Iran. However, the Turkish village could attract three million tourists over the past ten months.”

Talking about the rate of visitors to Kandovan, the official said, “A total of 1,650,000 people, of whom some 22,000 were foreign travelers, visited Kandovan village during the past [Iranian calendar] year [ended March 20, 2019].”

“We are working with authorities of the Turkish village to lay the ground for welcoming more sightseers as Kandovan holds a capacity to become the center for tourism in East Azarbaijan province.”

Located some 60 kilometers southwest of Tabriz, Kandovan is celebrated for having a magnificent rocky architecture which is the result of volcanic activities and hand-carved structures. The village was registered on Iran’s National Heritage list, and it has a worldwide reputation and is the only rocky village in the world that is still inhabited.

It's known as Kandovan because the rocky houses in this village look like hives. It has been said in the history of Kandovan that the first group to settle in the region were residents of a village called Hilevar, 2 km away from Kandovan. They migrated to this area escaping from Mongols and started to carve the Karans to build themselves a safe refuge.

The history of this wonderful village dates back to 6000 years ago. Some researches on archeology have estimated its age up to 7000 years old.

The village architecture is one of its wonders; the thickness of its walls reaches two meters in some places. The rock acts as energy-efficient material, keeping the house cool during summer and warm during winter. The heights of these rocks are about 40 meters.

There are sharp pyramidal cliffs with the holes on their irregular surfaces in this village which have been created due to volcano eruption in the region of the Sahand Mountain Range. The cliffs have shaped hive cells which are also known as Karan. Generally, most of these Karans are two-story in some cases, three and even four floors that they are not related to each other from the inside.

The inhabitants carved every room of the cliff houses like kitchens, halls, and even pens out of stone to make windows for the rooms and later, to decorate them with colorful glasses.

Since the Kandovan is located on the slopes of the Sahand Mountains, it has a great climate and there are plenty of greenery and landscapes around it. The fruitful plains of the region provide nomads with a possibility to breed honey bees and grow medicinal herbs, both are sources of income for the locals. The people of this village are mostly farmers and ranchers.

It is the only rocky village in the world that is still inhabited and currently, 117 families live in the village. The village has a mosque, a public bath, a school, a mall, souvenir shops, buffets, and restaurant.

Honey is the most famous souvenir of Kandovan. Apricots and sour cherries, dried fruit, rugs and jajim are other souvenirs of Kandovan.

Mineral water springs of Kandovan are also well-known and basically used for the treatment of kidney disease.

The best season to visit Kandovan is spring and summer. It is not a favorite destination in autumn and winter since it gets so cold. The minimum temperature of Kandovan is 13° C and the maximum 25° C in summer. Visiting this village will take 2 hours up to one day.

AFM/MG

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