Experience beauty and excitement of cave tourism in Iran

July 9, 2021 - 17:49

TEHRAN – It may seem that cave tourism is a new branch in the tourism industry, but it’s actually older and more traditional than popular contemporary varieties.

In cave tourism, visitors pick their destination based on their attraction to caves: whether they’re interested in visiting cave houses or try their hand at caving. Get in touch with the Neanderthal side of you by sleeping inside a cave or unleash your adventurous side by exploring beautiful underground cave networks.

Caves have a significant impact on tourists when choosing their destination and looking for new experiences, whether they are used for sports or as accommodations.

There are several historical and natural caves worth seeing in Iran, as in many other countries.

Here is a list of some of the most famous caves in the country.

Ali Sadr Cave

Located in the west-central province of Hamedan, Ali Sadr water cave is a top destination for domestic and foreign sightseers, researchers, history buffs, and day-trippers.

Ali Sadr Cave is a gigantic water-filled cavern wieldy believed to date from the Jurassic era. It embraces a huge matrix of sunless channels, ponds, grottoes, and water passages which are stretched along with imposing rock formations and stalactite-covered tops in a span of several kilometers.

The entrance to the lengthy cave is situated some 70km north of Hamadan. Sightseeing there is connected with traversing in well-lit labyrinths of waterways via paddle boats, walking on subterranean islets, as well as observing rock carvings of hunting scenes, artifacts, paintings, and vessels that are associated with prehistorical troglodytes.

Katale-Khor Cave

Katale-Khor, a limestone cave full of natural crystals believed to date from the Jurassic era, is located in the northwestern Zanjan province.

Literally meaning “Mountain of Sun”, the cave is said to date back to some 120 million years ago, so that it has embraced lots of natural and artificial changes during this lengthy period. The cave was reportedly discovered some seven decades ago by a group of Iranian cavers.

The cave interiors embrace huge hallways and corridors, which are impressively lit by flashlights.

Some three-seventh of the prolonged cave have been explored so far. A length of about 3km of the cave is open to the public while a 4km-route is accessible to experienced cavers and researchers.

Karaftu caves

Set on the side of a large cliff, 42km from Takab, western Kordestan province, the Karaftu cave ensemble was used for habitation from early Sassanid times (224–651).

The enigmatic caves were formed naturally but were modified by inhabitants over the centuries. In ancient times, these caves were important from an economic point of view, as they were situated on the Silk Roads.

Today, the caves are also significant for a Greek inscription found in them, as this is one of the few examples of such a script preserved in situ in Iran.

Quri Qaleh Cave

Quri Qaleh or Quri Qala Cave is located in the foothills of the Shaho mountain range, 86 kilometers from the western province of Kermanshah.

The water cave, which is formed some 65 million years ago, is 12 kilometers long and 3140 meters deep. Being explored for the first time in the 1950s, the cave is one of the longest caves in western Asia.

Where there is more humidity and waterfalls, limestone crystals and stalactites are created inside the cave.

There are some historical signs from the Sassanid era (224-651 CE) found in the cave including silver plates, some pieces of potteries, and 15 coins from the Yazdgerd III period. There are also some words in Pahlavi on plates and coins.

Archaeology excavations have revealed that the Quri Qaleh Cave was a hunting lodge during the Stone Age.

Sarab Cave

The historical cave of Sarab is situated in the small city of Baba-Heidar, southwestern Kohgiluyeh, and Boyer-Ahmad province.

The limestone cave is considered one of the most beautiful and pristine attractions of the region. Entering this cave and going all the way is a very exciting and technical task as it is located in a place with a narrow path and paralleled to a valley.

Even if one cannot enter the cave, one can enjoy the cold and refreshing water of a spring at the entrance of the cave.

The small entrance of the cave opens into a beautiful corridor with stalactite-covered tops, which look like chandeliers hanging from the roof.

Chama Ice Cave

One of the top destinations for nature travelers in southwestern Chaharmahal-Bakhtiari province is Chama Ice Cave, which despite its natural beauty, is very dangerous.

Located in the central part of Koohrang city, the ice cave is a popular spot for people wanting to get away from the heat.

The icy layers of this cave are slightly thick in hot seasons and it is necessary to avoid passing over them and inside the cave. Chama Ice Cave is one of the most amazing caves in the province. Its location in deep valleys and the accumulation of snow for many years in this cave has caused the ice caps and huge masses of snow to remain permanently in all seasons.

However, almost every year, ice collapse in this cave causes unfortunate incidents.

Exploring a cave may not be on the “to-do list” of travelers in Iran. However, Karaftu, Ali-Sadr and Quri Qaleh, and Katale-Khor are amongst the most visited caves.

Iran is geologically a part of the Alpine-Himalayan organic belt. According to Britannica Encyclopedia, the enigmatic evidence of human presence on the Iranian plateau is as early as Lower Paleolithic times.

The first well-documented evidence of human habitation is in deposits from several excavated cave and rock-shelter sites, located mainly in the Zagros Mountains of western Iran and dated to Middle Paleolithic or Mousterian times (c. 100,000 BC).

ABU/MG


 

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