Measures to safeguard Karaftu caves discussed 

May 22, 2022 - 21:0

TEHRAN- On Saturday, several researchers and speleologists came together to discuss ways to preserve the enigmatic Karaftu caves situated in western Iran.

The meeting aimed to collect opinions on the protection and restoration of the cave collection with the cooperation of the relevant officials and scholars, a local official said on Sunday. 

One of the most significant touristic and historical sites in Kordestan province, Karaftu has a multitude of natural and architectural beauties as well as several temples dedicated to the gods and divine heroes such as  Mitra and Heracles, the official added. 

To mark the national cultural heritage week, which started on Wednesday, the province holds a number of meetings and exhibitions to demonstrate the intangible and tangible heritage and increase heritage literacy in the region, Mohammad Aminian said.  

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

The 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, they are 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.

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 among 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).

During the national cultural heritage week various exhibitions, meetings, workshops, and festivals have been organized to mark Iran’s rich heritage from the early civilizations through to the modern era.

Iran played a leading cultural role as a source of innovation, as a melting pot and cultural powerhouse connecting Africa, Asia, and Europe. Highlights are the pre-Islamic empires of the Achaemenids and Sassanids, the formation of a Persian-Islamic culture, and the artistic masterpieces of the 9th to 13th centuries as well as the heyday of the Safavids to name a few.

ABU/AFM

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