Kandovan, a Unique Ancient Village with Cave Dwellings

Kandovan, A Unique Ancient Village With Cave Dwellings

Kandovan is a village located in the East Azerbaijan Province of Iran, at an elevation of approximately 7,546 feet above sea level.

This village is often referred to as the “Cappadocia of Iran” and is a relatively small village with an area of around 4 square kilometers.

Furthermore, it is a remote and serene place with a population of only a few hundred residents.

The village has preserved its traditional way of life, architecture, local culture, and the peaceful surroundings.

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Volcanic Landscape In Kandovan

The story of Kandovan begins with its geological history amidst the scenic Sahand Mountains. The mountains are composed of volcanic rocks, mainly ignimbrite and tuff.

Erosion shaped volcanic deposits into the distinctive rock formations now inhabited by Kandovan’s residents over millions of years.

Besides that, this village has a surrounding landscape with lush green fields and hot springs that are equally captivating.

The Unique Cave Dwellings Of Kandovan

What sets Kandovan apart from other places is the ingenious use of these naturally formed rock structures.

Initially, the tradition of rock-cut dwellings in Kandovan can be traced back over 700 years.

The people of Kandovan have carved homes into the soft, volcanic tuff rock, creating cave-like dwellings.

The construction process involves carving the rock into rooms, corridors, and other living spaces. Most houses have multiple stories, and families often live in interconnected homes.

These houses offer natural insulation, keeping residents comfortable in extreme weather: cool in summer and warm in winter.

Generations have passed down the unique architecture, and residents still inhabit these remarkable homes today.

Issues And Maintenance Of The Cave Dwellings

While Kandovan’s rock-cut houses have weathered the centuries, they are not without challenges.

Erosion, earthquakes, and other environmental factors pose a constant threat to the village’s unique architectural heritage.

To protect this remarkable site, Kandovan’s residents and the Iranian government have worked together to implement preservation measures and promote sustainable tourism.

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A Self-Sustaining Community In The Village

Apart from its geological and architectural wonders, Kandovan holds significant cultural value.

The inhabitants of this village belong to the Iranian Azeri ethnic group and speak the Azerbaijani language. Azeri’s culture, music, and cuisine are integral parts of daily life in Kandovan.

The villagers maintain a self-sustaining lifestyle, making use of the fertile lands surrounding their homes to cultivate crops like barley, wheat, and other essential staples.

The village also keeps livestock, primarily goats and sheep, and practices beekeeping.


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