Kandovan Village, Cliff-Cut Settlement

Kandovan village is located in northwestern Iran, at the foot of Sahand Mountain, in Osku County, East Azerbaijan Province – 62 km southwest of Tabriz city. The unique layout of the still-inhabited mountain village Kandovan counts as one of the top Tabriz tourist attractions.

To this end, we have provided here a brief account of the historical village Kandovan. Calling Kandovan ancient rocky village is not far-fetched, once one learns about history of village’s formation.

 

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#1 What Makes Kandovan Ancient Rocky Village Unique?

Kandovan village is a living example of unity of human and nature. Situated in mountainous climate  of northwestern Iran, mountain village Kandovan in Iran is the only cliff dwelling of its kind that is still inhabited!

But let’s not forget about the UNESCO inscribed cultural landscape of Meymand rocky village, in the desert climate of central Iran, which is still inhabited too! Yet, with different features.

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#2 Location and Climate of Historical Village Kandovan

The historical village Kandovan is located at the foot of Sahand Mountain, in Osku County, East Azerbaijan Province – 62 km southwest of Tabriz.

Due to the mountainous climate, Kandovan village has very cold winters and relatively cold falls and springs. It is in the summer, when the weather is pleasantly cool.

Owing to its location, Kandovan village enjoys a refreshing weather, springs of therapeutic water and lush vegetation and pastures, making it the perfect place to raise cattle, bees and medicinal herbs.

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#3 Architecture and History of Mountain Village Kandovan

Establishment of the historical village Kandovan dates back to 14th century, while some believe the settlements can span back to 3,000 to 6,000 years ago, to seek refuge from natural and human hazards.

Simply put, Kandovan Village is comprised of a cluster of caves carved into the soft volcanic rocks of Sahand Mountain in northwestern Iran. Locally called “ Karaan”, the houses are carved into approximately 40 m tall cones, making up 2-4 floors. The cone-shaped structures are the natural consequence of lahar flow with volcanic discharge of Sahand over a period of thousands of years, and gradual erosion, leading to the current conic rock formations in the village.

Due to the conic structure, different floors are not interconnected, but top floors reach outside through stairways on the Karaan’s body. While the ground floor was used as a barn or stable, the upper floors were resided and most kitchens were constructed outside the Karaan, on the mountain, due to lack of space and chimneys.

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For the natural rock insulation, the houses are cool in summer and warm in winter, always countering the outside temperature throughout the year, thanks to the organic rock-cut architecture of mountain village Kandovan Iran.

# Interesting Fact:

It is worth noting that the name of the village “Kandovan” is FALSELY interpreted as derived from “Kandoo” which is Persian for beehive, due to conic structures resembling hives. Whereas, etymologically, the name Kandovan is Azeri language for Kand (village)+Van (guard). Azeri is spoken by natives of northwestern Iran.

 

#4 Attractions and Handicrafts of Kandovan Village

Kandovan village is most famous for its unique cliff-cut settlements. Most people visit the village, just to eye witness such authentic architecture and lifestyle of the locals who have inherited the cliff settlements from their ancestors.

Of course the fresh air, rich pastures, the mountainous view and tranquility of the region does boost the pleasure of this visit.

To make the village more convenient to visit, there is the 5-Star rocky boutique hotel of Laleh Kandovan, fully conforming to the cliff-cut architecture of the village. The hotel itself counts as an attraction in the region.

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Handicrafts of the village are flat-weaves such as Kilim and Jajim, while honey and herbs are the most popular edible souvenirs of the village.

 

How To Get To Kandovan Village

Access to the village is quite easy by private cars or buses from Osku.


Elmira

I had never loved my country more before I serendipitously found myself in tourism and took a sharp turn from my soulless job to give in to the magic of my home, Iran!

1 Comment

Felix · July 7, 2019 at 10:53 am

my friends and i visited the village last summer! exciting and relaxing at the same time! the locals were very friendly too!

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