Natural-Historical Complex Cave of Karaftoo | The longest hand-carved cave in Iran

Natural-Historical Complex Cave of Karaftoo | The longest hand-carved cave in Iran

Natural-Historical Complex Cave of Karaftoo | The longest hand-carved cave in Iran

Karaftoo Cave is located in the Kurdistan province, near the city of Divandarreh and on the east of Saghez, in the form of a giant rock of limestone in a 45 degree slope surface. This complex is located in a preserved region called Abdurrazagh, which is one of the most valuable and richest environmental areas in west of Iran, since it is home to more than 120 animal species and local plants.

The history of Karaftoo Cave

This cave had originally been under water during the Mesozoic era, and as the time passed and it emerged, troglodytes inhabited it.  Karaftoo Cave was a human settlement from 3000 years ago till the Islamic era. Troglodytic architecture of Karaftoo Complex had been used as a shelter, settlement and temple; during different historic eras, from Medians and Achaemenid to the late Islamic era (Illkhanid).

The architecture of Karaftoo Cave

Being the longest hand-carved cave of Iran with a length of 750 meters, Karaftoo is a unique cave in Iran. This calcareous and natural cave also has beautiful landscape and extraordinary architecture. Its entrance is located on a very beautiful wall, 25 meters above the ground that was hard to access, until stairs were put in this place. Karaftoo Cave consists of 2 parts: natural part and carved part (troglodytic architecture). The troglodyte architecture includes 4 flours, in which there are nested rooms, corridors and stairs covered in stone, to connect the floors. In addition, some man-made windows are also still present.

The most extraordinary part of this troglodytic architecture is the cave’s third floor in which there has been carving rooms, the special form of ceiling (Roman arch), windows and stairs.

Technically, it has engineered structures like the buildings made with construction materials, which make this cave a note-worthy cave in the world.

In addition, there are also many human, animal, plant engravings on the walls of rooms and some corridors, which have a religious concept, since Karaftoo was also regarded as a temple. There is a Greek inscription over the entrance of a room on the third floor, mentioning God/hero Heracles, which says: This is the home of Heracles, whoever enters is safe. Also, there are researches mentioning that it was a place where Mehr (Mitra) had been worshiped.

Natural Beauty along with magnificent architecture

The special, natural and beautiful landscape of Karaftoo and its geographical location in the preserved area of Abdurrazagh, has made this place an outstanding natural-historical attraction in west of Iran.

* Written by Arefeh Firouzan.


Official Website: N/A Entrance fee: 500.000  IRR
Wikipedia: Click here Name(s) in Persian: غار کرفتو
UNESCO Website: Click here Public transportation availability: Yes
Province: Kurdistan Accommodation availability:Yes 
Phone: N/A Facilities: Yes
Working days: All days Restaurant & Cafe availability: N/A
Opening hours: :N/ABest time to visit: All Seasons

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