Caves of Iran
Karafto Cave, Persian Fire Temple,Temple of Heracles
Iran has many beautiful caves for sightseeing, with several visitors each year, Karafto is one of the most visited popular natural attraction in the country. It contains a series of natural and man made caves connected together via various tunnels and corridors through the rocks, difficult narrow rotes for some strategical reasons. It is a unique natural and pre-historical archeological site.
Karafto Kurdestan Iran, Photo by A. Soltani
At the front side there are some man made rooms with windows toward the vally to see the beautiful sceneries and in the complicated network of passages and corridors, there are some natural water wells and spring for drinking water. The cave entrance is situated at 25 m high of a steep mountain making entry very difficult, probably its been been used as stronghold against enemy, nowadays entering the cave is made easy by stairs.
Karaftou, Kurdestan Iran, Photo by Aredeshir Soltani
After architectural investigations and researches, the archeologists named it as a pre-historical cave and indicate that this site and the natural part of the caves has been a residential area for the last 10,000 years ago and there are evidence back to 7000 years old.
There are retrace of old Persian empire dynasty, Sassanid, Ilkhanid Mongol, Seleucids a dynasty of Macedonian kings, important temples, persian fire temple and a Greek goddess Heracles "Hercules" temple and some relics date back to 300 BC. Later this pre historic cave modified by man for other usage.
Caraftoo Cave Kurdestan Iran, Photo by Sherppa
We have no idea of its old ancient names, but its new name is taken from the neighbouring village of Karafto 12 km away. It is located at 72 km east Seqiz City in Kordestan Province Iran.
The main parts of it is natural including a 600 meters long corridor with 1 to 10 m height, and secondary corridor connecting all passages, rooms and halls together.
If you have a plane for visiting Iran natural attraction and Mount Damavand, do not miss this marvelous site.
Karaftu Cave Kurdestan Iran, Photo by Ardeshir Soltani
There are some illustrations and carvings on the walls of the rooms date back to the ancient historical era, a horse rider hunting a deer which is believed to illustrate king Goudarz from Persian Ashkanid dynasty, the name of a Greek god Heracles " or Herakles" is carved on one of the walls of the third floor room, the Greek inscription reads, “Here is Helcules’ home, everybody who enters (this place) will be safeguarded.”
Also other illustrations showing various war triumph of Goudarz and Mehrdad the Ashkanid kings in persian empire. The area has been an important part of persian Silk Road, which many caravans have passed through this road, indicating the importance of this region.
Karafto Kurdestan Iran, Photo by A. Soltani
- Itslength is about 750 m, the longest corridor is 600 m with a various height from 1 to 10 m .
- It has 4 Floors with some balconies .
- It has two different sections, natural and human-made.
- It is a mixture of rock architecture, history, and nature.
- Artificial man made rooms have windows to use daylight.
- There are some inscription, epigraphs dated back to 2000 years ago.
- One tablets written in Greek on the 3rd floor.
- Many pigeon are living there.
Kereftu Kurdestan, Photo by A. Soltani
Location and Coordinate
located 72 km east of Seqiz City, Kordestan, Iran.
GPS Landmark for Karafto Cave
Altitude: 2030 M
Latitude: 35-19-57 N
How to go there by Road
There are 3 different ways, the main access is from Tehran, highway from Tehran to Zanjan and ordinary roads for the rest.
Thehran> Karaj> Qazvin> Zanjan> Bijar> Divanddareh> Takab junction> Goor Baba Ali> Youzbash Kandy Village> Karafto .
Also you may reach the area through
Saqez City> Saheb Village to Mirsaeid Village road> Karafto.
Or Takab City> Aliabad Village> Karafto.
Eşkewti Kereftû Kurdestan Iran, Photo by Soltani
What a Shame!
Although it is registered on the National Cultural Heritage List, but some of the illustrations of animal and floral drawn in ancient times on the walls and some cave carvings have been destroyed by graffiti and thoughtless individuals Iranian visitors!
Alternate names and spellings
Karaftuo, Karaftou, Caraftoo, Karaftu, Kereftu, Carafti
In Kourdish: Eşkewti Kereftû کَرَفتو : ئهشکهوتی کهرهفتوو
In Persian: غار کرفتو
Karafto Cave Kurdestan Iran, Photo by Aredeshir Soltani
Other Major Caves in Iran
Alisadr Hamedan Iran, water cave
Quri Qaleh Kermanshah
Sahoolan Mahabad, pigeon , water
Shapour Kazeroon, statue of king shapour the great
Vara Jahrom , temple
Karaftou Kurdestan Iran, Photo by A. Soltani
Natural Attraction of Kurdestan Iran
Kurdistan province is covered a collection of lake, mountains, forests, hills, rivers, lakes and natural caves and attract many tourists for ski, mountaineering sport, and water sports each year.
Kurdistan has vast forests and refuges for wild life, animals like leopard, wild goat, hyena, jackal, wolf, fox, sable, and birds like partridge, wild duck, stork, parrot and eagle.
Some Attractions in the Area
Cave Shoovi, 267 m long, near the city of Baneh.
Mt. Charkhaln 3,330 m
Mt. Chehelcheshmeh 3,173 m
Mt. Hossein Bak 3,091 m
Mt. Masjede Mirza 3,059 m
Caraftoo Kurdestan Iran, Photo by Sherpa
Quick Geography Kurdestan Iran
Kurdistan is mainly a mountainous region with mild spring and summers, an ideal area for outdoor recreation. The capital of Kordestan province is Sanandaj, Major Kordestan cities: Baneh, Bijar, Divandarreh, Ghorveh, Kamyaran, Marivan, Saqqez.
Major activities: rearing livestock mainly sheep and goats, agriculture, modern livestock farming. Wheat, barley, grains and fruits are the major agricultural products. The chemical, metal, textile, leather and food industries are the main industrial activities in this province.
Population: approx 5 to 7 million with some nomed tribes.
Local language: Kurdish dialect.
Karaftu Kurdestan Iran, Photo by Soltani
Kereftu Kurdestan Iran, Photo by A.Soltani
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