Following the series of articles published by Iranviva group, here are some more interesting facts about caves in general, as well as some amazing and technical caves in Iran.
How Are Caves formed?
First, we would like to acquaint you with the caves in general. A cave is a natural void in the ground, a hillside or cliff, specifically a natural opening in the earth which is large enough for a human to enter through the cave’s mouth. There is no certain dimension for the mouth of caves; the entrance might be very small, so that one needs to crawl into the cave through the mouth, or it might be an opening of several meters.
Caves are formed either naturally or artificially.
Artificial caves are created by humans, in the form of holes, ditches or cracks in rocks or in the ground. Artificial caves are created for various purposes including protection of humans against animals, natural disasters, wars and so on.
The reasons of formation of different natural caves are as follows:
- Acidic water (carbonic acid) flowing down through the cracks in the limestone
- Sea wave erosion
- Earthquakes and folding in rock layers
- Ice Caves
One of the places on the earth with many caves is the country of Iran. Due to the special geographical and natural conditions, Iran is a country with a variety of caves of different sizes in numerous locations.
A visit to the county of Iran will be quite satisfying for any tourists with different tastes.
There are numerous caves in Iran, including Ghar Parau in the Zagros mountains. Ghar Parau, also known as the killer cave, is the most dangerous cave in Iran, because there were some cavers lost their lives while exploring the cave. On the other side, there is another cave, the Ali-Sadr Cave, with the longest boating path inside the cave in the world.
Now to make your discovery trip to Iran full of adventure and enjoyment of discovering the great unknown and traveling deep into the earth, here we have provided a brief description of some of the most famous technical caves in Iran.
The interesting thing about the caves in Iran is that some of these caves are not fully explored yet, and every year various cave exploration groups from around the world travel to Iran to explore different caves.
If you’re passionate about professional caving, you can travel to Iran and be the one who discovers and explores these caves for the first time.
If you are interested in more information about the touristic caves in Iran, do not miss the article “Top 10 Tourist Caves in Iran”.
Ghar Parau, also known as “the killer cave”, is located in Kermanshah, in Iran.
The wonderful and dreadful cave of Parau is located in Mount Parau, at a distance of 12 kilometers northeast of the city of Kermanshah. This cave is situated at an altitude of over 3,000 meters above sea level.
Mount Parau, located in the Zagros mountains, is of great importance in caving and there are a lot of caves in it.
Parau mountain is part of the Zagros mountains and has several peaks over 3,000 meters high. The mountain has long been a source of water of plains in the region. This mountain is mostly made of limestone. This limestone texture and the melted snow or rain dripped down into the ground through the pores and cracks in the rocks, has caused the formation of many caves in this area.
This mountain and the caves are of great importance for international cavers and tourists interested in this sport.
Every Year, this mountain is the destination of many cavers and tourists who travel to Iran to discover and explore the caves.
One of the most important discoveries occurred recently in this area, is the cave of Qijlan, with a depth of 675 meters, which was discovered by a group of Iranian, French, Italian, Polish and Armenian cavers with a team of about 30 cavers.
Among the most famous caves in this mountain are as follows:
- Jujar cave, with a depth of over 1,300 meters, the deepest cave in Iran and the 27th deepest cave in the world
- Parau cave, with a depth of 752 meters, the second deepest cave with the highest cave mouth in the world
- Qijlan cave, with a depth of 675 meters, the third deepest cave in Iran
- Quri Qala cave, with a depth of 562 meters, the second deepest Well Cave in the world with a single well.
Parau cave is also called the “Everest of all caves in Iran”. This cave with a depth of 752 meters, is the second deepest cave in Iran after Jujar cave, with a depth of 1300 meters.
One of the wonders of this cave is its cave mouth with the height of over 3,000 meters above sea level which is prominent in the world.
The end of this cave was explored by English cavers for the first time, in 1971, and then in 1975, a group of Polish cavers traveled to the area to explore the unknowns in the cave.
A group of Iranian cavers explored the cave for the first time in 1991, and since then to date, several groups of explorers traveled to explore this amazing cave.
To date, five people died while exploring this cave and the bodies of some of the victims are buried in the cave.
To discover the unknowns of Parau cave, after you reach the summit of Mount Parau at an altitude of 3000 meters above sea level, you enter the cave mouth and then climb down to the end of the cave. There is a lake, with a depth of three meters, at the end of this dreadful cave. Its depth was measured in 2004.
Jujar Cave is probably among the most technical caves in Iran.
Jujar Cave, like Parau Cave, is located in Parau mountain, in Kermanshah province. Due to having some technical caves like Jujar and Parau, Kermanshah region, especially Mount Parau, is known as the paradise for cavers.
This cave is the deepest cave in Iran and is still under exploration. The last depth of the cave explored by cavers is 1300 meters.
It should be noted that in the definition of cave depth, caves should be distinguished from cenotes.
The Difference between Cenotes and Caves
Cenotes refer to any natural pit, or sinkhole, which is more than 3 meters deep. A cave may have different cenotes, halls, hallways, etc. For example, Som cave, between Semnan and Golestan provinces, has 21 cenotes of different sizes up to a depth of 407 meters, while Qala cave is a single cenote with a depth of 562 meters.
Back again to Kermanshah province and Parau mountain! It’s time for Qijlan cave in this mountain! This cave is the third deepest cave in Iran after Jujar and Parau caves.
Exploration of the cave took place by a team of 30 Persian, Polish, French, Italian and Armenian cavers, to a depth of 640 meters. Before exploring this cave, Qala cave, with a depth of 562 meters, was the third deepest cave in Iran.
Kermanshah Province and Mount Parau can probably be considered as the paradise for those interested in technical and professional caving.
This is one of the great advantages that attracts many foreign cavers to Iran each year. Tourists interested in caving can visit the most popular caves of Iran, just by travelling to Kermanshah Province and take special professional caving tours, as well as visiting historical monuments and tourist attractions of the province.
Quri Qala Cave
Quri Qala Cave is one of the biggest aquatic caves in the Middle East. This cave was known as the third deepest cave in Iran before the last exploration of the Qijlan cave. The cave has a depth of 562 meters.
Quri Qala Cave is located at a distance of 108 km from Kermanshah. This cave in located on the route from Kermanshah to Paveh, after driving 108 km and passing the city of Ravansar, before the city of Paveh. The cave is of 37 km from Paveh city and 27 km from Ravansar city.
According to geological documents, this cave is more than 65 million years.
Quri Qala Cave is 12 km long and over 3100 meters deep. There are some pools of about 14 meters deep in this aquatic cave.
There are some halls in Quri Qala Cave, namely Maryam Hall, the Camel Hump Hall, the Bride Hall, the Crystal Hall, etc. A short description of the cave’s area for tourists and those interested in caves in Iran is as follows:
The first wide area we will see when passing through the tortuous paths, is Maryam Hall. The reason why it is named so is a beautiful stalagmite in this hall which is very similar to the statue of the Virgin Mary.
After Maryam Hall, and passing through the cave path, at a depth of 1,000 meters, there is another hall named Beethoven Hall. There are big stalagmites in this room. Touching one of them, you can hear a sound like a musical instrument. The sound that rises from these stalagmites, is why the hall is named so.
As you go downer, at the depth of 1,500 meters in Quri Qala cave, you will reach another hall known as the Bride Hall. It is named so for the white and shiny stones seen in the hall.
Among the other attractions of this amazing cave are the waterfalls which are over 10 meters high.
It should be noted that the entire route and space in the cave is not modified for the public access and only professional cavers can explore the entire route using specialized tools and techniques.
Quri Qala Cave, is not a technical cave. We have introduced it just because it is located in Kermanshah province and is a good destination for the cavers who would like to visit touristic caves along with the technical ones.
Do-Ashkaft Cave in the Northeast of Kermanshah
Getting away from the Parau mountain, we will reach the Do-Ashkaft Cave. This cave is located in the Northeast of the city of Kermanshah in the slopes of Mount Meywala. Do-Ashkaft Cave is located in the vicinity of Koohestan Park in the city. This cave attracts attention worldwide because of the oldest remnants of human habitation found in this cave.
According to the archaeological studies conducted in this area, the cave dates back to the Paleolithic period (between 40 to 120 thousand years ago).
Do-Ashkaft Cave was among the first human settlements found near the city of Kermanshah.
Based on the remains found in the cave, the researchers infer that the cave was home to hunters, and it is an archaeological site associated with Neanderthals.
According to the researchers, hunters used this place for the advantages and the location of the cave. Among the advantages of this cave is a permanent spring near the cave, the splendid landscape of the cave, its easy access and its higher elevation relative to the surrounding.
Another advantage speleologists see in Do-Ashkaft Cave is a geology outcrop of radiolarian cherts. This outcrop allowed hunters use it for sharpening their needed tools.
Some of the tools discovered in this place are made of this rock outcrop and some rock resources surrounding the cave.
It is worth knowing that some of the tools found in the cave are attributed to the Zagros Mousterian industry, which was developed and used primarily forty thousand years ago in the Zagros.
What is Mousterian?
The most famous culture of the civilized and thoughtful Neanderthals, is known as Mousterian culture. Mousterian culture is named after Le Moustier, a rock shelter discovered in France where was one of the places where these people used to live.
Mousterian culture is characterized with non-material elements in this culture, such as customs like burial of the dead. But there has not been any sign of art observed in this culture.
Mousterian culture elements are mostly stone tools that were different from region to region. Some prominent examples are: small arrows with sharpened edge, stone sharpeners and a small number of stone digging tool. It should be noted that there was no tools made of bone in this culture.
Among other tourist attractions in Kermanshah that the cavers and tourists can visit in addition to the technical and professional caves include:
- Bisitun Cave (also called “Hunter’s cave”)
- Kavat cave in Javanrud
- Sarab-Hareer cave
- The Stone cave Hossein Kuhkan