Kandovan also Romanized as Kandovān is a village in Sahand Rural District, in the Central District of Osku County, East Azerbaijan Province, Iran. This village exemplifies manmade cliff dwellings which are still inhabited. The troglodyte homes, excavated inside volcanic rocks and tuffs similar to dwellings in the Turkish region of Cappadocia, are locally called “Karaan”. Karaans were cut into the Lahars (volcanic mudflow or debris flow) of Mount Sahand. The cone form of the houses is the result of lahar flow consisting of porous round and angular pumice together with other volcanic particles that were positioned in a grey acidic matrix. After the eruption of Sahand these materials were naturally moved and formed the rocks of Kandovan. Around the village the thickness of this formation exceeds 100 m and with time due to water erosion the cone shaped cliffs were formed. At the 2006 census, the village population was 601, in 168 families.
kandovan stone village:
Kandovan (also spelled Candovan) is a famous tourist village located in the northern Iranian mountain-side, near the cities Osku and Tabriz. It is known all around the world for its unique rock-carved houses dating back more than 700 years. The Kandovan Tourism Cliff Hotel is the first of its kind in Iran and the second in the world, after the luxurious Yunak Evleri Cave Hotel, in Cappadocia, Turkey.
It is said the first inhabitants came to Kandovan to escape the invading Mongols. They dug hideouts in the giant volcanic cliffs and remained here even after the danger was over. Their hiding places slowly became complex houses complete with kitchens, hallways and bedrooms. For the windows the villagers use beautifully colored glass.
Tourists can reach Kandovan from the neighboring towns of Osku and Tabriz. Whether they are traveling by car or bus, itâ€™s easy to figure out which way to go from there because everyone else is heading in the same direction. The green fields surrounding this bizarre village, covered by alpine vegetation, make it hard to believe you are still in the barren lands of Iran.
As they arrive in Kandovan tourists are immediately drawn to the strange, cone-shaped rock houses. All across the village there are signs informing strangers that they can visit the houses for a price. Some of the old rock dwellings have been converted into stables and bird shelters, but there are plenty that retain the charm they had over seven hundred years ago.
The main occupations of Kandovanâ€™s villagers are agriculture and sheep herding, but the main income of most of the inhabitants comes from tourism. They have realized the potential of their old homes and learned to live their lives surrounded by travelers from all around the world -the-stone-village
Visitors can sleep in the 5 star Kandovan Tourism Cliff Hotel, located at the heart of the village or in one of the other stone-carved homes, if they can negotiate with the Farsi-speaking villagers. There are also many cafÃ©s along the river that passes through Kandovan, where tourists can indulge in drinking coffee and delicious zam-zam juice, all in a unique atmosphere dominated by sweet rose fragrances.
If you are fond of wonderful villages and stunning rural areas, you’d better not miss visiting Kandovan village. This village which is a part of Osku County, almost 60km (37miles) away from Tabriz is at the foot of Sahand Mountain. What is different about Kandovan is its peculiar landscape with hand-made cliff dwellings very similar to Cappadocia in Turkey. This village has been shaped like a big termite colony made due to the accumulation of volcanic debris of Shahnd Mountain (now dormant). The locals call the village Karan believing that it was built around 700 years ago to shelter against the Mongol invasion. During centuries, the residents have developed their cliff dwellings and have added sitting rooms, terraces, barns and so forth.
A living example of human adaptation to exceptionally unusual natural surroundings, Kandovan village is located 50 km to the south of Tabriz, Osku, on the northern slopes of a valley at the foothills of Mount Sahand. A river originating from the Sahand peaks passes through the valley. There are a number of natural springs to the north of the river, the water from which has traditionally been used for the treatment of kidney stones, according to the locals. The physical structure of the village looks like images from fairy tales. Natural cones, scattered over a vast area, serve as human dwellings on rock formations which themselves seem to have been the work certain sculptors. The road from Tabriz goes through this natural artwork. On getting nearer to the dwellings, the visitor finds out two or three of these hollow interconnected cones with features such as openings on their surface playing the role of actual windows. The lowest cones are used as tables and those on top as the living quarters.
The interiors of the dwellings, usually divided into a living and bedroom, are dimly lit; however, the villagers are used to it. The interconnecting corridors are very narrow. From the outside, the dwellings look so similar to each other that one may easily get lost in the village. Steep pathways and steps are made of rock pieces for animals as well as human beings.
As the legend goes, the first people to settle here were the soldiers involved in military operations nearly 800 years ago, who found the cones by chance and used them as their temporary camouflage and accommodation. However, among archaeologists, it is considered to be of Pre-Islamic Period