Iran’s Cappadocia plans to be listed as World Heritage

TEHRAN — Iran is following a possible inscription of the rocky village of Kandovan in East Azerbaijan province, sometimes referred to as Iran’s Cappadocia, a local tourism official has said.

As the village was recently added to UNESCO’s temporary list, its possible listing is being pursued more seriously, Mehdi Jodai said on Tuesday, IRNA reported.

Necessary measures are being taken in this regard, such as the demarcation of the village with the aim of preventing illegal constructions as well as preserving and protecting the village, the official added.

Earlier in April, provincial tourism chief Ahmad Ahmadzadeh announced that Kandovan village’s UNESCO listing was one of the province‘s leadership’s ultimate goals.

Kandovan is one of the main destinations for foreign travelers in Iran, he said.

“Necessary steps should be taken to develop tourism infrastructure in Kandovan with the full cooperation of the public and private sectors, as our ultimate goal is the world record of this historic village,” the official explained.

Located near the city of Osku, Kandovan embodies real man-made dwellings carved into rocks that have been significantly eroded and have been permanently inhabited since ancient times.

As for its shape and appearance, Kandovan is strongly reminiscent of Turkish Cappadocia, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that includes dwellings, cave villages and underground cities with traces of human habitation dating back to the 4th century.

The history of Kandovan dates back 6000 years. Some archaeological researchers have estimated its age up to 7000 years.

The village and its rocky houses have a distinct architecture; the thickness of its walls reaches two meters in some places. The rock acts as an energy efficient material, keeping the house cool during the summer and warm during the winter. The heights of these rocks are about 40 meters.

Moreover, there are sharp pyramidal cliffs with holes on their irregular surfaces in this village which were created due to volcanic eruption in the region of Sahand mountain range. The cliffs have shaped beehive cells also known as Karan. Generally most of these Karans are two storied in some cases three and even four storied that they are not connected to each other internally.

Additionally, the residents carved every room of the cliff houses such as kitchens, hallways and even stone enclosures to make windows for the rooms and later to decorate them with colored glass.


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