The residents of the village of Kandovan in northwest Iran have embraced life as modern cave-dwellers, living in homes hewn from rock and dating back roughly 700 years!

Caving the Way

Located in the province of East Azerbaijan, the town’s geological foundations come thanks to ash and debris deposited from the now-dormant Mount Sahand volcano, which blew its top 11,000 years ago. 

But people wouldn’t get interested in burrowing into these structures until the Mongolian army invaded 10,300 years later. The threat of violent invasion from these nomadic warriors made hiding out in remote caves attractive. 

From the Cradle to the Cave

Although some have described the Kandovan village as looking like a giant termite colony, villagers prefer to call their homes “karan,” which translates as “beehives” in the local Turkic dialect.

Tourists that visit the Kandovan Village can book tours to explore inside the cave homes. Locals will oftentimes welcome visitors into the homes, and some will even offer souvenirs and traditional tea!

Cave the Day

Tourists can even rent and stay in a cave while visiting, and thanks to the way the caves are built to withstand the climate, it makes a Kandovan home the ultimate stay any time of year.

Interior of the stone houses in the Kandovan village.

The architectural structure of the caves takes climate into consideration. The cave walls are more than six feet thick, which helps keep cool air inside in the summer and retain warm air during the winter — Believe It or Not!

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