Kandovan Village

Kandovan Village is One of the few manmade cliff dwellings in the world where people still live the traditional life. The special atmosphere in the Village is mesmerizing, mostly because it is so archaic. People’s lifestyle in this particular village is different from many other villages in Iran. The climate, natural environment, and the mountainous environment is another reason to travel to this amazing village.
Due to the geographical condition of Iran, there is diversity in every aspect of life. The vegetation, animals, and climate alongside with architectural, agricultural and lifestyle aspects. The specific characteristics of each region have affected its architecture and construction, making the north, south, center and mountainous regions of Iran different in terms of shape in proportion to their surroundings. Of course, today, due to new architectural methods, most of the buildings in our country have become similar in appearance. The chaos of luxury houses, shopping malls, hotels, has spread to most of the cities in Iran but hearing that people are still living traditionally and without luxuries and glamor of today’s life is very strange and interesting.

Kandovan Village
We want to talk about a village that is spectacular and interesting in every aspect. Our destination is the historic Kandovan village; a vibrant exhibition of life among rocks and, the birthplace of man and nature, and the best example of companionship and simplicity.
East Azerbaijan province is full of wonders and attractions; from the monuments of Tabriz, Maragheh and Jolfa to the rivers, forests and mountainous forests that immerse the province in beauty and glory. Meanwhile, Kandovan has another story. A village in Osku County that goes back quite a lot, and a special architecture that makes it a wonder.
Kandovan village is located on the slopes of Mount Sultan Daghi, in the heart of Sahand mountain range. This village was created over time due to lava and molten materials left over from the volcanic eruptions of Sahand Mountain, and of course human interference. Kandovan is one of the few villages in Iran and the world, along with Cappadocia villages in Turkey, Dakota in the United States, and Meymand village in Kerman that have this particular form of architecture. However, today only the two villages of Meymand and Kandovan have residents, and the rest are mostly vacant. Kandovan has a height of 2,200 meters from the sea level, Kandovan River flows along the village and it is part of the Sahand Rural District.
Kandovan village was registered on the list of Iran’s national monuments due to its architecture and the lifestyle of its people with the registration number 1857, on May 15, 1997.

Kandovan Village

The History of Kandovan Village

There is no consensus on when was the village formed; some archaeological excavations and estimates have provided that the village dates back to about 6000 years ago, and others say it dates back to 3000 years ago. Of course, some writings also suggest that the history of settlement in this village date back to the seventh century AH, the period during which the Mongols invaded Iran. Needless to say, this village wasn’t formed overnight. It took a really long time, so let see what this village has to offer, starting with the history behind it.

Kandovan Village


The birth of the rock formation

Sahand volcanic mountains can be mentioned as the most important factors in the development of rocky structures in Kandovan. The activity of these volcanic mountains came to an end about one hundred and forty thousand years ago; however, what remained of the lava activities and its melting was the original form of the village of Kandovan. Stone structures with horizontal, columnar, conical, and pyramidal shapes, which after the retreat of the Kandovan Lake Basin, have come to the fore, and this was the forerunner of the Kandovan village. The cones came out of the water and they covered the mountain. These soft cones in the early periods of geology, when the earth’s crust was not cold yet, were separated and shaped by the displacement of the mountains and the pressures caused by it.
These forms, which were volcanic ashes, kept their softness over time, so they could easily be shaped by a simple blow, wind, snowfall, and rain. It was so, that the floors, the stairs of the village and the layered surface became, to a lesser extent, their present form and suitable for living arrangements and building houses.

Kandovan Village


The architecture of Kandovan Village

The architecture of the Kandovan village is of a rocky architecture. This type of architecture has two forms, and the study of it helps us better understand the history and background of a particular place. In the usual form of architecture we deal with every day, materials are first created and then space and volume are created, but in a rocky architecture, this is quite the opposite, and so it matters more.
In the first instance creating large, free, and separate cliffs for creating numerous spaces such as houses, stables, and warehouses. Kandovan Village falls in this particular category. The exterior of this rocks can be used for carving and decoration. The rocky formation is practically indestructible so windows and air shafts can also be added. The architecture of the Cappadocia in Turkey follows this approach.
In the second type of architecture, only a few spaces can be created within the rocks and hills, and the change of the exterior and the addition of a window and air shafts cannot be done. Meymand village is a good example of this kind of architecture.
Features of the rocky architecture
To describe the architecture, we first need to explain the meaning of “Karan” so that we can easily familiarize with the characteristics and different parts of the village.

Kandovan Village


What is a “Karan”?

Karan or Giran, also known in the local language as Ghabe, is basically the name of the rocks in which the houses, warehouses and other parts of the village were created. The Karans were shaped like this: the people who came to this village for the first time made this kind of cone-shaped rocks, according to their needs and to the extent that was possible, and created a place fit for living. In fact, these spaces were in response to the needs of the people.


Causes for Karans Formation

The Karans were first created by volcanic molten materials in the Sahand Mountains and then, over many years, they were transformed by wind and heavy rainfall into their present state. But how did this process cause the formation of the village?
Thousands of years ago, changes were made in the nature and shape of this particular area, with lava deposits from the volcanic peaks of Sahand and the surrounding mountains. These lavas were accumulated over the years and covered with Volcanic Tuff. These tuffs and lavas created different layers of the village and under winds, rain and snow came the modern form we know today. In this process, the parts that were soft and loose dropped off, and the harder parts remained until the rocks of the Kandovan village were created.
The inlet Karans of the village were more affected by demolition, wind, and precipitation, causing a lot of damage, but the eastern and northern Karans in the village suffered less destruction. Alongside these, the Kandovan River has long been washing up, in some parts at a height of 10 meters, washing the space between the rocks and creating routes between the Karans.


Types of Karans in Kandovan Village

The Karans according to their appearance and classes, have two categories:
Appearance: They are divided into several groups, pair, single, conical and spindle. The type of these Karans is of Lahar or Ignimbrite and their height is sometimes up to 60 meters. Of course, the height of the cones is between 30 and 40 meters.
The number of classes and forms: This section is more about the inner spaces of the Karans and their volume. They are mostly two-story Karans, but among them, three or four-story Karnas can be found. These Koreans are connected to each other by stairs (generally from the cliffs themselves) and are not interconnected to each other. Their dimensions were generally small due to safety issues and the prevention of residue. In places such as the Mosque and or stables where people needed a larger place, the Karans were reinforced by stone pillars around the building.

READ  Things to do in Kurdistan Province

Kandovan Village


Different parts of the village and the Karans

Most of the village is residential. The hotels that we see today in Kandovan were built years later and with new tools and knowledge of architecture. In this section, we will first examine the different parts of the village in general and see what Karans are, and then examine each section separately.
In Kandovan, a home is basically used more as a place of keeping animals (shelves and stables) in the ground floor. The second, third and fourth floors are of course for living arrangements. Of course, in some cases, the fourth floor is also used as storage. Kitchens are built outside of the house, and on the slopes of the mountains, because there was no place to create a chimney inside the house, and the houses were not large enough.
The diameter of the Karans is measured up to 2 meters and due to its high thickness, it is cool in summer and warm in the winter. This thick and large diameter has made the creation of an air shaft harder and also the windows are mostly placed on the upper floors.

Houses in Kandovan, like other houses in steppe villages have a lot of stairs and narrow alleys with a steep slope that links these houses together. Houses in Kandovan are man-made cut out by hand through means of tools and axes.

Kandovan Village


The Rooms

All the houses include a living room, a bedroom, and a reception room. Some of these houses are equipped with a rocky platform with low altitude, which is used as a bedroom. The area is mostly covered with Kilim.
Most of the rooms have a place for storing dirty dishes and the like located on the right-hand side of it. There is an outlet beneath that spot for removing wastewater. Like all Iranian houses, there are niches all over the house in which you can store tools and gadgets such as books, mirrors and the like. The lamp is connected to the center of the ceiling with clamps and provides lighting for the entire room. Inside the houses is all white, this color was already obtained from existing white soils, but nowadays, whitewashed walls come from the gypsum that comes from Osku.
The main floor of the house is covered with handcrafted material created by the local women such as rugs, carpets and also Kilim. In the past, every room was warmed up with a furnace, which was multifunctional. They were used to cook bread and to warm the house simultaneously at the time. But today it is not so much affordable or even practical. Nowadays bread is also cooked in bakeries. They created furnaces by simply digging a round hole in the ground. The smoke was driven out of the house by funnel-shaped holes in the ceiling.

Kandovan Village

What is a “Karan”?

Karan or Giran, also known in the local language as Ghabe, is basically the name of the rocks in which the houses, warehouses and other parts of the village were created. The Karans were shaped like this: the people who came to this village for the first time made this kind of cone-shaped rocks, according to their needs and to the extent that was possible, and created a place fit for living. In fact, these spaces were in response to the needs of the people.


Causes for Karans Formation

The Karans were first created by volcanic molten materials in the Sahand Mountains and then, over many years, they were transformed by wind and heavy rainfall into their present state. But how did this process cause the formation of the village?
Thousands of years ago, changes were made in the nature and shape of this particular area, with lava deposits from the volcanic peaks of Sahand and the surrounding mountains. These lavas were accumulated over the years and covered with Volcanic Tuff. These tuffs and lavas created different layers of the village and under winds, rain and snow came the modern form we know today. In this process, the parts that were soft and loose dropped off, and the harder parts remained until the rocks of the Kandovan village were created.
The inlet Karans of the village were more affected by demolition, wind, and precipitation, causing a lot of damage, but the eastern and northern Karans in the village suffered less destruction. Alongside these, the Kandovan River has long been washing up, in some parts at a height of 10 meters, washing the space between the rocks and creating routes between the Karans.

Kandovan Village


Types of Karans in Kandovan Village

The Karans according to their appearance and classes, have two categories:

Appearance: They are divided into several groups, pair, single, conical and spindle. The type of these Karans is of Lahar or Ignimbrite and their height is sometimes up to 60 meters. Of course, the height of the cones is between 30 and 40 meters.
The number of classes and forms: This section is more about the inner spaces of the Karans and their volume. They are mostly two-story Karans, but among them, three or four-story Karnas can be found. These Koreans are connected to each other by stairs (generally from the cliffs themselves) and are not interconnected to each other. Their dimensions were generally small due to safety issues and the prevention of residue. In places such as the Mosque and or stables where people needed a larger place, the Karans were reinforced by stone pillars around the building.

Kandovan Village


Different parts of the village and the Karans

Most of the village is residential. The hotels that we see today in Kandovan were built years later and with new tools and knowledge of architecture. In this section, we will first examine the different parts of the village in general and see what Karans are, and then examine each section separately.
In Kandovan, a home is basically used more as a place of keeping animals (shelves and stables) in the ground floor. The second, third and fourth floors are of course for living arrangements. Of course, in some cases, the fourth floor is also used as storage. Kitchens are built outside of the house, and on the slopes of the mountains, because there was no place to create a chimney inside the house, and the houses were not large enough.
The diameter of the Karans is measured up to 2 meters and due to its high thickness, it is cool in summer and warm in the winter. This thick and large diameter has made the creation of an air shaft harder and also the windows are mostly placed on the upper floors.

Houses in Kandovan, like other houses in steppe villages have a lot of stairs and narrow alleys with a steep slope that links these houses together. Houses in Kandovan are man-made cut out by hand through means of tools and axes.

Kandovan Village


The Rooms

All the houses include a living room, a bedroom, and a reception room. Some of these houses are equipped with a rocky platform with low altitude, which is used as a bedroom. The area is mostly covered with Kilim.
Most of the rooms have a place for storing dirty dishes and the like located on the right-hand side of it. There is an outlet beneath that spot for removing wastewater. Like all Iranian houses, there are niches all over the house in which you can store tools and gadgets such as books, mirrors and the like. The lamp is connected to the center of the ceiling with clamps and provides lighting for the entire room. Inside the houses is all white, this color was already obtained from existing white soils, but nowadays, whitewashed walls come from the gypsum that comes from Osku.
The main floor of the house is covered with handcrafted material created by the local women such as rugs, carpets and also Kilim. In the past, every room was warmed up with a furnace, which was multifunctional. They were used to cook bread and to warm the house simultaneously at the time. But today it is not so much affordable or even practical. Nowadays bread is also cooked in bakeries. They created furnaces by simply digging a round hole in the ground. The smoke was driven out of the house by funnel-shaped holes in the ceiling.

READ  Travel to Miankaleh peninsula in Mazandaran

Kandovan Village


Yerry York

A flat and large space that is located inside the wall, it is used for storing quilts, mattresses, Kilims, and dresses. It is hidden from eyesight with the help of a curtain.

Astana

Astana or Astaneh in the homes of the Kandovan village is referred to as the entrance to each Karan. It has two types; in big Karans where there is no limit on space, sometimes they use this somewhat threshold for washing clothes and the like. There is also a system to prevent water from entering the rooms. In this system, a short stone wall separates the entrance section from the living room and connects it to the sewer.

The Kitchen

As stated above, kitchens are situated outside the house. There is also a furnace in the kitchen as well.

The Storage

A small yet spacious space situated in every household for storing wheat, barley, and flour.

Kandovan Village
The Doors

Drilling holes in the rocks were difficult and raising the height of the doors would lead to the fall of the rocks so they did not make the doors big enough.
The height of the doors is generally between 1.5 to 1.6 meters and the width is 1 to 1.3 meters. For the doors to prevent the entrance of cold, rain and snow into the house, they have made them in the interior of the walls. They were made of wood in the past, but today a number of them have become iron doors.

The Windows

The windows of the houses have a crisscross design and they are made of glass and wood in order to bring more light into the house. The windows are used on higher floors, and they are less likely to be used on the bottom floor because it is not practical to do so and it is also impossible.

The Lavatory

Since limestone couldn’t dispose of wastewater and digging wells was not an option, people built their own lavatory. They are situated outside of residential areas and are in the form of a hand-made chamber that has two floors, downstairs is where the sewage gets drained. Some of these lavatories have two wells, and when one is filled, they do not use it until it dries out. The feces were used as fuel for the furnaces, as well as fertilizer for gardens and agricultural lands. Previously, each of the lavatories was shared by several households, but the Health Ministry intervened and each family was forced to have a private lavatory.

Walking trails

As we said earlier, the current water carved a path through the rocks and the locals built starts out of those paths. These paths also guide the water during snow and rain and prevent the accumulation of water in the village.

Kandovan Village
Balconies

Some houses in Kandovan, in addition to the rooms, have large and spacious balconies, which are situated in front of the windows. These balconies are made with a touch of art and also the windows open inwards. Their shape and design are different, it can be said that the locals were affected by the shape and form of the mountain and the rock that they live in. Of course, these terraces are only visible from the southern side of the village
Sightseeing and different alleyways
An unforgettable experience because of the special texture of the village and its rocky formation. Walking on historical grounds, communicating with villagers and locals, going to one of the houses for a bit of rest and a cup of tea and after that, buying traditional souvenirs. This is all to keep pace with the lifestyle of the Kandovan people. This type of living is simply the best.

Kandovan Village


Photography

The beauty of this village among the natural texture of the Sahand Mountains is a natural wonder that cannot be missed. It is simply glorious and also you can take a photo with the locals or the beautiful nature around the village or even the rocky formation of it.

Kandovan Village


Mineral Water

Kandovan mineral water spring is one of the most famous and best mineral waters in Iran. It is famous for its medicinal properties.
The mineral spring is on the hillside, next to the lush green valley at a distance of 27 meters and is easily accessible. This particular mineral water is recommended for kidney and urinary tract diseases. Interestingly, the spring water is sold in Tabriz.

Kandovan Village


Staying in Kandovan

Residence in the Kandovan village even if it is for a few days, gives you an unparalleled experience due to the existence of two five-star hotels with class-leading amenities, built like the village houses in the heart of the rocks. You experience life in the same way as the locals and you get to have the first-hand experience. You can even rent a room in the village from one of the locals. That is the ultimate experience. Along with these, if you have traveled to this delightful area in the spring and summer season, you can also take advantage of camping and enjoy the clean air of the mountains while living in a tent.

Kandovan Village


Best season for traveling

Like all other cities of the East Azerbaijan province, Kandovan has a mild climate, and the cold season is long and brisk. However, in recent years, the severity of precipitation has been reduced due to the drought that has struck Iran.
Spring: In late winter, Kandovan is still involved with snow and rain. The snow continues until late April, however after the month of May spring takes place and it is simply the best times to travel.
Summer: The best season for going to Kandovan.
The weather around Sahand Mountain Range is exquisite, the clean and current downstream flows to the village and Mother Nature is breathtaking. In the summer Kandovan is a popular destination. Of course, it should be noted that in the summer more than any other season, the presence of tourists is high and it gets quite crowded.

Kandovan Village

Autumn: The weather gets cold and it decreases the size of the tourist population. For those who have enough time, the contrast between the beautiful colors of autumn and the rocky architecture of this village can be a good reason for traveling. Of course, it should be noted that snowfall in this area is much earlier than in other regions of Iran, so be sure to travel to this beautiful spot with the proper equipment and clothing.
Winter: Not recommended at all. In addition to the heavy winter that makes it hard to reach the village a number of people migrate to Osku in the cold season. Essentially there will be no locals there during winter.

Kandovan Village

Kandovan Village weather:

KANDOVAN WEATHER

 

Author

Write A Comment