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The Most Amazing Water Cave in the World
People, Travel

The Most Amazing Water Cave in the World

Iran’s Ali Sadr Cave is the world’s largest water cave, and a unique natural phenomenon which attracts millions of visitors every year.
This beautiful and unique natural phenomena in the world is located in Hamadan Province.  The huge cave is 75km northeast of city of Hamadan in the heart of mountains called Subashi, in Kaboudar-Ahang town.
Upon entering the cave, visitors come face-to-face with a vast area, about 270 SqM, in which they can rest a while and wait their turn. Passing through a wide path, there is wharf. From there onwards, boats are used for the excursion.
There are water canals between 2 to 50 meters wide, leading to a number of labyrinthine halls. All the routes end up in a vast central square called the Island. This square, which has an area of approximately 750 SqM, is 350 meters from the wharf from which all the branches originate,according to Iran Chamber Society website (iranchamber.com).

  Stalactites and Stalagmites
One of the branches, through which the boats pass, has a length of 2.5km. The part the roof, which is 10 to 20 meters above the water level, is covered by calcium carbonate sediments. Stalactites (icicle-shaped formations of lime hanging from the cave roof, formed by the steady dripping of water containing minerals) in different colors, reach down like other worldly columns. In addition there are the astonishing stalagmites, limestone formations extending upwards like pillars from over hundreds of thousands of years as stalactites drip into them.  They come in multitude of shapes – forming like cauliflowers, needles and umbrellas, in colors of red, purple, brown, green and blue. Ali-Sadr is the only yachting cave with waters so clear that we can see to a depth of 5 meters even in a dim light.
Beside the natural significance of this unique phenomenon, there is evidence that the caves were inhabited by early humans.  Tools, jugs and pitchers have been found, in addition to cave drawings; paintings of deer, gazelles and stags, hunting scenes and the images of bows and arrows.
The cave dates back to 70 million years and to date more than 16km of its water and land routes have been explored.  Not all routes have been uncovered, however, and the exploration continues. Recent exploration led to the discovery of new passages and water routes with lengths of about 10 to 11 Km, some of these canals lead to dry land that opens up into a lake.
 Inscription on UNESCO World Heritage List
Director General of Hamadan Cultural Heritage, Handicrafts and Tourism said efforts must be made to remove obstacles on the way to get the cave inscribed on UNESCO World Heritage List.
Reihan Soroush Moghadam says activities on the province’s natural site have fallen outside of the UNESCO World Heritage List regulations, which has prevented it from being inscribed.
He asserted that Hamedan was home to great natural and historical monuments such as Arzanfoud and Samen troglodytic sites that could be easily inscribed on the World Heritage List.
Currently, Iran has 17 world heritage sites inscribed with UNESCO but none of which belongs to Hamedan.
The 70-million-year-old cave which was first discovered by Iranian mountaineers in 1963, is visited by some 80,000 tourists annually.

 

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