Kandovan village is an extraordinary ancient village in the province of East Azarbaijan, near the city of Tabriz, Iran. With its at least 800 years existence.
This village exemplifies man made cliff dwellings which are still inhabited. The troglodyte homes, excavated inside volcanic rocks and tuffs similar to dwellings in the Turkish region of Cappadocia.
this is a place where houses are not built on a mountain, but within a mountain. Another interesting aspect is the fact that the rock acts as an energy efficient material, keeping the house cool during summer and warm during winter. This is why most of the inhabitants here do not use heaters or air conditioning systems.
When you first come upon the houses, you might not notice them, as the stone used to expand the dwellings outside of the caves, mimics that natural color of the original stone. But once you get closer to the village, you can see the windows, power wires, doors, and chimneys jutting out of the rock face. Most communities have become modernized, with power and some even with running water, all while blending perfectly into the natural surroundings. The volcanic stone is both easy to manipulate and sturdy enough to support these ancient constructions.
The intriguing architecture of this village seems to defy all rules and travelers are usually fascinated by its incredible slopes and irreverent paths. Recently a hotel was built, inspired by and connected to the “style” of the village. Most of the cave houses are two to four storeys in height. In a typical four storey house, the ground or first floor is used as an animal shelter, the next two floors are used as living areas, and the top floor is used for storage.
The houses are known as karan in the local dialect. One interpretation has the word Kandovan being a plural form of kando, a bee’s hive. Another interpretation says that Kandovan means Land of Unknown Carvers.
The Tulip (Persian: Laleh) International Rock Hotel in Kandovan which is the third hotel of the kind in the world offers the tourist from all around the world the chance to have an enjoyable trip to the region. The hotel is designed to have 40 Karaans (natural rock rooms), 10 of which are now available with complete room service and Jacuzzi. They are all equipped with heating system for the winter. In the summer the hotel does not need cooling system as the weather is very pleasant in Kandovan. A luxurious restaurant with a variety of Iranian and foreign dishes ready to host 120 people are among other facilities of the hotel.