Located in the north of Hamadan city in western Iran at the foothills of the Zagros mountain, the Ali Sadr Cave is the world’s largest water cave, recognized as one of the unique natural phenomena and a fantastic tourist hub for millions of visitors annually.
The 70 million-year old cave is 11 kilometers long based on recent surveys with walls extending up to 40 meters high and several large, deep lakes as well as a river flowing through it. Covered by calcitic/aragonitic ledges, the entire roof of the cave is abundant with crystals and small stalactites, indicating former water levels.
The steady dripping of mineral-containing water has created beautiful red, purple, brown, green and blue lime pillars in various nice shapes of cauliflowers, needles and umbrellas.
Getting on a pedal boat from a wharf upon entering, visitors can move through a number of labyrinthine halls, enjoying the icicle-shaped lime ceiling of the cave and reaching a pontoon where they leave the boats to climb into the largest chamber of Ali Sadr cave, called Freedom Hall.
First discovered by Iranian mountaineers in 1963, archeological studies of the cave have led to the discovery of ancient artworks, jugs and pitchers dating back to 12,000 years ago. Bows and arrows, animals and hunting scenes have been depicted on the walls and passages of the cave, showing primitive men used the cave as their shelter.
Currently pending approval by UNESCO for inclusion on its World Heritage list, wonderfully beautiful Ali Sadr cave is one of the strangest natural sights. In fact, it is an endless network of caves full of extremely clear water that its depth is visible from top.
Likewise, the site is equipped with various accommodation facilities such as hotel, guest house, wooden villas and camping tents with telecommunication equipment as well as sound and lighting systems inside the cave, making waves of domestic and foreign tourists and nature-lovers flood to visit this highly recommended destination and to make a memorable tour of the underground network of the cave by themselves through the available peddle boats.