Ali Sadr Cave, one of the largest water caves in the world, is located in Hamedan province, Iran. With its mysterious walls and hidden secrets, caves have always attracted their special enthusiasts. The sound of flowing water, birds, and animals living in the cave, as well as the stalactites and stalagmites found throughout, create a natural beauty that captivates any nature lover. Iran boasts many magnificent and remarkable caves, and Ali Sadr Cave is one of the must-visit ones. Today, Eligasht accompanies you on a journey to explore this cave and get acquainted with it.
Ali Sadr Cave is one of the rare water caves found worldwide. To visit this cave, you need to travel to Ali Sadr Village, located about 75 kilometers northwest of Kabudrahang city in Hamedan province. Upon reaching the cave’s vicinity, you will notice various facilities such as guesthouses, wooden villas, desert tents, and proper hiking trails, indicating that this cave is one of Iran’s most important tourist attractions.
History and Formation
The Ali Sadr Cave has a fascinating history that spans millions of years. It is believed to have formed during the Jurassic period, around 190 to 136 million years ago, through the gradual dissolution of limestone rocks by underground water sources. Over time, the flowing water carved out intricate passageways, chambers, and galleries, creating the breathtaking cave system that exists today.
Until before 1963, the locals of the surrounding areas used to direct the excess water of the Sarab River into the cave, using it as a dam. The water level inside the cave was so high that it was impossible to enter. In 1963, when access to the cave became possible, a group of 14 people entered and obtained extensive information about the length, width, height, and depth of its lake. The cave entrance was approximately 50 centimeters in size until 1973, and only professional climbers could enter. Finally, in 1974, the entrance of the cave was opened, and with the addition of facilities such as various boats, it was opened to nature lovers and tourists in 1976.
Geology and Features
The Ali Sadr Cave is a vast limestone cave, covering an area of approximately 10,000 square meters. Its most notable feature is the crystal-clear underground lake that stretches for nearly 1.6 kilometers, making it one of the largest cave lakes in the world. The water in the lake is sourced from nearby springs and maintains a constant temperature of around 12 degrees Celsius throughout the year.
This cave is very large, and only 14 kilometers of it have been discovered so far. Out of this distance, only 4 kilometers are illuminated and open for visitation. The cave’s ceiling, which reaches a height of 10 meters in some parts, is covered with calcium carbonate, which is mixed with other chemical elements in certain areas.
Attractions of Ali Sadr
As soon as you enter the cave, the calcium carbonate deposits on the ceiling and walls indicate the presence of water in the past. Descending about 50 meters, you board a boat and see rocks estimated by geologists to be 130 to 190 million years old. After a while, you disembark from the boat and walk along a relatively long path, immersing yourself in the mysterious atmosphere of the cave. Until eventually, the opportunity for boat riding reemerges, and after a while, you return along the same path and exit the cave.
What distinguishes Ali Sadr Cave from other water caves in the world is the comfortable boat ride within its vast expanse. As visitors navigate through the cave, they will be mesmerized by the stunning rock formations that adorn the walls and ceilings. Stalactites hang gracefully from the ceiling, while stalagmites rise majestically from the cave floor. These formations are the result of thousands of years of mineral-rich water dripping and depositing calcium carbonate, creating intricate and delicate structures.
The maximum depth of the water in this cave reaches 14 meters, and it is odorless, colorless, and tasteless. There is no aquatic life in this water, and it is so clear that you can see up to 10 meters deep!
Wonders of Ali Sadr Cave
Ali Sadr Cave is a fascinating natural wonder and has some remarkable wonders:
- Age and Stability: Ali Sadr Cave is millions of years old and has remained intact without experiencing any collapses or structural changes.
- Size and Accessibility: It is one of the largest water caves in the world, allowing easy passage through its water channels with regular boats due to its vastness.
- Absence of Natural Light: The cave lacks natural light, resulting in the absence of any living organisms inside.
- Ventilation and Air Quality: Despite the significant number of daily visitors, Ali Sadr Cave maintains a pleasant temperature throughout the year, ranging from 12 to 14 degrees Celsius. It also benefits from multiple cellular openings, ensuring fresh air circulation and the absence of toxic gases.
- Temperature Consistency: Visitors to the cave experience a cool breeze during the summer season, while the cave remains unaffected by the cold weather outside during winter.
- Calm and Stillness: The air inside the cave is incredibly light, and absolute tranquility prevails. If you were to light a candle, you would observe no movement in the flame due to the stillness of the air.
- Crystal Clear Water: The lake within Ali Sadr Cave boasts exceptionally clear and transparent water. Up to a depth of 10 meters, the lake is visible even with normal light and the naked eye.
Ali Sadr Cave is truly a unique and awe-inspiring destination, offering visitors the chance to explore its breathtaking beauty and experience its remarkable natural features.
The best time to visit Ali Sadr Cave
Hamedan is a cold city, and due to the extreme cold in this region during winter, it is best to choose the warm and moderate seasons for a trip to this city. Hamedan has pleasant weather in spring and summer.
Ali Sadr Cave is a popular destination for Norooz (Persian New Year) and summer vacations. However, visiting Ali Sadr Cave in winter is also enjoyable because the temperature inside the cave remains constant throughout the year, between 12 to 14 degrees Celsius. So, you won’t feel cold even during the chilly weather in the region.
Facilities and amenities at Ali Sadr Cave
Ali Sadr Cave, known as one of the most stunning tourist attractions, hosts many domestic and international tourists every year. Therefore, various facilities and recreational amenities have been provided for visitors in the outdoor area of the cave.
In the tourist complex of Ali Sadr Cave, you can find open-air amusement parks, several restaurants, a traditional dining area, a café shop, a shopping center, an observatory, a prayer room, wooden pavilions, restrooms, parking lots, and hotel accommodations. At the shopping center of Ali Sadr Cave, you can purchase handicrafts from Hamedan and other souvenirs to take back home as gifts and mementos from the city.
Practical Information for Visitors
If you’re planning to visit the Ali-Sadr Cave, here are some practical tips to ensure a smooth and enjoyable experience:
Location and Accessibility: The cave is located near the city of Hamadan in western Iran. It is easily accessible by road and is approximately a 3-hour drive from Tehran, the capital city of Iran.
Tour Guides and Boats: To explore the cave, visitors are required to join guided tours led by experienced cave guides. The tours typically last around 90 minutes and include a boat ride on the underground lake. Life jackets are provided for safety.
Clothing and Footwear: The cave maintains a cool temperature throughout the year, so it is advisable to bring a light jacket or sweater. Comfortable footwear with a good grip is essential, as the cave floor can be slippery.
Photography: Photography is allowed inside the cave, but the use of flash is prohibited to preserve the natural environment and protect the cave’s delicate ecosystem.
Safety Considerations: Visitors should follow the instructions of the tour guides and avoid touching or damaging any rock formations. It is also important to be cautious while boarding and disembarking from the boats.
Opening Hours and Fees: The Ali-Sadr Cave is open to visitors from 8:30 am to 6:30 pm during the summer months (April to September) and from 8:30 am to 5:30 pm during the winter months (October to March). Entrance fees apply, and it is advisable to check the official website or contact the cave management for the most up-to-date information.
The Ali-Sadr Cave stands as a testament to the awe-inspiring power of nature. With its magnificent underground lakes, stunning rock formations, and unique wildlife, it offers a truly memorable experience for visitors from around the world. Whether you’re a nature enthusiast, a geology lover, or simply seeking a one-of-a-kind adventure, a visit to the Ali-Sadr Cave is sure to leave you in awe of the Earth’s natural wonders.
1- Can I visit Ali Sadr Cave year-round?
Yes, Ali Sadr Cave is open to visitors throughout the year. The cave maintains a constant temperature of around 12 to 14 degrees Celsius, providing a comfortable environment regardless of the season.
2- How do I explore Ali Sadr Cave?
Exploring Ali Sadr Cave is a unique experience. Visitors can navigate the cave’s water channels on regular boats, allowing them to witness the cave’s beauty up close. Professional guides are available to ensure a safe and informative journey.
3- Are there any restrictions or safety measures in place at Ali Sadr Cave?
To ensure the safety and preservation of the cave, visitors are advised to follow the guidelines provided by the cave management. These guidelines may include restrictions on touching the cave formations, maintaining a respectful distance from the cave walls, and not littering. It is also recommended to wear appropriate footwear and carry a flashlight for better visibility.